Innocence Seekers: April Light/Chapter 3/Episode 26
This is the second episode, "Starship Spica" (恒星船スピカ), of the third chapter of Innocence Seekers: April Light.
The Himiko was currently in orbit around Fuenod, hovering over the Likkran continent. Its captain, Takeshi Hirano, was a childhood friend of Fukuyama, and the two had similar aspirations, to one day become the captain of the Royal Namari Navy's flagships.
In the ship's CIC, Hirano received a message from the queen. It stated that a small Donsilan army had managed to sneak itself on to the surface of Fuenod, and that it was currently located 150 kilometres south-by-southwest of Yaezora. She ordered Hirano to deal with the Donsilan army in whatever way he feels is best.
–Weapons Officer: Captain, all auxillary weapons are ready! We're ready to deploy at any moment!
–Hirano: Very well. Deploy the kinetic weapons! Commence bombardment!
–Weapons Officer: Yes, Captain!
The Himiko launched several missiles towards the location of the Donsilan army. As they entered the atmosphere, they became enveloped in an orange sheath of glowing hot air. Eventually, they hit their target, and several small mushroom clouds emerged from the former location of the Donsilan army.
–Weapons Officer: Direct hit! Checking for signs of the enemy...
–Navigation Officer: No signal detected. It looks like the enemy is obliterated.
–Hirano: Very well. Let us remain on standby.
–Everyone: Yes, Captain!
Almost immediately, the Himiko received a message.
–Communications Officer: Captain, we've received a message from headquarters!
–Hirano: What does it say?
–Communications Officer: It says that an unknown ship arrived at Likkra Space Station an hour ago. It did not appear to be dangerous, but we've been told to remain on our guard.
–Navigation Officer: Should we head to the space station?
–Hirano: ... What about the Amaterasu?
–Communication Officer: It is heading to the space station as we speak.
Another message was received.
–Communication Officer: And it's requested our assistance, just in case the situation gets out of hand.
–Hirano: Very well. Set course for the space station!
–Navigation Officer: Yes, Captain!
The Himiko fired its rockets, and set course for the space station orbiting Fuenod.
–Kanade: It has come. I need to tell everyone.
At that point, Himawari appeared out of nowhere, startling Kanade.
–Kanade: Ah! Himawari, don't just pop out of nowhere like that!
–Himawari: Sorry. But I'm here to take everyone to Yaezora.
–Kanade: Wait, it's still very early in the morning. Most of the others should be still asleep.
–Himawari: From what my sister told me, it's urgent.
–Kanade: And besides, Wakaba headed somewhere.
–Himawari: I know that. Inori will take her to Yaezora later. I'm just here to take everyone else.
–Kanade: And one more thing. How are we going to get there?
Himawari remained silent for a moment.
–Kanade: Don't tell me... you haven't thought about it?
–Kanade: Well, I've managed to summon the ship bound to my pendant. I can teleport everyone on to it.
–Himawari: Wait, you can do that?
–Kanade: Well, it's easier than landing a shuttle onto a highway.
The others exited the house.
–Uzuki: Ah, Himawari, you're already here.
–Himawari: Uzuki, you're already awake?
–Uzuki: Well, I was awake for quite a while.
–Tamaki: Anyway, you're going to take us to Yaezora, right?
–Himawari: That's what I was about to do... but I just realised I don't have a way to get there in the first place.
–Kanade: However, I've managed to summon the ship bound to my pendant.
–Uzuki: You have? Then we can use that!
–Kanade: Alright, everyone, gather around me.
The girls gathered around Kanade.
Uzuki glanced at Tamaki, who was carrying the two.
–Uzuki: I guess.
–Kanade: Anyway, everyone, hold still.
Kanade began to cast a spell, and a red magic circle appeared beneath everyone's feet. Everyone began to glow red, before disappearing.
On Likkra Space Station, the Himiko and the Amaterasu docked and everyone on both ships disembarked. The two captains spotted each other, and walked towards each other.
–Hirano: Mayu... it's been a while since I last saw your face. How has the Amaterasu been holding?
–Fukuyama: Somehow we've managed to keep everything together. Takeshi, what about your ship?
–Hirano: No problems so far. But to think about it, this wasn't what we had in mind when we set our goals back when we were kids.
–Fukuyama: Yeah... I still remember Akane laughing at us for saying that one day we'll be captains of Namari's best warships. But at the time we thought it would be sea-traversing ships, not spaceships.
