When it came time to go all-out in preparing the armaments, Jin consulted Laozi.
First was sorting the information about the Unifilers. The analysis of the Magi Crystal containing the branch head Purcell’s copied knowledge was left for Laozi to analyse.
The main task was strengthening Hourai Island.
“There’s a lot of things to do, but which one should I start with?”
“Let’s see. Intelligence, transport or mobilization otherwise, and military force. I think these three things are important. Don’t you think it would be a good idea to list each avenue for improvement in order of priority?”
Laozi said, and Jin followed his advice and thought. And the plan he came up with was,
1. For solid intelligence, send spies everywhere.
2. Development of new ways of movement.
3. Development of new weapons.
These three steps.
“For spies, I think that increasing the amount of current Ninja unit members should do, however…”
“I suppose. If you’d like my opinion, I think that if they aren’t used for the reason of guarding My Lord, they should be Automata instead of golems so they can mix in with people and disguise themselves.”
“Hmm, that sounds good. Alright, let’s do that. Let’s make roughly 100 of them, and call them the ‘Quinta’.”
“The fifth column were spies, weren’t they? A good name, My Lord.”
Laozi approved of it too, and for starters they settled upon the construction of the intelligence unit ‘Quinta’.
The adult-male types that would find it easiest to act numbered 40 and the adult female types 30. For camouflage purposes there were ten teenage boy types and ten teenage girl types, and finally ten small Reiko-types for a total of 100 Automata. Their foundation would be the same as that of Hourai Island’s SP’s, but they would be covered in Magical Skin and have hair to make them resemble humans. Jin would make the principal parts and Laozi would be in charge of the rest.
The next thing they started to work on was ways of movement.
“For movement, I want to make a VTOL or a helicopter.”
“Transport that can takeoff and land anywhere, I see. I think that is a fine idea.”
Finally, with regards to the armaments, because they would operate together with the intelligence and the transport systems, they weren’t in a hurry to make decisions.
Then when they were just about to begin working on the Quinta, Reiko returned.
“Father, the establishment of a base at the ruins of the stronghold has been completed.”
“Ah, good work, Reiko.”
Then Reiko began her report.
“First of all, the wreckage of the stronghold was left as it was.”
The reason was to make it seem to the outside that it had been abandoned.
“The hole in the central part of the stronghold was dug in deeper, and the base was established in a depth of 50 meters. The installation of ManaComs and the Warp Gate have also been taken care of.”
After that, Reiko’s report continued.
“For personnel faculties there are bedrooms, a kitchen, and a toilet. It’s small, but a bath has also been installed.”
Knowing that Jin loved bathing she seemed to have made a smart move.
“There isn’t a stockpile of food yet, but water has been stocked. Enough for about ten people to subsist for a week.”
“Well done. Using the base Reiko made as a standard, let’s establish more of them in other places after this.”
He added one more thing, the establishment of bases, to the list with three points from earlier. He indeed urgently needed some military staff for planning. Because even Laozi had Jin’s knowledge as his base.
“What would you like me to do? Master.”
Then and there came Ann. Right now, Ann didn’t have any particular task assigned for her, so after coming to Hourai Island she’s had nothing to do. It appeared that until now she had been learning some things from Soleil and Luna.
Jin briefly explained the details. And then,
“It’s only a little, but I think I can offer some advice.”
“Oh right. You were something like a private secretary in that fortress, weren’t you, Ann?”
“Yes. I’m afraid to say that despite receiving your care a part of my memories have disappeared, but I can still offer as much help as I can so please do not dispose of me.”
“Dispose of? Why are you suddenly talking about that?”
To the doubtful Jin, Ann told him about the past.
“In that fortress, I was an old model, I also had a low combat capability, and all the soldiers had grown tired of my body too. And so I was simply left alone to decay without even receiving repairs for any breakdowns.”
What a cruel story, Jin thought in anger.
“While you’re with me, I’ll never let something like that happen to the best of my ability. So forget about sad things like that. …Anyway, please give me your support.”
“Yes, thank you very much, master. I will do my utmost to serve you.”
“Ann, let’s do our best together.”
Reiko also encouraged Ann. For some reason Jin had never seen Reiko burn with jealousy towards Ann. It must be because they’re ‘blood relatives’ due to the foundation being of the predecessor’s design, Jin thought.
“Alright, in that case let’s start afresh. There’s a lot of things to take care of, but they don’t have to be done in order.”
Jin said and looked in turn at Reiko, Ann, then Laozi’s fixed terminal.
“Armaments mainly for use against the Unifilers, right?”
Ann asked to confirm.
“That’s right. But if possible, I was thinking about keeping them nonlethal.”
Jin replied, and after hearing that Ann made a statement.
“In that case, the top priority is collecting intelligence about the Unifilers. The best weapon is knowing your enemy.”
Jin agreed with that.
“Mh-hm, that’s what I thought. For that we’ve decided to make the Quinta and dispatch them to various places.”
“Is that so. In that case, the next is investigating ancient ruins.”
Ann voiced her opinion.
“Yes. It’s certain that in other ruins like the one I was in, there yet remains equipment from the past. It is important to not let even a part of the advanced knowledge of the past be known by the Unifilers.”
