It was pitch black and cold as hell in there. I thought to myself that I was dead and bracing myself to enter heaven or hell, whichever I would get. Until… I heard a soft, mature ladys voice whispering in my left ear.

”Whenever you see the moonlight, always remember me. ”

Remember who? My memories were hazy as **, and I don even remember my past self. Because they erased half of my memories during my conversion into the Authonoid. Although some parts of my memories were still available after my conversion, its still didn guarantee my entire memories to be recovered during the conversion.

I was still wondering, who said these words about moonlight? Could it be some person who Ive known in the past? Or it could be her? The white-haired Authonoid with a red coat that said this word. Who stabbed me with her Katana yesterday? My mind kept going in circles as I thought of the recent events.

And it was such a shame that my comrades, Luke and Clarissa got killed by the Onigashi during our previous mission. However, I wished my comrades could be reborn with a new body and a new frame.

I wanted to know about her deeply, as shamefully as I could admit, not to avenge the death of my comrades, but to find out if she was some kind of person who I had ever recognized before.

***

0832 hours, 16 June 0145…

My body felt paralyzed and my eyes were closed tightly that I couldn even open them. I tried to force myself to wake up and find out where I was. But my body felt heavy as hell, like some dead weights weighed on my body. Until an echoing, hazy voice in my ears called my name several times.

”Tsuyuki… Tsuyuki… ”

I wanted to open my eyes, but they felt heavy as hell.

”Tsuyuki… Tsuyuki… ”

Hearing these voices that were echoing in my ears infuriated me to death. But I couldn even say anything, because both my eyes and my mouth were closed tightly.

”Tsuyuki! ”

The echoing voice was getting louder in my ears, and it was my time to get up.

I opened my eyes slowly and realized I was laying down on the hospital bed, with an infusion on my left hand, and a heart rate monitor on my right side. My first sight was blurry as hell, and I had to wait for a second until my vision was clear enough.

After that, I saw 2 people sitting on my left side of the bed, a woman and a man. When I tried to observe it clearly, it was Vanessa and Vladimir, my operator, who used to giving me objectives and helping me every time I was in a difficult situation.

Vanessa smiled as she was about to drop tears, looking at me to come back to life. She said to me while holding my left hand with both of her hands.

”Oh, Tsuyukkin! Im so glad you
e alive! ”

And then, Vladimir smiled, looking at me, and said.

”Im glad you
e lucky to survive from her stab, even though you should be dead. ”

”Y-yeah… I… never die… right? ” I replied in a stutter.

”Of course you can, Yukkin. Try not to go as far as fighting against her if you meet her again, ok? ” Vanessa said while her eyes sparkling in tears of gratitude.

And then, Vladimir added.

”All of us were concerned to death, looking at your condition after the stab. Luckily, the goddess of miracle gave you an infinite life for a second chance. Safety on the mission is the most important thing youve always neglected for a long 5 years. ”

Vladimir gave me the same advice as my commander does, and that made me tired of listening to it.

”Yeah… I know… ” I replied while looking at the ceiling and contemplating my life choice for a second.

And I asked again.

”What happened to Luke and Clarissa? Are they able to be reborn with new frames and new bodies? ”

Both Vanessa and Vladimir anxiously silenced, as if both of them were hiding something that there weren brave enough to tell me.

”I don know how to say this Yukkin… ” Vanessa said while looking the other way.

And then, Vladimir explained, ”Onigashis Katana destroyed their soul system, from how many Scorching Virus cells the Onigashi was carrying on her body and her Katana. And it passed into their bodies. ”

It shocked me to silence upon hearing Vladimirs word about the death of Luke and Clarissa. And then Vanessa added, ”Im sorry to say this Yukkin. Luke and Clarissa have passed away. This means they can be reborn with new frames and new bodies or even fixed. ”

My heart stopped for a second after hearing about their death.

”Oh… Im sorry about that… Im such a terrible leader, ” I replied in a saddened tone.

”No, no, its alright Tsuyuki. We have brought their bodies back to their families, and they
e about to be buried in their family cemeteries. ”

”Yeah… Its both relieving and sad at the same time. Our mission has been accomplished, but at what cost? I know that 3 of us always experienced a near-death experience. But we could still be fixed like a brick toy. But this one is different. What kind of power does that Onigashi have? ” I said to myself while looking at the ceiling and reminiscing about my past for a second.

