The “Juggernaut” was parked at the specified area in the hangar, and the canopy was opened.
Shin left the unit to the maintenance team, and got off his middle. He glanced at the devastated “Juggernaut” that had wrecked a high frequency blade, heard the countless swearing from the crew, and continued through the messy hangar.
The surviving combatants and the mechanic crew seemed unwilling to talk to Shin, as usual, and the latter merely ignored them.
Not all though.
“――Good work, Vice Commander Nouzen”
There was a shadow facing towards him, along with a sudden voice, which caused him to look up. There was a boy with spiky, hard blond hair.
“Eiju is fine…you haven’t changed it no matter how many times I said it. You’re unexpectedly stubborn.”
The leader of this squadron, Captain Eiju Nunat, guffawed as he went towards Shin. He was a head taller, and had blazing red eyes.
“Good work once again today. Thanks to you, everyone else and I got saved.”
“I just alerted on where the enemy’s movements are.”
“That’s more than enough. It’s a lot better than getting caught in an ambush.”
Saying so, Eiju chuckled.
He had crimson eyes of a Spinel. It was the color of sunset.
“I didn’t think you would inform me. We would have to synchronize together, but that needed some guts. Thanks for that.”
As Eiju had said, as long as Shin was synchronized, everyone else would have known.
Eiju gave a wry smile.
“I praised you, so just accept it…anyway, you,”
“You’ve been here on this battlefield for almost a year, right? You should start thinking about your personal name, your mark.”
Unlike Eiju, who was strangely happy for others, Shin gave a disinterested reply.
The Processors who had survived battles for a year would not communicate using the a call sign based on their squadron name and numbers, but a personal name. They would also have a personal mark blazed upon their units instead of a call sign. Most of the Processors would die off within a year of service, a tradition in the 86th district.
Of course, these would not be listed in the official records of the Republic army, and they merely kept a blind eye to them. The Handlers, their superior officers, could not possibly notice the strange habits of the human-shaped pigs.
“Have you thought about it? That’s not a bad feeling.”
“It’s just a mark to identify ourselves anyway. Like our name, our call sign, our number.”
Shin seemingly grumbled in frustration, and Eiju narrowed his eyes.
“You hate your name? Shin.”
At that moment, Shin recalled the clear voice and those eyes at the bottom of his memories, and gritted his teeth.
It’s all your fault..
Everything is your fault.
The responding voice clearly sounded squeaky.
His own voice sounded so shrill for some reason, and he lowered his head. The clenched fists creaked away as he was rubbing against his skin.
Eiju however pretended not to notice.
“If you don’t want one in mind, let me think. Yeah…”
After some though, Eiju seemed to have thought of a good idea, and raised his index finger.
“How about “Báleygr”? That’s the name of a god who led the dead warriors to battle, It means ‘the one with the flaming eyes’. You’re as strong as a god, or a monster, and you have that promise…it really fits those pretty red eyes of yours.”
Shin unwittingly turned to look at Eiju, who seemed pleased as he chuckled again.
Shin hastily turned his eyes back once he saw the expression of a much older brother who had successfully pranked the little brother.
“…It doesn’t suit me.”
“Really? I guess if that’s the case, let’s just choose a super cool name then. Besides,”
Shin looked up, and Eiju chuckled with a shrug.
“It’s as you say, it’s just a call sign to identify us. Nothing’s changed, it’s just a game to satisfy ourselves.”
Eiju saw the little back of the vice commander leave the hangar, and turned his eyes towards the mechanic chief who had been paying attention from slightly afar.
“Thanks for the endless hard work, Seiya. Chief mechanic.”
“Repairs and maintenance are supposed to be part of our job…Eiju.”
He was Eiju’s classmate since kindergarten, and a chief mechanic who was abandoned on the battlefield. He gave a bitter look, and looked aside. He had silver looking blond hair, and faint purple eyes of migrants from the neighboring Northern country.
“Better not get involved with that spooky brat.”
“Why do you say that?”
“How many people died today? It started ever since he was assigned here.”
Eiju let out a little sigh. About that,
Just two months ago, Shin was assigned to this squadron, and immediately made the vice commander―on a side note, the command structure of the 86th district was that ranks were determined by combat ability―there were always rumors about the red eyed boy soldier, but,
“We can’t say it’s all his fault though.”
“But well, there are examples…I heard that all the squadrons he belonged to died off, except for him.”
Oh good grief, Eiju curled his lips. While his good friend was not a bad person, there was quite the stark difference in how he treated his friends compared to strangers.
This good friend was so sentimental that he hated those who would hurt his friends. It was understandable, but,
“Well, I guess it’s true…that guy.”
Eiju glanced aside at the hangar wall, the quarters of the vice commander in the barracks.
Shin would spend most of his time alone in his room unless he was needed. Eiju had never seen him chit-chat with the soldiers of his age..
“He never called anyone else by name, but it seems like he made a promise, so I don’t think he doesn’t want to remember―he just wants to draw a line.”
From the comrades who would surely die before him, one day.
Most of the Processors who lived long enough to obtain personal codenames―“the Named”, might have had such a feeling before. Eiju in particular could not say he did not feel this way either.
If he was to be too emotionally attached, the pain of loss would be all the greater..
Eiju and the others, the ‘Named’, lost far more than they could bear. They had been in service for a year, and of a thousand Processors, none would remain alive..
But that was why,
“It’s not his fault.”
Eighty-Sixes would die. Every person in the 86th district would die..
They would simply die.
It was not anyone’s fault in particular..
“Cassandra foretold the destruction of the world, but that was all she did.”
People deemed all prophets as the reason for calamity. A tragic ending was inevitable, but people would want a reason to blame others. It was a common phenomenon in human society.
Just as the Republic once pushed the war efforts and the blame of their defeats onto the Eighty-Sixes, and purged them onto the battlefield.
“Cassandra wasn’t the one who caused the calamity, and that’s not what she wanted.”