“I see, so you mean there’s a chance that there’s other weapons similar to Gigantes.”
“Yes. Gigantes was a trial version of the mass-produced product, but I recall ten of them being manufactured. Three of them were destroyed in battles in those days. One of the remaining seven was destroyed the other day so the likelihood of six remaining is high.”
The exchange with Ann turned out to be unexpectedly fruitful.
Laozi had the same information as her, but as Ann’s thought patterns weren’t designed by Jin she could point out things that Jin had overlooked.
First of all, the maximum priority task was to build the Quinta and dispatch them all around to gather intelligence about the Unifilers as well as ancient ruins. After that was the so-called ‘VTOL’ carriage vehicle.
While the VTOL was under development, they decided that they would decide on their plans afterwards according to the intelligence they got.
Specifically, once the prototype VTOL was completed its mass production was left to Laozi. Jin then ended up completing the Quinta.
It appeared likely that they could complete the VTOL and the Quinta nearly simultaneously. And then using the completed VTOLs, they would dispatch the Quinta everywhere.
The order of things that was mentioned earlier may have become reversed, but Ann assured them that this was the most efficient method.
Jin got into planning the VTOL.
“The largest weakness of the VTOL is its bad fuel efficiency. In detail, when staying still the jet engines don’t take in air, and so when taking off and landing or stopping in the air the fuel consumption is awful.”
Jin remembered an article in a magazine he had once read in the past. However, it didn’t apply to Magi Jet Engines.
“If I remember right it’s not good or something if a helicopter’s rotor surpasses the speed of sound.”
This too was from the article in the magazine and so he was uncertain.
“It’s got to be a VTOL-type after all.”
After deciding the rest was quick. Taking speed, stability, permissible load, et cetera into consideration, he thought about the number and installation method of the Magi Jet Engines.
This was mainly discussed with Laozi. Because his simulation capabilities were helpful.
In the end, two large Magi Jet Engines were installed on both wings in a manner that they could point down for takeoff and landing. In addition, another pair of a bit smaller Magi Jet Engines were used for propulsion. On top of that four tiny Magi Jet Engines for adjusting the direction were installed, each pointing in another direction.
Like this it could float up like a hovercraft, stay still in the air, move in any direction at slow speeds, or sometimes take flight and increase the speed in the direction of travel with the Magi Jet Engines on the wings. At low speeds and when carrying heavy loads the jets could point downwards and work at increasing the lifting power.
By carefully balancing the engines that float the vehicle they believed the change in attitude could be minimized.
“Alright, let’s build a small prototype.”
Once Jin got into the manufacture he turned even more lively.
Laozi prepared the materials, Reiko carried them, and Jin processed them. Up until this point it was as usual, but now with the addition of Ann checking the details the reliability increased even more.
While mixing in some trial and error, the first prototype model of the VTOL was completed just past the afternoon on the same day.
“Alright, now let’s take it for a test flight.”
To the airport in front of the research facility. This time too Reiko was the test pilot.
“Reiko, it’s up to you.”
After a small exchange, Reiko boarded the prototype VTOL and started the engines.
Whoooosh, sounded the running Magi Jet Engines. The sound became more high-pitched and the prototype machine lifted off the ground.
Jin watched its conduct with bated breath.
Its stability looked a little poor, but with Reiko’s reflexes that were dozens of times faster than a human’s she compensated for it, and as planned the machine stayed still at a height of two meters.
“We did it! Reiko, next is moving forward and changing directions at slow speeds!”
Using a ManaCom Jin issued instructions to Reiko. After receiving them Reiko once more operated the prototype machine.
It moved slower than a person would walk. After moving about ten meters, Reiko backed up the prototype machine.
“Hmm, hm. Good, good.”
Then after returning to its original spot the prototype machine turned 180 degrees.
After that it moved sideways, then slowly moved in a circle, carefully confirming the operability and behavior at slow speeds.
“Excellent, Reiko. Now it’s time to test its flight capabilities. First try flying normally.”
Satisfied with the performance for now, Jin instructed her to move to the next stage of testing it as an airplane.
Reiko lightly waved her right arm to signal understanding, and this time began rising vertically. Five meters, ten meters, 20 meters.
After reaching a height of about 50 meters, she activated the Magi Jet Engines for propulsion. The prototype machine rushed forwards in a snap.
It was rather fast. Reiko increased the altitude and at about 500 meters she began gradually increasing the speed towards the direction of travel with the engines on both wings.
It was difficult. The lifting power decreased and the propulsive power increased. The steering turned tricky. It may have even been impossible if it weren’t for Reiko’s reaction speed.
But Reiko safely operated the prototype machine and gathered data with an auxiliary Magi Crystal.
By comparing this information in this Magi Crystal with computer support, afterwards the steering of the VTOL would become remarkably easier.
“It’s a success!”
Small adjustments were probably necessary, but on this day Hourai Island grew new wings.
＊ ＊ ＊
That night, Reinhardt made contact. He seemed to have crossed River Torres without any problems, in other words there wasn’t anything abnormal going on.