–Fukuyama: Even then, I was never as powerful as Akane. That was what convinced me to pursue this path. Anyway, we need to investigate that mysterious ship that arrived here a while ago.
–Hirano: Right. Lead the way, Mayu.
The two headed across the space station, until they reached the section where the mysterious ship docked.
–Hirano: So this is it...
–Fukuyama: It looks like a highly advanced spaceship. Initial analysis suggested that it was unmanned.
–Hirano: So... who controls this ship?
–Fukuyama: We don't know at the moment. Should we head inside?
The two entered the spaceship.
–Fukuyama: It doesn't appear to be dangerous. I'm not sensing any hostile entities within the ship.
–Hirano: I hope you're right. I can't really sense magic entities that well.
The two proceeded further into the spaceship, when suddenly a red magic circle appeared in front of them.
–Hirano: Wait, what is that?
–Fukuyama: A teleportation spell?
Several glowing figures appeared within the circle. The glow died down to reveal Kanade and the rest of the group.
–Kanade: Well, everyone, this is my spaceship.
Kanade noticed the two captains in front of her, staring.
–Kanade: I didn't expect to see people on board, though.
–Hirano: What is the meaning of this?! Explain yourselves!
–Fukuyama: It's alright; let me handle this.
Fukuyama walked up to the girls.
–Fukuyama: Kanade, you say that this is your ship, if I'm not mistaken.
–Kanade: Yes, that is correct. I summoned it here. As a pendant holder I have this ship just in case things turn for the worse.
–Fukuyama: I see. So this must be a true Donsilan ship.
–Kanade: It is. In fact, it is one of the most powerful ships the Donsilans have ever built. But in its current state, most of its functions are inaccessible.
–Fukuyama: What do you mean?
–Kanade: To fully activate this ship, the April Light is needed.
–Tamaki: However, my Inherent Ability might be able to do something regarding the ship.
–Himawari: Anyway, we need to head to Yaezora, so, Kanade, you know the way around the ship, so can you take us there?
–Hirano: W-W-Wait, you're here, Princess?! I didn't notice you.
–Himawari: Well, it has been a while since we last met, Hirano. I trust you've been keeping the Himiko in top condition.
–Hirano: Well of course. It's my duty. Anyway... can you tell us exactly what this ship is?
–Kanade: Well, as I said, it is one of the most powerful Donsilan ships, and I can tell you that there are at least three others like this, each belonging to a pendant holder. Of course, this ship, the Spica, is mine.
–Fukuyama: But if most of its functions are inaccessible, then how can we control it?
–Tamaki: I might be able to figure something out. Kanade said that the April Light is needed to fully activate it, but I might be able to use my Inherent Ability to operate the ship.
–Fukuyama: If you say so, Tamaki.
–Hirano: I wonder, what can't her Inherent Ability allow her to do?
Tamaki headed deeper into the ship. Kanade and Himawari followed her.
–Uzuki: And I'm left with these two.
–Hirano: Umm, should we find some beds to put these girls in?
–Fukuyama: But we don't even know this ship's layout. And besides, they're needed in Yaezora.
–Uzuki: Don't worry; I'll look for a place to set them down.
Uzuki picked up Aoi and Benio and took them deeper in the ship.
Uzuki entered a room full of bunk beds. She set down Aoi and Benio on to separate beds. After a while, Himawari entered.
–Himawari: Ah, Uzuki, you're in here.
–Uzuki: Ah, well, I was looking for a place to set Aocchi and Benio.
–Himawari: I see they're still asleep. Anyway, the ship will depart very soon, so make sure that everything is ready.
–Uzuki: Wait, already? What about Fukuyama and Hirano?
–Himawari: I've already told them to leave the ship. Anyway, in a few hours, Yaezora will be in range of Kanade's teleportation spell.
–Uzuki: I see. Himawari, can I ask you something?
–Himawari: What is it?
–Uzuki: Do you know about the treasures the Namari royal family hid throughout Likkra?
–Himawari: Of course I know. It's something passed down through the generations. Uzuki, as part of the Miyana lineage, you should know this.
–Uzuki: I've been wondering... what if some of those treasures are actually World Orbs?
–Himawari: Wait, what are you going on about?
–Uzuki: My mother told me, right before I left for Japan, that a 'green orb' is located right where the sea, the land of the blond people and the land of the black-haired people meet.
–Himawari: Wait... a green orb? Could you mean the air-elemental World Orb?
–Uzuki: That is a possibility. But the location...
