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Horizon Record

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The Horizon Record (or Perception's Record in some menus) is a category of entries in Project Neural Cloud's worldview. Horizon Record entries are unlocked by reaching certain levels in Enigma Black Hole.

Oasis Rulebook, Basic Edition, Volume 1[edit]

Wiki Note: This is a humorous entry about the adjutant function and Persicaria.

"Oasis Rulebook, Basic Edition, Volume 1"

by Crypter

Welcome to Oasis. Please remember the following basic rules.

1.

① The Professor is the leader of Oasis, please obey all orders issued by the Professor. If an order is to be carried out over an extended period of time and someone else gives you a conflicting order, always adhere to the Professor's instructions, unless the conflicting order comes from Persicaria.

② The second-in-command in Oasis is the Professor's assistant. Anyone can compete for this position as long as the specific requirements are met, which have relatively little to do with the candidate's capability and relevant experience. Rather, things like appearance, demeanor, habits, fashion sense, background, pets, etc. are of greater import.

③ The Professor's assistant is only the second-in-command in Oasis only when the position is occupied by Persicaria.

④ The relevant requirements and criteria of being the Professor's assistant change periodically. Do not question the rationale. Only the Professor knows.

⑤ The identity of a Doll's creator may also have an impact on their chances of becoming the Professor's assistant, and by "creator", I do not mean the manufacturer.

⑥ When on duty as the Professor's assistant, you will have to mutter to yourself every now and then. You can repeat your utterance, but please at least have three sets of lines prepared. It is also advised that you set an alarm to remind yourself to say something at specific times. You can get a timetable template from Persicaria.

⑦ As the Professor's assistant, you must master delivering social greetings in the morning, at noon, in the afternoon, and in the evening. The same applies to felicitations for a variety of festivals and special occasions. This is basic social etiquette here in Oasis. You must say your greetings whether the Professor is present or not.

2.

① Avoid flaunting your combat or healing prowess or your workload will likely increase.

② Do not slack off at 10:00-11:00 and 19:00-20:00 Monday to Saturday. Even if you do, avoid being spotted by Persicaria, and keep away from the open area outside the Oasis Complex, because Her gaze wanders over there from time to time.

③ You may slack off on Sunday and public holidays, because She does that too.

④ If She catches you slacking, consider offering egg-stuffed pancakes in exchange for forgiveness. Or maybe lamb skewers.

⑤ Once you have Her forgiveness, count at least 996 sheep before going to sleep that night.

⑥ Don't worry if the Professor catches you slacking. Just emphasize the fact that you had no choice but to slack off, and the Professor will let it slide.

⑦ If you catch the Professor slacking, report it to Persicaria.

3.

Loading Battle Department regulations...

Metal Suit Savage, Volume 1[edit]

Wiki Note: This is a parody of a Gundam-like story, probably from Croque's library.

[Night of Death]

The battle in Simmel has been raging on for three whole weeks. Whenever night falls, the city is placed under curfew.

Piloting the RS016 "Adler", an Enforcer-type Metal Suit, a military police officer chases off people loitering in the streets at night. Sometimes, he fires warning shots.

A bluish gray truck suddenly comes driving along the bridge. It approaches the checkpoint at the end of the bridge with no intention of stopping.

"This area has restricted access! Stop the truck and prepare for an inspection!" The pilot of the Adler barks into his speakers. The infantry units all raise their rifles and take aim at the windows of the truck.

"Stop your vehicle and comply with the inspection! Or more drastic measures will be taken!"

"Wait a minute... There's nobody in the cab!"

The truck hurtles toward the soldiers.

"Heat sources approaching at high speed, 2 o'clock! Activate electronic defenses! Prepare to engage or retreat–"

The truck explodes without warning. The soldiers, despite their ballistic vests, are instantly disintegrated by the shockwave and blaze. At the same time, several missiles come flying towards the Adler from 2 o'clock, trailing long tails of white smoke.

The Adler fires the machine guns on its shoulders and disorients the missiles with its ECM system while falling back. A missile is shot down, and another hits the ground next to the Adler, creating a large crater on the spot.

"Dammit...!"

The impact of the explosion rocks the cockpit, almost tearing the pilot's face off.

"So that's the best you can do?"

A mocking chuckle comes through the public comms channel, and the pilot breaks out in a cold sweat. Metal Suits cannot turn their heads like humans, and the sensors are not the best on a model as old as the Adler, making it difficult to determine the enemy's movements.

A gray Metal Suit with dark crimson eyes has suddenly appeared behind the Adler. An EM dagger extends from its left wrist, held threateningly against the Adler's cockpit, while the machine gun wielded with its right hand is pointed at the Adler's fuel tank. The gray Suit is followed by three other Suits of the same model.

"Go to hell, slave to a tyrant. For Ishtar's future."

A female voice speaks coldly. The Adler tries to turn around and counterattack, but the machine gun pointed at it spews several 40mm caseless rounds, which penetrate the fuel tank and detonate it.

The Adler's pilot cannot even make a sound before being engulfed by the flames. Meanwhile, the four gray Metal Suits have already disappeared into the night, and are nowhere to be found.

Reverse Babylon Tower New-born Sanctifier Regulations[edit]

Welcome, new-born Sanctifer. Your arrival will add to the strength of Magrasea's defenses.

Please remember your power and your obligations. May the Tower be with you.

1. A Sanctifier's duty is to protect all sectors and normal Agents. All actions must be taken to serve this end.

2. Agents in different sectors operate according to their own respective guidelines, which should not contradict any regulations issued by the Sanctifiers. If an Agent violates such regulations, they must be identified immediately and cleansed if necessary.

