Volume 8 Chapter 19 Shirogane Aqua, the First Voice Acto
Edited by: Kanaa-senpai
In the Space Age Era of 0092, 92 years had passed since humanity had begun its life in space. The male population continued to dwindle, and on Earth, fierce wars still raged as women fought to claim the few remaining men.
”Now, come over here, boys.”
Several boys stood there without a stitch of clothing, attended to by a woman who wore a sly grin on her face. In many countries on Earth, males were enjoyed only by a select few in positions of power, and for the majority of women there, it was not uncommon to live their entire lives without ever encountering a man. On the other hand, the people in space treated males as common property, guaranteeing the freedom of men who chose to marry through free love. The space colonies thrived, in stark contrast to the stagnant Earth. It was only natural that the greedy Earth elites would covet the men living in space. War between Earth and space could break out at any time, perhaps even tomorrow, and the people in space, living in peace, had long thought it had nothing to do with them. But quietly and surely, the march of the military was closing in on their doorstep.
”Hmm? That’s strange, isn’t it?”
Two women in military uniforms monitored a large screen. One of them changed the camera’s perspective to visually confirm the anomaly.
”It’s probably nothing, just debris or something.”
”Yeah, I mean, who’d be foolish enough to come crashing into this debris-ridden place?”
They reported no abnormalities and returned to their regular duties. Even if they had sent troops to the scene at that moment, the events that were about to unfold could not have been stopped. Because by then, the situation had already deteriorated to a point where it could not be undone.
”This is Zehar Ibrahim, commencing the mission now.”
”Understood. If you want to save your sick sister, Zehar, you must offer yourself to God.”
Zehar, a 20-year-old youth believed to be the descendant of a tribal chief of people living in a desert, piloted a jet-black combat aircraft with bright crimson lines, maneuvering deftly through the asteroid field.
* * *
”Congratulations, Your Excellency Bartley.”
”Your Excellency, I appreciate the special invitation to such a place.”
Surrounded by many women, I, a beautiful woman, flashed a manufactured smile. My name is Catherine Bartley, and I serve as the de facto leader of the European Union, the President. I’m quite young for a politician, but I was born exceptionally gifted, and more than anything, I was filled with ambition commensurate with that talent. As a result, my personality is ruthless, and I’ve sacrificed even close relatives and used them as stepping stones for my goals, generating considerable resistance within my own country. However, I silenced them with my remarkable abilities and climbed to my current position.
”It’s been a while, Catherine. Well, should I call you ‘Your Excellency’ now?”
”Oh, Ingrid, you’re here in a place like this? And please, stop it. Nobody else is going to come to a place like this, so make yourself comfortable.”
The woman who casually struck up a conversation with me is named Ingrid Roberts, a diplomat for the Federation Republic and one of the individuals expected to become the future President of the Republic. Ingrid and I go way back. She’s as brilliant as I am, but unlike me, her overly cautious nature and conventional thinking annoy me. However, that doesn’t mean we don’t get along. Moreover, conversations with Ingrid are far more beneficial than the futile chatter with the incompetent guests who used flattery earlier. We both raised our glasses and turned our gaze to the starry sky before us.
”The moon looks beautiful tonight, too.”
”Even though the Earth’s surface is so rough?”
Ingrid’s response lacked any hint of romance, causing me to break into laughter. That’s right. I suddenly realized that Ingrid was that type of person.
”That’s exactly why. It’s because all those nooks and crannies refract the light that makes the moon look so brilliant from Earth.”
”I see… like a fleeting beauty.”
”Oh? Isn’t it our role as politicians to preserve that fleeting beauty?”
”…You’re right. As you say, but I don’t intend to let it end so quickly.”
Trivial conversation, moments like these were interrupted by a loud alarm.
”Something seems to be happening.”
I calmly used the intercom to check the situation with the head of security.
”What’s going on?”
”An unidentified fighter aircraft appears to be heading towards us through the debris field.”
”If the alarm is sounding, that means it’s crossed the alert line, right? Why didn’t you notice it?”
