The massive “Vanargand”, with a combat weight of 50 tonnes, landed heavily, and a shrill alarm rang along as the “Vanargand” systems failed, starting from the outside.

“…Nn.”

Seated at the front, the operator seat of the double-seated cockpit was Shin, who blinked. The optical sensors on three sides, usually showing holographic visuals of various information, were completely depowered and dark, and the cockpit was completely locked down.

After that, the wireless communicator activated, and there came the booming voice of their instructor.

 

“Shinei Nouzen! You again? Why is it always――”

 

In any case, Shin disconnected from the wireless channel.

And then, without thinking, he immediately switched it on again.

 

“You disconneeeeeccccttttteeeddd!? How many times must we tell you that this isn’t the 86th district! You can’t treat your superiors like the Republic Handlers’ sleep talk that you can ignore!”

“The communicator isn’t working.”

“Hooh…you’re saying the mechanic crew has been inadequate? That I have to punish the mechanics to teach them a lesson…is the wireless really not working?”

That too.

“My apologies, instructor.”

“Goodness…”

The instructor was so grouchy, he seemed to be chewing on dozens of bitter bugs.

“Including this, you would have been punished for everything. Could have broken the “Vanargand” by jumping like that. Got to thank the army factories for making such durable machines here.”

Again, these were steel monsters with 50 tonnes of combat weight. The inertia caused by abrupt maneuvers like jumping and braking was incomparable to humans weighing about 50kg.

But the instructor’s bitter voice continued to echo,

“I’ll say it’s a good job this time, since you managed to avoid injuring anyone this time.”

The cadets undergoing these few months of training would only see his own movements, or those of the mock simulations. A friendly unit was on collision course at close distance, and if Shin had not evaded by jumping his unit into the air, there would be a glorious crash of two 50 tonnes field dresses crashing at nearly 100km per hour.

“I’ll call it a mutual kill, but you and Lantz fail for dangerous piloting this time. 0 points for this mock exercise. As for your opponent―Erwin Marcel! This happened because you were careless! You could have injured your allies instead of the enemy, you idiot!”

“Sorry, instructor…”

The line was disconnected as Shin’s peer apologized. Their reprimand had ended for the time being, it seemed.
Within the silent cockpit, Shin turned to the gunner seat behind him, the first thing he was concerned about.

 

“Sorry Eugene. You alright?”

The shared comms was cut as the system was shut down, and as the power pack was not running, they could talk as normal.

Shin, who was used to such maneuvers, was the operator, and the gunner Eugene was suddenly taken by surprise. There was no time for Shin to warn Eugene, even though he wanted to.

“Oww…”

Having took a hard hit to the back of the head, Eugene groaned away…it did not seem like he was okay in any way.

“Somehow…it feels like sparks are flying from my eyes…”

“Sorry.”

“Well…I’m fine. Don’t worry. Like the instructor said, both sides are in the wrong here.”

Eugene, who definitely hit the back of his head, looked up. Beyond the glasses were silvery white eyes.

“Guess that’s another story I can write to my sister. Ah, can I write about you?”

“Doesn’t matter really. Is it really something interesting to tell your sister?”

Eugene gave a wry smile as he shrugged.

“Nina wants to know what I’m doing right now. There might be a really scary image of the battlefield, but I just want to make sure that she doesn’t worry about me.”

“…”

“So I guess this is a really good story to talk about. Maybe I can write something like…Big brother paired up with this amazing guy; maybe big brother can become a hero just like him! Yeah”

He leaned forward with his eyes glittering.

“You’ll really become a hero in the future, Shin. I’m saying it right now. This is the story of Shinei Nouzen’s Legendary Zero! Or something like that.”

While Eugene’s eyes were all starry as he talked about this big prank he was going to pull, Shin retorted,

“Then I got something to talk about when you become famous. It seems like Eugene Lantz is a severe siscon.”

“Ahaha, maybe.”

 

Shin parked the “Vanargand” at the hangar space, alighted from it, and found an unfamiliar female officer awaiting him.

Eugene was stunned as he looked back and forth between Shin’s back as he descended, and the female officer who had very short blond hair and purple eyes. She had a colonel insignia, the armband on her left arm indicating that she was from the experimental forces of the research branch.

The female officer showed a smile on her glossy red lips.

“――You are candidate Shinei Nouzen, I suppose?”

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