Children of the Valkyrie

AGO.jpg  

What happens in Valhalla stays in Valhalla, for an eternity.

Children of the Valkyries
A oneshot of revival in space.


By Shiina Ai

“Congratulations! You have been selected!” a voice that reminded me of supermarket personnels doing lucky draws exclaimed...

... while I was drowning and wondering, “Why the heck am I swimming in this slimy goo?”

“Welcome back, child of Brynhildr. We look forward to your future contributions towards our future and safety!” another voice, much gentler and less mechanical said into my ears as I was pulled out of the slimy goo by the hand.

The moment I emerged from the pool of slimy goo, the contents of my stomach sprayed out from my mouth against the multi-coloured metallic floor. I wretched and vomited goo over and over, until my stomach had nothing left to throw out. It felt similar to that time in middle school when I ate a plate of purple curry rice that the girls in my cooking class group made. Yes, the curry was purple. Let us allow that to sink in. Nobody dared to eat it, but being a man among men, how could I just leave a challenge unanswered? So I ate it, emptied the whole plate. Wasting a good plate of white rice is not the Japanese way.

Of course, what came next earned me a name that included the word ‘vomit’, turning my nickname from ‘banchou’ (boss) into ‘Gero Banchou’ (Boss Vomit). It was a bad memory.

“Oh, is this your first time?” the woman who pulled me out of that pool of slimy goo approached again before draping my apparently naked body in a thick blanket.

I tried to ask what happened, but my throat felt hoarse and dry despite the amount of fluid that just came out from there.

I looked up at the woman, who was kneeling on the metallic floor beside me while cleaning my face of the slime using a towel. Then she covered my back with some kind of cloth while I looked at her amazed. She was blonde, beautiful and had big breasts. She was a blonde gaijin!

Not just any gaijin, but a gaijin who speaks perfect Japanese! I still can’t speak English although I’ve been learning it since primary school, but that’s probably because I always skipped classes. Of course I skip classes regularly. How many delinquents you know go to school obediently? As banchou (boss) of the school, I have to keep up appearances, you know.

“Ah... ano... hauw doo yiu doo?” I asked the only English greeting I could remember with my coarse voice, because ‘hello’ is just too common. I wanted to impress this big breasted gaijin onee-san.

By the way, gaijin refers to foreigners in Japan while onee-san means ‘big sister’. I surprise myself with how much English words I can remember sometimes. Maybe I should’ve studied English better. Then I can study in England or America. Maybe I’ll be able to have a big breasted blonde girlfriend like this onee-san.

Hehehe.

Of course I’m excited! I’m not like those Tokyo boys who walk home with beautiful blonde gaijins every day! I’m an Akita boy through and through. We don’t get many gaijins in Akita. We only have kogal, those shameless girls who forsake their Japanese heritage and imitate blonde foreigners. Those girls always piss me off. If you’re Japanese, then be Japanese!

“I’m doing good. How about you? Do you feel pain anywhere?” the blonde onee-san smiled.

I felt an arrow painfully piercing my heart.

“Are you okay? Are you hurt?” the blonde onee-san asked with a concerned face.

Only the place the arrow hits.

“No, I-I’m fine. Where am I?” I asked as I noticed my surrounding for the first time.

It was a hall with the same floor size as four high school classrooms put side by side. Circular in form, topped with a domed ceiling, it featured a pitched floor, making the center much lower than the circular sides. Arranged on the raised floor surrounding the center of the chamber were hundreds of bronze statues in the form of beautiful European-looking women. Some of the statues appeared to be carved wearing armour, some wore some kind of one-piece ancient clothing while some others only wore something that looked like breastplate and grass skirt.

In front of each statue was a pool filled with the same slime that I had just vomited. As I scanned my surroundings, one of the statues appeared to emit a yellow glow. A second later, a hand pushed out of the pool of slime as another beautiful woman rushed forth and grabbed hold of the hand. She then pulled hard, bringing out a naked young woman from that pool of slime.

I looked at myself, wondering, was I like that too? I touched my own body, and deduced that apart from the cloth on my back, I really was naked. Worse, when I touched my chest, something that wasn’t there was there. It felt as earth-shattering as two gigantic mountains pushing out of a flat desert.