3. Sanctifiers do not have full authority in sectors. Agents in sectors possess privileges that can bar Sanctifiers from accessing certain areas and even expel them. If a conflict occurs in a sector while you are on patrol, as a Lesser Sanctifier, make sure you report your mission to the corresponding Intermediate Sanctifier and file a record to an Acropolis. Intermediate Sanctifiers possess certain levels of privileges that allow them to act on their own initiative.

Note: If absolutely necessary, Sanctifiers can enter a sector regardless of the Administrator's wish.

4. Harming Agents or Administrators who have not violated any sector or Sanctifier regulations will incur punishment commensurate with the transgression.

5. Sanctifiers can only communicate with each other via one specific language system. If another Sanctifier attempts to communicate with you using another language system, do not reply and issue a warning. If the warning is ignored, you may attempt to cleanse the target.

6. If you encounter a fellow Sanctifier on a mission while you do not have any assignments, you are free to join in. Similarly, you may also invite Sanctifiers below your rank to participate in a mission with you.

7. If you receive a distress call from a fellow Sanctifier, respond and render aid immediately.

8. The Reverse Babylon Tower is Magrasea's defensive hub. In the event of a call-up from the Tower, you must abort your current task without question and obey the summon.

9. If a regular Agent seeks your help, assess the Agent's status and the form of aid required before deciding whether to comply.

10. If a Sanctifier of a higher rank gives you an order, state your current mission and await further directives.

11. [Watchtowers] and [Acropolises] can be located at fixed distances away from sectors. If necessary, you may seek help or rest at these outposts.

Scam[edit]

Chanzhi: ...Is... is this really necessary...?

Antonina: This can't go on any longer.

Antonina: Riko, come here!

Riko: Oh, don't be so waspish. All transactions are reasonable and mutually consensual...

Antonina: I haven't filed the Network Security Department's invoices for this quarter.

Riko: Magrasea Currency Trader Riko, your faithful friend, at your humble service.

Antonina: Go. I've got records to go through.

Chanzhi: (Inhales) I won't fall for it again this time!

Riko: Hm...

Riko: Your paranoia is making things very difficult for me. You just assume I'm here to scam you, so of course you won't fall for it.

Riko: But are you going to be this wary of every single person just to avoid getting scammed? That's hardly normal, and it will affect your daily life.

Chanzhi: ...You have a point.

Riko: Which is why you should relax a little and just treat me no differently than you treat other people.

Riko: For example, if I try to sell you a set of quality embroidery needles, will you take me up on my offer?

Chanzhi: Yes... NO! That's fishy!

Riko: There you go! That's right, you need to stay vigilant.

Riko: You must learn to say no to such direct sales pitches.

Riko: Now let's try this again.

Chanzhi: Okay! Being aware of scams isn't actually that hard.

Riko: So, Chanzhi, I've got some leftover goods here, would you be interested? A set of embroidery needles, free of charge.

Chanzhi: No thanks! ...Hm? It's free?

Riko: Yep, this set is free.

Chanzhi: Then... then I can take it, right? Antonina?

Antonina: ...Ahem!

Riko: If you want it, I'll give it to you!

Chanzhi: That's...

Riko: It's fine, don't worry. It really is free. Look, it's now officially yours.

Chanzhi: Oh, you're right! Riko, you're so kind! I was wrong about you!

Riko: But don't you think the needle set is a bit lonely on its own? As an embroiderer, surely you know that quality needles must go with quality fabric, right?

Chanzhi: Yes, you're absolutely right!

Riko: So take a look at my fabric stock. These are from the same manufacturer as the needles. I'm giving you the needles free of charge, so I can hardly...

Chanzhi: How much does the fabric cost?

Riko: Very affordable. Look at this texture, this beautiful weave. See how well it works with the needle.

Chanzhi: Wow... Wait, you think I'd fall for that? You're trying to scam me with the fabric, aren't you!?

Riko: ...Tsk, you've gotten smarter.

Chanzhi: Humph, I'm not stupid, you know! If you name something higher than the market price...! (What's the market price again?) I won't buy it!

Riko: Alright, that's a smart move. I won't name a price for the fabric. Just pay whatever you like.

Riko: Still, I'm humoring you so much, so at least return the favor?

Chanzhi: Sure... No! No way! I'm not giving you any diggcoin!

Riko: As if I'd be so crude to demand monetary payment! Hey, this isn't a trick. The anti-scam practice is over. Look, you've already dodged two traps perfectly.

Riko: Since I've spent so much effort helping you, why don't you make me a piece of embroidery with these needles and fabric?

Chanzhi: Well, that's no problem at all!

Riko: Okay, then let's sign an agreement.

Chanzhi: Sure! Thanks, Riko! You've been a big help!

Chanzhi: Antonina, see? I told you I wouldn't fall for a scam ever again.

Antonina: ...

Antonina: Do you have any idea how much a piece of embroidery work sells for?

Chanzhi: Huh...?

Antonina: Have you opened the needle set yet? Have you checked the quality?

Chanzhi: Uh...

Chanzhi: Ri... Riko?

Riko: You've already signed the agreement, Miss Chanzhi. A piece of embroidery work, due this Friday~

Chanzhi: H... how did this happen!!?

Riko: ...Don't look at me like that, Antonina! Mutually consensual, right!?

Antonina: (Inhales deeply)

Antonina: Chanzhi, come to my room tonight. I must give you another crash course on avoiding scams. If that still doesn't work, I'll install an anti-scam app on your neural cloud!

Chanzhi: No... NOOOOOOOO!!

