Part 63: Reconstructing More Science

...Let's... try and avoid that.

It's another bigmouth.

So on Turn 2 this guy Toxic Sludges Mio then chews on her and she goes from full to dead in one round,

and then I realize I am fully out of all multi-target healing items that aren't Heal Aero 1s, like an idiot,

so I have to have a nerve-wracking 119 moment,

and anyway there's another 10-turn fight where you can see exactly how much MP I spent.

Megamouth Dragons are assholes and I am bad at video games.

Also, because of all the damage floors, I am currently at 1 First Aid (M) and plumb out of (S). I have plenty of single-target healing items for out of combat healing, and a solid amount of MP restoratives, but I'm a bit pantsed here. I'm running out of juice.

Ordinarily I'd think something like mandatory damage floors was a bit cheap, but I kinda like it here. It's an effective tone-setter for just how fucked you are right now.


We REALLY do not need this right now.

one sec dw lemme get this

The gang survives this round of four Gnaws and I get three Bush Traps off! Nice.

Oh wait ow

Oh god he's dead again yeah, it turns out you really, really shouldn't underestimate two puppies! If you don't have Youka. Youka beats their asses.

I spent a while on this victory screen just letting it sink in how hard I was getting my ass beat.

Anyway, progress is this way, so let's explore a little bit!

Ah, this is an elevator down.



We really need these.

We should be relatively able to take down one little one...

Kinda running on fumes here.

I'm sick of you all!

That other path there is just a damage pool that lets you skip that dragon.

Yup. It's a Megamouth.

At this point, I grind to the next level, since it was close, entirely so that I can get the full heal.

I haven't reached the midway exit point yet! What else is a girl supposed to do, right?

Anyway, this time it only lasts 8 turns! Satsuki gets comboed from full to dead at one point and I have to use Nanomachine 119 twice but hey, it's no big deal, right?, it's either I chime in myself and go light on Unit 13 chiming in for a while or I have to get detailed on this many separate fights where it takes the sacrifice of everything but my firstborn child to get through. Megamouth Dragons are just fucking tough. I don't think they're really unfair, especially considering I have enough Dz now to upgrade the Arms Development if I'm willing to sacrifice my progress for a bit, but overall, Roppongi is just a brutal dungeon that drains your resources way faster than you might expect.

Koron what the fuck did he just say.

Can I please explain this later? I'm tired.

Dashing Fellow: Could you lend me your hand, then? An array of bright young things no doubt are gathered at the Diet to sing my praises.


This is a solid +20 to MDF on everyone's current armor. I give it to Mio because she does the healing.

Anyway, at this point I bust out my Stealths to clean up before the last fight of this leg of Roppongi, and stop in on this path that we skipped before on account of ow ouch owie.

We found Unit 10 in one corner of the 18th floor.

Shichiro: ...Ah! Oh! Oh, gosh, it's you!

What's wrong?

Himuro: We weren't in time.



Asumu: ...Apologies. For not... being able to assist. My apologies.

There were tears in Taichi's eyes, but he wasn't as good at drying them as Richter.

Taichi: ...I couldn't help. What... what does it even mean to be Murakumo?


Taichi: I just... I just don't know...

Anyway, it's time to clean this dive up. I'm pretty low on MP, but it'll have to do.

As we hurried to the end of the 18th floor, we found some rather unexpected guests.

!!! Unit 13, be careful! There's a Dragon right in front of them!


Fred: Cut it out, Tony! You can't fight anymore!

Tony: Grrrr, damn it all!

Stay back! We'll handle this!

Fred: You?!

Yeah, us!

These tentacles... they've got a faint Imperial signature!

It's Oceanus! Watch out, everyone!

Chisa! Do you think fire would work well?


Let's engage TROY procedures! Mio! Koron!

Firebrand engaged!


It's alright, we can take this!

Be careful over there!

