Develop 123

Chapter 123 The True Identity of Niya and Her Friends

Edited by: Kanaa-senpai

 Unexpected events continued to occur, but somehow the situation was resolved without anyone from our side suffering any major injuries.

 Zora, who was taken hostage, seemed to have suffered a psychological shock, and we decided to find out why she had attempted to enter the laboratory at a later time.

 Although one reason for her shock could have been the fact that she almost died, the moment she witnessed a human arm being crushed right in front of her eyes was probably what had the biggest impact on her psyche.

 Immediately after, I received healing magic to treat my injuries and changed into a clean set of clothes before heading towards the office where Niya-san was waiting.

 ”Niya-san, I’m sorry to keep you waiting…”

 The first thing that caught my eyes when I opened the door of my office was the figure of Niya-san standing still in front of my desk.

 ”Have you been standing there this whole time?”

 ”Well, I couldn’t possibly sit in Master Neil’s chair and there were no other chairs around here,” replied Niya-san.

 I had made a mistake when saying that the office was a place where we could speak calmly. While it was true that I used the desk and chair here, no other seating was present in the office as it was primarily reserved for clients.

 ”I apologize for not considering that. Let’s proceed to the reception room and talk there.”

 ”No, it’s alright. I don’t mind standing,” said Niya-san.

 ”But the conversation will likely be complicated, and it must be tiring to stand for such a long time,” I pointed out.

 ”It’s not a problem. I’m used to standing for long periods,” said Niya-san.

 I couldn’t bring myself to insist that we move to the reception room after being told that, so I suggested that we have our conversation in the office instead. Just then, Niya-san spoke up.

 ”Although it’s not exactly compensation, there’s one thing I would like to ask.”

 ”What is it?”

 ”What I’m about to tell you is a secret that nobody else knows, and I don’t want it spread around. I only want to tell Master Neil only.”

 ”I refuse. I can’t leave Master Neil alone with someone who has unknown powers,” Diana interjected.

 ”Don’t decide on your own without consulting me,” I sighed.

 I’m not trying to act superior just because I’m the master, but since Niya-san is talking to me, I should be the one to respond.

 ”But Master Neil tends to trust people too easily. Please consider your own safety a bit more,” Diana reminded me.

 I believe I properly judge people and make decisions, but from Diana’s perspective, I may not be careful enough.

 Regardless, it seems like Diana isn’t willing to compromise on the condition, so I need to convince Diana to move forward with the conversation.

 ”Okay… Niya-san and the others helped us to settle this case, can’t we trust them?”

 ”While it’s true that they helped reduce the damage, it doesn’t guarantee that Master Neil won’t be harmed.”

 Hmm, Diana doesn’t seem like she’s willing to compromise.

 I have no choice but to exercise my authority as the master.

 ”Diana, wait outside. That’s an order.”

 ”Master Neil, surely you can’t…”

 ”Didn’t you hear me? I gave you an ‘ORDER’.”

 By emphasizing the part about it being an order, Diana made a face as if she’d eaten a bitter pill but ultimately respected my wishes and left the room.

 Thinking about how I’d receive a severe scolding from Diana later, I sat down on a chair and assumed a posture to listen to what Niya-san had to say.

 ”Well then, what should we talk about?”

 There are a lot of things I want to ask about, such as Niya-san’s and the others’ powers and their roles in the world they came from.

 ”The powers that Mio-san, Iko-san, and Moona-san were using, those are not from this world, but are they from the world you came from?”

 ”Yes, exactly.”

 ”In the world you came from, does every person have some special ability?”

 ”No, humans don’t have abilities like ours.”

 ”‘Human’? Your choice of words suggests otherwise.”

 ”You are correct. We are not human. Well, in a broad sense, we might be classified as human. After all, we are combat-ready ‘clones’.”

 The word “clone” made my eyes widen in surprise.

 From their abilities and movements earlier, I had expected that Niya-san and the others were not ordinary people, but I had never expected them to be clones.

 ”So, in the world you came from, were there many clones that looked like Niya-san and the others?”

 ”No, clones are not something that can be mass-produced indefinitely, and since there is only one irreplaceable part, there cannot be more than one clone of the same lineage.”

 ”What is that part?”

 ”The soul. Without it, a clone is just a flesh vessel and cannot fight. That’s why new clones are produced when their predecessors are killed in battle.”