“UAAAAAAHHH!” I cried feeling a pair of what could only be breasts on my chest. I was too afraid to look.

“What? What? Are you still in pain?” the beautiful gaijin onee-san asked with a worried face.

“B-b-b-b-breast!”

“Unn, yes, is there a problem? Is it smaller than in your previous life? I’m sorry. We don’t decide how a person looks. That depends on your ‘mother’, you see,” she said as she gestured towards a bronze statue behind me.

“That’s not the problem! Why do I have breasts?!!!”

The beautiful onee-san blinked her eyes looking confused at me. Suddenly the door slid open and a man walked in, while greeting the other women in the chamber as he walked my way. He was about 180cm tall, with broad shoulders and stupid face. He looked like one of the nerds I used to bully in middle school. I wondered if he had any lunch money I could extort.

“Good evening, Ionar. How is our new einherjar?” the man asked the beautiful gaijin onee-san.

“Good evening, Larry. I think there may be a problem, are you taking over?” the onee-san asked as she pulled the cloth on my back around my body. Without a word, she helped tie the waist of what was apparently a robe on my body.

The man chuckled. “It’s not like I have a choice. It’s my job.”

“Well, I’ll leave it to you, then.” The beautiful gaijin onee-san made a bow and left me with this nerd.

No, please don’t go, beautiful onee-san. Don’t leave me!

“Alright, please fix your dress so we can get right to business,” the man said as he looked at the bronze statue behind me and murmured, “So, mother is Brynhildr.”

He jotted something into what looked like an electronic tablet.

“You may have heard from Ionar just now, but my name is Larry. Not Lawrence, no surname, just Larry.” He flashed a brilliant white smile.

“Oh, so her name is Iona,” I murmured while watching her beautiful figure pull another person out of another pool of slime.

“Yes, that’s her name. Now, what’s your name?”

“Me?” I asked, recognizing for the first time that my voice had turned feminine.

This is too embarrassing. How can a manly man such as I turn into a woman? Why? Did I sell someone’s mother in a previous life?

“No, I’m asking the air. Hello, how do you do, Mr. Air? Fine evening, isn’t it? In case you’re wondering, girl, that was sarcasm. Of course I’m asking you!”

“Umm, Takagawa Ayumu.”

“I see. Sounds Japanese. How did you die?”

“Excuse me?”

“How did you die?”

“What nonsense are you saying? Do I look dead at all?”

“I see. Ionar didn’t tell you, it seems. Let’s start with something simple, then. What was the last thing you remember?”

“The last thing? Hm... I remember seeing Grandma Akiyama being bullied by some delinquents from another school.”

“What happened next?”

“I fought them off, of course! Bullying old people isn’t a manly thing to do. We, the younger generation owe our lives and good fortunes to they who suffered before we were born. I told them to back off, but then one of them took out a knife and – shiiiiiittt!!! I died!”

“Well, at least I don’t have to explain it in detail.”

I looked up to the skies and prayed. “Uuu... to die at 17... my life is incredibly short. I’m sorry father, who took care of me my whole life. I’m sorry mother who died giving birth to me. I’m sorry little sister for not being able to beat up your bullies from now on. I’m sorry Kokonotsu-kun for always extorting your lunch money. I’m sorry for the debts I accumulated and will never be able to pay it back now. Father, please don’t burden yourself with building me a tombstone. Your worthless son do not deserve anything more from you. A small shrine is more than what I deserve, but if possible, please give me gyudon as offering every Monday and Thursday. Gyudon every Children's Day would be great too.”

“Are you done?”

“Umm, let’s see. To Yagumo, Tarou and Kippei, thank you for being good henchmen. Your debts towards me, please pay it back to my father and little sister. Please forgive me, Grandma Akiyama for not being able to protect you-“

“By Grandma Akiyama, could it be her?” The man pointed his finger to one of the girls that was being cared for by one of the women.

From the side, she did look like Grandma Akiyama, only younger, much younger, “Akiyama obaa-san?”

“Ee? That voice? Could it be Ayu-chan?” Grandma Akiyama, her face still covered in slime turned my way without opening her eyes.

“Outoutoutoutoutout!” I whispered to the man Larry as I pushed him out through the only door out of the chamber.