The Oceanus Tentacle takes +50% damage from Fire, so the Firebrand + Rush Groove strategy does a real solid chunk—and we landed the Burn!

That barely even hurts!

It looks like it's going for a swing! Watch out!


That Burn was very lucky, but I probably should've applied Defense Booster at some point to mitigate this damage... buut,

Are you okay?

Yeah, I'm good!

Sumie! Take it out!


And so, we managed to fell Oceanus's tentacle.

I'm done! I can't take any more! I'm so tired!

I... yes, I am too.

How do you think I feel? I'm healing you!

Will: Fred! Tony's blood pressure is dropping! If we don't do something, he's a goner!

Fred: H-hey! Tony, you hear that?! Get it together!

Tony: I'm... good. Everything's... fine.

You can't be serious. Now, you're thinking about that? Why is that so important?

Will: It's important... because our boss said so.

Fred: We've got no obligation to tell you any more about it—

Jeanne. Are you detecting any more survivors in the area?

No, I'm not.

You three. Please, don't worry about who's getting anywhere first. He's dying. We'll bring you back to the Diet Building.

Tony: C-cut it out! Y-you think you can just... hah, take me prisoner...

Will: Tony! This is bad, he needs medical care ASAP...

...Finally, I found something. I'll need to take this, and...

Youka, please carry Tony! We can set up a relay point here and get back to the Diet.

Roger dodger.


Returning to the Diet Building amidst the acid rain wasn't pleasant by any stretch of the imagination, but we did manage to make it.

Fred: No way, we're headed back to base—

Yuki: Quit whining, soldier! You can't even walk! Stay put!

Ah, before you do... We took the liberty of using some materials for arms development.

Go see Mr. Waji, if you would?

Holy crap you guys look beat.

That's because we areeeeeeeeeee

Your poor little gear looks all melted through~ Good thing we've got new stuff for you!

Thanks for the help. Take this.

Waji has no new consumables for sale, but gear gear geAR GEAR GIVE ME THE GEAR GIVE ME THE


Look at us. Even if we hadn't found people who needed to be forcibly brought back, do we look like we're in any condition to go forward—?

We don't have time to fritter away on nonsense! Saving lives is fine, laudable even, but the fate of this entire world and everyone in it rests on your actions!

P-President Emille!

...What. If you have something to say, then say it.

W-we've compiled some data on the Roppongi Imperial, Oceanus. We're fairly certain now that the Dragon itself is on the roof, 238 meters high, nesting in a rooted, alien structure.

Do you plan on giving me orders? If you say the Imperial is causing the rain, then it's our job to end it, even if it kills us! If Unit 13 can't do it alone, we'll have to pull in all available SDF troops!

And, finally, at long last, Murakumo's president returned to its HQ.


Sorry to keep you waiting.

Emille... I understand how you feel. But this won't work. Obviously, yes, we need to take some kind of action to defeat the True Dragon.

The SDF can't withstand this acid... they would only suffer pointless casualties.

...If the rain continues... we have two or three days before the Diet Building dissolves. How likely is a success? Give me numbers.

That depends on if I know Richter as well as I think I do.

Kirino... Sometimes I think you give me a little bit too much credit, you know. I'm not a scientist, like you are. I'm no tactician, or a brilliant fighter. I have my one wheelhouse.

But you're real good at one thing, Richter. If you're given a problem, you'll think of a way to solve it faster than anyone else I know—and it'll be a way that nobody else would've thought of.

...And you'll even make me think it was my idea! You jerk.

Well, I was hoping that you might get up before we left, but...

You're a strong man yourself, Kirino. Sometimes, you just need help seeing it. You're quite good at working under pressure, you know.

And it's not like I wasn't genuinely terrified and distraught, you know.

Sure, sure. You're really good at leveraging that fear, though. It's really an incredible skill.

...What is this lovefest? You are aware that the Diet Building is melting, yes?

