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"Unit one, what's your status?"
The line crackled with static, intermittent with bursts of sound and garbled voice. Occasionally the video link would pick up for one of the crafts, and the pilots, even though their respiratory masks, were clearly frightened.
"So-something- here -isplay dow- Need back-"
"Unit one! Damn it..."
He watched helplessly as the status monitors flickered. Several of the windows blanked out entirely as their attached statistics vanished, signifying a ship lost. He clenched his fist, anger boiling inside him at this unknown enemy attacking a scouting unit in friendly space. This would not go unpunished, though how he would get his revenge on an unnamed spectre in the endless void of space was something that hadn't crossed his mind.
That is, until a single ship managed to establish stable connection.
"Sir! Enemy fighters- -osing in. Lunar- -sign, being he- ed by a new model. Syste- -ywire, cann- t reco-"
The line went dead as the status window blinked out. A feeling of anger and hatred ran up his spine. Lunarians. His own people, and he knew who was behind this attack. The only one that could be behind the attack, their missing Princess.
- - -
Kaguya's eyes flickered open, the surrounding world hazy. Her hair floated around her, concealing and entangling the various tubes and cables attached to her otherwise naked body, which hung suspended in a tube of liquid. Around her, the control room of the ship blinked to life, lights appearing on the more distant consoles, then slowly multiplying as the systems came online.
"Enemy ships encountered, Princess. We wiped them out." A female voice reported, the sound filtered directly into Kaguya's brain.
"How many were there?" The princess replied subconsciously.
"About ten or so, I hadn't thought to count. They were lightly armed FA-1, probably scouts. The Ray handled perfectly, and the 'Inaba' Anti-Systems Weapon worked well, despite a slight catch in the release."
She didn't respond. Even through the haze of the liquid surrounding her, she could make out the displays of various statistics recorded from onboard computers from the returning fighters. It really had been an entirely one-sided battle, though she was concerned that attacking the scout party might have called more attention than it was worth, as all of the reports indicated that the unit wasn't headed towards the ship at all.
A nearby computer blinked to life at the word, the AI initializing from sleep mode.
"Yes, my Princess?"
"That scout unit wasn't a threat, was it?"
Even though the AI wasn't programmed to laugh, Kaguya had heard an echo of something that sounded something like it.
"I was merely curious as to the efficiency of the Inaba weapon. Records indicate that even at it's deployment at only 78.5982%, enemy ships were almost entirely locked out from even such basic systems as life support and Heads-Up Display."
The cold AI voice, though natural sounding in speech, possessed nothing of the kind of warmth of a person. She tried to suppress her feelings, knowing that anything she felt or thought could be read and interpreted by the ships systems. She silently issued commands to the systems to engage the engines and leave the sector, having revealed themselves through a needless battle.
"Eirin, how's my tank?"
"My Lady's HOURAI system is running at 100%. Condition Green. Air supply: Good. Nutrient supply: Regulated. Waste Management: Online. Fluid Temperature Normal. 'Elixir' stasis fluid showing signs of degradation. Initializing fluid cycling."
She felt the jets kick on softly as a new batch of stasis fluid was beginning to cycle in to replace the current. She could feel a slight vibration through the wires that she recognized as a sign the ship was moving again. She had long been exiled from the moon, but never had she attacked friendly scouts before, all for the sake of testing a new weapons system developed largely by the ship's AI itself. Part of her wondered if it was her decision to attack, or the AI's suggestion in her subconscious. She feared what it meant if it was the latter.
"Maintain systems, Eirin. Take us to the asteroid belt."
There was no response, but being connected to the system like she was, Kaguya could feel the flow of information as Eirin's AI took control. She closed her eyes, lost in the sea of muted sounds filtered through the liquid surrounding her. The faint buzz of the ship, the distant hum of the engines, and the occasional 'echo' of sound from the AI, a result of the occasional mishandling of data. She slowly drifted back to sleep.
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