Like hell I’m going to let Grandma Akiyama find out I’ve turned into a girl!

******

“So, Ayu-chan-“

“It’s Ayumu, but call me Takagawa, you rude man!”

“Isn’t Takagawa your previous life’s surname?”

“What of it?”

“Well, you need to remember that your life has ended. You now have a new life and a new surname, Brynhildr. The only question is, do you want to keep your old given name or pick a new name as a new einherjar?”

“What’s an einherjar?”

“People like you and me. People who died on Earth due to some heroic deeds and reincarnated here as superhuman beings.”

“Superman?”

“No, not Superman. Superhuman. Basically we’re stronger, better and faster than the average human. If you want a comparison, we’re like bio-mechanical robots, except that we’re really humans. We can eat, we can breathe, we can also procreate. However, we can turn off certain bodily functions at will, so technically, we can survive even in the coldness of space for many years.”

This is too much for a former delinquent who used to skip classes all the time. I feel like my head is spinning. In the first place, what is bio-mechanical robot? Is it like Asobo? Technology is truly magnificent.

“So want to choose a new name? No? Alright, so your name is Ayumu Brynhildr. Next on the list is... Newbie Guide,” Larry took out a book from inside his coat and handed it to me, “That is a complete instruction manual for new einherjar. You should read it as soon as you can. It has maps, suggested first jobs, suggested trade routes, newbie friendly firms and information on your battlegears up to intermediary level.”

“Battlegear?” I asked while having a look at the Newbie Guide.

I expected it to be a book filled with English words, but surprisingly, it was a manga! Instead of English words, it was written using characters that I had never seen before. What was even more surprising, was that I could read it just as well as I could read hiragana!

Strange...

“Here we are, the initial supplies depot. Come on in,” he said as he pressed a button by the side of the door, causing the door to slide open.

“Oh Larry, good morning!” a cheerful little white girl with the name Nadya on her vest greeted as soon as we walked in.

“Morning, Nadya. Can you bring out a newbie package for our new recruit here?”

“Package code?”

“I think Argo6 would be good for the girl.”

I grabbed him by his lapels. “You punk! Who are you calling a girl, huh?”

“You, of course. You can’t seriously think you can return to being a man.”

“But I am a man!”

“You were. You’re Japanese, you know of reincarnation, don’t you? Just think of it as reincarnating as a girl.”

“No! I can’t accept this! What did I spend 17 years of my life for?”

“Well, that’s your problem,” he said as the little girl came back with a briefcase that was bigger than her. Larry opened the briefcase, made a hum signifying his satisfaction and showed the contents to me. “This is your supplies for the next few weeks, please have a look.”

I took out one of the stuff from the briefcase. I held it up as I said, “What use do I have for so many toothpastes? Do you expect me to brush my teeth every hour?”

“That’s not toothpaste, that’s your food supply.”

“Food?”

“Yes. It’s your daily ration, consisting of all the necessary nutrients for a well-functioning einherjar-“

I grabbed his face in a vice-like grip.

“Umm, this slightly hurts. Please be aware of your own strength as an einherjar. If I’m not an einherjar myself, you could’ve crushed my head with your fingers.”

“Not only you denied me my death and turned me into a girl. You’re even planning on feeding me toothpaste?”

“Those aren’t toothpaste.”

“I want real food.”

“Those are real food. It has a balanced blend of all necessary nutrients in good proportions, tailored to meet einherjar body’s needs.”

“Real food! Not toothpaste! I want riceballs, beef rice, curry and miso soup! I’d even settle for melon bread,” I said while tightening my grip.

“Ah, so that’s the problem. I was worried it was something big. Nadya, please bring up Amagawa8.”

“Of course!” the little white girl said with a smile, looking like she wasn’t even the least bit affected by the spectacle in front of her.

“Here it is,” the little white girl said cheerfully. Bringing out a briefcase similar to the one before, she put it on the desk beside the other briefcase.

I let go of Larry’s face and pressed the button that opened the briefcase with trembling fingers. The sinking feeling I had as I opened the briefcase made way for indescribable anger. Grabbing one of the tubes inside the briefcase, I opened the cap and shoved it into Larry’s mouth.

