Innocence Seekers: April Light/Chapter 3/Episode 32

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This is the eighth episode, "Invasion" (侵略), of the third chapter of Innocence Seekers: April Light.

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Episode text

Aria stood between the girls and the Brikrodi. Grasping her spear in her hand, she prepared a massive spell.

Lyra: Aria, what are you about to do?

Aria: Lyra, everyone, leave it all to me. I'll take them all out with one attack.

Wakaba: But something is reviving the Brikrodi. Your attack won't wipe them out.

Aria: Even so, I can control this ship. I'll just take out the source of all this madness! Now ground yourselves to the ship!

Uzuki: Ah, right!

The girls cast spells to attach themselves to the walls of the hallway. Aria then threw her spear towards the Brikrodi. Upon impact, it caused a massive explosion, wiping out the Brikrodi and sending a powerful blast of air through the hallway. When the wind died down, Aria began to sprint towards the CIC.

Aria: Everyone, follow me!

Uzuki: Right!

The girls followed Aria. Along the way they came across more Brikrodi; however, Aria dispatched them as she ran past.

Eventually, they arrived at the CIC. However, the girls found the door locked.

Himawari: It's locked...

Aria: Whatever is controlling this ship won't give up that easily. Right, let's see how it likes this!

Aria began to cast a spell, and a green magic circle appeared beneath her feet. Her spear began to be enveloped in a green glow. With one massive thrust, she struck the door; however, despite the force of the impact causing a massive explosion, the door did not budge.

Aria: What the?

Lyra: Let me try!

Aria stepped aside. Lyra stepped forward, and pointed her staff towards the door. A massive white magic circle appeared beneath her feet.

Lyra: Secret Skill, Stellar Beam!

A massive white beam emerged from Lyra's staff and struck the door. However, despite the attack lasting for over two minutes, once the beam died down, the door was still in the state it was before the attack. Lyra fell to her knees.

Aria: Lyra, did you really just exhaust your entire mana pool?

Lyra: Sorry...

Tamaki handed Lyra a mana potion.

Tamaki: Well, we do have mana potions. Aria, do you need one?

Aria: No thanks; I'm fine as is.

Tamaki: But this door is exceptionally tough. And we only have around seven minutes until the Spica's defences are breached. We have to figure out something before then.

Miho: Tama-chan, how about we pool our mana into a single attack.

Tamaki: Right.

Both Tamaki and Miho began to cast their respective spells, and magic circles appeared beneath their feet. Tamaki took out four mana crystals from her bag and threw it in front of her. Suddenly, the crystals exploded, and Miho responded by confining the explosion into a massive magic orb.

Tamaki: Even then, I don't think we have enough power to blast through the door.

Miho: Who cares, let's do it anyway!

Tamaki: Right!

Tamaki took out her magic device, and transformed it into a sword. She then sliced the magic orb, splitting it. Upon being split the orb sent a massive barrage of beams and bullets straight towards a single point on the door. While the attack was progressing, Uzuki noticed a green shield on the door at the point of impact.

Uzuki: It's shielded...

Eventually a crack emerged in the shield.

Uzuki: Tama-chan, Miporin, your attack is working!

Tamaki: Uzuki, we don't have enough power to break through. However, the shield should be weakened enough to allow you to break through it.

Uzuki: Right!

The attack finally died down. While the door was still intact, Uzuki and Wakaba looked at it and saw the cracks on its shield.

Wakaba: Uzuki, let me handle this.

Uzuki: Ah, right.

Wakaba transformed her device into its rifle form and aimed at the cracks in the shield. With one shot, she struck her target, causing the cracks to spread further through the shield. Wakaba continued shooting at the cracks.

Aria: Wakaba... just how powerful are your attacks? You were able to deflect my spear when we fought in Italy, so...

Wakaba: I don't really know. Logically my attacks should be weak, since I tend to focus on speed, but I don't know why my attacks are so powerful. It's concerning as it can eat up a fair bit of my mana.

Wakaba stopped her attacks.

Wakaba: And my reserves have just been depleted.

Tamaki threw a mana potion towards Wakaba, who caught it and consumed it.

Uzuki: Right, now it's my turn!

A massive yellow magic circle appeared beneath Uzuki's feet.

Uzuki: Bloom, my flower!

Suddenly, there was a massive burst of yellow light. When the light died down, Uzuki was in Full Burst mode.

Tamaki: W-Wait, Uzuki, this is the third time you've entered Full Burst mode today! Didn't your sister tell you not to overdo it?

Uzuki: I'll be fine, Tama-chan.

Miho: Don't worry about it, Tama-chan. I'm sure this is something best done by U-chan.

