TEORA: Hey You Guys, Let Me Hit You
The day after the welcoming ceremony. As instructed, Neito proceeded directly to his station at the Miscellaneous Division.
To be more precise, it was one of the many Miscellaneous Division branches spread out across the country. In an area on the outskirts of town overflowing with arehouses, it was a place that gave off the feeling of a backstreet workshop.
He had slowly started to understand it, but the facilities and people of the Evil Organization Metallica all had separate titles for public eyes.
There were ten people stationed at his worksite. The highest ranked was the supervisor. The members there were all wearing work clothes, and it didn’t look to be that they were doing any work.
“I will be in your care from today onwards. My name is Komori. Please treat me well!”
Neito had put quite a bit of effort into his self-introduction on his own part, but the reactions to it were questionable. An atmosphere as if to say, well good for you.
“Komori-kun, it’s exceedingly rare for a general worker to be taken on by the main branch. Um, how should we handle this…”
In that atmosphere, the supervisor looked around, and called out to a young and stour man.
“Oy~. Eda-kun. Can you look after young Komori-kun?”
The man called Eda painstakingly clicked his tongue, before standing.
“Eh? Me~… tsk, I understand. Oy, fresh meat. Come o’er here.”
Eda lit a cigarette, and sluggishly called over to Neito.
What’s with this guy? Can he act as a combatant with that weight of his? And wait, is it really fine to smoke normally at work?
A word that had been coming up a lot lately ran across his mind.
Come to think of it, everyone in the Misc. Division was a general worker, it seems. A dangerous job with low wages, and in the first place, they were something of sacrificial pawns to the Evil Organization. There’s no way their work environment would be a good one. Is there even a concept of morals?
Will it just be those guys who couldn’t even become thugs or gangsters, so they though, oh well, let’s go off and join Metallica, then?
He didn’t have a regular position like Maki or Ikeno. With its vast power, Metallica committed its heinous acts on a global scale. They were the elites to manage the grand task. While a commoner like Neito wasn’t aware of it, the organization only hired those sorts from the zenith of every field, and up there, its existence and operation as a company was common sense. They were a major enterprise with world-level influence. While the contents of their business were a bit special, it was understandable why so many elites gathered.
Even so… there was too much a gap, was there not?
“Oy, fresh meat! What’re you standin’ around there for?”
The jeers of the fatty came my way.
“Y-yes! My apologies!”
“Can ya’ use a gun?”
“Eh? No, I cannot.”
“Well ‘n, you do any martial arts er somethin’?”
“No… not really.”
“Can ya’ at least make explosives?”
After the series of questions, Eda loudly scratched his head as he muttered.
What an unbelievable workplace. Neito had yet to do anything, but he already wanted to turn and go home.
“List’n here. Make sure you’re able ta do somethin’ by tomorrow. I’m busy, so go try ‘n pick somethin’ up on yer own. Weapons besides guns are o’er in that there locker. You’ll need ta submit an application if ya wanna handle guns er expolsives.”
Putting out the cigarette that had burned close to the base, Eda spread out a sports newspaper, and the conversation was over. Or at least, that’s what his attitude stated.
Astonished as he was, there’s no way Neito could oppose. For starters, he went and opened up the locker, and tried following orders.
From there, a few hours passed, but in that timeframe, the only words Eda sent over were, ‘can you go buy me a juice?’ alone.
A little later, regardless of work hours, Eda pulled out his phone.
“Oh? Ya’ done now? Eh? For real? For really real!? How many were ya’ up against? Ooh, nice. Reeeaal nice~. OK, the bar ‘n front of the station, right? Well ‘n, seeya there.”
“Yeah, nice work.”
Eda left quite naturally.
For reals… that fatty… went and left. They what exactly do you expect me to do? There should be some sort of limit to evil, shouldn’t there?
Besides being at a loss, there’s nothing a NEET could do here.
The same situation continued on to the next day as well. On the third day, Eda made a proposal, as if he had just remembered it all at that moment.
“Come ta think of it, did you get to be able ta use ‘t? Have a practice battle with me next week.”
That was quite a sudden utterance there. What’s that supposed to be. A practice battle?
“Practice battle… in what exactly?”
“Huh? I said it, didn’t I? It’s something the Misc. Division does with its new recruits. If you end up no good, it’s the pink slip. I’m going home here, but make sure ya clean up before ya call it a day.”
The scene before Neito’s eyes went pitch black. Well, he understood the rule. There’s no helping it if a rule like that was made. If anything else, this was the lowest tier that actually did the active work. There’s no helping it if you turn out to be no use at all. If you went off to battle like that, there’d be no helping death. It would be something like a final examination after a trial period.
Yes, I get that part. But.
Then what exactly am I supposed to do? Since I got assigned here, I haven’t been told to do anything but get juice, and clean up.
Even if he looks like that, Eda’s worked for Metallica’s Miscellaneous Division for two years. And even if that was his first venture into the world of crime, his battle prowess was, at the very least, over mine.
Rather than that, perhaps Eda anticipated all of that, and therefore didn’t train me at all.
This is bad. Way too bad. At this rate, I’m going to be beaten left and right, sustain serious injuries, and get cut to top it all off.
“… Maybe it’s over for me.”
Left behind, Neito couldn’t help but mutter.
Fine. I don’t care, I’ll just quite a company like this. With such thoughts running through his mind, he went and took a mop in hand, and began to clean. The company had shown him a small ray of hope after all. He’d pay it back at the very least.
“Still so young. You can go home for the day.”
To Neito, one of the workers. A middle-aged man he hadn’t talked with much before. Neito got the feeling his name was something along the lines of Manaka Toshio.
