Any complaints I would have about being locked in jail for a couple of days quickly flew out of the window after my first two hours in the cell. Not only was the bed much more comfortable than anything I had in my entire life, probably only barely comparable to that one noble’s that tried gaining his party’s favor that one time, but even that one could barely hold a candle to this incredibly comfortable place.
And this was not counting the fact that the food was ridiculously tasty! I mean, seriously, even the best of the best foods I ate back in my own world was a piece of trash. And taking in account that I wasn’t really that restricted in my right to come and go, I was left with absolutely no reason to complain about the way I was being treated.
Of course, I wasn’t the only one locked in the cell, and from time to time they would take in and take off other people from within. Some looking meaner than others, and more often than not, those types would pick a fight with me, and would either be subjugated swiftly by Zero, some other police, or sometimes I’d do it myself.
For most of the time, Zero would stay close to me keeping me under watch, or leave somewhere to go and fetch Dakota who went to drink somewhere again. For the one or so week after that, I noticed that it was a fairly frequent event of Dakota disappearing and Zero and other officers going to fetch him. Though once there was a single time where the entire department became agitated before becoming surprisingly deserted.
On roughly the eighth day of being in the cell, Dakota and Zero came to me early in the morning as I was doing some excercises.
“Here we go.” Dakota said while handing me a card of sorts. “This is your ID card. Make sure to always have it with you.”
I nodded amusedly while picking the item from his hand. They had shown me something like this previously, so I wasn’t all that surprised. However, it was still something that would greatly change my life in this world, so to say that I wasn’t impressed by the small object was a lie.
“So, with this… I’m no longer an illegal immigrant?” I asked just to be sure.
“Technically, yes.” Zero replied in her usual cold tone. “Since you had no official identification previously, you were treated as a temporary homeless who never had a registry due to poverty or other such situation.” She explained.
“Hmm. That sounds simple enough.” I said surprised.
“…I find it highly amusing how your reaction is completely different from what someone from our world would have.” Dakota told me with an amused expression, which led me to blink confused.
“However, this also leaves you in an unnatural position.” Zero chimed in. “You are an adult that suddenly appeared in the system out of nowhere. Which means that you’ll be under strict surveillance should anything happen seeing how odd your position is. Not exactly a very discreet way to enter the system, if I am allowed to state my deductions.”
“Well, if you say so…” I said while putting the card on the pocket of my brand new super-comfy and not-itchy pants. “I’m already used to being under surveillance, so this isn’t a bad deal.”
“You know, the more I talk to you, the more I wonder what the hell happened to you in your own world.” Dakota said with an awkward smile. “Anyway, we also finished refurbishing the old warehouse where we are going to move you.” He said with a wide smile.
“…Ah, yeah… There’s that…” I said, suddenly losing all my motivation.
“Oi. What’s with that reaction?” Dakota said surprised.
“Well… It’s just that, this place has easily been one of the best places I ever lived in… And now you want to throw me into some sort of warehouse…” I said without any energy behind my words. It’s like asking me to leave the royal castle to go back to living on the streets.
“You do reckon that’s actually a prison cell you were living in, right?” Dakota asked me with a worried tone. I couldn’t help but make a complex expression as I recalled that information. “Anyway, I have no idea what exactly you are expecting, but we did make the warehouse half decent, you know?”
“I can attest that the warehouse have more than the basic needed for survival, and comfort levels should be more than satisfactory.” Zero said blankly while staring at me.
“So you also helped him?” I asked curious.
“Affirmative. I made some alterations to the electronics so that I could keep a better watch on you even if I am not physically present.” Huuh… I’m not entirely sure… “I cast a surveillance spell over the warehouse.”
“Ah, I see.” I nodded understandingly. Now that’s easier to understand. “But didn’t you say that…”
“That was only a matter of expressing myself that would make it easier for you to understand. I am unable to cast any actual spells so I used the closest example that I believed would make sense to you.”