With the tube of toothpaste food in his mouth, Larry coughed with watery eyes as he spat the tube out. He stomped his foot on the metallic floor repeatedly while tears flowed from his eyes. If one just came in and looked at him, they’d think he was being tortured with onion juice or worse.

“What was that? It felt like my nose just opened up a new hole!”

“That was a tube of wasabi. At least you got the taste right. But what about the rest? A toothpaste tube of rice? Another tube of beef curry? Do you really expect me to eat this?”

“Everyone eats that here. You’re not the only one. Even I eat that, but of course, I wouldn’t eat that wasabi thing. My favourite kit is Miller12.”

I grabbed the lapels of his coat with both hands and pushed him against the wall roughly. “Not only did you turn me into a girl-“

“You really can’t let that go, can you?”

“Now you also expect me to eat toothpaste? You’re just begging to die, huh?”

“No thanks. If I die now, I’ll have to start over. I forgot to renew my ship insurance yesterday.”

“I want real food. I want rice that I can chew, tofu that is as soft as sponge, ramen that I can slurp noisily and natto that I can eat with rice. Do you understand me? REAL FOOD!”

“Oh those, why didn’t you say it earlier? We don’t get those meals here. You have to go to the city if you want them. But you’ll need ‘gull’.”

“What’s ‘gull’?”

“It’s the currency here in Asgard. It’s something like money on Midgard – I mean Earth.”

“That’s great! Ahh, if I really have to eat toothpaste every day, I’d probably go on a rampage.”

“Are you sure you weren’t born from Hildr’s or Sanngrior’s wombs?”

“So I just need to go to the city and work, right? What jobs can I do that pays money in advance?”

“Sorry, it doesn’t work that way. You’re an einherjar, which means you’re not allowed to take normal city jobs.”

“Huh? Then how do I make money?”

“You gain gull by performing duties requested by the leadership, killing enemies that you find on your travels, do escort jobs for people paying for it or conduct interplanetary business once you have some gull. Would you release my coat, please? This thing is bloody expensive.”

I let go of his coat as I imagined the kind of jobs I’d have to do just to eat a bowl of ramen or a simple gyudon. I haven’t thought of something like this since father managed to get a job at the electronics factory. Before that, even after father was fired from his job due to economic depression, we were still able to have a cheap meal twice a day, thanks to father doing odd jobs around town. I also shared some of my earnings with father, but father refused to accept my money. He said it was his job to prepare a meal for the family and kids like me should just do what kids do. Of course, I didn’t tell him some of that money I wanted to share with him was extorted from the rich kids at school, but he couldn’t have known that, right? Thinking that I won’t be able to eat if I don’t work hard, it reminds me of the stories of wartime Japan that Grandma Akiyama used to tell me in my childhood.

“Let’s not mind it all that much for now. Here, try this flight suit on. It should fit, but you never know unless you put it on,” Larry said as he pushed a stretchy fabric against my hands.

With my mind numb from the realization that I was suddenly a working adult, I took the suit without a word and went into the fitting room at the side of the hall. While taking off the robe and putting on the flight suit, I wondered quietly about how much a bowl of gyudon would cost in this gull currency. As I pondered the possibility of having to work hard for days to afford a single bowl of gyudon, I finished putting on the flight suit and looked at myself in the mirror.

I kicked open the steel door of the fitting room and punched Larry on his left cheek. Larry flew following my punch, his body twisting twice in the air, bounced on the floor once, before crashing against the opposite wall inside the Supplies Depot. The metallic wall cracked from the impact, which didn’t seem to faze the little white girl Nadya, who kept smiling brightly as if having a cracked wall in her workspace didn’t concern her.

“Wh-what was that about?” Larry asked as he tried to get up.

“THIS IS A GIRL’S SWIMSUIT, YOU BASTARD!” I shouted in anger.

“Incorrect. It is full body flight suit. If you want to fetishize it, at least say it’s a diver’s suit,” Larry said calmly as he stood with difficulty and brushed off the fragments of metal from the broken wall that fell on his body.

“It looks like a plugsuit!” I cried, referring to the full body skin-tight pilot suits worn by the operators of huge robots in a popular anime in the 90s. Asuka in her plugsuit was my first crush.

“What’s a plugsuit? Something electricians wear?”

