Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
The content of the fourth round of practical training didn’t sound complicated.
All pilots were divided into two teams, the training was divided into two sections: the first was a drill, mecha filled with simulated ammunition for exercises, similar to normal military exercises. The two sides were against each other, and the final decision was made based on the area covered by the simulated ammunition and the number of pilots remaining.
The losing side would be eliminated, except for those who perform exceptionally well.
The winning side had a new test, which varied from year to year, depending on the situation.
Only those who passed all the training would become part of the base and have their own mecha.
The ship docked at the side, and after a count, the mecha were numbered, divided into groups, and began the final checks.
Lin Han hadn’t checked his mecha before because of the late boarding time, but before the official start, Lin Han received his number and went to Ji Meng’s mecha for insurance purposes.
Lin Han entered Ji Meng’s mecha cabin, the other side was humming something softly. Clearly, he was already a major in rank, but Ji Meng’s voice was the same as his name, with a clear sense of youth. The tune he was humming sounded like a ballad of some years ago. The melody had an exotic accent, like a memory, but also like a story.
“…Young man walking outside the woods.”
“I met the young man for the first time, the clouds and shadows wandered together.”
“…He fell in love…” Lin Han only heard a few lines vaguely before Ji Meng stopped and nodded towards him with some embarrassment. “Mr. Lin, I’m sorry.”
Lin Han returned the smile, “It’s very nice.”
“Really?” Ji Meng then also smiled, showing small tiger teeth, “I heard the song when I was studying, I can’t even remember its name. I heard it was passed down from a long time ago, and I liked it so much that I added it to the mecha’s player.”
Lin Han said “really”, and after receiving a glowing look from the other side, he went to his mecha pod and helped him debug it.
Ji Meng’s advanced mecha, which Lin Han had developed with a colleague two years ago, featured a twin cannon that could freely switch between a light-speed pulse cannon for melee combat and a cluster laser cannon for long-range use in a very short time of energy storage. The defense system had also been enhanced, although not as well known as the Aegis, but compared to many similar mecha it was still on top.
Lin Han suddenly asked curiously, “Do you have a name for your mecha?”
Ji Meng seemed to freeze for a moment before saying, “Yes.” He looked as if he thought back to something, “I was laughed at before, saying that my mecha’s was as feminine as my name.”
Perhaps Ji Meng’s name really did subject him to a lot of gossip, Lin Han paused, “It’s okay not to tell me, sorry.”
“Redberry.” But Ji Meng took the initiative to say, “Its name is Redberry.” Ji Meng asked with some urgency, “Does it sound weird?”
“No.” Lin Han softened his voice, “It’s a good name. It must also have a meaning.”
Lin Han lightly clicked on the console and heard a soft female voice coming from the mecha AI system——
“Redberry k1, self-test program has been initiated.”
Some AI voice programs could be artificially set, so Ji Meng nervously glanced at Lin Han and found that the other didn’t mind his voice system in any way, which put his mind at ease. Because it was a drill, the load was simulated, the defense piece wasn’t specially improved, only the usual equipment was continued, but it was enough.
Lin Han checked the console and internal systems, confirmed that there were no surprises and left the mecha cabin and returned to the warship deck.
As for the calibration of the new pilots, due to the heavy workload, they were usually checked by the base first, and only if there were any accidents would they be reported to the specially hired mecha repairer. Lin Han didn’t receive any abnormal reports, and the entire boarding process was guarded, everything was done according to the process.
In addition to the prospective pilots who were in dire need of examination, the battleship also had some base sergeants on board, not many but half of them were from the elite team, just in case there might be an unexpected situation. In addition, Wen TianYao as the prince also brought a wave of his own elite, together with the battleship.
Ji Meng soon also walked down from his mecha.
Lu AnHe said hello to him, after all, the two of them only saw each other once a year, there were always too many things to talk about. Lu AnHe also had an unconventional and unrestrained nature, hiking Ji Meng’s shoulders and talking endlessly, from small things about the base to what snacks they had recently stocked up on, from training routine to Aegis’ shield.
And Ji Meng just continued smiling and listening, not interrupting, only occasionally when he needed to respond, he was very cooperative and added a few words here and there.
“Really, it’s too hard for me,” Lu AnHe cried in front of Ji Meng, “just this time, almost, twice, I’m going to lose my wife—”
Ji Meng naturally knew who the ‘wife’ Lu AnHe was talking about and asked, “What’s wrong?”
Lu AnHe cried out, “She was almost torn apart!”
Ji Meng didn’t know the reason and said naturally, “But Mr. Lin is here, so if there’s really a problem, you can ask him to fix her.”
“…” Lieutenant Colonel Lu couldn’t say anything, after all, how unrestrained he was, he could not tear down his boss’s stage, telling him that it was because of Mr. Lin that his wife fell into the tiger’s mouth twice, and had to say, “Next time, I will.”
Ji Meng thought such a Lu AnHe was very interesting, looking at him he began to laugh.
Lu AnHe glared at him, but couldn’t really get angry, so he had to helplessly pretend to vent and pat Ji Meng’s back, “Come on old Ji! You only know how to laugh at me.”