“No, but cleaning’s still…”
“You don’t have to worry about something like that. It’s not too dirty to begin with, right? You just cleaned it up yesterday after all.”
How surprising. He was sure no one had paid the slightest mind to how he cleaned the place.
“You haven’t eaten anything today, have you? I’ll treat you, so keep me company for a drink.”
This is that. That workplace bonding thing. Neito hesitated a bit. He had, for argument’s sake, reached the legal drinking age, but he had yet to go out drinking with another human begin, let alone a coworker from the same company.
He gave a powerless reply. Manaka was different from Eda. He looked like a decent person. Since he was going to quit the place anyways, it would be best to pick up some experience. Or so he determined.
The place he was taken to was a slightly-aged oden stand. It was a little dirty, but its prices were cheap, and the variety of its oden was plentiful.
Manaka sparingly drank a dilute shochu, as he munched on some daikon. It looked quite appetizing. Neito hadn’t the slightest idea on the proper etiquette to drinking with a senior worker, so he just stared at him a while.
(TL: Shochu is an alcohol usually around 50 proof distilled from various Japanese ingredients. I can’t tell you any more, really. I’m a minor after all. Daikon is a variety of radish. Oden is just various ingredients stewed in a soup stock.)
“Oh, go ahead and eat. Not that it’s anything special.”
The oden that entered his mouth was warm. He exchanged some unskillful conversation as he filled his stomach.
“You’re sure an unlucky one. Accepted by the main company, then suddenly sent off to Misc.”
Manaka spoke bit by bit.
“Hey be honest here. Is this really how Metallica is gonna treat me, you must’ve thought.”
Getting a little more comfortable, Neito let out his true feelings.
“… Yes, a little…”
“Haha. A little, is it? I think it year round. Those guys up there don’t even know how it feels to be on the site, and they just keep on setting up their unreasonable goals.
I can’t deal with it. My salary’s less’n half the regular posts. And despite that, it’s always, your deployment was slow, or your costs are too high… I don’t think there’s any helping it when people like Eda lose their motivation, you know?
Based on what I’d seen of how Manaka carried himself in the few day’s I’ve been here, it didn’t look like he was sulking or anything. So I had to ask.
“Manaka-san… if all that’s going on, then why can you work so hard?”
“Well, a man’s gotta support his wife and kids after all.”
I see. The working adults have it rough. A father’s troubles, that sort of thing… The moment before Neito may have been able to feel for him. Manaka looked out far into the distance, and continued.
“And you see. World domination, you see. I want to cling onto it. Even like this, when I was young, I was sure I was going to change the world. I always looked up to an evil organization that may be able to do something like that. And I’m finally in one.”
It was the same. That portion was considerably similar to how Neito felt before he got in the company.
“Haha, stupid, right? This from some underling old mook, right?”
His bashful laughing face gave a childish sort of impression opposed to the words coming from his mouth
“No, I didn’t say anything like…”
At that moment. A loud voice came from the park near the oden stand. Sirens began to blare.
“… Guardian, huh.”
Guardian: it was a public order institution established to combat the influx of Evil Organizations not too long ago. It was also a nickname to refer to the members of said organization.
Of course, the police still existed as their own organization, but the Guardian’s power and influence was placed on a higher tier. An existence that had gained quite a bit of authority to oppose Evil Organizations. They were much more proactive than the existing police force, and it wasn’t rare for there to be cases where force was used. Their laws were rigid, and they were truly strong. They were sometimes even called the realizers of order.
They were different from the mysterious heroes that moved individually, the Rocks, but anyways, they were allies of justice.
Naturally, they were an enemy to Metallica.
Could it be they came to suppress us? Neito panicked for a moment, after listening to the shouts, he could tell it was something different. They were yelling high-handedly at someone outside.
What should I do. It doesn’t look like that cat’s out of the bag, but is it best we run? When neito began to think along those lines, Manaka by his side slowly rose.
“Hmm? Ah, I’ll be off for a bit. Boss, put it on my tab.”
“Sure thing, Toshio-san. You haven’t changed a bit, have you. You’re not young anymore, so pushing yourself too much is poison on your body.”
After Manaka paid some money to the stands owner, he walked outside.
? Didn’t he just say tab? Then what did he pay for?
Neito hurriedly turned to follow him. In that park nearby, just as Manaka had said, the Guardians were there.
Characteristic white protective equipment, and keiren cyclist-like helmets. They held batons in their hands. It was the standard dress for Guardians on duty. Those were the guys for C Rank general security or something.
The three guardians were drawing near some homeless man who’d erected a cardboard house to stave off the wind.
“Oy! It’s a violation of city code to build up a cardboard house here! Demolish it at once!!”
“Y-you can’t… if you drive me out of here now, then what do you expect me to do… I’ll die in this cold… I’ll leave tomorrow, so… please…!”
It seems an eviction order was given in regards to the man. I see, well what he’s doing is quite definitely illegal, I’m sure.
“Not my business!! It’s a violation, a violation! You get it? Old man?”
“Yeah~. This really is a pain. Just make it quick already. Go off to the park of the town next door. It’s out of our jurisdiction, so we’ll let it slide.”
Neito felt a sense of discomfort at the Guardians’ overbearing tone of speech. They truly weren’t evil. But he didn’t feel the urge to cheer them on at all.
Neito shut his mouth, and quietly watched the scene. But Manaka beside him was different.
“This is why Guardians are…”
Without the chance to be stopped, Manaka went and walked up to the Guardians.
“Hey, yes, you Gars over there. Yeah, you guys. Let me hit you around a bit.”