 ”What happens to memories at that time?”

 ”They are technically passed down, but it is more of a sense of knowing than remembering. It’s like being shown a recorded video from the predecessor’s point of view.”

 I see. So they know, rather than remember.

 However, that means Niya-san and the others do remember experiencing death until now.

 They have been revived and sent back to the battlefield. I wonder what they were thinking as they fought.

 ”Do you not dislike it? Continuing to fight, even after death, without being able to end it?”

 ”We were created to fight, but if we were asked whether we have ever felt sick of it, we certainly have. We didn’t have such feelings immediately after being manufactured, but as we continued to fight, we began to hold the belief that ‘someone else’s clone number might increase again.’ For us, we disliked our companions being reborn more than our own clone numbers increasing… Being greeted with ‘Nice to meet you’ from familiar faces is something we can’t bear.”

 I see, the newly manufactured clones have knowledge of the past, but not memories.

 Every time someone becomes a new clone, the relationships that have been built up until then are also reset.

 ”I don’t know if this is a good time to ask this, ,ay I ask, how many clones are you, Niya-san?”

 ”…Well then, I will reveal my true name to Master Neil. My real name is Model Number PD-C-28. Niya is just a temporary name from abbreviating the number 28.”

 ”What about the other people’s names?”

 ”Yes, like me, they are twisted versions of their clone numbers too. By the way, the alphabet in front of the clone number is the role of each clone, and my role is ‘Command.’”

 Then, Iko-san is 15, Mio-san is 30 and Moona-san is 67?

 Wait, then what about Momoka…

 ”Niya-san, what is Momoka’s real name and role?”

 I asked Niya-san while trying to stifle my trembling voice.

 I couldn’t shake off the bad feeling about the name that Momoka had told me about herself, someone who was just disposable.

 ”Model number PD-V-105. Her role is ‘Vanguard,’ her purpose is to specialize in cutting the enemy lines first with overwhelming firepower. While possessing high offensive capabilities, such a soldier is so powerful that if they exert their full strength, their body will self-destruct and they will die in less than ten seconds due to the sheer force of the load.”

 ”…Is that why Momoka called herself disposable?”

 I now understood why Momoka called herself disposable, and why Niya-san and the others didn’t want Momoka to fight.

 Momoka’s role was to be a suicide attack weapon only to collapse the enemy line, and the number of one hundred and fifty-five told me how disposable she had been.

 ”Did they plan to use Momoka’s weak body as a way to avoid getting involved in the fight?”

 ”That was one reason, but Momoka’s delicate physical condition is also a fact. Compared to us, I mean.”

 ”What do you mean?”

 ”We were manufactured for combat. We are built to withstand the rigors of combat and the strain of our capabilities. On the other hand, V-Types are designed for disposable use, so in order to conserve resources, they are produced as inexpensively as possible.”

 ”If they were to be disposable, couldn’t they be built to withstand the same capabilities as the others?”

 ”I’m a soldier, not a developer, so I don’t know, but even if they made them as durable as ours, the V-Types wouldn’t resist self-destruction when abilities were exerted.”

 ”So if it’s going to break anyway, it’s better to keep the cost low?”

 As I heard about the human’s ideas in designing Momoka, I unconsciously clinched my fist.

 I didn’t know how much pressure humanity had been under in the world where they lived, and perhaps it was a bitter decision for them. Despite this, though, I wondered if it was really acceptable to throw away lives as if they were consumables.

 ”Niya-san, you said that they are designed to withstand the load of their abilities, are you sure about that?”

 When I heard about Momoka, I became anxious and asked Niya-san if she was okay.

 ”I wouldn’t say there are no problems, but there are basically no problems with the load as long as you don’t use your abilities to the fullest.”

 ”Did Moona-san become ill because she used her ability to the fullest?”

 ”There are exceptions, as I mentioned earlier. That is Moona’s ability.”

 ”From what I can see, Moona’s ability seems to be healing, but what is this load you speak of?”

 ”It means taking on the injuries of others. However, this does not mean that if she heals a fracture, Moona’s bone will break in its place. Depending on the size of the injury she heals, she will suffer from corresponding after-effects. For example, if a missing limb is healed, Moona will lose the sensation in the limb as an aftereffect.”

