In November 2019, the classic Yamato saga expanded for the first time in ten years when a serialized story titled Aquarius Algorithm debuted in the pages of Star Blazers/Yamato Premium Fan Club magazine Vol. 5. Written by Katsuya Takashima, it takes place in 2215 and bridges the gap between Final Yamato and Resurrection.
It is Cosmo DNA policy NOT to translate such material until it is out of print and no longer a source of revenue for the franchise (otherwise it would constitute piracy). However, the Yamato Crew website created an exception to this policy when it featured the entire opening episode as a free introduction to all readers. Therefore, it is proudly presented here for your enjoyment.
Be aware, however, that Yamato Crew accompanied this free episode with the caveat that it’s a once-only. From here on, the only way to continue reading is to subscribe to the fan club magazine (and translate it from Japanese). But rest assured that as soon as Aquarius Algorithm meets the criteria mentioned earlier, we will pick up where this chapter leaves off. Meanwhile, enjoy every word of the opening episode!
Above right: promo from Fan Club Magazine Vol. 4. The text reads as follows:
Urgent orders for Yamato crew!!
Aquarius Algorithm: Space Battleship Yamato Resurrection Chapter 0
The past and the future (algorithm) intersect
After a fierce battle, Space Battleship Yamato sank into the sea of Aquarius. 12 years have passed since then. Susumu Kodai and his family head out to search for Yamato and encounter an unknown enemy. An original novel that links Final Yamato to Yamato Resurrection finally begins by up-and-coming SF writer Katsuya Takashima. Kodai, Yuki, and Space Battleship Yamato fly on a new journey.
Amazing new serialization starts next issue!!
Episode 1: Aquarius Ice Sphere (A Sudden Call)
— ０ —
Opening illustration by Ryuji “Umegrafix” Umeno
The darkness of space is approximately minus 270 degrees, only three degrees from absolute zero. However, space is full of light. Due to the various interactions of nature, celestial bodies shine in all colors. Even a black hole, which swallows everything, wears light that it fails to swallow as a photosphere, an jet accelerated to almost the speed of light.
Countless lives take breath amidst these intense phenomena. Countless lives are quietly born in this vacuum of absolute death. Susumu Kodai continued to experience space in this way. But now, the space he saw was filled only with death.
This is wrong!
Thirty thousand light years from Earth, the small planet Berlaina floated in the darkness as if left behind. Countless explosive flashes sparkled on its surface. The Earth fleet commanded by Kodai was anchored in Berlaina’s orbit, not moving an inch while looking down at the scene below.
No, we can’t move.
One after another, reports were heard of devastation on the surface, piercing Kodai’s heart and body. No one else was on the darkened bridge, only Kodai in the command seat. The light of explosions intermittently lit his face.
Is it happening here, too?
Soon after Kodai became aware of the pain in the depths of his heart, a cold heavy voice echoed through the bridge.
“It is absolutely forbidden to violate the armistice agreement between Galman-Gamilas and Bolar.”
“Earth should do its job!”
“Don’t move, Commander Kodai. You must not move!”
The pressure that bound him and the cries of people swallowed by flames on the planet below collided with each other in Kodai, a raging turmoil in search of an exit.
“This is wrong! There’s no way this can stand!”
The next moment Kodai cried out, his body was inside the cramped cockpit of a Cosmo Zero fighter.
Yes, I’m doing the same thing again. Just like that day, I’m going in too late. I know the ending. I’ve already followed this path many times. Nothing has changed.
Even so, Kodai couldn’t stop himself from going there. The Cosmo Zero made a hard landing in the desert of Berlaina where red flames swirled into black smoke. Spread out in front of him as he left the cockpit were countless bodies, abandoned in the desert after being slaughtered. Kodai dropped to his knees before the body of a cold child, repeatedly slamming his fist into the sandy ground.
“Why wasn’t I faster…why…?!”
Bitterly regretting the delay in his decision, Kodai heard a voice from behind.
“You are not wrong. Is it strange for a commander to abandon his mission and intervene in another nation’s battle?”
It was Susumu Kodai standing behind Kodai, another version of himself. Holding the dead child, Kodai asked himself a question.
