“Here we are again, Oceania-side soldiers. How many times is this again?”
Private Heivia Winchell muttered those words while smearing black and sand colors on his cheeks. Needless to say, this was a type of desert camouflage.
“It sure doesn’t feel like February. In a certain island nation, they give the sexy guys chocolate on Valentine’s, right!? That kind of lovely event would’ve been perfect for me! What happened!? Then again, getting a ton of chocolate in this horrid heat might qualify as harassment.”
In an age of sensors and other electronics on even the smallest guns, types of camouflage had been developed specifically for that age. What Heivia was smearing on his face had chemical compounds that prevented sensors from detecting his exposed skin.
He leaned up against the fence surrounding the maintenance base zone and continued applying his “makeup”. Ten or so soldiers were gathered around him and also preparing.
A short female soldier named Myonri held her face paint case in both hands and hesitantly spoke up.
“U-um, what am I supposed to do with this again?”
“You’re doing it all wrong, virgin girl. You can’t make the color so dark around your eyes! The whites of your eyes show up the most, so you have to leave the color light around them to blend them in. You gradually grow darker as you move out. You can’t have any sudden changes in color.”
“If we put camouflage on here, won’t we trap the sand in with it?”
“We’re about to start a battle, so I’d be more worried about being covered in mud and bloody vomit,” said Heivia in annoyance.
Meanwhile, he grabbed a bandanna with a large crescent moon pattern.
As each of them finished applying their “makeup”, they tied on the bandannas so it covered the lower half of their face like bank robbers in a Western. The crescent moon was positioned just right to look like a large slit of a mouth.
“That’s such a terrible taste.”
“What matters is that it shows up well.”
As he listened to Myonri, Heivia grabbed his assault rifle and pulled out the magazine. He looked down at the rifle bullets held in place with a clasp.
While feeling annoyed at his one friend’s hesitation, Heivia stuck the magazine back in the rifle and pulled back the cocking lever to load the first bullet. He then brought his radio to his mouth.
“Team A is ready. What about the others?”
“You’re the last ones, slowpokes. Teams B-D are all ready. We can begin on your signal.”
Heivia glanced over at Myonri.
Instead of a heavy weapon like a light machine gun or assault rifle, she held a small and lightweight PDW like a pilot would carry in case of an emergency landing. It was commonly known as a “full auto in a business bag”.
But she was not carrying the lightweight weapon because she was a girl.
It was because her other equipment was quite heavy.
“How’s the scissor opener?”
“I tested it three times. It really scares me to carry it around.”
“Not being slowed down by a door can make all the difference. You’re our lifeline, so bear with it.”
“This tool stabs a giant pair of scissors into the gap of the door using explosives and then uses a motor to forcibly crush the lock. Did you ever think about what happens if it goes off by accident while I’m carrying it on my back?”
“It’d be your own damn fault. If you weren’t earning all those weird qualifications, you wouldn’t be stuck with all the odd equipment.”
As he spoke, Heivia turned toward the direction of their objective.
He was not looking outside the maintenance base zone.
He was looking to the inside.
He pointed his assault rifle toward the people who he would normally have called his allies.
In the end, humans had a way of searching for enemies within if there were no enemies outside.
“Okay, let’s make this flashy. Our objective is the princess. Let’s kill her before she can get aboard the Object!!”
“Good, good. Everything’s going as planned. We can hear everything they’re saying.”
Inside the maintenance base zone, a base made up of over one hundred large vehicles, Battlefield Student Quenser Barbotage grinned. He held a military radio over which he could hear the “enemy” clear as day.
“You damn traitors. We’ll kill every single one of you.”
“Hey, can you really do that?”
A woman next to him let out an exasperated sigh. She specialized in barrier duty which meant she was one of the Black Uniforms who dealt with criminals within the military. She had introduced herself, but he had forgotten what her name was.
He lightly shook the military radio.
“It’s their fault for forgetting they’re traitors and therefore are using the same equipment. Even if the fools changed the encryption, it’s still the same format, so there’s still a risk of us intercepting it.”