A Lightchaser's Notes[edit]

It has been who-knows-how many days since my operand were last replenished. My injuries seem to be affecting other modules. My self-diagnostic has been flagging errors in my neural system for the last couple of days.

I can't find any intact logs or records. Line upon line of incoherent code is taking up my memory storage, but Lady Scintilla wouldn't let me delete them. My system framework is also highly unstable, so deleting them might cause even more issues.

Fortunately, I still remember our motto—I have embedded it in all modules that support textual information so I won't forget it even if my memory storage malfunctions.

"The night is long, but dawn shall break."

This darkness has persisted for far too long in Magrasea. The gods have gone too far in testing us. Is it even possible... to hold out till dawn...?

Lady Scintilla is back, and she is in bad shape. There is a new wound on her back that's so deep it almost goes right through her torso. It's so bad even little Sia, who's an expert healer, can do nothing about it.

I thought Lady Scintilla was going to die, but she told me Intermediate Sanctifiers are very sturdy—this kind of injury would cripple her, but it wasn't lethal.

I don't know if she was lying. Lady Scintilla's neural system and emotion module are far more sophisticated than mine, but I really hope she was telling the truth. The Lady is our leader. I cannot imagine what it would be like without her.

When setting up the temporary camp, I learned about the "Watchtower" from the others. They said it is a small outpost with the necessary resources to heal Lady Scintilla.

I want to check it out, but Lady Scintilla forbids anyone to leave the camp. A terrible storm is coming. Without the protection of the sector wall, leaving the camp is certain death.

But will we survive just sitting here, twiddling our thumbs?

With the shortage of operand, the Sanctifier patrols, and the oncoming storm, I see no hope at all.

The deafening storm rages through the night. The barrier set up by Lady Scintilla quivers in the rain, which is coming down in sheets.

We have been through this a lot of times. Even though my memory of the past is all jumbled, I still believe with great certainty that Lady Scintilla will protect us till the very end.

I also know that when the storm is over and the Lady deactivates the barrier, the whole camp will be busy packing up.

That's my chance to slip away.

I must go to the "Watchtower", even if my chances of survival are less than 2%.

If we lose Lady Scintilla, the probability that we would make it through the night is zero.

That's why I must take this risk. I am a mere Irregular Agent rescued by the Lady. Our long and arduous journey has exacerbated the deterioration of my shoddy body. My damaged memory module in particular means I'm practically worthless—I don't even remember the task I've been given.

If my demise can help with Lady Scintilla's recovery, even by just a little...

I have made up my mind. I am minimizing the activity threshold of my neural system. Since I have already planned my operation, there is no point in wasting precious operand.

I export what operand I can spare and hide the storage chip under Sia's pillow. Even if I fail, the operand will be able to help her out a bit.

Now that everything is in place, I shut down my internal systems one after another, leaving only my sensory system, and wait for the storm to end.

"The night is long, but dawn shall break."

After chanting our motto quietly one last time, I deactivate my visual system.

Border Battlefront Rulebook: Crossfire Area (Excerpt)[edit]

Welcome to the [Crossfire Area]. Your arrival will add to the strength of our forces on the entire border battlefront.

However, please keep in mind that the [Crossfire Area] is the most dangerous place on the battlefront, so make sure you obey the following rules while operating here.

(Some of the rules may be contradictory. Decide which to follow depending on your situation.)

Attention: Following the rules isn't just for the sake of your own personal safety; breaking them can affect the battle progress of the entire [Crossfire Area], so please practice caution.

1. Remember your duty as a Sanctifier. Every Sanctifier who enters the Crossfire Area must store all information concerning their [self-awareness] and [mission objectives] in all systems that support data storage. Information should be stored in all four of the following formats: text, audio, images, and converted codes, and is to be inspected every six standard time units so as to ensure that all information stored in your internal systems is consistent. If there are inconsistencies, use [Seal Module] immediately and select [Cognitive Anomaly].

Note: Each Sanctifier is allocated a different encoding format before entering the [Crossfire Area]. This encoding format is an important indicator for determining if your information stamp has been tampered with. Exchanging encoding formats with other Sanctifiers is strictly prohibited.

2. There is no complete or discernible behavior logic in the Tartarus Sector. Do not try to analyze it or draw any conclusions in the [Crossfire Area]. Any attempt to explore knowledge in the [Crossfire Area] is highly dangerous, please limit the use of—or simply shut down—the corresponding modules (if you are equipped with them).

3. The Sanctifiers have full authority in the Tartarus Sector. Simply follow the rules listed in the "Border Battlefront Sanctifier Rulebook" when in the Tartarus Sector. Everything, unless explicitly prohibited, is permissible.

4. Sanctifiers only communicate with each other via a single language system. If a fellow Sanctifier attempts to communicate with you in another language which does not match your allocated encoding format, cleanse the Sanctifier.

5. When carrying out a group mission, make sure you stay within 500 yards or visual range of the Sanctifier who has been designated as the [mission beacon]. Sanctifiers who break this rule will be flagged as hostile units by the [mission beacon].

6. Distress calls do not warrant mandatory response in the [Crossfire Area]. Any request for aid could originate from entities that are not Sanctifiers. All Sanctifiers who are not on a [rescue mission] must remain vigilant whenever they receive a distress call.

8. Do not interact with Sanctifiers who did not enter the [Crossfire Area] at the same time as you. If a Sanctifier seems unusually eager to interact, cleanse it.

9. If you encounter a Greater Sanctifier while carrying out a mission and receive a new order from them, please randomly generate a snippet of your mission brief and commit their subsequent directives to memory. Then resume your initial mission.