 ”So, Moona-san who healed Momoka’s leg…”

 ”It’s not as severe as losing a limb, so I don’t think there are any major after-effects, but there may be some difficulty in walking.”

 Is this the reason why Momoka refused to receive treatment from Moona-san, saying that she had it coming to her, even though she had such injuries?

 ”Fortunately, there is healing magic in this world. While it may be difficult to fully recover from the injuries, it should be possible to reduce Moona’s after-effects to some extent.”

 Hearing this, I’m relieved, but I immediately think of one possibility.

 ”Is Moona-san’s clone number the second highest after Momoka because of her after-effects?”

 ”Yes, it is the result of healing the injuries of others, and continuing to take over for them. Especially, by insisting on using the V-type treatment that should have been discarded and self-destructed, those who consumed the H-type clones continued to increase rapidly.”

 The H-type refers to Moona-san, but there was a word that caught my attention more than her role.

 ”What does ‘discarded’ mean?”

 ”It means exactly what it says. According to the rules, the V-types that have used their ability and have been damaged enough to be rendered unable to battle are not treated but discarded, and new ones are made. This is because, instead of consuming the costlier H-types, the low-cost V-types can be reproduced and ultimately save resources.”

 ”…I see.”

 Although I partly expected it, the nauseating content made me feel a sense of disgust.

 ”Who decides to dispose of it? And what happens to those who are decided to be discarded?”

 ”The criteria for disposal is judged to be hindering the operation due to damage. Therefore, it is my job to make that judgment… and it was also my job to end that life.”

 I couldn’t say anything to Niya-san as she said this.

 From the outside, Niya-san seemed to be reading out a report, but I could see the color of anger in her eyes.

 I couldn’t tell whether this anger was directed at myself who could only do so, or at those who had designed it to be so.

 ”I’m sorry for talking about unpleasant things.”

 ”No, I was the one who asked to talk in the first place, so Master Neil doesn’t have to worry about it.”

 Although Niya-san answered without issue, deep down, she was probably not calm.

 I decided it was best not to bring up the topic of waste disposal anymore and asked a different question.

 ”I understand Moona-san and Momoka’s ability, but what abilities do Niya-san, Iko-san, and Mio-san have?”

 ”My ability is a combination of visual and auditory sharing, as well as telepathy. Because of this ability, only the brain can be burdened, so the C-type is focused on the ability to process information.”

 ”So, this is exactly the ability for a commander. The visual and auditory abilities are like sharing what you see and hear with the other person?”

 ”Yes, but I can also convey the visual and auditory experiences of other members to other members through me. I gather information from everyone’s visual and auditory experiences, and plan our strategies based on that information.”

 Gathering information from everyone’s visual and auditory experiences is something a regular person would not be able to handle, so it makes sense that Niya-san’s mind turns so quickly.

 ”What about Mio-san, who can absorb and expel people?”

 ”Mio’s role is defense, and her ability is to manipulate the force of attraction and repulsion. The force of attraction pulls enemies toward her, and the force of repulsion is used to deflect enemy attacks.”

 ”Pulling enemies towards you might be the role of a tank, but it’s quite direct and forceful.”

 ”Rather than wait for them to come to us, it’s better to pull them towards us and take them by surprise. The advantage of this ability is that we can forcibly pull an enemy who is aiming for the rear without regard for the shield towards us.”

 I thought it might be too forceful to use her ability to forcibly pull a target towards her, but with that explanation, it might actually be a quite suitable ability for a defense role.

 ”Well, what about Iko-san’s ability? I felt something similar to Mio-san’s.”

 ”Iko’s role is support, and her ability is gravity manipulation. Iko used her ability to carry heavy supplies, scout from the sky, and perform various other roles.”

 ”Manipulation of gravity, huh? That’s why those guys were stuck to the ground and couldn’t move.”

 Iko-san with gravity manipulation and Mio-san with attraction and repulsion. Their abilities are similar, but could they be somehow related to being twins?”

 After hearing about everyone’s abilities, I pondered over their capabilities. At the same time, Niya-san spoke up.

 ”Master Neil, I also have something I’d like to ask you. May I?”

 ”Ah, yes. What is it?”

 As I thought about whether there was anything else they would be concerned about, Niya-san asked an unexpected question.

 ”Master Neil, you are an Ihomono, aren’t you?”

 My mind went blank at that question.

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Edited by Kanaa-senpai.

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