“After all these years, you’re still like this.”
But the two didn’t last long, soon after the count was completed, He YunTing came out of the captain’s room, Ji Meng saluted him and returned to his post.
The first Alpha and Beta two-team exercise, since it was still in the border area near the Empire, open and barely safe, so it usually didn’t require the commander to go down personally, they just had to maintain close communication with the front line.
Ji Meng still looked back this way when he was returning to his team, Ye Ling was waving at him, and Lu AnHe was also squinting at him and comparing mouth patterns, not knowing what code words he was saying.
At this moment, Lin Han suddenly remembered the song he had just heard in the mecha cabin.
Lin Han may not know who the teenagers he was singing about were, but at least at this moment, they had all participated in each other’s youth.
The Alpha and Beta groups were divided, and Qi Jiamu was placed in the Alpha group, assigned the most conventional QT mecha. None of the mechas were identical, but to ensure fairness, there was no great disparity in functionality, and the main test was the level of operation of the pilots themselves.
Ji Meng re-boarded his brand new “Redberry” and led the Alpha and Beta teams to their standby positions as the lead pilot.
Redberry’s mission this time, in addition to close real-time reporting of the training situation, was also a task in the Alpha and Beta groups as a jammer, his mecha didn’t belong to either team, but no matter which team, if they could successfully hit the “Redberry” with a simulated bomb, and the attack was judged to be effective, then the team could get a high amount of extra points.
But generally not many people could get this extra point, after all, it was the first time they participated in practical training, so barely completing the task in the thin atmosphere and gravity was good, but not many people could run after Redberry, and get an extra point.
With the Alpha and Beta groups in position, Ji Meng also returned to his position.
He reported to the battleship over the comm, “Redberry K1, pilot Ji Meng, ready.”
“Command ship vice captain, Ye Ling, ready.”
“Command ship communicator, Lu AnHe, ready.”
“Command ship mecha division, Lin Han, ready.”
All positions were reported one by one, and within a short silence of the communicator, an icy voice rang out.
“Command ship, Chief Commander, He YunTing. Let the maneuvers begin.”
Both groups of pilots went out, some of them really still couldn’t immediately adapt to the strong weightlessness here, and after starting the engines there were even two or three mecha that couldn’t fly properly and were staggering and about to fall over.
Some of the more gifted pilots succeeded at once, and their mecha left the ground and rose and accelerated rapidly, beginning to move toward the target.
On the battleship, everyone was staring at every move of the prospective pilots.
Wen TianYao also came up, but in order not to interfere with the exercise, he just watched in silence and didn’t make a sound.
‘Redberry’ rose to a safe position, observing the actions of the two groups, while reporting to the battleship, “The two groups are about to rendezvous, Group A eliminated one by itself, in Group B two pilots abstained due to physical discomfort, report complete.”
“Roger, continue with the mission.” Lu AnHe replied.
Soon, after a short adaptation period, the two groups drew together, and some members chose to flank them, trying to steal one or two mecha from the other side.
All tactics were allowed, as long as you could lead your group to victory in this maneuver.
Group B had a mecha take the lead.
It spotted a certain mecha in Group A that was trying to shut down its radar system to get further with Group B. The pilot made a snap decision, unleashed its pulse gun, and attacked the other group straight on.
The mecha of Group A was trying to counterattack, however, it might have been because the pilot wasn’t very skilled or just ended up making a mistake, but when they failed to dodge, the defensive shield wasn’t set up either, so it was simply hit by the mecha of Group B. The simulated bullet with no killing power made a soft sound when it touched the metal surface, and then burst open on the surface of the mecha of Group A.
“Group A, M15, eliminated.”
The pilot on the M15 probably didn’t expect to be pronounced so dryly, the mecha arm had only just been raised, and he couldn’t even shoot a stray bullet before it was announced.
The M15’s pilot resigned himself to a slow descent, while the Group B that hit it scored extra points for its success.
The Group B pilot maneuvered the mecha arm and did a fist bump.
“It’s a little intense this time.” Lu AnHe looked at the M15 that had withdrawn its equipment.
At the same time, the Group B pilot refloated and probably got lucky and spotted ‘Redberry’ on the side! The mecha immediately started to recharge its energy, trying to use the same method as before to hit Redberry and get extra points!
But Ji Meng wasn’t a new recruit like M15, he had already sensed his opponent’s intentions, and easily avoided the simulated bullets coming at him in the air.
After that, no matter how hard that Group B mecha tried, it couldn’t attack him even a little.
Ye Ling couldn’t help but laugh, “How does it feel that the old quarter is playing with the newcomers?”
“This isn’t his favorite time of year.” Lu AnHe also said, “Not many can hit him, but because they want to get extra points, they finally put the cart before the horse, and others stole the ass. This kind of drama can be seen every year, too common.”
But this time the Group B mecha wasn’t so stupid, after discovering that there was a strength disparity between himself and Ji Meng, he decisively chose to give up and continue to look for the next target of Group A.
At this moment, a new cluster of Group A’s mechas also arrived one after another.
