Those Who Have Become Humanity’s Enemies

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–Fortress Area X463 Control Center and A-Carbuncle Housing Facility

Bardo, the leader of the Underground Force【Desmodas】, rushed over to the control center due to an urgent call.

「What’s wrong?」

He called out to his subordinate Miles to ask what it was about.
Bardo was a well-built bearded man in his prime.
His appearance and demeanor were fitting for the leader of a rowdy and violent bunch.

Miles was younger than Bardo by more than ten years, but he was valued by Bardo for his competence.
The unsociable-looking man who was just beside Miles was the Bricoleur currently working together with them.
In other words, the guy was a VIP.

「It’s an enemy assault.
It’s quite a large force.
I’ve sent out all the Keres that can be activated to intercept them, but I suppose it’s just a matter of time before they break through.」

Miles replied without a hint of faltering.
Despite his appearance, their captain, Bardo, was not an unreasonably violent man.
But he had the ability to make cold and calculating judgments when required.
Many of those who come face to face with him cower in his presence.
He was also a very skilled fighter in his own right.

Did the human side finally feel like regaining the Fortress Areas after all this time? I haven’t really heard of any planned counter-offensive operations lately though.」

「I’ve never heard of a battalion-scale offensive operation planned out recently either.
Even so, their numbers are still a bit lacking to bring this place down.」

「That might be the case, but maybe they gathered up like this because they have a plan in mind.
We can’t let our guards down.」

For Bardo, who was working with the Stones because he hoped to fight it out with humankind’s forces, the fact that they dared to launch an assault was already worthy of praise.

「That’s true.
It’s just as you say, captain.
The enemy forces are organized around tanks.
The Silhouettes alone aren’t worthy of consideration, but the number of tanks they’ve deployed can’t be underestimated.
Presently, the Mad Throes Armored Division has deployed to intercept them.」

「So they were the ones out on patrol duty today huh.
I don’t think the enemy even anticipated they’d be facing such a monster of a tank from the get-go.」

The Mad Throes was a tank corps centered on their super-heavy tank.
They’re ranked firmly in the middle of all active Underground Forces.

The Underground Forces working under the Stones were firm adherents of meritocracy.

The Underground Forces under the Stones are roughly divided into three types.

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First are those working for money.
Some of these types of Underground Forces work for both the human side and the Stone’s side.
In the case of those working under the Stones, it’s simply because the pay was better.

Most of the members of Desmodas were mainly after money as well.

Next would be criminals.
They were those who belonged to the Mercenary Association but had committed some sort of crime that made it difficult to receive regular requests.

Finally, there were those who choose to join whoever was winning.
They were the type who have totally given up on the human race.

The Mad Throes were of this type.

Human living spheres also existed in Stones-controlled territory.

But it might be better to describe them as being reared.

Then there are the outsiders.
They were the ones who provided members of Underground Forces like them with means of entertainment.
You can get your hands on alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, and women.
That’s why they all felt that there was no need to stick to the side of humanity.

The purpose of the Stones was not the extinction of humans.
If humans were akin to ants, then the Stones merely acted as observers of the ant’s nest.

In addition, there were also cases of Development Engineers who defected over to the Stone’s side and provided advanced technology to them.

The super-heavy tank was a good example of the result of these defections.
On the regular unmanned production lines under the human side, the production of such huge weapons was often opposed.

Therefore, the unmanned factories under the Stones side that have had their weapons production restrictions lifted possessed fatal allure for certain types of people.
All the Development Engineers who had tendencies of acting like mad scientists basically went over to the Stone’s side.

There are also transferee-led companies that sell weapons to both sides.
Merchants of death always existed no matter the world.

「A monster eh.
It should prove useful for base defense at least.」

The extremely skinny Development Engineer smiled thinly.

The man’s name was Alberto Knapp.
He was the one who developed the super-heavy tank and was one of those aforementioned merchants of death in the Nemesis warfront.

He wasn’t partial to any one side.
As long as one gives him full authority over a manufacturing facility, he’d work for any power.