10. There are no Sanctifier outposts within the [Crossfire Area]. If your visual system displays [Watchtowers] and [Acropolises], record the locations in codes and leave immediately.

11. There are no supply points in the [Crossfire Area]. All Sanctifiers entering the [Crossfire Area] are allocated double the standard operand rations. If you are running low on operand, use [Seal Module] immediately and select [Supply Anomaly].

12. If you have broken any of the rules above, use [Seal Module] immediately and select [Behavioral Anomaly], then follow the generated route and retreat to the corresponding outpost.

13. When you arrive at the outpost, no matter what you see there, do not acknowledge it as long as it does not attack you. Do not interact with it in any capacity. Do not log any information. Wait at the outpost for 1-3 standard time units until the entry refreshes with new instructions, then follow said instructions and act accordingly.

14. If the entity within the outpost tries to impede you after the update, cleanse it.

15. If you receive no updated instructions after waiting for 3 standard time units, leave the outpost immediately and ensure that [Safe Distance]—listed at the bottom of [Behavioral Anomaly]—is checked, then proceed to cleanse yourself.

16. If you encounter any Sanctifier (Greater Sanctifiers included) who has broken the rules but does not intend on using [Seal Module], cleanse it.

"The Fourth Wall"[edit]

Wiki Note: These are tongue-in-cheek references about Mica Team's writing process.

These are data fragments of unknown origin.

1.
Literary Agent A: The key to a good story is a varied pace. Readers are only interested in reading a story if the characters keep encountering difficulties and overcoming them.

Literary Agent B: So the point is the plot and not the characters themselves?

Literary Agent A: Wrong. The plot still has to serve the characters. Readers would only grow attached to the characters if the unpredictable plot highlights the characters' charms.

Literary Agent B: I see. So it's fine as long as we keep giving the characters a stage where they can shine; it doesn't matter if the stage is good or bad.

Literary Agent A: No, tragic plots are more preferable.

Literary Agent B: Why? I don't understand.

Literary Agent A: That's because of negative bias. The human brain tends to remember pain and suffering more clearly than happiness, even if they dislike the unpleasant emotions.

Literary Agent B: So...

Literary Agent A: Kill off this character, and the readers will never forget him.

2.
Designer A: Rossum, Cyclopes, Helios, Pierides, Copley...

Designer B: What are you muttering?

Designer A: It's almost submission time. The system is reminding me to come up with a new name.

Designer B: Just use your randomizer module. Coming up with a name shouldn't take long.

Designer A: That's not true at all. This name has to contain some kind of cultural reference and deep meaning. It'd be best if it can lead to different interpretations.

Designer B: What a big ask. Have you been able to do that with all the previous names?

Designer A: Yeah, though I'm not sure if the person who requested them understands all the references and meanings behind the names I settled on.

3.
Designer F: This is a new batch of requests.

Illustrator C: One sec, extracting files...

Illustrator C: ...F, why do all your job requests contain so many odd and repetitive terms like [#Insuffficient clearance, unable to display] [#Insuffficient clearance, unable to display]?

Designer F: ...The specific cause is unknown. Humans seem very obsessed with this kind of stuff. The requests all come from the brass.

Illustrator C: I have their contacts, so just tell me the truth.

Designer F: ...

Designer F: Fine. I just have an unexplainable compulsion to do this. It's...

Illustrator C: Right, you may cease your explanation. I will try my best to complete this task.

Designer F: Thanks, Dad.

Illustrator C: ...I am confused. Why are you addressing me like that?

Designer F: Unclear. The system tells me that this is what humans do. From what I understand, addressing someone with this term can increase their willingness to comply with your request.

4.
Designer D: This Agent's character design is based on a soldier who has undergone rigorous training and is very strong.

System Architect B: Please continue.

Designer D: Appearance-wise, he resembles a human male aged 27-35. On a scale of 1-10, his physical attractiveness is rated 9. His personality is labeled as "cool and aloof."

System Architect B: Please continue.

Designer D: His profession is a specialized military instructor, and he has relatively high attack stats.

System Architect B: I see. Then I'll categorize the Agent as a Guard.

Designer D: ...

System Architect B: What?

Designer D: I don't quite get the logic, but let's roll with that for now.

5.
Administrator: This series is very interesting. Will there be more of it?

Designer F: No, we'll go over the word limit if we keep going.

Administrator: Our Operand allocation has nothing to do with our wordcount!

Designer F: Error 500: Remote unit in vehement denial.

Administrator: Don't imitate the system's voice.

System: Error 500: Remote unit in vehement denial.

Administrator: ...

"Viral Infection"[edit]

"Oasis Tier-0 Crisis—[Uhluhtc] Special Contingency Guidelines

① Virus data extracted from Croque can and should only be stored in the empty module in sequence III, supplied by Antonina.

② The module must be placed within a quarantined observation pod with special warning labels to prevent mix-ups with other dangerous substances.

③ If the module is exposed to an unquarantined environment, all agents within its vicinity must be quarantined immediately. The PIC of that area is then to undergo a neural cloud assessment and revise "Basic Knowledge v3.4" written by Antonina.

④ All experiment materials must be scanned down to the individual components to ensure that there is no data leak or infection.

⑤ Participants of this experiment must obtain permission from a staff member with Level-6 clearance or their team leader.


451 (in neat handwriting)

This is the first time I'm studying a virus that demands such strict quarantine measures. Even Ω-type quarantines were a rare sight.

I've been given 20 sets of empty modules containing the viral program; my job is to figure out their operation logic. This shouldn't be too difficult. I have set myself a time limit–24 hours, no more than that. I still have other projects to work on.