Afterwards, I added.

”Nevermind from what Ive said earlier. It is such a shame. Luke and Clarissa were my good friends since my 5 years service as Minervas Authonoid. Even though Ive lost another one 2 years ago. ”

”That makes me feel guilty as a team leader. Because every time I lead a team, my team ended up dying in front of me, even though Im the one whos spilling lots of blood instead of them. Fate will always be a fate. And because of that, I prefer to do everything on my own to prevent the same tragedy happen in front of my eyes again, ” I said in a melancholic tone, as a sign I wanted to give up as a team leader and become a lone wolf instead.

Vanessa cushioned my left hand and said to me.

”I know what youve been thinking, Yukkin. The point is, don overburden yourself, and always take a break whenever you
e exhausted., ” said Vanessa with a sweet smile.

After that, Vladimir comforted me and said.

”You did nothing wrong at all, Tsuyuki. These are the consequences of being an Authonoid. Its all about life or death. Its natural for the Authonoids to face a death in front of their eyes whenever they
e deployed onto the battlefield, ”

”I know that you
e feeling guilty for your comrades death and you
e afraid of getting punished for being a terrible leader because of your comrades death, right? No need to worry about it. Because Commander Katoki allowed you to take a rest in this hospital. And when youve recovered, you can continue your usual activity, ” Vladimir added again.

And then, Vanessa held my left cheek with her right hand and said.

”You need to take a rest again. You
e not fully recovered yet. And you have to wait for another time until the Doctor has confirmed that youve recovered, Yukkin, ”

”Ok, ” I replied with a nod.

”See you soon, Tsuyuki. Have a good rest, ” said Vladimir while he stood up from the chair and left the hospital room.

”See you for another day, Yukkin. And get well soon, ” Vanessa added smilingly, as she followed Vladimir out of the hospital room.

After that, I closed my eyes and fell unconscious once again.

***

What was this? Why was it pitch black again, just like before? Was I dead or was I still dreaming? I didn know about what the hell was going on.

”Tsuyuki… Tsuyuki… ”

Ah yes, the same hazy voice that kept echoing in my ear whenever I was in this coma world or some shit, as if the voice forcefully woke me up.

”Tsuyuki… Tsuyuki! ”

The voice was getting louder and louder. I tried to force myself to wake up, but my head and my eyes were heavy as **. As my hearing started getting clearer, my head lightened, and my eyes lightened up too, I tried to wake myself up to find out where I was. Until…

”TSUYUKI! Stop sleeping in the classroom! For gods sake! ”

I flinched to death, hearing someone shouting in my ear, calling my name. And it was my perfect time to open my eyes to see who the offender was.

I had fallen asleep in a classroom during Commander Katokis lecture about humanity. I sat in the left row near the wall. And Katoki stood at my right side and said to me.

”Tsuyuki, if you
e not fully recovered yet, you can go back to the infirmary room instead of sleeping in the class, ”

”Wake up, sleepyhead, ” Said Connor mockingly behind my seat.

”Depressed because of your teammates death? Heh, Pathetic, ” George added sardonically.

”You two, shut up! ” Said Commander Katoki to both Connor and George.

”Oh… uh… ” I said as the rest of the Authonoid students in this classroom watched me.

”Ok… Im sorry if Im getting sleepier than before. Not because of lack of rest, its just, you know… daily missions. ”

Commander Katoki sighed hearing my reasoning. And then he replied.

”Remember, Tsuyuki. You
e in the 6th semester of this academy, and how can you graduate with a passing score if you keep sleeping in my class? ”

”Yes, yes, yes I know Sir. I won be sleepy again, ” I replied while straightening my seat.

Commander Katoki squinting his eyes skeptically, and then he added.

”Meet me at my office after the class, ” Commander Katoki added.

”Yes, sir, ” I replied.

After that, Commander Katoki walked back into the whiteboard and continued his lecture.

”You better hope he won punish you and Sergeant Veronica won force you to bark like an idiot, ” Connor said mockingly.

I was getting annoyed by these idiots shit talks. I looked at my back and replied to them.

”And I hope you get a better reward soon. ”

”Bro, that sucks… You hunt down the shittiest monster but still get a better reward. While both of us hunted down Shanti Jameel and got a shitty reward instead, ” Said, George.