”I’m sorry. I thought it was a false detection of debris…”
”Enough with excuses. Deal with it immediately.”
I used the nearby control panel to switch the window in front of me to the fixed-point camera image of the problematic area.
”That’s… an unfamiliar fighter aircraft. I wonder which country it’s from.”
Ingrid got up and observed the fighter aircraft through the monitor. At first glance, Ingrid appeared to know nothing, but it was essential not to let her guard down, as the Federation Republic might be involved. I kept an eye on her as well and directed my gaze to the monitor’s image.
* * *
”Sorry, but I have to pass through here.”
With my finger on the trigger, I shot down the interception drones dispersing in front of me. My mission was to disrupt the ceremony, and for that purpose, I needed to inflict significant damage on the massive space station, STARS ZERO.
”Just a little more…!”
Before the enemy’s interception force could fully deploy, I decided to finish it. I pressed the button mounted under the monitor, and the fighter I was piloting transformed into a bipedal humanoid robot.
’What… is that!?’
I heard the voices of the interception team through their jamming, which I had disabled and tapped into. It was no wonder they were surprised because such transforming aircraft from fighters to humanoid robots didn’t exist in this world.
I dodged the enemy’s attacks with fluid movements while using the beam saber in my hand to incapacitate them. I reminded myself to avoid direct hits on the cockpit as much as possible, telling myself that rendering the enemy unable to fight was sufficient.
This should be enough. I threw the beam saber I held in my hand toward the massive space station. The beam saber struck the wall of the space station, and it began to dig into the wall while vibrating like a drill.
”I’ve accomplished my mission. Time to return… What!?”
A beam emitted from somewhere, burning through the hilt of the beam saber I had launched. Since the hilt was what vibrated to create the beam, only the exposed blade remained stuck in the protective wall. This meant a mission failure.
A second attack came from the same direction, and I narrowly avoided it. I zoomed in the camera in that direction, and a green-painted aircraft was aiming a large rifle at me.
”What!? Are there others with the ‘Z’ designation as well?”
In an instant, my danger-sensing abilities kicked in. I flipped the aircraft before I could think about it. I transformed it into a fighter capable of evading attacks by beam and missiles.
”A third one!?”
A large, rugged aircraft painted in deep blue, along with the mark of thirteen stars on its shoulder… Was it an aircraft belonging to the European Union?
’We recommend that you disarm and surrender.’
A voice echoed. It was the voice of a man, or rather, a young boy, incongruous with the advanced technology of the fighter.
Once again, I transformed my aircraft and attacked the blue ‘Z’ with the beam saber. However, my attack was blocked by a massive shield that covered the entire body of the enemy.
”Damn, troublesome!! …Tch!”
While facing the European Union aircraft, I simultaneously evaded an attack from the other ‘Z’. My own aircraft was cutting edge, but these two ‘Z’ units, with no data available, were undoubtedly also cutting edge. Facing two ‘Z’ units on par with my own was decidedly unfavorable.
As I pondered what to do next, an unexpected explosion rang out from an unforeseen location.
One of the colossal space station’s defense barriers was blown away by an attack from an unknown source. The incendiary shells rained down, and a new ‘Z’ with a dominant red theme was illuminated on the burning defense wall. Golden parts used throughout gleamed dimly in the darkness. Its appearance resembled that of a phoenix, a mythical bird reborn from ashes.
’Are you selfish invaders going to continue like this? If so, I’ll be the one to stop your atrocities here!!’
The red and gold ‘Z’ opened a channel and spoke in all directions. Similar to the previous pilot, the voice had a youthful quality but was strong and resolute, with a husky tone.
”This makes it the fourth…”
It seemed as if individuals destined by fate to converge had gathered, as if following a script written by someone else.
’A new ‘Z’… Damn it!’