I can't use my arm, but I can give directions. I think by tomorrow morning, we will have it.

...I couldn't help it.

D-do you even know how worried about you I was?!

Whoa! Hold on! Don't cry until I've actually succeeded, please!

What do you expect when you made us worry like that, you jerk?!

You've used up your existential crises for your life, you know. You can't have any more!

F-fine, fine, alright!

...It's about time. Humans. I really just don't understand you sometimes... You heard him. We commence operations tomorrow at dawn. Fine by you?

Yeah, that'll be fine, just give me a minute!

General Dojima has put in a request for the SDF to be fully re-outfitted, since much of their gear has been melted into uselessness.

Ah. Then see me in the conference room before you rest, Unit 13.

He sure is.

Geez, you look happy.

So do you.

Yeah, so?!

...Have you been crying?

Maybe a little.

Thanks for the work. Can you stop by soon? There's something I wanna talk to you about.

Col. Kamachi: Hey, just don't look in our lockers, okay? This is the only private place we've got.

Pvt. Saneda: Entry is prohibited for the public. We've got guns, grenades... all kinds of dangerous stuff.

You realize that this only makes Sumie want to do it more?

Col. Kamachi: Look, steal the odd bullet or grenade or something, but don't look in our lockers.

I would never. Who do you think I am?

The woman who read Kirino's diary.

Oh yeah I did do that didn't I

Pvt. Tonami: Save everyone you can, few or many. Some of my comrades who went out to rescue people haven't come back...

It is nice seeing them well-stocked again.

Pvt. Sakon: A secure home keeps danger away.

Sgt. Makita: Kirino is happiest when he's working... but you know, Richter, I feel like he eats a bit too quickly when he's like that.

That's true. I do try to warn him about the choking hazard, but he has a hard time listening.

Pvt. Misawa: I'm seriously exhausted! But we saved the people, so it's okay.

Malingering Soldier: It's no use... I can't join the battle with this headache.

Pvt. Hoshino: Ah, that was a nice break. Now I'm ready to go! ...You guys get a decent rest? I mean, you look beat.

We haven't rested yet.

Pvt. Hoshino: Oh, you're doing those rounds you do. Right.

It's important for maintaining a basic working relationship with the populace of our home base!

Pvt. Hoshino: You think?

Well, yeah. It's like... People know what Unit 13 is, sure, but what are we gonna do in ten, twenty years once this has all cooled down? If we remain totally faceless, eventually people are gonna forget about us and what we fought for. It'll all get messy and muggy in historical records, and then people might make the same mistakes they already made.

Pvt. Hoshino: ...That's pretty heavy.

Like it or not, we're the faces of the Dragon Wars, so on some level we do need to be people who can be remembered. Otherwise, who knows what might happen?

I'm not just an idol because I like the sound of my own voice, y'know.

Pvt. Hoshino: That's... honestly pretty cool.

Pvt. Sasuga: Ugh, but I mean... now Kirino's just gotta be showing off, right?


Pvt. Sasuga: I mean, look at him! He's so... good-looking! Does he have some kind of magical forehead cream? And his hairdo. Who explores their sexy side at a time like this?

Should I tell Kirino he has a secret admirer?

Pvt. Sasuga: What?! No way! I'm only longing for one person, thanks.

Ah, hey, guys. Sorry. The SDF's making more work for you on top of everything else.

Could be worse.

Ain't that the truth. Well, we're decently equipped now, so we can finally do our job—you guys take as long as you need in there tomorrow. We'll show you we can hold the Diet Building, no matter how much of that damn rain falls. Wish I could've helped at Roppongi, but I at least picked this up for you.

Ah! It's Pudox. How pleasant!

Oh, thank god. I was worried I was gonna get the wrong, uh, monster... series. How do you guys even use these things, anyway?

The same way bento boxes make us more effective fighters.


Oh, I see. It's way too complicated for you to explain to me.

Yes, you understand.