”You get more rewards than we do because you
e Katokis favorite Authonoid! ” Connor added.

”Hey, three of you! No talking in the class! If you wanna talk, lets talk in my office instead! ” Said Commander Katoki harshly to three of us.

Like always, I was just pretending to pay attention to the lecture that Katoki provided, even though his lecture was interesting to follow. Because it all bored me anyway. Another boring subject again and another boring class again and that made me want to sleep again.

***

1331 hours, 17 June 0145…

Only in this classroom, minutes felt like hours. I tried to hold my sleepiness by supporting my right cheek with my right fist, so I wouldn get reprimanded again by Commander Katoki.

”Thats it for today, ladies and gentlemen. You can exit the class and take a break or go on a mission. See you next day, ” said Commander Katoki while picking up his files from the table.

”Thank you, sir, ” the rest of the Authonoid students replied while standing up from their chair and pushing the chair into the desk.

When I stood up and put the chair inside the desk, Connor approached my back and said to me, ”I am looking forward to see what your punishment is. Enjoy it while it lasts, but you better hope he won punish you and Sergeant Veronica won force you to bark like an idiot ”

I couldn take this crap anymore, so I replied to them, ”Well you better not expect me to rescue an idiot like you, if you
e about to die like idiots, ” I said to them while picking up my bag and leaving the classroom.

When I was about to exit the classroom, Commander Katoki said to me.

”Tsuyuki, to my office., ” I nodded and Commander Katoki lead me.

***

As we arrived at Commander Katokis office, Commander Darrell was sitting on the couch, and 2 Authonoids that I didn even recognize sitting beside Commander Darrell. Commander Katoki said to me as we sat in front of them.

”Tsuyuki, introducing your new member to your new squadron. ”

And then, Commander Darrell introduced me to the 2 new members.

”Meet Christine, and Axel. These 2 newbie Authonoid will be in the part of your new squadron. And try not to go as far as bossing them at all or treating them like a tool. ”

Looking at these ”Innocent Newbies ” gave me a PTSD. I didn want anyone to die again in my eyes the same way Luke and Clarissa Luke and Clarissa had yesterday.

”Newbies? Don you forget that Im a veteran with a 5 year service? Why am I put in this squadron again? I prefer doing everything on my own instead, ” I said unsurely.

However, Commander Darrell replied to me and explained.

”No, not like that, Tsuyuki. These kids are also a veteran like you with a 5 year service. The reason we
e calling them newbies is because they
e still in need of learning to work together as a team. And they have a slightly disappointing teamwork record in the past. And these kids won disappoint you whenever you
e together with them. As long as you don mess up the mission and the primary aim. ”

After that, Commander Katoki said while patting my right shoulder.

”Its alright Tsuyuki, I know that the death of your comrades has traumatized you and you don want these tragedies repeated in your eyes again. The point is, teamwork and solidarity will make any dream work. ”

”For sure. But I still don know why would you would put me on this team? ” Im asked in an unsure tone.

And then, Commander Darrell replied to me.

”Did you forget? You are the New-Type Authonoid. This means an Authonoid that has higher immunity, double the performance, and has access to 2 different weapons like melee and ranged. And these kids are both New-Type, just like you, ”

”Yeah… Im not sure how to say this. But Ill take it anyway, ” I replied in an unsure tone.

”Good. Im sorry if we can accompany you any longer because all Higher Rank Commanders have to attend an important meeting soon, so the three of you will be alone in Katokis office. Or maybe the three of you can go into your dormitory and have a chat. Get to know each other, will you? ” said Commander Darrell as he stood up from the couch together with Commander Katoki and was about to leave Katokis office.

”And by the way, Tsuyuki. The new squadron name youll get is Black Vulture, ” Said Commander Katoki.

”Black Vulture? ” I asked in confusion.

Commander Darrell smiled at me and replied to me.

”Yes, Black Vulture. Sounds cool, isn it? Well, the point is, just get along well and everything will go as you expect. ”

And then, Commander Katoki added.

”Im sorry that we don have enough time to accompany you. Weve gotta go for an important meeting soon. ”

”Yeah, see you later Commander, ” I replied to them as they were exiting Katokis office.

And that left me with these 2 newbie Authonoid thatll become my teammate for my Black Vulture team.

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