Thinking it was an opportunity, I intensified my attack on the blue ‘Z’ I was facing. While the four ‘Z’ units including me clashed in a chaotic battle, our respective objectives remained unclear. However, the one in front of me was undoubtedly going to be an obstacle to my organization. Knowing this, I believed it should be taken down here. The battle grew increasingly intense. Checking the energy levels, I saw they were now below two-thirds. Considering what would happen after the battle, I couldn’t afford to prolong it here. Frustrated, I escalated my attacks, but the enemy’s resilience was high, withstanding even my relentless onslaught. Four units, four individuals, each without a decisive blow, and time passed. Just when it felt like the battle would go on forever, the equilibrium was disrupted by a pure white light that flashed in space.
Blinded by the dazzling white, we all ceased fighting.
* * *
I heard someone calling my name. I needed to wake up. With that thought, I slowly opened my eyelids.
”Leon, you’re always like this, sleeping everywhere! Don’t tell me you’ve skipped out again? You’ll get scolded by the professor.”
A cloudless sky, emerald green sea, and pure white sandy beach. Ah, here we go again. Even though I knew it was a dream, this brief moment allowed me to smile.
”Leon is so talented, unlike me… Yeah, that’s right. So, you should do your best even over there, okay?”
In a white dress with a large ribbon and a straw hat, she always smiled. But lately, her research progress hadn’t been going well, and she often looked downcast. Slyly, I took advantage of her vulnerable heart.
The warmth when I hugged her from behind still lingered in my arms.
”Nina, let’s get married. I don’t want to leave you behind.”
Her cheeks turned bright red at my words.
”I-Is it okay? You’re so popular, Leon, and you could choose any girl you want. Even without me, I’m sure you’ll meet… a more wonderful girl over there.”
”I don’t care about that. I want you, Nina… I want to be with you.”
At that moment, we were on top of the world. After a slow nod, I turned her around, and our shadows merged. I married Nina that night.
”Well then, I’ll go through the procedures over there first and come back. After that, we can have a wedding here.”
”O-Okay, be careful.”
My name is Cruz Leon, a 19-year-old attending a university slightly away from my hometown. In this country, men can live relatively freely, but when they turn 20, they are forcibly married to someone. Despite being a man, I was exceptionally skilled in a particular field, which was why I aimed for space to avoid the compulsory marriage. Around the same time, the ground war intensified. This country claimed neutrality, but even that seemed doubtful. If I could live in space, far away from the war, I believed I could have a peaceful life with Nina. To be honest, I didn’t really enjoy studying, but I worked hard because of Nina. My friends and family supported my efforts, and I felt a deep debt of gratitude. I wanted to repay their kindness by succeeding in space. And one day, if this country faced a crisis, I wanted to create a safe haven for everyone.
But that hopeful and happy future crumbled in an instant.
A war had erupted in my absence, triggered by a self-centered and ridiculous reason: a food shortage in the aggressor’s country due to the war itself.
”Unfortunately, we don’t know when she’ll regain consciousness.”
Miraculously, Nina managed to escape from our homeland. However, the head injury she sustained during her escape prevented her from ever waking up again. I had to find a way to bring her back to consciousness. I acted with a desperate sense of hope.
”Don’t you want to save her?”
As I watched Nina, who had once been healthy, wither away day by day, I became increasingly haggard. It was at that time that some suspicious individuals approached me. I didn’t care whether they were gods or demons; I was willing to do anything if it meant saving Nina.
”If saving Nina is the goal, I’ll do whatever it takes.”
”Very well. Then, shall we clean up together? Let’s eliminate those pesky pests crawling on the ground before they molt and spread their noise.”
Oh, right… I had to dispose of the garbage. For foolishly escalating the war for selfish reasons and trying to take my most precious person away from me, I had to deliver judgment, whether I became a god or a demon.
”That’s right; we are the representatives of the gods.”
I firmly gripped the two control sticks in front of me.
”Cruz Leon… Launch!”
The energy enveloping the machine I piloted purged into space. The overwhelming energy blanketed the pure white machine, making it shine like platinum in space. This light was now brighter than the stars in space and shone even more brilliantly than the moon.