“Give me something a man would wear!” I demanded as Nadya, the little white girl pressed something that looked like a slim, narrow and futuristic cellphone into my hand. She told me to aim and press the big yellow button on top.

“Wait! Nadya, why did you give her the particle wand?” he asked the little girl. His face paled as if he was looking at something scary.

“You should know by now, Larry. Watching you ‘greeters’ is the only joy I have ever since I got this body. Fufufu,” the little white girl covered her mouth as she laughed slyly.

“You monster!”

I pressed the yellow button, shooting a beam of light from the tip of the particle wand at Larry. Larry yelped in pain the moment the beam hit his arm and jumped away from the path of the beam. I fired the same beam at Larry over and over, most of which he managed to avoid at hair’s breadth, but some hit parts of his body, causing those parts to become numb.

“Miss Nadya, the punk’s not dead,” I complained while continuing to shoot particle beams at Larry.

Miss Nadya replied with a giggle, “Oh that’s because it’s set to stun. Einherjar can withstand several blasts of ‘stun’ settings at full power. It’s only funny when it’s at ‘stun’, you know. If he dies, the insurance investigation will be a pain in the ass.”

While I was distracted by Miss Nadya’s explanation, Larry closed the distance and snatched the particle wand from my hand.

“Do. Not. Shoot. At. People! Didn’t you learn this in gun ethics?”

“I wouldn’t know, the only people in my country with guns were the police and the yakuza,” I replied while trying to snatch the particle wand back.

He rubbed his temple with the hand not holding the particle wand. As he put the particle wand back into the briefcase labelled Arugo2, he mumbled, “Why do I always get the psychotic ones?”

“So are you going to give me men’s clothes or not?” I asked while crossing my arms in front of my chest.

“There are no men’s suits that would suit your... hips. Besides, the regulations state you need to have a form-fitting suit to maximize survival during moments of emergency.”

“What kind of emergency that would require me to wear a plugsuit?”

“... I’ll just show it to you. Just take one of those and follow me,” Larry said without waiting for my reply.

Miss Nadya waved goodbye to me as I closed Amagawa8 briefcase and carried it in my left hand. The ‘food’ wasn’t what I could tolerate, but according to the manga, there were plenty of useful things inside the briefcase, such as the particle wand earlier. The briefcase looked heavy, but when I lifted it, it was very light. Perhaps it was because of my enhanced einherjar strength?

“Where are we going?” I asked as I followed behind.

“The hangar. Let’s just get you your ship and be done with it. I don’t think my body can stand the abuse much longer.”

“What ship?”

“The one you’ll use to leave this place.”

I grabbed his face with the full strength of my fingers. He didn’t even struggle, apparently already suspecting it would happen again. “Before that, turn me back into a man,” I demanded.

“I’ve told you,” his voice sounded funny with my palm pressing against his nose and mouth, “We don’t decide your gender. That’s entirely up to the valkyries. We don’t even know how they choose who they give birth to. They’re ancient technology. Nobody alive knows how to tweak it or even how it works. We just turn lemons into lemonades, we don’t grow the lemons.”

“Then how do you expect me to live with this... this body!”

“I’d suggest accepting your fate. You’re not the first man to be reborn as a woman, just like how there are many women being reborn as men. They’ve all made the adjustments, I’m sure you can too, eventually. Now would you please release my face? I think I can hear my skull cracking.”

I lessened the strength of my grip on his face, to his relief.

He felt his face to ensure it wasn’t damaged, then cocked his head left and right, making popping sounds in the joints of his neck. He turned to me and said, “Well, let’s keep walking.” Then he walked forward and turned right towards ‘Hangars 101-200’.

I followed beside him, but seeing him greeting the others we met on the way, I said, “Hey, I’ve been wondering, everyone here seems to be able to speak perfect Japanese. Some has an accent that I can’t place, but everyone seems to be able to speak Japanese very well. Why is that?”

“Japanese? I think you’re misunderstanding something. Nobody is speaking Japanese here.”

“What are you talking about? What language would I be speaking if not Japanese?”

“I don’t really know what language it’s called but most people agree with calling it Asgardian. You see, when you came out of the birthing pool, you automatically became able to speak the standard language. I don’t really know how it works, but basically, you feel as if you’re speaking in the language you are most familiar with. In reality, you’re speaking, listening, reading and writing in this standard language.”