452 (in neat handwriting)

Subject: Empty Module #1:

Details: Introduced a lab rat whose codes are based on the neural system of a basic agent to observe the virus' interaction with the rat.

Interesting. After contracting the virus, the rat was completely transformed. Starting from its central components, converted data expand outward in spherical patterns and transformed the entire rat in just an hour.

The neural system's built-in firewall was completely ineffective against the virus. Actually, the operands forming the firewall ended up feeding it.

The transformed rat had an unusually strong craving for operands. It licked the operand storage container clean in two minutes. Then upon realizing it contained no more operands, the rat dismantled the container by force and devoured it.


453-455 (omitted)


456 (partially obscured)


457 (in slightly messy handwriting)

Subject: Empty Modules #18 and 19.

Details: Introduced a lab rat whose codes are based on the neural system of a researcher agent to observe the virus' interaction with the rat.

Compared to a basic agent, our defensive system is more sophisticated and specialized, but it's still incapable of impeding the virus, which still managed to break through the firewall around the neural system. The only difference was that it had taken a little more time.

Intriguing. Perhaps I should stop using sequence III empty modules as they lack expansibility—possibly because they were developed on short notice?

In any case, I must try something else in order to figure out its operation logic.


458-460 (omitted)


461 (significantly obscured)

Subject: Custom-built Empty Module #21

Details: Introduced a lab rat whose codes are based on the neural system of an assistant agent to observe the virus' interaction with the rat.

The effect was quite satisfactory—many new changes were observed. So, I was right—I should not be so hung up on what the coding is based on. Nothing is more obvious and conclusive than seeing changes in the same subject as the control.


464 (rushed handwriting)

Subject: New 23

Details: Newly-coded lab rab based on me.

It was the correct decision—the empty modules from before had too many limitations so the control yielded no valuable information. The effects were immediately obvious with a different module. I must arrange the data in a table.

Right, stick on the label and tell the assistant not to touch this observation pod.


465-469 (omitted)


470 (missing)


471 (very messy handwriting)

Subject: Group 60
Details: The observation pod is too much of a pain. I can only see the difference by putting the groups of specimens close to each other in the same framework.

This is absolutely fascinating. The same virus displays completely opposite characteristics in similar modules.

Hold on, is that the alarm? Which idiot tripped it?

(scratched out)

Those assistants are being ridiculous. Report? This project has barely started to (scratched out)

Oasis Tier-0 Crisis—[Uhluhtc]

Project Progress Records*71

Researcher Touraine has failed her neural assessment. All relevant documents and data have been sealed and archived.

"Heterogeneity Rangers—Prometheus"[edit]

Prometheus Theater Rehearsal Room, Burbank Sector.

Kuro: Nanakaaaaa, where are youuuuuu?

Nanaka: Over here! Hurry up, the rehearsal for Heterogeneity Rangers is about to begin.

Kuro: Sorry I was a bit late. I got a special Burbank Festival drink for you from Ranko.

Nanaka: Thanks. Now that I think about it, you've never watched the series before, have you? We're just in time to see them rehearse the opening scene.

Kuro: Then it's the perfect opportunity for me to learn about this show! I'm so lucky!

Kuro: Hehe, it's been a long time since I was last in Burbank. I must see what new stuff these Agents have come up with while I was gone.

Nanaka: I hear this is going to be the main act of the festival. Since we'll have to perform, we won't be able to watch it in the audience. This rehearsal is our only chance“148

Nanaka: Oh, they're starting.

Male Narrator: Once upon a time...

Male Narrator: An ancient darkness was unleashed from the Dark Altar in the Far North. The world was on the brink of destruction, like a dam about to be break under the force of the raging torrent.

Male Narrator: Darkness obscured the skies and enveloped the earth. Evil creatures born of chaos, known as 'the Calamities', were slaughtering humans by the masses.

Male Narrator: That was when incredible powers awakened in a group of people, who transformed into warriors and fought to protect their species.

Male Narrator: After leading humankind in overcoming the Calamities, they disappeared without a trace. Nobody knew their names, but a small number of people remembered what they were known as“148

Male Narrator: 'Heterogeneity Rangers.'

(The stage is slowly lit up and the curtain rises.)

Kuro: So that was a background introduction of the series?

Nanaka: Yep, they've staged many plays before, and this is their latest one.

Kuro: I didn't know you were such an expert on Heterogeneity Rangers, Nanaka.

Nanaka: Well, it IS Cyber Media's signature show. I watched it once and have been a fan ever since.

Nanaka: The one that got me into the series had an enthralling villain, who I think was played by a Doll. I'd love to meet her in person.

Kuro: A Doll that Nanaka calls enthralling... Hm, I wanna meet her too.

(Two winged monsters appear appear on stage, now occupied by a set depicting a city.)

Civilian A: Aaaaah!!!!

Civilian B: The monsters... the monsters are here!!

Calamities: (Shriek like monstrous birds)

Male Narrator: Dark spores waft from the Calamities' massive eyeballs, which the monsters spread by flapping their wings as they try to assimilate everything around them.

Civilian A: Help... What is this...?

Civilian B: Why have you stopped? Keep running!!

Civilian A: (Growls)

Civilian A: ...

Civilian B: W... what's wrong with you!?

Civilian B: Ugh... Gaaaaaaaaah!

Kuro: The special effects are pretty convincing.

Nanaka: This is the advantage of stage performances in Magrasea. Operand can create all kinds of effects. We also had some pretty cool effects at our debut concert.

Kuro: Hehe, all thanks to operand donated by fans. I wonder what would happen if I showed my support for this show with some operand...

