Prologue

What might I do to blow away the moon?
The thought struck ‘him’ as he gazed up at the night sky, its moon hidden away by the clouds. The rooftop of the skyscraper where the wind rampaged was conspicuously cold. ‘He’ sat to the side of an unmanned helipad, gazing out over the town below him.
The night streets glittering in neon. The scenery across the visor of his full-face helmet was layered over with several channels of information.
‘The graffitied symbol sighted today morning in Tsukimori City has been concluded to belong to the kaijin group, the group calls itself ‘Calamity Co. Leviathan’, and at present a special police force has been mobilized in pursuit of—’ ‘Is it true Lord Helvenom’s back?’ ‘Those kaijin again? I call BS’ ‘Tsukimori City’s screwed, for real. That place is one of the most secluded areas in Japan’ ‘Kaijin’s a derogatory term, call them Alters’ ‘← We’ve got a kaijin here’ ‘Can’t even joke about it nowadays’
The net news, SNS, forums. Everything displayed on the visor was information transmitted by the people living in this town. The town ‘he’ had been born in, raised in. Tsukimori City in the Nasa Prefecture. Population one million two hundred thousand, a non-capital ordinance-designated city. The sort of suburb you could find in any region of Japan.

(TL: I’m not sure if there is an English term for this as it’s a Japanese system, but it’s a city that meets certain criteria that let it govern its own policies as if it were a prefectural capital (basically lets it decide its own state legislature) to a certain extent while being part of another prefecture. As far as I can tell, NASA is not actually a prefecture of Japan.)

But in this town was a fantasy, one for this town alone. Permitted only to Tsukimori, a fantasy of hopes and nightmares.
A loud landing sound from behind. ‘He’ didn’t turn around. There was no such need.
“… I presume you’re the one who called me.”
The question came in a voice as clear as a flawless crystal. In place of a response, ‘he’ slowly stood. The wind fluttered up his coat, the color of crows’ wings. Gazing into ambiguous emptiness, ‘he’ recalled.
— ACM System Activate.
All of a sudden, his spinal cord was pierced with a power like lightning.
A body like churned sweet almond, the surge of agitated neurons; from the thalamus and hippocampus, highly concentrated memories of fear surged through the body.
A young girl lying on the bed, three small demons, a white rabbit, a red skull, a burning building, corpses piling in heaps, a white rabbit, the mask’s curse, the blood spreading across the linoleum floor, Alchemuls, a white rabbit.
Through the mask, those fearful memories changed to electronic signals, awakening the functions of the body suit under the coat. A titanium exoskeleton within the deploying suit. A swelling body beneath the coat.
To accompany that, the form of evil in the shape of the mask awakened. A form resembling a skull with the flesh and blood shaved away.
Enduring the welling nausea, ‘he’ opened his mouth.
“Have you ever wondered if we’re a form of symbiosis?”
A hoarse voice departed those vocal cords.
Neither heat nor emotion could be felt. It was practically the voice of a corpse.
“Both me and you, we can’t live on without someone to fight. Detesting one another, exchanging blows, we exist in this world through dependence on the other. Such is the true identity of our relation. Now what have you to say of such a fate?”
A breath of wind blew. After a momentary silence, the other quietly answered.
“I don’t depend on you. We’re far too different, me and you—that’s why,”
The clouds slowly pass. Without the slightest sliver lost, the full moon peeked out its face.
“I’ll end you here and now.”
Hearing those words ‘he’ turned back, for the first time looking upon the face of the visitor. The visitor’s form was like that of a white rabbit. The pure white that covered their whole body was glassy, like pottery, and it was impossible to distinguish whether it was skin or armor. The belt-shaped designs wrapped around its body here and there completely melded with the flesh. On its expressionless mask resided eyes the same gold as the full moon. Its two characteristic decorations could be nothing but rabbit ears.
The rabbit was the envoy of the moon.
This was the one he would blow away, the envoy of moonbeams that illuminated justice.
The black skull calls out.
“Good evening, Gaimoon. I’ve been waiting for you, my beloved hero of justice.”
The white rabbit calls back.
“Good evening, Lord Helvenom. I’ve been searching for you, the source of evil I must defeat.”

White justice and black evil.
Only in Tsukimori City were both permitted to exist, a fantasy of hope and nightmare.
It was yet unknown how the moon was to be blown away. But it had to be done. For the sake of all that had been lost. For the sake of all that would be lost in times to come.

“Now, won’t you accompany me, Gaimoon? To the proper conclusion of good and evil.”

 

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