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He’s known under many monikers, but the most famous one is Bombardment Lord.
It was given to him by a Japanese Development Engineer.

「That impractically big and dull thing? The best it can do is to serve as a wall for the Silhouettes to take cover behind, right?」

So you’ve noticed.
I haven’t managed to tune the tank treads to my liking you see.
I can’t mount a better main gun as a result.
Perhaps it would be better if I used four legs instead?」

Bardo immediately spat out that he didn’t even want to think about driving such a freak show of a tank.

「If you’re gonna go that far, then how about trying to combine four legs and tank treads?」

Even though the words were meant to mock him, Alberto’s face instantly lit up when he heard them.

「Ooh, that’s a great idea! I’m gonna work on the design right away.
Please don’t let this control center fall into enemy hands, you two.」

「It’s our job.」

Installing treads on all four legs huh…… I should devise a mechanism to fix the legs onto the ground when it fires……」

Alberto rambled on as he moved to another room.

「What the heck is that old man doing here anyway?」

「He said he wanted the live combat data of the super-heavy tank.」

He’s just a nuisance though.」

Bardo didn’t hesitate to call the Development Engineer a nuisance.

Only those kinds of men were fit for the title of a mad scientist.
They were only interested in the things they develop and nothing else.

「By the way, there’s something I want you to hear, captain.」

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「What is it?」

「A TSW-R1 has been spotted within the enemy ranks.」

Bardo’s expression hardened.

「You sure?」

「You instructed that I notify you at once if this machine was present.
It’s just as I reported.」

「Is it really that Takaba?」

There was only one man that was on Bardo’s mind whenever he utters the surname Takaba.
It was the surname of a legendary mercenary.

He was the founder of the transferee-led company TAKABA and a firm and masterful practitioner of the way of the sword.
He was also praised as one of the very best Silhouette pilots.

「That I don’t know.」

「Let’s prepare to sortie as well.
There’s a high chance the enemy has a Development Engineer among them.
It’s possible that their goal is that sealed area.」

「Roger that.
But the enemy is clearly aiming for this control center and not the sealed area.
I can’t imagine that a force of that magnitude is merely a diversion.」


The sealed area.
It was the main reason why their Underground Force was in the Fortress Area.

It was an area that the Stones had ordered them to strictly protect.

Even they didn’t know what was inside that area.

「I’m heading to the sealed area.
I’ve been told that Development Engineers weren’t allowed to get inside that area, and I’m the only one who was given access.
You guys move out to intercept the enemy battalion.」

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「We’re allowed to blow up that entire section if it becomes necessary, right?」

「That’s right.
Even if this control center isn’t taken, once that sealed area is compromised, we’re to blow up the entire Fortress Area and abandon it.」

I’ll do something about those enemies even without you, captain.」

「Miles, you’re better at commanding the troops than I am.
I’ll leave them to you.」

「That’s not true.
That’s an amusing joke, captain.」

Bardo was charismatic in a sense.

There are many Underground Forces whose morale gets lowered once they come under the Stones that can be said to be humanity’s enemy.

However, he raises the morale of those under him using various ways.

It’s said that he was the one who pushed for the opening of commercial and entertainment facilities within the X463 Fortress Area.

「It would be great if it really is Takaba.」

Bardo muttered under his breath as he headed out.

He was said to have worked under the Stones for money, but that was just a pretext.

What he wished for was to fight it out with humans.
To battle them as they rode tanks and Silhouettes.

Bardo was a Silhouette pilot.
And he had always remained undefeated.
That is until he faced his first loss against Takaba Hyoue.

That man’s sword attacks were done without any wasted movement.
His piloting didn’t expose even the tiniest of gaps.
His positioning was incredibly precise.
He was a genius whose abilities had all reached frightening levels.

He wanted to win against that man.

Bardo desperately suppressed the throbbing of his chest that was caused by being excited at the prospect of having a rematch with Takaba Hyoue.

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