* * *
Cruz Leon… Shirogane Aqua
Zehar Ibrahim… Tenga Akira
Mikael Hammett… Nekoyama Toa
John Truman… Mayuzumi Shintaro
Tan Lyuuren… Akami Hajime
Catherine Bartley… Saijo Shiori
Ingrid Roberts… Mizumori Mimori
Reizen Nina… Sayamu Inko
The ending credits rolled on a large TV screen placed in front of us. Today, we had visited the recording site of “The Space Knight Zandam” (temporary title), which was set to premiere in January. Originally, the plan was to review the already finished first episode’s footage and discuss it. However, Tenga-senpai, in his typical fashion, insisted on trying something different, and that’s when things got a bit crazy. Somehow, we ended up recording the entire first episode, with other voice actors getting involved. I’m really sorry, everyone…
But from the start, the atmosphere on set was so passionate, and the staff immediately put together the recorded material into video, so we had been watching it together until just a moment ago.
”Is… Is there more?”
”Please calm down, Senpai. It’s already nighttime! Everyone’s tired today; let’s go home!!”
Shintaro, Hajime, and I somehow managed to persuade Tenga-senpai.
”Oh, it’s great, isn’t it? But I wonder if this is really okay for my first time as a voice actress?”
I play the main character, Cruz Leon. The voice actress for Nina, my character’s fiancée, is none other than the senior’s Vtuber, who also participated in the CR Cup. I never expected to meet the person behind the character in this way.
”Hehehe, who would’ve thought we’d get along so well! By the way, Leon-kun… I mean, Aqua-kun, I didn’t expect to co-star with you like this, but I hope we can work together for a while!”
Inko-senpai had the same persona both in and out of character as her Vtuber character. It was impressive, almost as if the character design was based directly on her. However, she told me that she auditioned for the role, so maybe that’s how it worked. By the way, the character she voiced, Nina, who plays my character’s fiancée, looks nothing like her. Still, the way she effortlessly portrays the character is truly remarkable. I’m sure everyone who sees the credits during the broadcast will be surprised.
There was another thing that surprised me when I came to the set. The person voicing Tan Lyuuren, the pilot of the red and gold machine Zandam, was none other than Akami Hajime-kun! He’s a middle school student and my junior by two years. Although he’s not affiliated with any agency, he found out that auditions were being held for this project and directly sent in an audition tape.
The enthusiasm and proactive spirit of individuals like him are fantastic! I believe that as long as motivated men like him continue to increase, better works will emerge in the world. While my main job is as an idol, I feel a responsibility to contribute to other fields as well. That’s why I intend to give my all in voice acting and acting in the future.
”Shirogane-senpai! H-How was my performance!?”
”Yeah, for your first time, it was good. But from now on, maybe try to be a bit more assertive; it might suit Lyuuren better.”
As I said that, Akami-kun lowered his head gracefully.
”Thanks! I’ll tell the director and redo the recording later!”
Yeah, that spirited attitude. It’s somewhat refreshing, unlike anything I’ve seen before.
”Well, that’s fine, but it’s late today, so let’s go back tomorrow.”
Alright, that’s a good response! I almost wanted to pat his head instinctively, but I’ll refrain from doing that. Middle school boys might not like that.
”Oh, Aqua-kun, see you later!”
”Yes, take care, Mimorin-senpai.”
Mimorin-senpai is a senior singer whom I met on Music Stage. She originally started as a voice actress, and as expected, she did an excellent job during today’s recording.
”Oh, yes. Let’s work together again for the next recording.”
The person who walked past me gracefully is Saijo Shiori-senpai, considered one of the top young voice actresses. Despite her voice, she has a calm and reserved demeanor.
”Well then, everyone, please take care on your way home. Thank you for today.”
”Oh, no, we’re the ones who caused various inconveniences. Thank you very much.”
Together with Kirika-san, who accompanied me, we bowed to the staff members and left the set. Inspired by the new environment and new colleagues, I felt even more motivated for my work.
Please bookmark this series and rate ☆☆☆☆☆ on here!
Edited by Kanaa-senpai.
Thanks for reading.