“Our mission was to follow the Galman-Gamilas Magellanic Exodus, to protect those left behind in the Milky Way…that’s what we were sent to do.”
“That’s right. But there is an order and priority to things. You know that, too.”
“Are you going to overlook the tragedy in front of you for the sake of Earth’s security…?”
“Don’t be conceited. Are you going to carry Earth on your back alone?”
Him alone. All alone.
The dream ended there. As with any dream, the ending remained ambiguous.
The light of dawn shone into the bedroom.
“Are you all right?”
His wife Yuki asked this, having already awoken.
“It’s nothing. Just a dream.”
Kodai left the bedroom for a solitary drink of water in the kitchen, trying to appear calm.
— １ —
Autumn flowers, grasses and thistle swayed in the gentle morning breeze. In the light of a sun still low in the sky, ripples sparkled on the surface of a lake. It was a scene that could be called peaceful. There was nothing to reveal that this was a crater made by a terrible alien weapon called a Planet Bomb.
In the year 2215, 33-year-old Susumu Kodai lived in an elegant house on the shore of this lake with his beloved wife and daughter.
“Miyuki, breakfast is ready.”
In the second-floor kitchen, Kodai skillfully flipped omelettes with cheese, dressed in an apron. He heard a sleepy reply from the third floor.
Miyuki Kodai, the 11-year-old daughter of Kodai and Yuki, came down in pajamas, yawning. Her rich, black hair stuck out in a bedhead.
Papilizer design by Shinji Nishikawa
“Good morning, dad. Where’s mom?”
“She’s already gone out. What were you doing up late last night?”
The fourth family member had joined the household a month ago. The small, all-purpose robot Papilizer poured café ole into a cup and handed it to Miyuki.
“Good morning, Miyuki. This morning’s drink is a bit thick. But do your best to drink it Papy!”
“I know, Papilizer. I love it that way.”
Miyuki kissed Papy on the head the way she used to do with Analyzer. The pastel-colored quasi-humanoid robot skillfully rotated the high-density, fireproof sponge tires that supported its lower half, and jumped for joy.
“Whether it’s an animal or a robot,” Kodai laughed while plating up omelettes and toast, “you’re really good at making friends.”
“Hehehe. It’s love,” Miyuki boasted as she bit into the toast. In fact, Miyuki had recently become addicted to customizing Papilizer. She’d given up sleep for it day after day, and her parents hadn’t yet noticed the dramatic increase in their “buddy partnership.”
Yuki Kodai, Miyuki’s beautiful mother whose maiden name was Mori, was already at work. She was now busy as a senior military officer. Miyuki’s father Susumu had gone into the reserves three years ago and half-withdrew from the military. He was now happily engaged in work at home, such as cleaning, meal prep, and taking out the garbage. Some said this was unthinkable for the former Kodai, who had made a name for himself as a hero. Miyuki just liked him as a father.
“I’ll be back at noon, dad.”
“I know. The boat is ready.”
Miyuki finished eating her omelette and toast, brushed her teeth, and quickly got ready.
“Are you going to let me steer?”
“It’s a promise. It’s time now.”
“Yep, I’m all ready! See you later!”
Kodai watched Papilizer take Miyuki to the schoolbus platform, then started washing dishes.
At Earth Defense Forces Fleet Headquarters, regular meetings on the operation of the newly built flagship Blue Noah were held in the briefing room. At the focal point of the table, surrounded by the conspicuous forms of men, Yuki Kodai was speaking in a white uniform. Her sharp questions, driven by her aim to become a captain, swayed the person in charge and the plan she proposed inspired a sigh of admiration on the faces of the higher officers.
Two hours later, Yuki returned to her office to compile a report. There was a knock on the door.
The door opened and the face of a tall man looked in. Unexpected, but nostalgic.
“It’s been a long time, Yuki.”
Former Yamato crewmember Shiro Sanada was now the Deputy Director of the Science Bureau.
“I wasn’t expecting you.”
“I wanted to speak to you in person. You’re sailing smoothly, aren’t you? I’ve heard about the excellence of Yuki Kodai.”