“Fair enough.” I nodded. “Still, kinda impressive you knew what I was going to say.” I said amused.
“It was the most probable question judging by what is known about you, your expression, and the info you had available at the time.”
“Hmm… So you basically guessed?”
“In a way, yes. It was mostly a guess.” She nodded. “However, that does not matter. For now, I was tasked with taking you to your new housing since the chief is busy ”
“He doesn’t looks busy to me, though.” I said while looking at Dakota besides us.
“While I AM skipping desk work at the moment, it’s not like I can do that forever, you know?” Dakota said with an incriminating tone towards me.
“Sir. I do not believe you have the right to use that kind of tone in your current situation.” Zero shot him down coldly. I must say she’s pretty brave to talk back to her superior like that. “And now that you have already delivered him the ID, I reckon you should go back to your work before I am forced to call your wife to persuade you again.”
“T-There’s no need t-to bring Layla into this, is there?” Dakota said panicked, but he quickly gave up trying to convince Zero after a second of her emotionless stare.
It took the captain no more than five seconds to disappear from the room, leaving only me and Zero behind. For a second I stared at the metallic woman as she watched the captain leaving in fear, taking in her appearance one more time while recalling something that had been told to me.
From what Dakota and that strange mage they call ‘scientist’ told me, Zero wasn’t really alive so much as she was a being that the magician and his assistants had created. Which basically meant that she was actually a golem.
I still had a hard time getting that into my head, though. I mean, golems are supposed to be dumb as a rock. Literally! Yet, more often than not, I could have a conversation with Zero that would be no different from talking with another sentient being. Well, not counting emotions, but I’ve met some who are pretty cold, so she’s not that far off from them.
She seemingly noticed my staring, as she briefly glanced at me, gave me a nod and started walking away. Taking the nod as her telling me to follow her, I quickly ran back to my cell to fetch the bag with my old clothes and followed her out of the building. Greeting the few guards here and there that I recognized, we soon found ourselves outside, where they parked all those flying metal carriages.
“While the residence isn’t too far away, I believe there’s still worth in taking the car over there.” She said while making her way towards one of the stationary vehicles. I followed her while staring curiously at the machine, imagining how could it move without some sort of powerful beast to pull it along.
Suddenly, the carriage lit up, making two loud beeps that caught me by surprise. I took a step back while seeing the door open in a strange manner, swinging upwards instead of outwards, like how doors are supposed to open.
Watching as Zero nonchalantly entered the vehicle and sat behind a strange squareish object that projected itself from the inside. It slightly reminded me of a ship’s rudder somewhat.
“Come in.” Zero suddenly said as the door on the opposing side of the vehicle opened soundlessly. She spared me not a glance before the door on her side once again closed. “It’s better that you get yourself used to this kind of vehicle sooner rather than later. I shall teach you how to drive these on a later date;” She told me as I entered the vehicle.
“I see.” I said a bit hesitant while sitting down on the oddly shaped seat, only to suddenly slip as the seat gave in more than I expected, leaving me in a surprisingly comfortable position. Following that, the door suddenly lowered itself back to position as the carriage sparked to life with a strange humm. “Whoa!” I hung to the crystal window of the vehicle as it started moving.
“There is no need for worry. After decades of improvements, cars have become the safest form or travel, second only to elevators.” She told me suddenly, trying to calm me down despite her usual emotionless tone. I turned back to her and watched as she held onto the squareish rudder with her hands and gently pulled it back. “While I do not need to directly input commands into the vehicle to drive it, this should give you an idea of how to control it should an emergency occur.”
I nodded weakly while feeling the vehicle rise into the air before moving forward towards somewhere.
“…I still have a really hard time believing that you didn’t just strap a small dragon under this vehicle or something.” I said while slowly calming myself down.
“My calculations define that a large reptile with undersized wings would be able to produce such a stable flight as a gravity engine.”
