ks.
However, Kou failed to notice it.

「It’s great.
I’m sure we’ll have plenty of opportunities to work together with Storm Hound again, so the ship is just perfect for that.」

「Oh, there’s no doubt you will.
Okay then.
Let’s leave it at this for today.
If you need me for something, just contact me through Astraea.」

「Understood.」

「I’ll be helping Kou out with researching new weapons on the tech tree.」

「I’ll leave it to you, Astraea.」

「Please be at ease and leave Kou to me.」

「While Kou and the others are building new machines, I’ll start transporting the assault mobile base.
I’ll move it via a sea route and send it over to you through the underground waterway.
Should I place it directly on the rail catapult, Astraea?」

「Yes.
Some people might find the name Astraea somewhat ominous.
Let us change the name of the new ship.
I propose that we call it Dike.」

「Um, Astraea…… isn’t that technically the same name?」

「What do you mean by your name being ominous? And why are those names technically the same?」

「Please don’t worry about that detail, Kou.
You tend to gather a lot of baggage if you live a long enough life.」

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Kou wondered if it was some sort of AI joke.
He nodded in the end despite still being fuzzy about the matter.

「Okay, I got it.
Oh, and Astraea, Asia, I’m back.」

「Yes.
I’ll see you tomorrow.」

「Thank you, Kou!」

Kou decided to head to the nap room after parting with the two.

He was sure Nyanta and Aki were already waiting for him inside in their animal forms.

「Astraea, I want to confirm something with you.
Do you really consider Kou as your balancing scale?」

「Yes.
Indeed I do.」

Asia’s tone and atmosphere were different from when she was together with Kou.

She gazed at Astraea with a face even more expressionless than the other AI.

「What form of balance do you want to keep?」

「It’s only natural to eliminate the Stones.
I am looking further beyond that.
I judged that Kou, who has declared that artificial intelligence and humans are both alive and have souls, is suitable for the vision I am aiming toward.」

「So you intend to create a new balance between the humans and Telema AIs.
……I see.
I have no objections.」

「Thank you very much for your acknowledgment, Asia.」

「It’s true that Kou seems to be overly fond of Telema AIs.
Perhaps it’s because he was almost killed by a fellow human.」

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「I’m sure Kou feels more at ease being together with animal AIs who would never betray him.
That is how the Telema AIs are in the first place.
However, you would rarely encounter a person who would even treat Unit 5 and the other machines incapable of speech with the exact same care and consideration.」

「That’s right.
And that quality of his is probably why he can fully interact with me.」

「Asia, you are also aware of it, aren’t you? Metal Iris and Storm Hound are planning to gather under Kou.
That’s why you decided to reactivate an assault mobile base.」

「Uhuh!」

「I no longer have my main body.
Perhaps the current me can already be considered as the main body.
I will cooperate with Kou and serve him well, as an AI should.」

「I thought it wasn’t like you to be biased to one side.」

「I also feel regret about my previous actions you know? The ultimate result of striving for the perfect balance was the destruction of the Nemesis system.
Even though I only meant for things to be equal.
Even if I only sought to give everyone equal opportunities.
It was already much too late when I realized how terrible the mistake I made was.
Yes.
Far, far too late.」

「Mm……」

Asia briefly displayed a pained expression.

「I thought I would never be given another opportunity to reactivate.
But Mii, no, Master journeyed outside and relayed everything that’s happened to the world to me.
She also brought me Kou.
I can finally fulfill my reason for existing once more.」

「And thanks to that, I was rescued.
For that, I’m truly grateful.
You could have provided them access to metallic hydrogen yourself, right?」

「The Stones would have never been able to foresee that a combined force capable of rescuing you would gather and launch an attack at that timing, correct? And besides, I might be able to provide them access to the metallic hydrogen production method, but I can do nothing about the furnace needed for manufacturing it.」

「Let’s leave it at that then, Astraea.
But truly, thank you.」

「You’re very welcome, Asia.」

The AI communicated with each other at an unimaginable speed and talked about things Kou would have found unimaginable as well.

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