–Himawari: The land of the blond people could refer to Blyland; after all, historically they've had the most people with blond hair in Likkra. But, of course, the borders have changed.
–Uzuki: That's true. But the pendant holders can use their pendants to locate the World Orbs.
Suddenly the spaceship shook.
–Uzuki: What was that?
–Himawari: I'm not sure.
Suddenly, Kanade entered the room running.
–Kanade: Everyone, the space station is under attack!
–Himawari: What?! Who is the enemy?
–Kanade: It's that third faction I mentioned yesterday. They're here!
–Himawari: This is bad. Kanade, if what you said is true, then we're completely outmatched.
–Kanade: However... I believe the Spica can take on the entire enemy fleet.
–Uzuki: By itself? Is that possible?
Tamaki entered the room.
–Tamaki: It's possible. The readings suggest a force of around 150 ships, each carrying weapons capable of dealing as much as one teraton of damage. The smaller ships have magic barriers capable of withstanding six teratons, while the capital ships can withstand as much as 50 teratons. If just one shot from their main weapons so much as glances the space station, it will be obliterated. If they hit the planet, we could be potentially looking at as many as three billion dead, in just one shot.
–Himawari: And you're saying that this ship can take on the fleet despite the enemy's firepower?
–Tamaki: Yes. I've looked at the ship's specifications, and it is capable of projecting a planet-protecting barrier that is capable of absorbing as much as one petaton of energy. While the ship's main weapon is offline, the auxillary weapons are each capable of inflicting four teratons of damage per shot. In terms of defensive capabilities, the ship's planet barrier has a dissipation rate of 80 teratons per minute, and the ship's own barrier 30 teratons per minute.
–Himawari: In comparison, the Himiko's barrier dissipation rate is only 50 kilotons per minute.
–Uzuki: Well, what are we waiting for?! Let's show them what we're made of!
–Tamaki: Right! I'll be on it!
Tamaki exited the room.
–Kanade: I have to admit, I'm impressed Tamaki was able to figure out how to operate the ship in such a short space of time.
–Himawari: Well, that is her Inherent Ability. Anyway, it looks like we have no choice but to wait.
The Spica flew off to meet the enemy fleet. The fleet responded by sending a massive barrage of magic projectiles; however, the attacks dissipated upon impact with the Spica's barrier. The Spica proceeded to launch a massive barrage of its own, wiping out much of the enemy fleet.
–Kanade: Tamaki, what is the status of the enemy fleet?
–Tamaki: Of the 150 ships, around 90 are destroyed or damaged beyond repair. Another 40 are significantly crippled.
–Kanade: That leaves 20 ships.
–Tamaki: Hold on, we're receiving a transmission.
A screen appeared in front of the two girls. It was the admiral of the enemy fleet.
–Kanade: Wait... it's you...
–Tamaki: Kanade, you know her?
–Kanade: That woman is the one who attacked the Magellan Colony.
–Tamaki: The Magellan Colony? Was that where you lived?
–Kanade: After that incident where I lost my memories, Aria and I settled there. And I had just restarted my friendship with Aria when she came.
–Admiral: Kanade, it has been a while.
–Kanade: What do you want?! Why are you here, trying to interfere with the affairs of humanity?
–Kanade: What are you saying?! What gives us the right to simply destroy an entire species just for our own selfish desires?! And besides, why did you attack my home in the first place?!
–Admiral: I knew the Magellan Colony held two of the pendant holders, you being one of them. I figured that if I got hold of just one of the pendant holders, then that being would be free to wipe the galaxy clean.
–Tamaki: It is clear to me now. You are our enemy. And as our enemy, you shall be destroyed!
The Spica launched its auxillary weapons, sending a massive barrage of magic orbs toward what was left of the enemy fleet. All but one of the ships were destroyed.
–Admiral: You humans are so simple. Always resorting to violence when you don't get your way.
–Tamaki: Tell me. What motivates you to attack us? You haven't been living in this galaxy for two million years, so of course something else will take your place.
–Admiral: It is our home, and we're not going to let a bunch of genetically-engineered apes take it over. Your days are numbered, human. Soon your species will be consigned to history.
–Tamaki: Not if I can help it!
–Kanade: Tamaki, hold on.
–Admiral: And Kanade, why are you helping the humans?
–Kanade: It's simple. They are the rightful successors of the Donsilan species. If you're so hell bent on trying to take over the Milky Way, why don't you spend the effort to get to, let's say, Andromeda? I'm sure it'll take less effort.