“What do you mean undersized? Have you SEEN the size of a dragon? Those bastards are gigantic!” I said surprised.
“My meaning of undersize comes into the comparison of their estimate weight and the needed lift to achieve flight. Following the laws of aerodynamics and basic physics, a dragon as depicted in most medias would be, mathematically, completely incapable of achieving the needed amount of lift to even leave the ground for a moment.” Ugh, why does she insists on using so many complicated words.
“Look, I have no idea what most of that meant, but I did see a dragon flying once, and I can tell you that they were anything but unstable.” I said after repeating her words a couple of times in my head to make some sense of it. “I’m pretty sure they could balance a drop of water in their head without it even moving around.”
“Then I assume they use some sort of magic to do such a feat. As going by pure physical calculations, such a feat would be impossible.”
“Hmm… That could be. I mean, some dragons are downright insane when it comes to magical power.” I said after a moment of thought.
“Your concept of magic still manage to cause various conflicts within my calculations.” The vehicle made a slight turn to the side as she weaved her way between the huge metallic towers that she called buildings. “Could I request some of your time later for you to explain to me a more detailed explanation on its inner workings?”
“Well, sure?” I said a bit worried. “I mean, I know mostly the basics, so I’m not sure how useful it will be, but if I can help…”
She nodded briefly, which I took as her telling me that it was enough, before going quiet. Taking that as her way of saying that there wasn’t anything to talk to me at the moment, I looked outside and watched the scenery, trying to engrave into my memory the path we were taking. At least somewhat.
Strangely enough, Zero wasn’t going as fast as the other ‘cars’ around us, taking a pretty slow pace. While not entirely sure of the reason behind that, I silently thanked her as it made it easier for me to record the path back to the guard’s headquarters.
Once more, I was amazed by the sheer amount of people walking around on the streets. Watching as they came and went like ants near a farm, I caught sight of some other less-than-organic looking people walking down the streets.
While they were made entirely of metal, their appearance was vastly different from Zero’s, being less human looking than her, usually being way skinnier, or somehow having a strangely shaped head, ranging from square heads with oversized eyes but no other features, to others that the entire head looked like a bucket, but had no legs, and instead walked on wheels.
For some time, I just watched them as they walked around the crowd of humans.
“…I don’t see any elves or dwarves around.” I commented after noticing something. “Not even beastkin. Is this a human capital per chance?” I asked confused. I mean, it’s not strange for there to not be many of those around. However, for so many people to walk around the streets like this and not even one tourist, merchant or something of the sorts to appear is a bit odd.
“There are no such species in this world.” She said bluntly. I just stared at her in shock and awe for some time, before turning back outside and watching the streets for some time. “The only sentient species in our universe, is, as far as we know, are humans.”
“And… Androids? Was it what they called you?” I asked. For some reason, she just stayed silent. “Still, really? No other race other than humans? Things must be so peaceful around here then…” I mean, back there, humans were more often than not fighting against some elven tribe or dwarven city when there weren’t any demons harassing them. Without something like that, they…
“Thirty years ago, a war between the earthen humans and martian colonies broke out and ended up with half a billion deaths in direct conflict. Not counting indirect fatalities.” Her words felt like a bucket of cold water being dumped on top of me.
“…How… How much is half a billion?” I asked about the unknown number with a worried tone.
“Five hundred millions.” She said bluntly. “And that was a relatively small war if we compare it to the others inter-planetary wars.”
I was left speechless while staring at the metallic woman at my side. One million… I had barely the capacity to actually process that number. I did hear once that, in the whole races versus demon wars, at least a couple of millions were mobilized from both sides of the war in total.
Now, five hundred millions…
Such a number was completely above my imagination. I couldn’t even begin to fathom the sheer amount of people that number meant.
“An emergency.” I somehow heard Zero’s voice amidst my absent-mindedness. Blinking back to reality, I noticed that only a couple of seconds had gone through since I fell into shock. “I’ll have to make a detour for the moment.” She added while the carriage suddenly sped up even more.
