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Chapter 7 Main Chapters Chapter 8

Interlude 7

Dr. Rara expansively welcomed everyone onto his island laboratory. He was looking forward to today's tests. He, Dr. Sanada, Ms. Hayase, and a large staff of researchers, had been poring over the giant robot Zinv for some time, studying it in many ways. Now, for the first time since it had arrived in the synthesis world, they were ready to have human beings pilot it.

He surveyed the crowd of his guests. Kazuki, of course, was there; it had been quite a job convincing him not to pilot Zinv already. Dr. Rara's daughter was also present, as was her cousin and counterpart Mitsuki Sanada. Both of them were trying to fix Kazuki's hair, mussed from the sea wind. Dee was her chipper self. Mrs. Nanjyoin was prevented from coming by a slight cold, but had insisted Yayoi come to the test, and it was clear Yayoi was glad to participate. Mitsuki Rara's friends and bodyguards Ryla, Mena, and Alice had also been enthusiastic about coming. Dr. Sanada was discussing some new findings quietly with Ms. Hayase. Akane waited patiently.

Finally, Dr. Sanada and Ms. Hayase were done talking, and Ms. Hayase announced that everything was ready for the test. Zinv had been successfully moved to a sitting position, and all instruments were giving off normal readings.

Akane looked around once again. "Dr. Rara, where's Ayuko? I hope she's not sick as well?" she asked, though she guessed Ayuko was not indisposed at all.

Dr. Rara put his hand on the top of his head and rubbed nervously, and lowered it as he spoke. "Well, she couldn't make it today, no."

Mitsuki Sanada spoke for everyone when she guessed, "She's shopping, isn't she?"

"Yeah," admitted Dr. Rara.

With that behind them, they proceeded to the mammoth hanger that had been constructed for Zinv. Ms. Hayase and Akane proceeded to a control room recessed into one of the walls, with a glass window looking into the hangar.

The others stood out on the catwalk before Zinv. It was white for the most part, although it also had dark patches, especially on its face. It was larger than the Core Robots, and taller than the giant building it was housed in, which meant it was usually kept in either lying down or in a sitting position. The roof could retract if Zinv needed to get up. This was a feature added in the synthesis world so Zinv wouldn't destroy the building's roof as it had done once before the worlds merged.

"Ms. Schwael, if you would, please," Dr. Rara nodded to Yayoi.

In the world Kazuki and Mitsuki Sanada visited, Yayoi had been a pilot for the Earth Defense Force, under the command of Dr. Sanada. She suffered a Life Sympathy backwash during a battle with the RaRa Army. Kazuki had arrived and helped her, winning the battle for the Earth Defense Force, even though it was the first time he had ever piloted a robot.

The synthesis world, however, had never experienced the war between the Earth Defense Force and the RaRa Army, so theoretically, in this universe, she had never suffered a backwash. It had been decided she would be tested first, to see if she could pilot robots once again.

Yayoi smiled confidently despite her nervousness, and placed her hands upon the sympathy orbs. Without so much as a second's delay, yellow particles swirled outwards from the center of the orbs, and the whole was illuminated. Yayoi's smile broadened and her eyes watered slightly. Ms. Hayase confirmed a life sympathy reading. Kazuki and Mitsuki Sanada had given Yayoi back something she had missed dreadfully.

Zinv, she knew, had always been closely identified with Kazuki. It had emerged from the alien artifacts in the Earth Defense Force base to protect him and fight with him, just like Kazuki had done for her. Yayoi smiled as she considered that being in this cockpit was just like being near Kazuki.

She had to surrender the robot to the next person who was to be tested. There was only one piece of artifact technology in the synthesis world, and that was Zinv.

Mitsuki Rara settled into the cockpit and activated the life sympathy orbs. How glad she had been to see Zinv return to them after her mother had propelled him back to his own world. Kazuki was such a nice person. When he was in this robot, he was always helping someone, always rescuing someone, always beating back the evil of the RaRa Army. It was such a relief that she and her family were no longer caught up in that mad struggle for power, and it was all thanks to him.

Just as Yayoi had done, Mitsuki Rara smiled at Kazuki as she exited the cockpit. Again Kazuki smiled back. Mitsuki Sanada fidgeted but said nothing.

Dee was immensely familiar with Zinv's cockpit. She had piloted this robot, long ago. Dee had attempted to use it to save her civilization from destruction, but had failed. After that, she had been very afraid to trust anyone, but Kazuki had been trustworthy.

Mitsuki Sanada got into the cockpit uneasily. Those three were getting emotional over nothing. Sure, this was a big robot, the one that Kazuki had used to rescued her from Ayuko, but that didn't mean anything. It didn't hold emotional impact for her. None at all. Not a bit. How could it? Even if it was just like Kazuki.

The trio smiled- Mitsuki Rara had always been so happy to see this robot on the field. It was amazing to remember, as they each had their turn powering it up, how easily it tore through other robots. They were glad they had never fought it.

Kazuki's grin could not seem to be contained on his face as he seated himself in the chair and calmly placed his hands upon the sympathy orbs. No one was surprised when blackness arose within the orbs and glowing wings burst forth from Zinv's back.