Uzuki: However, Tama-chan, Miporin, can you cover for me?

Miho: Ah, right.

Uzuki began to cast a spell, and a massive yellow magic circle appeared beneath her feet. Mana began to gather at a point in front of her. Noticing this, both Tamaki and Miho began to cast their respective spells.

Meanwhile, a wave of Brikrodi approached from behind the girls. Himawari noticed this, and began to cast a spell. A massive orange magic circle appeared beneath her feet, and a massive wall of fire appeared in front of her.

Wakaba: Himawari?

Himawari: It's another attack. I'll hold them off; focus on the door.

Wakaba: Ah, right!

Wakaba fired several bullets toward the door, which embedded themselves within the shield. The cracks began to spread further.

Aria: I don't have fond memories of what you just did, Wakaba. But I never knew you could use your Inherent Ability to destroy barriers and shields. As far as I knew, they just phased through them.

Wakaba: Well, it only affects what I intend to damage, so I only have to make a few adjustments to convert the bullets into anti-barrier projectiles. By the way, sorry for trying to bust your ship's interior.

Aria: It can't be helped. It's the only way we can take back control of the ship.

Meanwhile, a massive magic sword appeared in front of Uzuki. The sword itself was covered in sparks and electricity. Uzuki grasped the handle and charged towards the door, with sword in hand. With one mighty thrust, she embedded the sword straight into one of the cracks in the barrier.

Uzuki: Full Burst Skill, Holy Thunder Blade!

Electricity surged from the sword, completely covering the shield. Uzuki backed away from the door, and watched as the massive amount of energy surging into the shield caused the cracks to spread completely throughout the shield. Eventually the shield shattered and the sword pushed itself forward. The moment it touched the door, there was a massive explosion. In response, Uzuki put up a barrier.

Lyra: Did it work?

The girls watched as electricity impacted Uzuki's barrier. Eventually the attack died down, revealing an open doorway where the door once was.

Wakaba: We did it...

Lyra: Aria, let's hurry; we only have three minutes!

Aria: Ah, right!

Aria and Lyra ran into the CIC and they each went to one of the control panels. Lyra took out her communication device.

Lyra: Kanade, this is Lyra. How's the situation? Over.

After a delay, there was a response from the device.

Kanade: Lyra, the planetary barrier is at critical. I don't think the Spica can hold out much longer. Over.

Lyra: We'll do what we can. Over.

Lyra put away the communication device.

Aria: Let's see...

Aria went through multiple screens, trying to figure out how to reset the ship's computer systems. Meanwhile, Lyra put up a screen detailing the Spica's current defences.

Lyra: Aria, 150 seconds until barrier failure!

Aria: You don't have to shout it out, Lyra!

As Aria was still working through the interface, Lyra watched nervously. As the seconds ticked down, she heard the Brikrodi approaching. She turned around.

Lyra: Hima-chan! How are things at your end?!

Himawari: I think we're at our limit...

Wakaba: The Brikrodi are starting to break through.

Aria: Can you just hang in there for a little longer? I'm trying to figure this out.

Uzuki: Right!

Tamaki: Miho, help with the defence. I'll head inside.

Miho: Ah, right.

Tamaki entered the CIC.

Lyra: We have a hundred seconds left. Aria, have you figured it out yet?

Aria: I'll say when I've done so.

Tamaki inspected each of the control panels.

Lyra: Tama-chan, what are you doing?

Tamaki: Maybe my Inherent Ability can be of use here.

Lyra: Ah, of course. Well, we don't have much time, so if possible, can you make it quick?

Tamaki: I'll try.

Meanwhile, Aria was growing frustrated at the sheer difficulty of her task.

Lyra: We're down to our last minute!

Aria: Just how hard can this be?! And Tamaki, how can you be so calm?!

Tamaki: Aria, focus on the task at hand. I'm trying to figure this out as well, you know.

Aria went back to the control panel and continued trying to reset the computer. Meanwhile, Tamaki stopped at one control panel.

Lyra: Tama-chan, did you figure it out?

Tamaki: I believe so.

Lyra: Well, we only have thirty seconds left.

Tamaki: That should be plenty of time.

Lyra: Ah...

Tamaki began to press a sequence of buttons on the control panel. Several screens emerged. She pressed more buttons, and the screens changed in response.

Lyra: Fifteen seconds...

Tamaki pressed a single button, causing one of the screens to turn red. A keyboard also emerged from the control panel.

Lyra: Ten seconds...

Tamaki began to type on the keyboard. Once she finished, she pressed the big red button on the control panel.

Lyra: Five... four... three...

Suddenly the lights turned off and all the control panels deactivated.