“What happened?” I asked in shock.
“There is a robbery attempt a few blocks from here. We are the closest unit to the scene of the crime, so it’s my duty to answer the call.” I nodded to nothing in specific before straightening myself and shaking my head to wake myself up.
“Is there anything I can do to help?” I asked.
“That will depend on how the situation has developed.” She replied briefly. “For now you should keep your magic a secret, and otherwise your experience is mostly with melee combat, so your usefulness would be highly situational.”
“Basically, I’m most likely useless under most situation?” I asked with a sarcastic tone.
Not really having any way to rebuke that, I quietly let her take the vehicle towards wherever she had to take it while gently fishing my sword from the bag and checking the mana stored within it.
A few seconds later I felt as the vehicle lowered itself back to the ground level and Zero swiftly jumped out of it. Seeing that the door besides me had also swung open, I followed her suit.
“Stay out here and make sure no one comes in or out.” Zero told me while we cut our way through the crowd and approached the store. “Two men, armed with plasma pistols. I’ll go in and deal with them as fast as I can. Clear the area around the entrance so that no one gets injured in case of a crossfire.”
“Okay. Got it.” I replied quickly.
“Good.” She nodded as we finally passed through the crowd and reached a building with an odd atmosphere to it.. “This is the police!” Zero shouted as she moved into the building. Blue and red lights flashing up around the lines of her body, making her more visible and eye-catching. “Lower your weapons and come out peacefully.”
Taking that as a sign, I stood in front of the building and turned to the crowd that stood in the front.
“You guys! Things might get dangerous around here.” I shouted, changing the focus of the crowd outside back to me. “It might be better if you step back a bit just to be safe.”
“Wait, you mean there’ll be a shootout?” Someone suddenly called to me with a panicky voice.
While I wasn’t entirely sure what a shootout was, I did know from experience that a crowd in panic was never a good thing. Even more when there was a situation like this happening, so I quickly thought over the possible answers.
“Look, I’ll be straight. I don’t know what will happen now. Heck, I’m not even from the police.” Is that how they call it? “I’m just here to help an acquaintance, and she told me to clear up the front of the store. Seeing how she have a lot more experience with that than I do, I’m rather inclined to follow her orders.”
“You mean the android that came in?” A woman called out in a surprised voice. “Can it even deal with a situation like that? I mean…”
“And what’s the problem with Zero being an android? She’s more than capable and have the experience for it.” I shot back before shaking my head. “Look, we could stay here and discuss, or we could back down for safety in the worst case scenario.”
“But isn’t it her job to not let anything happen to us?” Someone else asked.
“And what the hell do you think that having you guys back off means?” I asked.
“He is right.” I heard the ever so familiar voice of Zero approaching from behind. “While the current situation was solved without issues, there is always the risk of the robbers becoming unnerved and starting a firefight. In which case would have put all the presents at a risk.” She turned back to me. “Thanks for your cooperation. The two are handcuffed within the store, already disarmed. Bring them out while I deal with the crowd.”
“Okay.” I nodded back while feeling surprised at how fast she had dealt with the situation before walking into the store.
What came into my sight were various different metallic goods being shown around in crystal displays or just out in the open. A small crowd of uniform wearing people had formed around the middle, and they all sported worried and relieved expression.
Approaching them, I noticed two other figures kneeling on the ground with their hands behind their backs.
“I take it the two of you are the robbers.” I said while grabbing one of them by the elbow and forcing him up. He met me with a very afraid look, and one glance was all I needed to understand he wasn’t very used to this whole robbing story. “Now, where are your weapons…” I asked while looking around.
“The android shot them that way.” One of the uniform wearing man said while pointing out towards a corner.
I followed his hand and saw a pair of L shaped objects much like the guy from my first day here, however, each one of them had a charred slash deformed parts to their sides, with even some smoke leaking from it.. Nodding to that, I forcefully raised the other robber and had them wait for me as I picked up the two weapons. Not entirely sure how to handle these weapons, I held onto them very carefully, making sure to stay away from the trigger part.