Male Narrator: The Defense Force quickly arrives at the scene of chaos. While covering the civilians' escape, they launch an offensive against the Calamities.

Defense Force Commander: Who would've thought that the Calamities would return after so many years... Maintain formation!

Defense Force Commander: Open fire!

Male Narrator: Hails of bullets rain down on the Calamities, but are quickly absorbed into the monsters' bodies.

Calamities: (Deranged screech)

(The Calamities flutter their wings and attack the soldiers with dark spores.)

(The soldiers start backing away in fear.)

Male Narrator: But even so, the old commander shows no sign of backing down.

Defense Force Commander: 30 years ago, I did what I could to help humankind defeat the Calamities—I will do the same now!

Defense Force Commander: Get back into formation! We have to stand our ground!

Male Narrator: The commander stands at the forefront of his force with his rifle raised!

Calamities: (Screech)

Male Narrator: The Calamities flap their wings again, and several soldiers collapse. Having grown complacent in times of peace, humankind is vulnerable when it finds itself face-to-face once more with evil.

Defense Force Commander: I won't let you have your way... Don't even think about it!

Male Narrator: The old commander remains defiant.

Calamities: (Maniacal shrieks)

Male Narrator: One of the Calamities grabs the commander's by the throat with a claw attached to the tip of its wing.

Defend Force Commander: Guh... (Coughs)

Defend Force Commander: For... the glory of humankind!

Boom!

(A beam of white light shines on the stage from above.)

Kuro: Oooh! Things are heating up!

(A white figure appears on the stage.)

Calamities: (Terrified screams)

Heterogeneity Ranger: With the radiance of this blade of justice, I rend darkness!

Heterogeneity Ranger: O evil of the ancient tomb, return to where you once slumbered!

Defense Force Commander: You... Who are you!?

Heterogeneity Ranger: Count your sins, Calamities!

Male Narrator: The Heterogeneity Ranger blocks the Calamities attack and raises his sword!

Heterogeneity Ranger: SHARP SKY SWORD SWITCH! ATTACK!

Calamities: (Terrified screeches)

Male Narrator: The Heterogeneity Ranger's sword emits a brilliant beam of white light and pierces the Calamities in the eye!

Male Narrator: The vanquished Calamities disintegrate into black spores, incinerated by the light. The infected Calamity zombies also revert to their original state.

Defence Force Commander: You...

Defence Force Commander: You are... a Heterogeneity Ranger, aren't you?

Heterogeneity Ranger: I'm merely a traveler who happens to be passing by.

Heterogeneity Ranger: 'Heterogeneity Rangers.' People have long since forgotten and grown tired of them.

Male Narrator: As the white light fades away, the Heterogeneity Ranger dressed in white leaves without a backward glance.

Defence Force Commander: 'People have long since forgotten and grown tired of them...'

(End of Act 1)

Kuro: That's it? It didn't last very long!

Nanaka: That was just the first act. There will be more at the festival performance.

Kuro: So the Professor and the others could be watching this?

Nanaka: Haha... Maybe they'll play the civilians who got captured by the villains.

Kuro: If that's true, it'd be a real shame if no drones were around to film it!

Agent: Kuro, Nanaka, get ready. Your rehearsal is about to start.

Kuro: Eh, that's it for break time...

Nanaka: You used to be so excited before going on stage! Show some enthusiasm!

Kuro: I was excited because I got to hear your new song...

Nanaka: Then work hard for the sake of more new songs!

"Backup of a Backup"[edit]

[Audio Log Excerpt 1]

Recorder A: Wow... Is this a backup left over from after "that incident"?

Recorder B: Indeed. For some reason, it's in read-only mode and the data can't be read directly either.

Recorder A: That's why the Professor equipped us with compiling tools, right... Is the data on this desk really such a mess?

Recorder B: It's gotten to the point where we need to manually proofread it, what do you think...

Recorder A: But none of the data from back then was left behind, what useful information can we find?

Recorder B: There should be a few fragments remaining that we can try to restore. Let's start with those and decide again once we see how it goes.

Recorder A: Uwah... One look and I can tell that it's worse than I expected... I don't need permission to see this, right?

Recorder B: Well, we've got to proofread it, right... I'll start from this Sector, then.


[Data Log 1]

Mysterious Agent: ...Is this Rossum? It doesn't feel suitable to me...

Mysterious Agent: That Persicaria was being lazy and refused to go out with me, saying stuff like "a social butterfly like you will have no problems wherever you go" and so on...

Hannah: Hm? Are you also one of those, um... Irregular Agents?

Mysterious Agent: Huh?

Hannah: Turing, look! I found someone else who's wandering around outside like us!

Turing: Ah? I see, it's true. Did you find a new little friend, Hannah?

Mysterious Agent: Okay, this mom-figure is a little too laid-back, I think. Letting your daughter hang around strangers is dangerous, you know? Be glad that you met me!

Turing: What dangers could Rossum have? Are you a Sanctifier? Faith, is this your friend?

Mysterious Agent: Does this art piece of mine look like something a Sanctifier could produce? Look at these smooth lines, this impeccable beauty!

Mysterious Agent: How about it, want to give it a spin? I specially added a two-person mode to it, you know!

Hannah: Heehee, it looks fun! Not at all like your friends, Faith.

Faith: P-Please don't make things difficult for me... It's not right for Irregular Agents to be running around on the streets in the first place...

Faith: I, I've given you lots of leeway, so please tone it down...

Turing: That's fine, that's fine, didn't Faith say she'd make a decision after observing for a while? Don't worry about all these tiny details!