“That’s strange. It’s like how every alien creature can speak English fluently in western TV series.”

“Indeed, that always puzzled me too. Always wondered how they never even bothered to explain how the aliens could speak English despite it being the first time they met the Earthlings. Well anyway, here we are. Hangar 108, yours until you leave the base,” he said as he opened the large door.

I looked into the hangar, then grabbing his face, I lifted him by his head and smashed him against the wall beside the door. The metallic wall cracked accordingly, just like before. It seemed like einherjar bodies were more durable than the walls.

“This is getting repetitive. Now I understand why they only hire einherjar for this job,” he muttered under my hand.

“That’s a bathtub!” It was a bathtub that looked like half of a chicken’s egg, the fat part.

“No no, it’s not a bathtub. This is called the battle pod. It’s the core of the battle gears you will be piloting.”

“It’s a glorified bathtub!” Which still looked like an egg.

“I assure you, the liquid inside is not water. It is similar to amniotic fluid, to cushion you from injury and space radiation. So it’s not a bath tub.”

“I have to stay in there?!” Inside that egg?

“Yes, most of your time will likely be spent inside the battle pod. It’s perfectly safe and comfy. You can even eat your food inside or if need be, perform toilet operations. You will never want for anything else. More than twenty of our pilots haven’t even left their pods for the past five years.”

“... Typical salesman.” I hate salesmen.

“Can you please let go of my face and refrain from smashing the back of my head against the wall again in the near future? I think I should already go visit the doctor.”

I let go of his face as he breathed a sigh of relief. Entering first, he led me to the bathtub in the middle of the hangar. He told me to get in, which I hesitated to, the reason being the fact that the pool of water inside the bathtub smelled faintly of blood. He suddenly pushed me from behind, making me fall head-first into the yellowish water.

Suddenly multiple metallic plates approached the bathtub at high speed. Before realizing it, the rear and sides of the partially raised bathtub was covered, leaving only the front part open. That was before the front glass that looked like it could’ve been a windshield grew before my eyes and completely enclosed the bathtub. The yellow water filled up the inside of the pod, causing m to panic and I started punching and kicking the windshield glass to no avail. It took only two seconds for the water to completely fill the inside of the egg, drowning me as the liquid entered my throat. The feeling was only minute, though. A moment later, I didn’t feel anything. Even the water turned clear, as if the water turned into air.

“Hello!” something that looked like a quarter of a sphere in front of me lit up and spoke with a mechanical voice.

“Err, hello?”

“Hello, sister! How do you feel?”

“Weird...”

“Let me introduce myself, I am your brain.”

“Excuse me? I think I would’ve known if somebody took my brain out of my head.”

“No, no. I worded it badly. I am the brain, the heili, of your battlegear. I perform calculations, pilot your battlegear, manage the basic workings and maintenance of your ship and allow you to communicate with other ships in space.”

“On the other hand, you are the will, the vili of your battlegear. You decide what you want to do, where you want to go, who you want to save and who you want to shoot. You choose what your weapons will target, and your heili, me, will do it for you. Or you can take manual control of any function of your battlegear at any time. I must inform you that my life is tied to yours. If you die, I will also stop functioning. So rest assured that it is in my own best interest to assist you.”

“Ah? Okay...”

“Well then, let’s choose a starting chassis and start earning gull, okay? We have three starting chassis to choose from and since we’re of Brynhildr, I suggest we choose the ‘fighter’ chassis. We can upgrade or change the chassis later as soon as we can afford it. What do you say?”

“Of course! It is a man’s duty to fight!”

“But you’re a woman.”

“IT IS A MAN’S DUTY TO FIGHT!”

“Okay... let’s not argue about that. Now we can choose the equipment we want to have fitted. I’m bringing up the list of equipment we have access to. We have 2000 gull, just enough for twin plasma semi-automatic cannons, cheapest missile launchers in each wing, Grade 2 ion thrusters. the cheapest Yggdrasil drive-”

“Did you say we have 2000 gull?”

“Yes, I did. Why?”

“Then let’s go eat gyudon!”