Holding the two weapons with one arm, I prodded the two of them forward towards the entrance.
“Did anyone get injured?” I asked what were the victims of the robbery as I passed the group.
“Ah, no. The android took care of them before they did anything.” They said in surprise.
“For a moment I thought they’d shoot her when she came in, but… She quickly shot their weapons out of their hands.” A man said impressed.
“I see. Then it’s good.” I said with a nod. “I’ll take them outside so that the guards can come and deal with them. is there anything I can help you with later?”
They looked surprised for a moment, exchanging glances between themselves before turning to me and saying that there was no need for that. Raising an eyebrow, I decided that they were probably still too shocked about the whole event and needed some time to calm down.
“Still, that android was incredible. I never thought I’d see one of them deal with the situation so cleanly.” One of the staff said suddenly. I briefly glanced at him in curiosity and saw as the other soon followed with the same expressions.
“Yes. They are usually so clunky with complex situations like that. That android was amazing! Completely unlike anything I’ve seen.”
“I never thought a day would come where I’d be saved from a robbery by one of them.”
“Wasn’t there a story about an experimental android working with the police?”
“You mean that was it? Wow, I thought it was just a paper-work robot or something…”
I frowned a bit at the situation, feeling a bit conflicted about the meaning of their words. From the looks of it, they weren’t expecting much from Zero at first. And if I think about it, the people at the front of the store weren’t all that keen about her being the one to come in.
My wondering was quickly halted as I approached the exit. The crowd had seemingly greatly calmed down, though an air of unrest had fallen around them, they were clearly a lot calmer than previously.
“Here they are.” I said while pushing the men forward and out of the store. “Anything else?”
“No. That’s all. Thanks for your cooperation. For now, we should just wait until the officers can come to pick him up.” She said while taking the two of them by their arms and, surprisingly gently, making them sit down on the streets. “ETA is for one minute and fourty two seconds.”
“Ee-Tee-Ei?” I asked confused.
“Estimate time of arrival.”
“Ah. Fair enough.” I said with a nod before frowning slightly. “It didn’t look like they were expecting much from you.” I said with a slightly confused tone while seeing the spectators watching us in awe and curiosity.
“Despite great advances in Artificial intelligence technology, our kin still have difficulty in dealing with situations that require nonlinear quick thinking.” She explained to me. “To simulate a human creative thinking, they had to develop an entirely new technology.”
“Then, you are different from the other androids?” I asked surprised, to which she nodded.
“If it’s down to simple calculations, they are faster than me.” She explained. “However, on non-linear thinking and learning, I hold the higher ground. But outside of how we process data, we are mostly the same.”
I nodded. If what she said was true, then I think I can see how they are surprised that she dealt with a robbery all by herself. This kind of situation isn’t something you can just follow some set rules and know that it’ll solve by itself.
Keeping that in mind for possible future situations, I turned back towards the opening crowd as a large black vehicle approached us following a loud siren of sorts.
“Once this is done, we can return to our original plan.”
I nodded before moving out of the way so that I wouldn’t bother her and the other guards with their task. Looking around the crowd, I fell deeper into thought, once again noticing how different this place was from my own. The culture, the population, the… Technology, was it? Everything here is so vastly different that I was actually a bit at a loss on how to relate them to my mission.
Speaking of said mission, I still don’t really have a very big idea of what exactly it is that I have to do. Though the promise of getting into dangerous battles and arduous path were scary, I still had to see anything of the sorts happening, and overall, things looked pretty calm to me.
I do recall the gods telling me something about giving me further information once I arrived here, but I still had to see anything of the sorts. Maybe if I go to a temple I might get in contact with them?
Adding that to my to-do list once things settled down, I decided that for now, it would be better to just go along with Zero and Dakota in their issues.