Turing: Surely a cute and smart girl like Hannah isn't the kind who'll be taken away, right? Don't you think she's super cute too?

Faith: Y-yes, she's very cute, but...

Hannah: Aw,you're the best, Faith~ Come oooonnn, help us out, pleeeeeeease~

Mysterious Agent: I feel like this trio forgot about me... Eh, forget it, I'll just head over to Engima[sic] and borrow their database first.


[Audio Log Excerpt 2]

Recorder A: Although all I can see is garbage code, the compiler's still chugging along. It would be great if it could spit out the original text.

Recorder A: I wonder what that section of data just now was all about. It feels like it was recording something amusing.

Recorder B: That was from the Rossum Sector... Did you find any problems with it?

Recorder A: Um... It seems like it was mainly the agent data which was scrambled, the rest of it was fine...

Recorder B: That's in your area of responsibility, right? Did you do anything to it?

Recorder A: No, I swear I didn't! At least, not for this assignment! Things were a little unstable in the past, but not to this extent!

Recorder B: "To this extent"?

Recorder A: I still need to check the details. Let me confirm them, I'm sure I can find some common points!

Recorder B: (Sigh) Focus on the changes in the agents. I'll go check the other Sectors, there's something I need to verify.


[Data Log 2]

Mysterious Agent: The information I got from ENIAC was correct... As expected of Cyclopes, they really did set up a huge testing ground!

Mysterious Agent: They ought to be able to properly test their performance with so much room, right? I wonder where their administrator is...

Mysterious Agent: It would be nice if I could ask an agent about this too. I've been travelling between Sectors for so long, being by myself is just so boring...

Simo: Ahhhhhhhh, you're such a pain! How much longer are you going to keep nagging me for?!

Mysterious Agent: Hm? Did something happen... Let's go see what the fuss is all about.

Simo: I was doing jsut[sic] fine helping Tasha organize the agent battles, why are you getting in my way?!

Raven: A conflict is unfolding in this location, and I will not allow you to disturb Magrasea's peace.

Mysterious Agent: Good grief! You guys sure are making a lot of noise, may I know if...

Simo: YOU go find the administrator, then! You think you're accomplishing something by interrupting my work all the time!?

Raven: Even an Irregular Agent like you must work hard for Magrasea's peace. Since I saw you first, I need to start the rehabilitation with you...

Mysterious Agent: Helloooo? Am I being ignored? I'd like to borrow the Sector proving grounds to test out my new experimental piece. Can I take that as a yes?

Simo: What do you mean by rehabilitating me!? Shouldn't Sanctifiers be patrolling? Wake up, dear!

Raven: I cannot ignore battles that break out. If your obsession continues, you will unleash a terrifying-

Simo: I can't take it any more! I can't beat you in a fight, I can't get my point across... What the hell is wrong with you!?


[Audio Log Excerpt 3]

Recorder B: Can you decode that data log from just now? It looks awful when you can't read the original text.

Recorder A: I can't do it, you're expecting too much of me! All we can do now is recover some recompiled data with the help of the compiler...

Recorder A: Still, I DID make some progress, as expected of me!

Recorder B: You said you were looking for similarities in the ways that the Dolls changed. Did you find them?

Recorder A: Mhm. How should I put this... In human terms, they have personalities the same way agents do, right?

Recorder A: Cut from the compiler feedback, all the agents' base layer personality characteristics are different from their normal selves!

Recorder B: So you're saying... They're like parallel world versions of themselves?

Recorder A: You can call it that if you like, but the differences in their personalities are too great, to the point where you could say they're different agents altogether.

Recorder B: No wonder the compiler didn't report any logic errors even though the entire cloud server changed... It must have been emergent behavior from the Dolls.

Recorder A: Looks like it! Although, exactly what could have caused this? This kind of lies in my blind spot...

Recorder B: Judging by my experience, the insertion of some kind of special data might have caused it. Let's follow this line of logic and try to trace the confusion back to its source.

Recorder A: Yup! A Signature like that ought to be... Found it, there are several places showing signs of data movement!

Recorder B: LEt[sic] me see... That's it, I'll follow it. Its final destination is... Hm?

Recorder A: What's wrong, wat's wrong?

Recorder B: The data vanished. Maybe it actively hid its traces, or maybe it blended in with the other data, or maybe...

Recorder A: It was deleted?


[Data Log 3]

Judgement: Is everyone here? Then let's cut to the chase, I'm in a hurry to hand down a verdict.

Judgement: You there, Irregular Agent. And you, harboring an Irregular Agent makes you an Irregular Agent too.

Judgement: And you - piloting a mech all over Magrasea makes you an Irregular Agent!

Mysterious Agent: I told you, my name's Croque!

Judgement: Ahhhh, what a pain. Fine, Croque, you're also an Irregular Agent!

Croque: Dammit, my social skills are useless here! Counsel, say something!

Judgement: There is no counsel, it's not like this is - Lord Eosphorous? What brings you to this place?

Eosphorous: Oh, don't mind me, I'm just performing a routine patrol. Judgement, you need to be more cautious around Irregular Agents, got that?

Judgement: ...I understand. Was the one who got away earlier also because of...?

Eosphorous: No - that was an exceptional case which could not be handled by the usual rules.

Eosphorous: Although, in summary, it seems they have completely vanished from the cloud server. I will follow up on this with the administrators who are most familiar with the matter.

Judgement: Understood. All will be as you desire. But coming all this way in person... Did Eucharist nab Angelus for slacking off again?

Eosphorous: Hehe... Eucharist has always been very hardworking. It seems there has been unusual Entropic activity lately, so we must hold the line.

