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Chapter 14 Main Chapters Interlude 14

Continuation of Chapter 14

Himc and the remaining jewel-cannon robots pursued the Core Units to their rendezvous point. They managed to bring down the purple unit along the way.

"Units 1, 2, and 7 have reached the first point!" reported a sensor officer in the Earth Defense Force base.

Pres. Rara looked at the screen in satisfaction. Now only the white, red, and yellow robots remained. "Ms. Rah," he directed, "order all our forces to surround and attack them!"

"Surround the enemies of the glorious Pres. Rara!" shouted Ms. Rah.

The RaRa Army did as bidden, or at least attempted to. The three robots were now grouped together, and had cover behind the last few buildings of the urban area. They were able to fire upon the RaRa units charging them as they moved towards them through the skyscrapers. Kent employed his high-energy bullet in an attempt to destroy their cover. It succeeded; as the buildings they hid behind began to crumble, the three Core Robots fled, and the jewel-cannons were able to pick off the white robot.

The Core Robots had enough time to pick off nearly all of the jewel-cannon robots. Only five were able to continue the fight, among them the bodyguard trio.

Had Himc never existed, Yayoi would've used the second and third points for a variety of other purposes: outflanking, retreats, regrouping. On this occasion, she would use them to split her own forces. The big RaRa unit was still intact, so the fight technically could not be won, but they might be able to thin the RaRa ranks even further. She understood the Commander's thinking; if they were to retreat simply because the big robot couldn't be beaten, they'd never stop retreating. They simply had to do the best they could in each battle until they were forced to send the callsign.

"Unit 7," Yayoi ordered, "Head to the second point. Unit 2, head to the third point."

The second point was to the north of the first point. The third point was southeast of the first point, and relatively close to the eastern border of today's combat zone. It was also very close to the suburbs, but well within the evacuation zone.

Pres. Rara watched as the yellow robot headed north and the red robot went southeast. Ms. Rah gave her orders, "Himc, pursue the red robot. All others attack the yellow one. We will crush them with our incredible power!"

Slade always pretended he hadn't heard the insane rantings of Ms. Rah and just concentrated on following the orders. "In pursuit, Commander," he acknowledged.

A new display suddenly appeared upon Pres. Rara's war room screen, leaving the rest of it displaying the battle. The new subscreen indicated a sudden rise in spatial distortion rate on the battlefield.

Unit 7 and the jewel-cannon robots pursuing it exchanged fire and chased each other. Himc attempted to hit Unit 2 with its beam but failed. Slade extended the tentacles.

In the Earth Defense Force control room, one officer announced that the dimensional state was changing drastically, another that the dimensional bend was increasing.

Deep underneath Pres. Rara's feet, Kumu turned a solid yellow.

D, resting within the cockpit of her disabled blue robot, felt the disturbance, and her unearthly eye flared.

Strange motes of light began to flicker in the area around Slade and Unit 2.

Pres. Rara and Ayuko exchanged glances of consternation. What was happening to the fabric of the universe on that battlefield?

In the dimension Kent originally came from, Dr. Sanada was pacing from instrument to instrument in his lab, babbling on cellphone to Dr. Rara. Dr. Rara was doing the same thing, except he was pacing in no conscious direction and his assistants were calling out data of note.

Dr. Sanada cackled with glee as he looked upon every instrument in his lab, each one blinking, winking and warbling. He said into his cellphone, "The spatial parameter is changing like nothing you've ever seen before, Rara." Dr. Sanada suddenly glared at thin air, and began to shout, "Hey, I said it first! I definitely noticed the spatial parameter's change first!"

"Stop that and tell me if your spatial searcher is working correctly!" Dr. Rara told him from his end of the line.

"Still not working, sir!" one of Dr. Rara's assistants sang out nervously.

"Sorry, I didn't mean you," Dr. Rara shouted to carry his voice over the pandemonium.

"Well, I'm looking at my spatial searcher anyway," Dr. Sanada mumbled.

"I did mean you!" Dr. Rara decried this lack of effective communication in a time of crisis.

"Not working!" Dr. Sanada and Dr. Rara's assistant determined simultaneously.

Dr. Rara's counterpart, Pres. Rara, ordered, "Concentrate all of our dimensional scanning equipment on that sector." Before he spoke, a small display labeled "Spacetime Radar" had also appeared on the screen, joining a multitude of other displays. After he spoke, every backup piece of equipment attuned to the battlefield.

Cmdr. Sanada had just given similar orders. He now speculated, "I wonder if this is a natural outgrowth of the readings we've been getting lately."

An Earth Defense Force scanner officer reported, "Faint echoes on spacetime radar!"

Himc finally closed to grappling distance of Unit 2. As the tentacles shot forward, the air began to shimmer like a mirage; then there was a sudden flash of light, and when it was gone, Himc and the red robot it was chasing were gone.

Pres. Rara's jaw dropped open in shock. He could interpret the data on his spacetime radar display; it looked for a moment as though it was detecting echoes possibly of Himc and the Core Robot, but the echoes soon vanished. Ayuko's arms uncrossed and fell limply to her sides.

Ms. Rah shouted into her communications gear, "Himc, Himc, respond immediately! You are ordered to give some sort of response!"

Inspector Yamano took a step back. Commander Sanada hit the callsign button and shot out of his seat, demanding, "Can you get any life sign readings from Unit 2?"

"No life signs, no communications, no core unit telemetry! Space-time radar picking up faint echoes!" the sensor officer replied. Another announced, "Dimensional bend stabilizing at a high level!"

Kazuki Yotsuga, in a good mood, paused near a window on the second story of Dr. Sanada's house in the synthesis world. Having just gotten home from school, there was homework to do, but he could take a few moments of ease. He gazed out upon the street and caught his breath.