Will do. Shit.

Next time, we'll see what cockamamie scheme Kirino cooks up today.


That was the end of September 12th, at least in terms of active deployment. However, I found myself wandering out into the main dorms well past the hour when most of the civilians had gone to bed.

"—Why do you even want any of this garbage?"

I ducked behind a vending machine when I heard Emille's voice, presuming that perhaps she was muttering to herself, as she did. However, I shortly realized she wasn't speaking to herself.

"I don't know. I just feel like it'd kinda suck if it all went to waste."

That was Taichi. I poked my head around the side to see him lugging a large crate, and Emille carrying a smaller one by his side. The top of the crate was open—it was the acid-damaged remains of the now-useless SDF gear that we had had to replace to begin with.

"You can't use this to construct a weapon," Emille said. "These are just useless hunks of metal."

"Sure," Taichi said with a shrug, "but isn't that thing you guys are looking for some kind of metallurgy weapon?"

"Who told you that?"

"My sister is the captain of Unit 13," Taichi said, turning his head to stare at her like she'd just asked why grass was green. "I hear these things. Look, just, even if it doesn't work out that we could use that, all this is... well, some of it's still good metal, you know? Maybe I could do something with it."

Emille looked as though she was about to make a snide remark about this idea, but she instead went for her own sword and shouted, "Who's there?"

I walked out behind the vending machine with my hands up, saying, "I didn't feel like I should interrupt, was all."

"Oh, hey," Taichi said. The two had, by this point, put down the crates on a bench, and he was studying it now. "Hey, Toranosuke from Unit 11 works with stuff like this, right?"

"I don't know if anyone is going to accept just an aimless 'working with the SDF's trash'," I said, leaning in to look at it. To be sure, none of it was usable. The helmets were melted clean through, the riot shields reduced to slag, the guns... well, there were some pieces of ammo in there it looked like they'd neglected to take. "You'd have to actually think of something specific you wanted to do with it."

"Right, right... hey, can I see that?" Taichi said, and I gave him a bullet I was holding in my hand. "Let's see... you know, huh, I've never actually looked at a bullet before. How do these things work?"

...I had to call in an expert. "Okay," Sumie said, holding up the bullet, "basically, at the butt end here, there's a 'primer', it's a small explosive agent. The trigger in the gun makes a spring push a pin into the primer, which causes it to light on fire. Inside the center casing here, there's a propellant that gets lit on fire by that. This is what gives the biggest amount of acceleration to the bullet. But like, it's not supposed to all ignite at once, that would blow up the gun. Instead, it accelerates while it's in the chamber so that it gets that big 'kick' once the actual bullet gets shot off, that's this bit at the end here. The recoil when you shoot a gun is from that specific explosion. With some guns, especially older ones, you've gotta manually eject the casing, but guns like these probably do it automatically."

"Huh," Taichi said, staring at the bullet. "Hm. Neat. So most of this thing is an explosive, and then it's just the piece at the end that is the actual projectile?"

"You got it!" Sumie said.

"You aren't thinking of attempting to change disciplines, are you?" Emille said. "Hasn't your unit already got someone who tries to shoot things?"

"Yeah, I know, but... okay, we gotta move these into the dorm, whatever thought I'm having is clearly not working out," Taichi said.

"Ridiculous. Who spends this much time on an idea they haven't even had yet?" Emille said with a scoff, picking up the smaller crate.

"If you think it's that ridiculous, why are you helping me?" Taichi said with a snort, and Emille went red in the face.

They started to turn away, but I said, "Oh, do you need any more help with that?"

"Yeah," Taichi said, "there's actually a few more crates waiting at the front of the Barracks. If you two could carry those, that would be great!"

"Roger that, boss!" Sumie said with a salute, and I went to do so with her.

—It was a small incident that didn't mean much at the time, but it would later turn out to be pretty noteworthy. Anyway, the next day...

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