–Admiral: It is the Milky Way that is our original galaxy. What sense would it make if we simply abandoned it?
–Kanade: You may say that... but can't we live together with humanity?
–Admiral: That is not an option. Humanity poses a significant threat to us.
–Kanade: They only pose a threat to you because you keep attacking them!
–Admiral: Enough talk!
The enemy ship's main weapon began to charge.
–Tamaki: Kanade, the enemy is charging its main weapon. What should we do?
–Kanade: We'll attack first. Our auxillary weapons charge a lot faster.
–?????: <Hold on, let me handle this.>
–Kanade: Wait... who was that?
–Tamaki: Wait... Catherine?
–Catherine: <Tamaki, you've done well. But I can get her to back off without a fight.>
–Admiral: Hahaha.... You think words will convince me to turn back?!
–Catherine: <Don't underestimate my Inherent Ability, Donsilan. I can, and I will, convince you. If not that, then I will order you.>
Suddenly, the enemy admiral collapsed.
–Kanade: What's going on?
–Tamaki: I heard from Miho. She figured out that the Zodiac Warriors kept Catherine's Inherent Ability secret for this very reason. She possesses an uncanny ability to convince anyone to do anything other than act against their own instinct. She does this by basically modifying her connections with the target. It worked against Pablo; who's to say that it wouldn't work against a Donsilan?
–Kanade: So that means...
–Tamaki: However, don't tell anyone what I just told you.
–Kanade: Ah, okay.
The enemy admiral got back up.
–Admiral: Consider yourselves lucky. We will be back, but remember that we are the vanguard of your destruction.
The screen disappeared.
–Tamaki: The ship is retreating.
–Kanade: It'll be pointless to chase after it. Anyway, let's head back.
Kanade and Tamaki entered the room with the bunk beds.
–Himawari: Ah, you're back. How did it go?
–Kanade: Well, we won. We reduced the enemy fleet to one ship, and that ship has retreated.
–Himawari: Call me curious, but wasn't there a telepathic disturbance just then?
–Tamaki: It's nothing to be worried about.
–Kanade: What I'm curious about is, why her?
–Kanade: I mean, the enemy admiral.
–Tamaki: Can you tell us who she is?
–Kanade: She is a high-ranked Donsilan military official, and a powerful mage in her own right. Her achievements in the constant war against hostile aliens are numerous enough to fill a book, and as far as I know, she is the most powerful Donsilan currently alive. The name she goes by when speaking to humans is Alcea.
–Himawari: If she's the most powerful Donsilan alive, then...
–Kanade: One day, I'm sure we'll end up having to fight her. But as it stands, we're nowhere near powerful enough to confront her directly, even if all twelve of us go against her.
–Himawari: Our priority, though, is the World Orbs. But before that, let's head to Yaezora.
–Kanade: Ah, okay.
Meanwhile, in Lobehaben:
–Wakaba: Inori, what is beyond this door?
–Inori: I'm not sure myself, but let's open it.
The two girls held out their hands, and began to cast their spells. The door in front of them began to glow red before sliding to the left. The two girls then entered the room. In the middle of the room was what appeared to be a map embedded into the floor.
–Wakaba: Is this it?
–Inori: I have to admit, this is pretty underwhelming.
Wakaba walked up to the map.
–Wakaba: A map?
Inori walked up to Wakaba.
–Inori: Indeed it is. It's a map of Fuenod. If you look in the middle, just above the equator, there is Likkra.
–Wakaba: Ah, I see. But what is this map for?
Inori pointed at the green marker on the map.
–Inori: That is our current location, Lobehaben. You'll notice that this marker has an arrow pointing southeast.
–Wakaba: Where is it pointing towards?
Inori traced the direction of the arrow until she stopped at a continent in the southeastern part of the map.
–Inori: Wakaba, my mother told me about the location of a 'red orb' on Fuenod. Supposedly, it is located at a location where the desert, a river and the sea meet. The continent of Safaris, at which I'm pointing, has a location that matches this description. In fact, there are three, but the arrow clearly shows us which one.
Wakaba took out her phone.
–Wakaba: So... let's see... that means this 'red orb' is at where the Mirgad River empties into the sea, right?
–Wakaba: But what is the significance of this 'red orb'?
–Inori: I believe that it is a World Orb.
Wakaba remained silent for a moment.
–Wakaba: Wait, are you really sure?!
End of Episode 26