“Group A M34, eliminated.”
“Group A M09, eliminated.”
Ji Meng kept reporting the results of the exercise on the communicator.
Lu AnHe was a bit puzzled, “No way… this year’s Group A is so weak? Three units have been eliminated, and none of them have fired a single shot, so all of them are cold.”
He YunTing was still staring at the battle situation, his eyebrows were tightly knit. The pilot who had eliminated three Group A mecha in a row was clearly excited, his entire body and mecha were in a state of feverish exuberance.
Suddenly, a mecha from Group A suddenly accelerated from some direction and rushed over.
The Group B pilot reacted quickly and immediately fired two shots at each other, but this time the Group A pilot was different from the others and dodged them one by one with agility.
It didn’t even have to make a move, nor did it need to open its defensive shield, the other side couldn’t even touch him.
“There’s something about this guy.” Lu AnHe took a look at the number, Group A M21.
The M21, which was fighting with Group B suddenly discovered ‘Redberry’ that was watching not far away, and immediately intended to leave Group B behind, with its engine roaring, and rushed over to Ji Meng’s side.
“What?” Lu AnHe opened his mouth wide, “He’s still followed by the enemy, this is not even a real fight. So you want the Old Ji’s extra points?”
Ji Meng laughed lightly in the communicator; “It’s okay, I’m watching.”
As if he had decided that Ji Meng was his target, M21 nimbly dodged the attack behind him while activating the mecha’s advanced attack level.
It was possible to activate the mecha’s attack level during drills, but since the internships were all simulated rounds, the power was actually much the same, and people would generally prioritize the pursuit of a hit rather than bothering to activate a higher level.
Lin Han suddenly felt something was wrong at this moment.
Perhaps it was mecha master’s intuition, he saw the main cannon on the M21’s chest begin to accumulate energy, emitting a dazzling white light—
No, that wasn’t good.
Simulated ammunition didn’t have such a bright light.
Lin Han’s heart fluttered, and he didn’t have time to think about anything else, but stood up abruptly and said into his communicator, “Ji Meng! Quickly open the light shield defense—”
Before his words fell, at the same time, everyone heard a deafening boom over the border area.
Silence fell over the surrounding area.
The pilot inside the M21 didn’t even seem to react to what was happening, hanging rigidly in the air.
It wasn’t like some training bomb, but… It was a real, heavy metal mega particle main gun used in combat.
The explosion rang out in the sky.
“Beep, beep, beep.“
The communication belonging to Redberry was cut off.
“Redberry K1, Redberry K1, please respond when you hear me!”
“Redberry K1’s emergency procedures are applied and its cockpit pilot protection automatically turned on.”
“Redberry K1, do you copy? Please respond.”
Lu AnHe’s voice was shaking, and he could no longer communicate in standard mode. “Can you hear me?”
“Old Ji, answer me!”
Lin Han, who had been deaf for a short time, had no time to say anything else, but opened the emergency link between the mecha — an emergency visual message sent by a superior ship to a potentially damaged mecha after an accident, with a special key that didn’t require a direct response from the corresponding mecha.
He tried to be calm, his hands smoothly entering the program one at a time.
Three minutes later, the interfering items were eliminated. The original harsh noise disappeared, and the emergency video message with mecha reopened.
Lin Han was too late to see the sudden tightening of He YunTing’s lips, nor could he see Lu AnHe’s suddenly red eyes.
The video message from “Redberry” suddenly appeared in front of everyone.
In the clear color video, Ji Meng was still wearing the pilot suit, but the tightly closed eyes and no signs of life fluctuation curve cruelly announced the facts.
His shield had opened, but he simply didn’t know that the other side opened the highest level of attack in wartime. Even if the pilot self-rescue system didn’t pop out, with only the lowest layer of light shield opened, it simply couldn’t prevent the attack of a heavy metal mega particle cannon.
Ji Meng’s internal organs were shattered in a moment, even the pain was too late, as if he was asleep, excluding the blood flowing from the corners of the mouth, hardly any injuries could be seen on his body.
The room was full of silence.
They could no longer hear Ji Meng’s voice.
In its place, only the player that had been echoing in the communicator, which hadn’t yet had time to turn off.
Lin Han’s heart choked.
That was the ballad he had heard before, the one Ji Meng had hummed under his breath.
The program was cold, it did not know the pilot’s condition, still in the previously set system, week after week, playing the pilot’s life before the choice, the melody of the winding and melodious.
“By a small river near the field, flowers bloom.
“I strolled with a young boy outside the woods.”
“But we both had to part after all—”
“I keep walking, silent, without any words.”
“I can’t say my parting words…”
At some point, a butterfly stirred its wings.
The author has something to say:
The ballad, the main idea comes from is the classic Russian ballad “红莓花儿开”, ой цветет калина, Oh, Kalina’s Blooming 1but recently Mao Jianli has a cover, but also very poke me, interested in listening to a qwq
The feeling, the emotional line without a knife! (Kneel down)
Don’t scold me! This setting is important!! QAQ!!!
Ji Meng’s heart is considered a white space, he can be anyone.