Lyra: Huh? Did we... did we do it?

Aria: Tamaki, what did you do to the ship?

Tamaki: I just rebooted it, that's all.

The lights turned back on. Screens emerged from the control panels.

Aria: Ah! Aria read the screen in front of her.

Aria: Identification... Altair. Main weapon... offline. Auxillary weapons... also offline. Barrier and shield generators... also offline. Life support systems... currently operating at the bare minimum level.

Lyra: Wait, does that mean...

Aria: It looks like the ship's computer rebooted into safe mode.

Tamaki: Well, the system was infected by a virus, so I switched to the backup computer and brought it into safe mode. Unfortunately, that means the Altair is out of commission for the moment.

Meanwhile, Lyra's communication device received a message.

Kanade: Lyra, this is Kanade. It seems that we've just made it in the nick of time. Over.

Lyra took out the device.

Lyra: Kanade, we cut it pretty close. It was ultimately Tamaki who figured out how to stop the ship. Over.

Kanade: I see. Well, that Inherent Ability can come into handy in situations such as these. I want everyone back on board the Spica as soon as possible. Over.

Lyra put away the communication device.

Lyra: So how did you figure it out, Tama-chan?

Tamaki: Well, Aria was trying to do the usual power cycle procedure, but the virus kept blocking her attempts.

Aria: I kept running into permission issues. It seemed as though the user associated with the captain's control panel had fewer privileges than what one would expect.

Tamaki: That was because the virus altered those permissions. Using the engineer's control panel, I figured out a way to get root access, modify the bootstrap protocol and force a crash.

Lyra: So that was why the lights turned off.

Tamaki: Well, it was the only way. Predictably, the root account had a password, but my Inherent Ability took care of that.

Aria: Anyway, it looks like I have no choice but to keep the ship in orbit around Fuenod while I call my superiors about the situation. Anyway, let's head back.

Lyra: Ah, right.

The three girls exited the CIC, where the others were waiting. In front of them was not the flame wall that Himawari put up, but hundreds of dead Brikrodi.

Uzuki: Ah, so we're heading back, right?

Lyra: Yes. But how do we get back to the Spica? Aria, can you teleport us?

Aria: Lyra, I don't even know where the Spica is right now. How am I supposed to be able to teleport individuals to a place whose location I don't even know?

Suddenly, a red magic circle appeared beneath the girls' feet.

Lyra: Ah... everyone, come in the circle.

The girls gathered within the magic circle. In a flash of red light, they disappeared.

The girls found themselves on board the Spica, inside the living quarters.

Lyra: We're back...

Uzuki: I'm completely spent...

Wakaba: Well, Tamaki said that you entered Full Burst mode three times today, so maybe it's about time you got some rest.

Uzuki changed out of her mage outfit and lied down on one of the beds.

Wakaba: I should get some rest as well. It's been a long day for me as well.

Wakaba changed out of her mage outfit and took a seat on one of the beds.

Wakaba: Ah, you can change out of your mage outfits as well.

Himawari: Ah, right.

The others changed out of their mage outfits. Aoi and Benio entered the living quarters.

Wakaba: Ah, Aoi, Benio, when did you get here?

Aoi: Well, Louise brought us here. She explained how Kanade asked everyone to head to the ship, and everything that transpired.

Benio: I really wanted to be a part of the team who boarded that ship...

Wakaba: Well, Benio, consider yourself lucky you didn't need to go through three battles in a day. That's what Uzuki and I went through.

Benio: Right, right. Anyway...

Aoi: Uzuki's already asleep...

Wakaba turned towards Uzuki. She was fast asleep.

Wakaba: Ah, you're right. Should we take it outside?

Aoi: Okay.

The three girls exited the living quarters. Waiting outside were Akari, Yayoi and Kaede.

Yayoi: Ah, Wakaba, you're back.

Wakaba: We are. Somehow we managed to get the job done. I believe we only had around two to three seconds before the barrier failed.

Kaede: Wow, that really is cutting it close. But where's Uzuki?

Wakaba: She's sleeping inside. She really is exhausted from everything she needed to go through.

Akari: Well, it's understandable. I mean, she probably spent literally the entire day working on these missions, without any breaks even for meals.

Yayoi: Actually, it's only around 2:30 right now, at least in Yaezora.

Tamaki left the living quarters.

Yayoi: Ah, Tama-chan. How is Uzuki?

Tamaki: She's sleeping like a log. Going into Full Burst mode three times in the space of a few hours must have been draining for her.

Kaede: Anyway, Wakaba, Tamaki, do you want to go have lunch?

Wakaba: Ah, of course! Come to think of it, I haven't had breakfast either.