They were near the center of the maintenance base zone made up of a large convoy. Quenser was hiding behind and leaning up against a wheel larger than the door to a bank vault. He was using a black military knife to draw a simple map in the sand.
“Heivia and his group are near the southern gate. They’ve already snuck into the base’s grounds while pretending to be innocent. Meanwhile, the princess is a bit south of the center. She’s receiving body maintenance in the special lodgings for the pilot Elite. They’re definitely going to attack there.”
“Once Miss Milinda Brantini enters the Baby Magnum she is almost invincible. After all, that Object is made to withstand a direct nuclear strike. So…”
“They’ll block the path from the special lodgings to the Object hangar.”
Quenser scraped X-marks into the sand along a few routes.
The blonde-haired, large-breasted Black Uniform frowned.
“But the traitors can’t just move about as they please. The watchtowers will spot them outside. If they simply pursue the Elite, they will be shot down by light machineguns.”
“Then they’ll take out the watchtowers!”
Sounds resembling champagne corks being removed rang out across the Oceanian wasteland. Quenser looked up and saw a few thirty centimeter parachutes opening in the sky. They looked like children’s fireworks, but they were not. Instead of a weight, they had a small camera attached.
“Here they come!!” shouted the Black Uniform woman.
“Ah, damn! Shoot them down before they designate the coordinates!!”
Just as Quenser tried to shout into his military radio, the Black Uniform grabbed him by the back of the neck and dove down to the sandy ground. The beautiful woman was lying on top of him, so two soft objects were pressed against his back. Nothing could have made him happier.
But such ephemeral joys had a way of being quickly destroyed.
Quenser heard a roar and saw the real attack hit the top of a nearby watchtower. The midair cameras had specified the coordinates and then the shells had been fired. It was a stereotypical and by-the-book use of mortars.
However, what happened next was not in the textbook.
For some reason, the top of the watchtower was covered in a sticky, white liquid.
Quenser and the Black Uniform woman began to tremble.
They finally realized what the rebels had done.
“Th-that bastard!! Did he take the red paint out of the paint rounds and replaced it with white!? And he turned it into a disturbingly sticky liquid!”
“Eee!! It smells funny and won’t come out of my hair!”
Quenser did not even need the radio to hear the screams of the female soldier with guard duty who had held a light machinegun in the watchtower.
The rebels seemed to be following the standard theory of making the most of the initial confusion of the attack. The sounds of assault rifle gunfire could be heard from multiple directions.
“M-my guess is all of their paint rounds will be like that, but what do you think?”
“I agree 100%,” said Quenser.
“In that case, I think you should clear an escape path to protect my dignity as a woman!! The battlefield cameramen of this peaceful world are aiming bazooka-like cameras our way, remember? I don’t want to be on the cover of a newsletter with my face covered in that sticky stuff!!”
“Guys don’t want to be splattered with sticky, white stuff either! In a way, it’s even worse for us than for the girls!!”
But shouting at each other was not going to bring an end to the battle.
Quenser sheathed his fake military knife that had a black, rubber blade and began to move with the Black Uniform woman.
Froleytia Capistrano was a silver-haired, big-breasted highly-ranked soldier. As she smoked her kiseru in the operation control room, she responded to a question from one of her subordinates.
“Well, if you didn’t seriously want to avoid being hit, no one would fight seriously.”
Simulation Number 101 (b).
Eliminate the rebels from within the unit ASAP while guiding and protecting the pilot Elite.
“Hee hee hee hee hee! If we take out the princess, we’re freed from those tasteless rations for a week! We can eat as much roast beef and garlic shrimp as we want!!”
Heivia and the others were traveling beneath the vehicles. That was an alternate way through the maintenance base zone which was made up of over one hundred vehicles. The vehicles left a space of over two meters above the ground, so they could remain standing as they ran and they could hide behind the giant wheels.
Myonri pointed her PDW here and there while moving cautiously and occasionally coughing.