“What the hell is a gyudon?!”

******

Dear diary,

It is now day 249, and I am currently approaching a fringe Asgardian colony populated by descendants of Indian-based einherjar. No, they’re Indian indians. They have nothing to do with Red Indians. Seriously, how do westerners deal with calling unrelated people as Indians? That idiot Christopher Columbus should be shot. Repeatedly. On the knee.

******

Dear diary,

It is day 277 and I’m starting to feel like a giggly schoolgirl now. I’ve never written a diary before as Takagawa Ayumu. Nowadays I’m writing it every day. Well technically, I’m not writing anything. I just think it and my thoughts are recorded automatically. Nou, my brain, said it’s a personal log, not a diary. But what’s the difference?!

******

Dear diary,

I met Grandma Akiyama yesterday. She was very happy to know that her Ayu-chan was still alive. I felt slightly guilty for not telling her about it. I could tell a weight was lifted off her shoulders when we chatted. I did get stabbed for protecting her from those delinquents after all. She said she shielded my body with her own afterward, but one of the delinquents kicked her too hard on the head and the next thing she knew, she came back to life as a child of Sirgrdrifa. So Grandma Akiyama’s name is now Megumi Sirgrdrifa.

I must say though, Grandma Akiyama must’ve been beautiful as a young girl. When I saw her yesterday, she looked like a certain gravure idol in one of my cherished magazines. It’s getting hard to remember Grandma Akiyama’s old appearance now.

******

“Alert! Alert! This is a Priority 1 Summon! Forward scouts detected a large Hygante armada approaching Amaterasu. All einherjar battlegears within range shall make best speed to Amaterasu and assemble near its moon Tsukuyomi to repel the invaders.. I repeat, this is a Priority 1 Summon.”

“What’s a Priority 1 Summon?” I asked Nou, my heili, my brain.

“It means it’s compulsory to answer. We have to be there because we’re close enough to receive the telepathic transmission. I worry about our survivability, though. We’ve only fought a few battles with space monsters so far. This is a large fleet engagement. If it’s a Priority 2, we can decline stating lack of experience, but we can’t do that with Priority 1.”

“It doesn’t matter. We’re going, Nou. Grandma Akiyama is on Amaterasu!”

“Megumi Sirgrdrifa? Indeed, children of Brynhildr will never leave behind people who need protection. I shall set course towards Tsukuyomi. Engaging Yggdrasil Drive in 10 seconds. 9. 8. 7. 6. 5. 4. 3. 2. 1!”

******

“This is Mike. Left flank is destroyed, we can’t hold position!”

“Marisa, send reinforcements to left flank!”

“Marisa, are you there? Shit, who’s left in Group 5?”

“Me!” Grandma Akiyama, no, Megumi Sirgrdrifa answered.

“Megumi, take the whole Group 5 to reinforce left flank!”

“Yes sir!” Megumi replied before giving the order to the rest of the group, “Matthew, Dick and Tamar, you’re the vanguard. Ayumu and I will provide supporting fire.”

“Roger!” we all said at the same time as we moved into formation and pushed our best speed to assist Group 3 in protecting left flank.

“Approaching enemy cluster. Firing EM beam at closest Hygante ships.” Tamar Geirdriful informed before releasing a long range electromagnetic beam that deactivated the shields of Hygante ships. For three seconds, the invisible electromagnetic beam continued to deactivate Hygante shields within its conical range.

“Firing Ion Cannon. Ayumu, fire fusion torpedoes!”

“Roger. Nou, calculate optimal target and fire torpedoes at will. Full spread,” I said while distancing myself from the formation a little to get a clear shot at the targets.

“Calculations done. Firing full spread of fusion torpedoes at enemy concentrations.”

I watched with satisfaction as the fusion torpedoes detonated. Thanks to Tamar’s electromagnetic beam that deactivated their shields and Megumi’s Ion Cannon that disabled their thrusters, they became sitting ducks for my fusion torpedoes. With only four well placed fusion torpedoes, more than thirty Hygante ships were destroyed. However, that was all the torpedoes I had. I had to fight with conventional missiles, Grade 6 particle beam cannons and point defense autocannon from that point on.

“Tamar, switch place with me. Save energy to refill your capacitors. Ayumu, protect Tamar.”