Tamaki: I'll be sure to bring something for Uzuki.

Kaede: Okay, then. Let's go.

Kaede headed to the cafeteria, with Wakaba and Tamaki following her.

Yayoi: Aoi, Benio, I'll look after Uzuki. Why don't you two go check out the ship?

Aoi: Ah, okay.

Benio: Will do.

Yayoi entered the living quarters. Lyra and Aria exited, and almost immediately headed to the CIC. Following them was Himawari.

Aoi: Wait, where are they going?

Benio: I'm guessing they're going to meet Kanade. Do you want to follow them?

Aoi: No, let them be. They're probably going to discuss very important matters. It's best for us not to disturb them.

Benio: Okay, then. How about we explore the ship for a bit?

Aoi: That's fine with me.

Benio: Okay, then. Let's go.

Aoi and Benio headed off.

In the CIC, Kanade was looking at the readings given by her instruments. Lyra and Aria entered the CIC.

Kanade: Aria, it's been a while. Where have you been?

Aria: Well, I was somehow caught up in that incident involving Alcea. But really, I never expected her to actually come here.

Kanade: I want to ask you something. Were you the one who brought the Altair here?

Aria: I can say truthfully that I was not the one who brought it here. I have no idea who is responsible.

Kanade: I see.

Lyra: Umm, Kanade, what will we do next?

Kanade: Well, we'll continue working on getting to the World Orbs. It is, after all, part of our primary mission, to find the April Light.

Lyra: And how is the Spica?

Kanade: Well, the ship is not exactly in the best condition. After all, the planetary barrier was almost depleted. If that attack lasted just three more seconds, then the planet would have been devastated.

Aria: Kanade, I have to apologise for all the inconvenience.

Kanade: Aria, there's no need for you to apologise. Anyway, what was going on with the Altair?

Lyra: Well, Tama-chan said that a virus infected the computer system.

Kanade: A computer virus? Well, that explains a lot. I'll have to inform my superiors about the virus. Aria, do so with yours as well.

Aria: Ah, right.

Kanade: Anyway, how are the others?

Lyra: Uzuki fell asleep almost immediately; she must've been exhausted from all the work she has done. Wakaba and Tama-chan are having lunch, while Miporin is looking after U-chan.

Himawari entered the CIC.

Himawari: Kanade, how is the situation right now?

Kanade: Well...

Suddenly one of the screens turned red.

Lyra: Huh?

Kanade: What is it, Lyra?

Lyra pointed at the screen. Kanade read what was on the screen.

Kanade: This is bad...

Himawari: What's going on?

Kanade: There's a massive invasion fleet heading straight towards Fuenod. With the Altair out of commission, and the Spica still recovering, the planet is pretty much defenceless.

Himawari: How much time do we have?

Kanade: Around three hours. The Spica's beaming radiators are working at one hundred per cent to dissipate the energy absorbed by the planetary shield, but there won't be enough time for a full recovery.

Aria: Well, our only option is to call for help.

Kanade: Right.

Aria: Right, then, I'll try to contact my superiors and see if they can help.

Aria headed to one of the control panels and picked up one of the communication devices. She then typed in what appeared to be a serial number. Eventually, there was a response.

Voice: This is the Deviant, state your business.

Aria: Ah, it's me, Aria. Sorry for disappearing like that all of a sudden.

Voice: No worries, Aria. But since you're contacting me from Kanade's ship, you must have something really important to tell me.

Aria: That's right. The Spica's sensors have picked up a massive fleet of warships heading straight towards Fuenod. I believe they are White ships.

Voice: The Whites? Have they already begun their invasion?

Aria: That is likely. Is it possible for you to be able to head to Fuenod within three hours and defend it?

Voice: How many ships do they have?

Aria glanced at one of the screens.

Aria: Three hundred.

Voice: We only have 120. I'll contact the Greens and see if they can help us. We can make it, but we're outnumbered.

Aria: I see. Anyway, I'll contact you again once the fleet arrives.

Voice: Okay, then. Stay safe, Aria.

Aria put the device down.

Himawari: Well, it looks like we have yet another battle to fight.

Lyra: It appears so.

The girls exited the CIC.

End of Episode 32

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I only just realised this, but the entirety of the third chapter up to this point has taken place within a single day, and it's likely that the next two episodes will also be set on the same day.

Regarding what happened to the Altair, I won't say exactly what happened here, but before it was called to Fuenod, it spent much of its time around Nargel, hence the Brikrodi. I won't say anything about the origin of the virus, mainly because of spoilers.

The space battle will not begin in earnest until Episode 34. The next episode will put more focus on past events, namely, what happened to Uzuki's parents.