For the second time in his life, he was looking at himself. Kazuki Yotsuga, identical to him except that he was not dressed in a school uniform, stood upon the sidewalk, accompanied by his friends, also in street clothes. All of them were near the gate that led to the house. It didn't appear as though any of them wanted to enter, though; they were staring in rapt attention at something that lay in the opposite direction of the house. Kazuki followed their gaze and faintly cried, "Huh?".

Mitsuki Sanada heard Kazuki say something upstairs, but couldn't hear him clearly. She was about to ask what it was when she heard his voice from the street outside their gate, shouting, "Hah! I have wonderful luck!" Mitsuki Sanada, confused, proceeded with a measured tread to a downstairs window to check it out. She gasped as she saw a pinpoint of light reflected from the sun off of Himc's golden shell. Mitsuki Sanada saw Unit 2, the red robot she had piloted, being attacked. Unit 2 was fleeing desperately, and Himc was chasing it, firing its midrange beam in an attempt to hit it or at least slow it down. Neither robot was making noise or damaging anything, so neither was totally within this dimension.

She could also see Shiozaki, Izawa, and a Kazuki out on the sidewalk, staring in rapt attention at the battling robots. Mitsuki Sanada knew she had heard Kazuki's voice only seconds ago upstairs, yet now there was another Kazuki out there, not in a school uniform.

Kazuki, both of them, were seeing this scene as well. The fracas was some distance off, but without tall buildings, their line of sight was sufficient for the titanic display.

Dee approached Mitsuki Sanada, asking, "What is it-" then breaking off as she saw out the window herself. Kumu ran up to the window and began to bark loudly.

In her own house, Yayoi saw the sight, and immediately ran into Dr. Sanada's front yard for a better view.

Akane headed towards the sound of the barking. Kumu didn't usually bark much. Dee called, "Mom, you have to see this!"

Akane had a clear view of the window, several feet behind her daughters and the dog. She froze in shock, and a few seconds later managed to reply, "I see, dear." Mitsuki Rara joined them, and she gasped in surprise. Everyone had so much experience with Core Robots and Himc that they knew that Unit 2's dodging had slowed its speed enough that Himc could catch up, and that its tentacles were now in range. The tentacles shot forward.

Core Robot Unit 2 crashed to the ground under the impact of Himc's blow. The reverbations that Unit 2 created in the ground caused car alarms in a nearby radius to go off. Their multiple, varied, and loud noises created a cacophony, signaling to the surrounding neighborhood that an unknown terror had suddenly been unleashed from nothingness. To those inside the Sanada residence, however, the cacophony seemed suddenly to blend into a harmony: the wail of a parallel universe, howling at its counterpart.

Unit 2's pilot sent her personal callsign. Slade waited a moment for the corresponding RaRa Army acknowledgement, though it did not come. He then used his own in puzzlement. The battle was won.

"Commander, do you copy?" Slade asked. He frowned at the lack of response. "Slade to Ms. Rah, over." He waited, and there was nothing. "Slade to Ryla." He paused, then, "Slade to Mena." A third time he paused and said, "Slade to Alice." He paused again and added, "Slade to any RaRa units in range, over." There was only silence. "Slade to base, over." Again there was nothing. He grew seriously alarmed, and tried to raise his comrades yet again. He noted that the surrounding area looked different; less dust and debris than there had been seconds ago.

The telephone rang. Akane haltingly walked toward it and picked it up. She was surprised anew to discover that her husband was speaking at incredible volume into her ear.

"Hey, it's me! Is that you!" Not bothering to elucidate who me and you were, he talked over a babble of voices. "I'm at the island lab with Rara. We're getting readings that are incredible! The spacetime searcher may be malfunctioning, or maybe it's data just like we got before the worlds merged!"

"Not just like before they merged, stupid!" Dr. Rara could be heard shouting in the background. "If it was just like those days, then we'd be able to say, 'Oh, it was just like that when the Statue of Liberty returned to France!' The data we're getting, however, is different in several ways!"

"I know that- I'm not an idiot like you!" Dr. Sanada retorted. "I'm saying it is similar."

"I agree with everything except the idiot part!" Dr. Rara acknowledged.

Akane couldn't have said anything even if she wanted to.

"Oh," Dr. Sanada recalled, "tell Kazuki that Zinv's stood up and has started roaring. Now that's just like last time!"

"That's true, though I'm amazed someone as stupid as you could remember it," Dr. Rara agreed. Then he seemed to turn to one of the other researchers: "What did you say?"

"I have Mrs. Nanjyoin on another line!" Akane heard the researcher repeat.

"Put her on speakerphone!" Dr. Rara shouted.

"Not on speakerphone, you idiot!" Dr. Sanada countermanded. "She can't hear us over this madhouse!"

"I almost can't," Akane complained, beginning to recover.

There was another flash, and another hazing of the air, and Himc and Unit 2 vanished. Kazuki, and the downstairs watchers, saw the duplicates of Kazuki, Shiozaki, and Izawa, disappear similarly. Akane could hear the researchers announcing that all their readings were dropping to normal levels. After Dr. Sanada's sigh of disappointment, he commented to his wife, "Is there anything this exciting back at home?"

Everyone in the house had gathered around the phone now that there was nothing to see outside. Akane wondered where to begin the story.

Himc and Unit 2 reappeared, to the joy and relief of the RaRa Army and Earth Defense Force.

"Slade to base, the enemy has surrendered, do you read me?" Slade asked.

"You've returned!" announced Ms. Rah. "Glorious victory has come to Pres. Rara! Servant and foe alike have been returned to us!"

"Commander, what was going on? Were my communications being jammed?" Slade asked in great perplexion.

There was silence for a moment, until Ayuko commented, "No, you disappeared."

Chapter 14 Main Chapters Interlude 14