FHD Remix Chapter 2
Chapter 3: Forgotten Beasts; Familiar Mask; Silent Towers
She flies over the nameless battlefield, Tatakai dreams, still unable to remember her old name, nor those of any of her colleagues. She took off that evening to tackle an enormous monster that was threatening a village, had cut off its evacuation route. The enemy she fights against has no qualms about wiping out whole camps of refugees. She flies. She is supporting a squad who are armed with rifles. She is armed to the claws for this one. She has a rocket launcher on each of her grey wings and in her hands is the super-cannon she remembered dying with in her cocoon dream. In this memory, she does not remember the name of the beast, but somehow winds up refering to it as Hogosho (Japanese for Guardian.)
This monster is the size of a dump truck, walks on all fours and on her back is glowing veins as though her blood were liquid steel. As she trots along, her eyeless, earless head doesn't turn, but looking out for her are three glowing worms flying about ahead of her, with flashlight-like heads, each of these smaller creatures is about the size of a trash can, a bit more than a metre long.
There are several types of monsters on the ground, but the most dangerous to her squad, as well as being the easiest to take on the wing, are the enormous Bushi no Shito (Hellknight), which throw green fireballs capable of blowing a marine armored car to pieces. <There's only eight of them>, she thinks. Smaller, but far more dangerous to her, are the commandos with the chain guns. Watching their tracers trying to find her, she cuts loose a pair of her rockets and goes into a harsh right roll. Her team's sniper concentrates on them from a distance, switching ammo types with a big straight pull handle (this weapon does not exist in Doom 3.) She hears over the device she forgets is called a "radio" that his position has been compromised, and that he is in range of the Bushi fireballs. She comes in low over the field, able to line up four of the beasts, who are too busy dealing with her sniper friend to notice her. She empties her eight remaining rockets into the beasts, and lets loose a broadside quarter strength blast from her large cannon.
She lands in the midst of her squad, two of her colleagues nursing wounds that burn instead of bleed. She pops the bottle out of her super-cannon while slashing one of the small orange-fireball throwers (Imp) with her left alula claw. A colleague reloads her rocket launchers for her, anxious to see her back in the sky. Two others cap the Hogosho's glowing Sakigake (Seeker). She taps a rifleman with a primary, telling him to spare the little creature for a few seconds while she slams home a replacement bottle in the left side of her super-cannon.
"Tora! Tora! Tora!" she screams as she runs several paces in the direction of the Hogosho. (After she wakes, she'll realize that she was speaking a different language, and these weren't her actual words.) Her rifle colleague shoots the Sakigake creature, which goes dim and drops. The Hogosho calls for more as Tatakai lifts off, getting her alula claws back into her rocket launcher trigger loops. Flapping to gain altitude, she clears over sheets of fireballs emanating from the beast. The Hogosho's portal opens up as she charges her super-cannon. The Hogosho sees her way too late, rising high over its horizon in the angriest shade of flourescent green. Too late to change its mind over the portal it has opened above itself, the almost blind creature is almost totally unaware of anything other than Tatakai without its seekers. The green fireball separates from from Tatakai's super-cannon, which she then lets go of because it is too hot for her hands, letting it dangle from a lanyard she doesn't release in this flight. Six rockets pass the fireball on their way to the glowing blue portal above the Hogosho. She screams the name of a fallen friend, so silent is her voice in the dream. Tatakai the Haibane can feel the loss and rage of Tatakai the Featherwing in her mysterious dream.
The Hogosho screams as its portal is destroyed. It falls down and comes apart into flaming bits. Tatakai lands next to her sniper colleague, now deceased, his body torn apart by one of the smaller creatures. "Saviour!, we need you now!!" she cries as she surveys the human smithereens that used to be her marine squad. Without time enough to rest, hardly mourn, she raises the sniper's rifle to her shoulder and starts using it immediately, her super-cannon still too hot from the Hogosho.
Tatakai wakes from her dream in her room in the town of Glie, lying on her face, her small white wings spread from her shoulders. She has cut into her simple white gown, openings for the wings she had in her previous life. In gratitude, in mourning, or perhaps, just in case. Even she isn't so sure.
"Eight hours exactly," Kurai remarks dryly.
Tatakai, folds her new wings over her back, then sighs with a tear, <Now I have time to mourn, to rest after the battle, under the altar with my friends, waiting for the Saviour's return.>
She gets up, accepts Kurai's offer of hot water, which she then uses to clean her new body. As she cleans her wings, she misses a husband she can't remember, who cleaned her large grey wings for her. She misses cleaning his mottled red wings as well.
She goes up to the temple to visit the Communicator. (See Haibane Renmei Episode 3 to become familiar with the temple procedures.)
She stands there, with her bells on her wings and wrists. The old voice asks her, "You named yourself Tatakai (Battle) based on your cocoon dream? Is that correct."
Tatakai shrugs both wings. She wants to talk, ask a few questions of her own, she's really not in the mood for this silent formality that is being imposed on her.
"Really," says the old voice of the Communicator, "You need to learn to use your wings as part of your body."
Tatakai gives him a wry smile, one that says, "I'm not going to take this insult seriously." She flaps her wings once, and the bells disappear under her ventral coverts, silenced by her alula claws. Then she flaps vigorously several times, blowing leaves all around behind her. Extending both her arms, she twirls around on her feet one way, then the other, her wings making the proper movements to maneuver her if she were airborne on the wings of her previous life, a beautiful smile shines on her face, and the bells on her wrists still jingle. She pauses, facing the Communicator, flaps several times as she returns to the greeting position. With her wings fully spread, she releases the bells from her claws, bows slightly, then folds them neatly over her back in a way no other Haibane has done before.
"Impressive display," the Communicator says. Tatakai quickly extends her left wing, jiggling the bells vigorously. An emphatic "NO!" according to temple procedures.
"Explain!" he barks.
Tatakai pulls from inside her simple robe a drawing of herself in her previous life, featherwings properly deployed, in actual flight.
"You may speak," the Communicator says.
"I could really fly. I was a warrior in the last battle; killed in action. The battle must have been lost. A question please?"
The Communicator (more casual than in the Haibane Renmei series; this is not the same person), responds, "What is your question, Feather Tatakai?"
"Do you know the Saviour?" she asks, "He is why my wings are white."
Tatakai rapidly dresses as she listens to the scratched briefing. An ordinary human would see her screen as blank and hear nothing from her computer's speakers. To her, it is Hogosho Kurato, UAC's Director of Science Operations.
"Your instructor has been assigned as the Counsellor's bodyguard, as usual. The Board is expecting trouble obviously."
"Why do you need me?" she mutters aloud. She continues to question the orders mostly because she knows the Director of Science Operations can't possibly hear her, ten light minutes away from the Training Center on Marine Station Two. He's on Earth, she's on a space station, and she likes the ability to talk back with impunity. "With Campbell, they have lots of firepower, and I've never seen the guy miss ... what more do you need?"
He continues, "But we need a featherwing," he explains. "The Saviour specifically asked for you. I've enclosed briefing materials for you. You aren't supposed to know any of this." The screen goes blank, but soon comes up with the first of the briefing videos.
"What you see before you is a relic codenamed U-1, or simply Soul Cube. It was discovered in 2104..." the video continues.
Tatakai knows in her heart that he's right. She has her own channel to the Saviour, one that is not limited to the speed of light. She feels Hogosho praying for her in her wings.