Interlude: I, Mecha

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6 years ago...

Arnold was still wearing his training gear. With black shorts and maroon shirt stained with sweat, he handed the folder over to the woman engineer who skimmed through the file.

"Have you seen the report?" Arnold asked.

She looked at the summary page. "Looks like a stuck command box?"

Arnold nodded. "We already know that though. The combat engineers already looked at it."

Miu Hotaru was the young woman he walked next to. She strode around in a green engineer's overall. Her brown hair was tied into a short bun protruding from a green beanie. Her thick black boots thumped against the metal floor.

She asked, "What did they say?"

"The com-en? Something about the fight shorting out the command box, so the Regalia mech is now stuck on Shou's command signal."

"And you want me to what? Break the connection?"

"That would be nice. It'll be another ten days before a new command box arrives. Don't want him stuck on Reggie's back if there's a fight."


"Yeah... he started calling the mech, Reggie."

"That doesn't seem healthy," she noted in worry.

"He's convinced the mech is alive," Arnold laughed at the words leaving his mouth. "Machines, right?"

Miu was attentively looking at the folder he had handed to her, this time flipping and stopping every other page, clearly scanning through the details and statistics.

He raised a brow. "What's wrong?"

"Huh?" She looked up, almost surprised he was still there. "Oh. Nothing. Just... where's Shou and... Reggie?"

"They're in the hangar. He insists on showing the thing magic tricks and weird toys. Maybe you want to explain to Shou that it's all just tech and gizmos?"

"Yeah. Sure. Let's head over there."

She followed him through the building's corridors. Past the indoor barracks where the Titan Hunters trained, they headed through an open foyer towards the extended wing of the main building. Made of a variety of silver metal, the building shone through each step, the lightbars above head reflected on the spotless floor. Stepping through an automatic double door into the mechanic's wing, the scenery immediately changed. The walls were still of the same silver metal, but the ground was concrete at the side and tar in the middle. Under the tall ceiling were rows of mechs - from parts to full smaller models - housed in neat rows and partitioned in their makes by a metal fence that could extend and retract from the ground. Between each support pillars of the seemingly endless hangar were gantry cranes that could lift the parts or mechs up through the skyroof to the aboveground dock where they were assembled and deployed. Given the late hours, the only mechanics on duty were those inspecting the far corners of the hangar.

Sitting on the ground at the front of a row of Regalia models was Shou, who was surrounded by junks and trinkets. His white hoodie overlaid his combat slacks of mud brown shirt and black cargo pants. He looked up as they approached and his eyes widened in childish excitement, hair glistening under the heavy tube lighting.

"Hey! You two are just in time. Watch this!" He randomly picked up an oversize novelty mug and held it out front.

Before him, towering over them at the height of two bus length was Reggie the Regalia mech. Its armour had been stripped as it awaited repairs to its command box and bio-cell. In the meantime, it looked like a skeleton outfitted with metal muscles, though its damaged head had been replaced by a winged sensor helmet that acted as its 'face'.

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