July 3rd, U.C. 0043
The Weeaboo Federation is unique among the nations of Earth in that it still builds and operates human-driven cars. Even ‘Murica, a country which values individual freedom more than any other nation, does not permit its citizens to drive their own vehicles. Of course, the Federation isn’t blind to the problems caused by human-driven cars, so they build computerized fail-safe systems into each and every vehicle. These systems activate to prevent collisions, stopping or steering the car just enough to prevent injury or property damage.
Cars issued to police, military personnel, and certain others have an emergency override mode which can be activated to allow the car to intentionally crash into a target. As an important cog in the Weeaboo war machine, Jeanne had naturally been issued a military transport car, but it was never expected that she would need to activate the emergency override.
“IKEEEEEEEEE!” Jeanne screamed, and the car took off towards the Soviet monstrosity lumbering towards her. Carrying an unconscious Aina in one arm, she ran across the underground parking garage, firing her pistol wildly in the direction of her pursuer, trying to slow him down as much as possible. The shots missed their mark, but prevented him from diving out of the path of the oncoming car, and the parking garage’s low ceiling prevented him from jumping over it. With no other options, he braced himself to catch it.
Jeanne reached Jacques Dufort’s car and fumbled in her pocket for her husband’s keys. A few moments later, she had the door open and was ready to make her escape. The hood of Jeanne’s car slammed into the Soviet’s bare palms, but with his strength—the people’s strength—he managed to hold it at bay. Pushing back against the car, he began lifting the front wheels off the ground, preparing to flip the car over. But before he could finish, Jacques’s car crashed into him from behind, and he fell backwards onto it, pulling Jeanne’s car down on top of him.
In retrospect, preserving Voskoboynikov’s body hadn’t been worth the risk. Jeanne knew she could trust her own people, but the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department was too big to keep a secret, and once the KGB learned what happened to Voskoboynikov, they didn’t have a hard time figuring out what had happened to Kharmats and Zakharchenko.
As Jeanne exited the parking garage, she felt her mobile phone vibrate. Without stopping to catch her breath, she answered it.
“Dufort-san,” came the voice of a young woman through the speaker, “hold position. We have a fix on you and are coming to evacuate.”
“Negative,” Jeanne wheezed. “Can’t stop.”
“Maintain your present course. We’ll catch up to you.” The phone went silent. Jeanne traded her phone for her pistol. She couldn’t be sure this wasn’t a Soviet trick.
A minute later, a black car screeched to a halt alongside Jeanne and the back door opened to reveal three meido and an empty seat. Recognizing Yasuko and Masa, she quickly climbed into the back of the car. She didn’t have time to close the door before Yasuko pressed the accelerator to the floor.
“It’s nice to see you again, Dufort-san,” Yasuko greeted her. “I’m sorry it couldn’t be under better circumstances.”
“Likewise,” Jeanne replied.
“We don’t have time for this,” Masa, who was sitting next to Jeanne, interrupted. “Ma’am, we need to know what’s going on.”
“A meido always has time for manners—” Yasuko began.
“Of course.” Jeanne straightened herself up, assuming a commanding posture. “We were attacked by three Soviet monstrosities. All security personnel are confirmed dead, one teki is confirmed dead, one was most likely killed in an explosion, and one was seriously wounded by a car and may be dead.” Jeanne wanted to blame the GSDF soldiers for only killing one of the Soviets, but the paltry security detail never expected to face a threat of that magnitude, and she was impressed that they had not only managed to bring one monstrosity down, but also slow the other two long enough to get most nonmilitary personnel to safety. Even if they looked like normal humans, Soviet monstrosities were the pinnacle of weaponized bioengineering. Still, if they had managed to repulse the attack, Jacques might still be with her.
“We confirmed the deaths of two Soviets,” the meido riding shotgun interjected. Jeanne recognized her voice from the phone call. She spoke evenly and unemotionally.
“Very well. Arigatou gozaimasu, Dufort-san,” Yasuko said. “If you would kindly direct us to where we might collect your husband, we can be on our way.”
“My husband?” The request had caught Jeanne off-guard.
“When we spoke on the phone, you were very insistent that you would only bequeath Aina to us if we saved you and your husband. ‘You have to get us out of here, my husband and I, or no deal.’”
Jeanne didn’t remember saying that, but she had made the call during the confusing first few minutes of the attack, and she could imagine herself making just such a demand in a panicked state of mind.
“The situation has changed. Our first priority is getting Aina to safety. The rescue team can handle the rest,” Jeanne ordered. In truth, Jeanne desperately wanted to go back and look for Jacques. She imagined him, buried under a pile of rubble, bleeding to death before the rescue team could find him. In her fantasy, they could still save him in time if they acted now. But her military training wouldn’t allow it. Any rescue attempt would be foolish, and she knew that he probably hadn’t survived the blast.
“Good,” Masa said. “I’ve got better things to do than hang around this dump.”
“Oh?” came the voice of the meido in the front passenger seat. “Do you have another date with your right hand?”
The delivery of the joke was as monotonic as everything else she said. Masa, however, began laughing as if it was delivered with expert comedic timing. She leaned forward and gave Yasuko a gentle punch on the shoulder.
“Isn’t that great? I taught her that!” Masa exclaimed.
“Dufort-san, I’m terribly sorry,” Yasuko rushed to apologize. “I can assure you Aina-san will not be exposed to this kind of crass behavior. We will raise her to be polite and respectable. Soshite the same goes for certain other immature hito in this car.”
“Oh come on,” replied Masa. “Naze do we have to be polite around her? She’s not our goshujin-sama, even if she acts like it, calling us out here to fight her private sensou. We’ve never gone through this much trouble just for one kid. She better be worth it.”
Yasuko briefly took her eyes off the road to glimpse Aina in the rear-view mirror. “Speaking of Aina-san”, Yasuko ventured, “is she hurt? How long has she been unconscious?”
“Yeah,” Masa growled. “You’re not trying to push defective goods on us, are ya?”
“She’s fine,” Jeanne reassured them. “She’s just anesthetized, and she should be up in an hour or two.”
Jeanne didn’t want to offer any more information about Aina’s condition, and sensing this, the meido didn’t press the matter.
“That’s ii then,” Yasuko stated. “Now, shall we discuss your compensation?”
It was another question that caught Jeanne off-guard. She and Jacques had previously convinced themselves that they were not so much selling their daughter as they were entrusting her to someone who could keep her safe. They had planned to decline any compensation offered, and to instead ask that Aina be allowed to attend university when she was older, at her goshujin-sama’s expense.
At that moment, however, Jeanne was distraught, grieving, and angry, and the idea of compensation was very tempting. The Soviets had taken her entire family away from her in a matter of hours. She wanted revenge, and the goshujin caste had access to the kinds of weapons that could help her get it.