“Roger!” both Tamar and I did as ordered while Megumi took Tamar’s place and engaged the incoming Hygante forces in dogfight.

Dick’s ship, a frigate sized combat transport couldn’t handle the continuous barrage of hundreds of small fighters. It exploded in a brilliant expanding white and blue light the moment its fusion core was breached. There was absolutely no chance for Dick to have survived the explosion.

Matthew’s ship, a large fighter sporting six various beam weapons fared better than Dick’s ship. However, he still couldn’t escape from eight fighter drones attacking him at the same time. His fighter spun out of control the moment one of the drones shot off its left wing. Seconds later, even Matthew was gone.

Now there was nothingleft between the Hygante ships and Megumi’s space restaurant.

“Nou, we’re helping Megumi! I’ll pilot, you take care of the weapons.”

“Understood.”

We pushed the thrusters to maximum output, leaving Tamar far behind. Within seconds we managed to reach the mass of gathering Hygante ships and drones that surrounded Megumi’s ship. They fired missiles and all kinds of beam and pulse weapons at Megumi’s ship. Fortunately, Megumi’s ship was fitted with Alternating Shield technology, minimizing the damage from electromagnetic weapons. However, Megumi’s ship was pinned down and couldn’t move.

I entered the fray, arming all twelve missiles fitted in the wing pylon on my fighter ship. Firing my main beam cannons to get their attention, I waited until a large number of the drones switched targets to me before performing the ‘missile swarm maneuver’. It involved arming all missiles then doing a 360 degrees spin, allowing all missiles to be launched at the same time without each of them interfering with each other’s flight paths. Although each missile had their own onboard computers, for this instance, Nou handled all the target processing and flight path of the missiles so that it wouldn’t be shot down before it could hit the target.

Before the next batch of missiles were loaded into its compartments, we had already punched through the wall of drones and appeared near Megumi’s location. From my position, I could see one of the Hygante destroyers charging its positron main cannon, aimed at Megumi’s position. Megumi noticed my approached, but not the positron cannon.

“Ayu-chan, why are you here? I told you to protect Tamar!”

“Run! Move! I’ll open a way, just move away from there!”

“I can’t. My thruster is damaged. It’s not responding. Go away, Ayu-chan. It’s too late for me.”

“Be quiet, Grandma! I didn’t save you from those thugs just so you can die again! I’m not losing you this time!”

“Lose me? But – Ayu-chan, didn’t they tell-”

Before Grandma Akiyama could finish her words, I moved my ship between her and the destroyer. Pushing all power to shields, I could only close my eyes at the approaching positron beam. The impact between the positron beam and my extended power shield produced a large explosion that engulfed my own ship as well as nearby Hygante ships. I could only hope Grandma Akiyama’s ship was outside the explosion radius.

The huge explosion destroyed the ship and the battlepod completely. The blast stripped my flesh from my bones, shattered my bones with its impact and boiled my brain inside my skull. It was a painful death. Thankfully, the agony only lasted a moment. The next moment, I felt myself floating in a space, gentle, soft, fluffy and warm.

So this is what death feels like, huh? I couldn’t remember how it felt like being dead after I was stabbed. I guess I passed out when my soul left my body. Ah, I hope Grandma Akiyama managed to survive the battle. I’d like to receive offerings of gyudon every morning. Sorry Nou, you also die because of my selfishness.

It’s fine. I am your twin after all.

Is that you, Nou?

Yes and no. I have memories of ‘Nou’, but I will likely become someone else after being reborn.

Ah, you can be reborn. I’m glad. You’ve been a great help. I don’t know what I would’ve done without you. I’m sure whoever gets you as their heili will be in good hands.

What are you talking about? Didn’t they tell you-

Suddenly my arm was wrenched to one direction and my head broke the surface of the liquid I was swimming on. What awaited me was a fear worse than death. This was not what I expected. This should not have happened!

“Welcome back, child of Eir. We look forward to all the entertainment you will provide us in the future!” the big breasted gaijin onee-san Ionar greeted with a friendly and angelic smile.

“Give me back my tears!!!!”

*As always I appreciate your feedbacks. Praises help me write faster while constructive criticisms help me write better. Thank you for reading.



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