He was a straight-laced type, but warm. Yuki couldn’t help smiling at Sanada’s unchanging demeanor.
“It’s over now. How about some tea, Sanada?”
From the café on the top floor of HQ, they could see battleships arrive and depart one after another.
“Miyuki must be growing up.”
“Yes, she’s fine. More than fine.”
“How about Kodai?”
Sanada asked with the nuance of one concerned about a younger brother he hadn’t seen in a while.
“He keeps quiet. He has bad dreams sometimes.”
“Kodai was the commander of a guard fleet, and it is certain that he went beyond the scope of his mission to intervene in the conflict of another nation. But if not for Kodai’s decision, the tragedy would have been even greater.”
Yuki nodded silently.
“However, the military punished him in the end and transferred him to reserve duty. The military has completely changed since the days of Commander Todo.”
“I supported my husband’s decision. It was a worthy deed that no one should be ashamed of.”
“Of course. Many people understand that.”
Sanada’s words were full of encouragement, but these feelings did not reach Yuki’s husband. He still blamed himself and suffered from nightmares.
“He’s too kind. No matter how many people you save, you never forget the weight of those you couldn’t.”
For a while, Yuki and Sanada were silent. Military aircraft flew by occasionally outside the window. Yuki hadn’t thought she would have divulged this much today, but whenever she was with Sanada her guard went down. All the former crew members who had entrusted their lives to Yamato continued to maintain a mysterious unity that could only be called family.
Twelve years had passed since Yamato sank. Yuki was absentmindedly considering the wonder of that when Sanada spoke in a lower voice.
“Actually, there’s something I wanted to discuss with you and Kodai.”
“Both of us?”
Sanada nodded and quietly uttered some astonishing words.
“Yamato has been found.”
Illustrations by Ryuji “Umegrafix” Umeno
— ２ —
The afternoon sun cast reflections of clouds and blue sky on the calm surface of the lake.
Papilizer sat on a wooden pier protruding into the lake, staring at the movement of bright red floats while dangling a fishing line in the water. Fishing was an irreplaceable and important pastime for Papilizer’s AI. He wore a straw hat to enhance the atmosphere. Wind flowed over a field of grass and a loud noise was heard.
Papilizer measured the timing and pulled quickly on the rod. As he reeled in a magnificent trout, impressed with his own performance, he saw a small air car approach, raising spray from the surface of the lake.
Two young men in uniform descended from the air car.
“Hey, you’re Papilizer, right?”
“Take us to Kodai’s house!”
Papilizer immediately authenticated their faces. Their identities were confirmed as non-suspicious. He put his catch in the cooler box and started rolling. He moved fairly quickly, but the two people were well-trained and kept pace at a run.
Kodai’s eyes widened as he opened the door. Tetsu Kitano and Tasuke Tokugawa saluted him at the entrance.
Before Kodai could react, Papilizer slipped past him and ran to the kitchen to hang up his catch.
Kodai engaged in some good-natured ribbing with his old friends. Tetsu Kitano was a brilliant graduate of Space Warrior Training School. The other was Tasuke Tokugawa, whose father Hikozaemon had been Yamato’s first Chief Engineer. Both men had fought on board Yamato with Kodai and Yuki, and were still active members with jobs in Earth Defense. They had returned to Earth that morning after 15 months on open-sea patrol. Kodai was at a loss for words when they said they had come here on foot.
He thanked them for visiting his home before reporting for duty and even seeing their own families. Tasuke had a wife, another former Yamato crew member, and two children. It was certain that both men were tired from hard work.
“I’m glad you came, of course, but what happened?”
“We wanted to speak with you directly, Kodai.”
Tasuke nodded, and Kitano started to talk.
“Conditions at the center of the galaxy are still terrible.”
“It will probably take several generations for the effects of the Galaxy Crossing to subside completely.”
With that, the specter of the great shift of twelve years ago came back to Kodai.
The “Galaxy Crossing” was an interstellar-scale disaster that occurred suddenly in 2203. An extraordinary situation in which a galaxy emerged from another dimension to collide and intersect with the Milky Way to which Earth belonged. It caused catastrophic damage to the center of the Milky Way. Many star systems were thoroughly destroyed, and even twelve years later there was very little recovery from the damage.