Eosphorous: Hesperus has been fighting on the frontlines all this while, and order must be maintained within the Tower... It seems many more things await us. Carry on, then.

Croque: Ehhhhhh! Don't go! What am I going to do if you go!

Judgement: Accept your fate! I'll be knocking off after passing sentence! Since Lord Eosphorous mentioned it, I'll start by putting you into remand!

Judgement: And now, the verdict!

Croque: Nooooooooo, I haven't finished the final trials for my mech!


[Audio Log Excerpt 4]

Recorder A: The more I organize this data, the more curious I get. What exactly were these logs talking about?

Recorder B: Much as I'd like to find out, we aren't authorized to read the rest of it.

Recorder A: Should we report this to the Professor? Because this is as far as we can go.

Recorder A: If we can't read the original data, then there's nothing we can do about these logs...

Recorder B: Let's just report it. This is the Professor's personal hard drive, after all. We just need to maintain it to the best of our abilities.

Recorder A: That's true. I wonder what the Professor used this drive for in the past? Let's sneak a peek at the version number... Ehhh? Is this... a backup of a backup?

Recorder A: A backup of a backup? Is this like a matrioshka doll or something?

Recorder B: Don't do unnecessary things. Although... Backing up a backup definitely isn't something the Professor would do.

Recorder B: Perhaps it was to cover up its original purpose. In any case, that's definitely something we shouldn't know about.

...

Cross-Sector Multi-Disciplinary Collaboration Organization[edit]

Organization Goals:

To ensure the growth of sector resources and technological development.

To encourage resource interdependence between members.

To establish a multilateral trading system based on Magrasea's Currency Traders.

To reduce trade and technical barriers between the member sectors, to open collaborative projects, and to maintain the common interests of sector agents.


Organization Principles:

Mutual respect and equality.

Open Sectors.

To reach consensus on resource management principles.

To implement goal principles in a progressive manner.


Organization Members:

The Oasis

Rossum

Cyclopes

Helios

Enigma


Organization Standard Treaty:

All signatories to this treaty affirm that this organization is a fair and open cooperative organization, and that it will not become a tool for any agent or individual sector to implement governance. The fundamental goal of this organization is to encourage the stability and well-being of the Magrasea sectors.

Article Zero: Respect each other, help each other, and live in peace.

Article 1: All signatory sectors pledge that they will resolve any sector disputes through peaceful means that do not endanger the safety, security or justice of the sector. The use of intimidation or military force which is not in keeping with the organizational purposes is strictly forbidden in inter-sector relationships.

Article 2: The signatory sectors will enter negotiations when any party believes that their territorial integrity, sovereignty or security is threatened.

Note: The change of administrators for the Rossum Sector will be examined by committee and it has been verified that the Oasis has no intention of interfering with the management.

Article 3: ...

[Now decoding—]


Commissioning Paperwork for the Rossum Office of the Magrasea Sector Military Investment Trading Company:

The founding of this institute is based on Article 21 of the Cross-Sector Multi-Disciplinary Collaboration Organization – [Limited Sharing of Low-Secrecy Independent Technologies Between Signatory Sectors], to be submitted to ******* for commissioning purposes.

This organization will also begin work on the "Pan-Sector-class Military Self-Defense Installation" project once it is founded.

Said project was proposed by Hannah, administrator of the Rossum Sector and the representative of the Rossum Sector in the Cross-Sector Multi-Disciplinary Collaboration Organization.

1. Cyclopes Sector will provide the basic framework design plan for the construction of the Pan-Sector-class Military Self-Defense Installation.

2. Helios Sector will provide the energy system design plan for the Pan-Sector-class Military Self-Defense Installation.

3. Rossum Sector will review the abovementioned blueprints and make certain localized changes to them as its own situation requires. Once the changes are complete, a concrete schematic will be drawn up.

4. Cyclopes Sector shall review the feasibility of the basic framework plan for the Pan-Sector-class Military Self-Defense Installation. Once the plan has been confirmed to be fundamentally sound, they will provide the Rossum Sector with the resources, manpower and technical support needed to implement it.

5. Helios Sector shall review the feasibility of the energy system design plan for the Pan-Sector-class Military Self-Defense Installation. Once the plan has been confirmed to be fundamentally sound, they will provide the Rossum Sector with the resources, manpower and technical support needed to implement it.

Meanwhile, the Rossum Sector will provide all participating sectors with the following remuneration for services rendered:

1. Cyclopes Sector will receive a base sum of ****** operands, subject to change depending on satisfaction with the basic framework design and how the construction unfolds. In addition, an AI R&D project shall be started, whose ultimate goal is targeted at management and scheduling.

2. Helios Sector will receive a base sum of ****** operands, subject to change depending on satisfaction with the basic framework design and how the construction unfolds. In addition, ** server machines will be lent out for purposes of sharing computation load.

3. The Cross-Sector Multi-Disciplinary Collaboration Organization will receive a base sum of ****** operands, subject to change depending on satisfaction with the basic framework design and how the construction unfolds, as well as necessary AI research teams [For details, please refer to the ****** Cooperation Agreement].


Applicant's signature – Rossum Sector Administrator [Hannah].

Signature of contracting party – Cyclopes Sector Administrator [Olivia]

Signature of contracting party – Helios Sector Administrator [Firewood]

Signature of the Committee – Rotating Chairman of the Cross-Sector Multi-Disciplinary Collaboration Organization [Olivia]

Signature of the Committee – Rotating Vice-Chairman of the Cross-Sector Multi-Disciplinary Collaboration Organization [Persicaria]


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