The civilization that created artifact technology made their fighting robots increase in power when a male was the pilot. The robots were already incredibly powerful, and these additional powers made the robots incredibly destructive. Kumu had therefore placed a limiter upon the robots so that only females could pilot them, so their awesome combat powers could never be unleashed. Kumu had, of course, done this before the worlds were merged and she became a dog.

Kazuki had been able to pilot robots despite the limiter, and then Dee had removed the limiter, giving Kazuki access to the full power of Zinv, including the light-hawk wings that unfolded from Zinv when Kazuki piloted it. In this synthesis universe, there never was a limiter, and so Kazuki immediately brought Zinv to full power.

Both scientists cackled with glee, and asked Ms. Hayase at the same time but in different words if she was recording everything properly. She assured them that she was. Kazuki remained in the cockpit a few seconds longer, and then disembarked. Zinv's light-hawk wings furled and disappeared, and the sympathy orbs returned to their usual red color.

Kazuki was walking towards the group when he heard a noise behind him. Everyone turned to see Dr. Sanada slip quickly into Zinv's cockpit and place his hands upon the control orbs. The dark fire awoke within them, and the light-hawk wings cast their radiance once more.

"Ha ha! So much power, it's unbelievable! Who'd ever have thought that the ancient technology could-" Dr. Sanada babbled, but was cut off as Dr. Rara, only a few steps away, covered the distance between them and grabbed Dr. Sanada by the collar. Dr. Rara pulled Dr. Sanada out of the chair and placed his own hands upon the orbs without even sitting in the chair. The wings had retracted and the darkness vanished the moment Dr. Sanada's hands had left the sympathy orbs, but they now both appeared at Dr. Rara's touch. The resultant flash, sudden darkness, and renewed light left curious images in the onlooker's eyes for several seconds, as though they had directly looked at a camera flash.

"Stupid Sanada. To think you could comprehend all this- why, you didn't even excavate this yourself-" Dr. Rara was saying to Dr. Sanada.

Dr. Rara had only been able to pull Dr. Sanada a short distance away, and Dr. Sanada now clamped his hand upon one of the orbs and tried to order the hatch to close. Dr. Rara felt the hatch plates shift beneath his feet, and used the sympathy orbs in both his hands to order the hatch to open again. "No, Sanada, you can't get me out that easily! Open, I say!" Dr. Sanada countermanded his order, "Close the hatch already! You should've closed it when I was inside, before this buffoon yanked me out!" Dr. Rara laughed at him, "Ha! Zinv likes me better! I was standing in the entryway, and it didn't want to crush me by closing the hatch!" Both men had without realizing it moved to positions where they would both be crushed if the hatch were to close, so Zinv had stopped trying to close the hatch, but they still yelled over each other's command "Open!" "Close!"

The Mitsukis and Dee remonstrated with their respective fathers, while in the control room Akane growled in fury and Ms. Hayase was growing steadily more worried about her employers' behavior and the readings from Zinv.

Kazuki strode towards Zinv. "Stop it right now!" Kazuki suddenly yelled. The two men were still bickering, oblivious to everything else.

Zinv roared, an intense, unforgettable sound. Dee knelt and covered her ears to block out the incredible volume. Mitsuki Sanada and Yayoi unconsciously stepped back a pace or two and looked up at Zinv's head. Mitsuki Rara exclaimed in surprise.

The right arm of Zinv lifted and began to move toward the hatch. Both doctors, alarmed by the sudden roar, now released the sympathy orbs and began to move away from the giant robot. The hand still moved towards them.

Zinv was unique among all of the ancient technology in that he was actually Kazuki's counterpart. In the other universe where the artifacts were unearthed, instead of there being another Kazuki born and living as Kazuki had, Kazuki's parents were childless. Zinv was, somehow, his other self in that world. This meant that not only did Kazuki and Zinv have a curious, almost telepathic connection, but Zinv was also capable of autonomous movement. Zinv acted with the same purposes and feelings that Kazuki did, since in some sense they were both the same person.

Doctors Rara and Sanada scrambled further away from Zinv's oncoming hand, which seemed poised to scoop them up. Then Zinv placed that hand before the hatch and pointed its index finger at them accusingly. Everyone except Kazuki was stunned into silence and surprise. Kazuki was still standing with his arms crossed, glaring at his uncles, his emotions doubtless exactly the same as Zinv's.

Dr. Sanada slowly put his hand sheepishly behind his head. "Ah, well, no harm done."

Kazuki and Zinv were unmoved.

The doctors sighed, bowed their heads, and apologized in unison, "We're very sorry."

"We forgive you," Kazuki informed them. Simultaneously, Zinv's hand retracted, and his hatch shut softly.

Ms. Hayase sighed in relief and Akane shook her head in disgust though she was relieved as well. Ms. Hayase reached for the intercom. She broadcast into the hanger, "Doctors, shall we have Kazuki Yotsuga begin the test run now?" The decision over who would pilot Zinv first had been put off until this moment, but it seemed best to begin with him.

"Uhh, yeah, let's start," awkwardly agreed Dr. Sanada.

Kazuki smiled and laughed, his displeasure behind him. He strolled towards Zinv, looking up at its head, and the hatch opened for him as he drew alongside. Zinv and he proceeded to stroll outside, feeling wonderful in the fresh air.

Chapter 7 Main Chapters Chapter 8