As a result, two major galactic powers – The Galman-Gamilas Empire and The Bolar Federation – were pushed to the brink of survival. Both sides declined in national power and signed an armistice after years of territorial warfare.
In 2205, two years after the Galaxy Crossing, the upheaval in the galactic center had not yet settled for The Galman-Gamilas Empire, and it was determined that each member of the state would evacuate to find temporary refuge. This great evacuation toward the Large Magellanic Galaxy, a previous sphere of control, was called the “Magellanic Exodus.”
This massive undertaking, led by President Dessler, also had a big impact on Earth from the beginning since Earth agreed to cooperate fully.
Some Galman-Gamilas citizens chose to remain in the Galactic Center, and more than a few had no choice but to stay. The Galman-Gamilas government called upon Earth as an ally to help secure them. Earth accepted this and launched a national policy of immigration assistance and protection.
“I’m sorry,” Kodai said to Kitano and Tasuke. “I should have been on the mission with you.”
“We’re working to get you back on the scene as soon as possible.”
Ten years had passed since then. The protection policy had achieved some success. There were also examples of deepening friendships with previously-unknown planetary nations. Amal was one planet with which they had newly opened diplomatic relations.
But dark and tragic events greatly outnumbered the bright stories.
Kodai had taken a deep wound to the heart in the “Tragedy of Planet Berlaina” which occurred under the protection policy. Galman and Bolar residents, both of whom had suddenly lost their homelands, had ignited a civil war across the entire planet. Earth’s response came too late. Kodai had accepted responsibility for “intervention” in this civil war and accepted retirement. He’d heard of similar incidents here and there since then.
“After the Galaxy Crossing, the aspects of outer space have completely changed,” Kodai muttered.
There were no large-scale wars between interstellar nations, but the entire galaxy had entered an era of turmoil with frequent terrorism and ethnic conflicts. Two years ago, the vivid tragedy of a massacre caused by Dengil people on the Earth colony planet Boginia was burned into everyone’s mind.
“That’s what we wanted to tell you about, Kodai. Terrorism has been on the rise in recent months, mainly in the systems that originally belonged to Galman-Gamilas.”
Tasuke picked up from Kitano’s words.
“There have been cases that the EDF couldn’t overlook, where unmanned recon satellites were blown up. I think we’ll be dispatched again as soon as we report back to headquarters.”
A dark feeling began to spread in the depths of Kodai’s chest. After a brief silence, he spoke a name.
“Is Dengil involved?”
“What do you think,” Kitano answered hesitantly. “Dengil has a grudge against both Earth and Gamilas…”
Tasuke’s brooding was suddenly interrupted when the door opened.
“Oh! Uncle Tasuke! Big Brother Kitano! Welcome back!”
The carefree Miyuki jumped into her chair and the serious atmosphere cleared at once. Tasuke, whose plump stomach had receded thanks to a fitness program his wife advocated, protested with a serious face.
“Miyuki-chan, why am I an Uncle when this guy is a Big Brother?”
Everyone broke out in laughter.
“We’re full of visitors today.”
“Eh? We’re not the only ones?” Kitano asked.
From behind Miyuki, a familiar voice resounded.
Everyone gasped with surprise at the person who appeared next to Yuki.
“It’s quite lively.”
Sanada nodded to Kodai, then spoke to Kitano and Tasuke behind him.
“After speaking with Kodai and Yuki, I was going to find you too, but you’ve saved me the trouble. You guys have more intuition than you know.”
At Sanada’s keen gaze, Kitano looked at Tasuke, who raised a hand to his head and laughed. Kodai and Yuki stayed silent, catching each other’s eyes. It did not seem to be coincidence that their visitors overlapped today.
“Chances are good that this is going to be a grownup story,” Miyuki whispered to Papilizer. “It can’t be helped. Let’s go up to the third floor.”
“I’m sorry, Miyuki,” Kodai said. “We’ll go on the boat tomorrow.”
“I know. When I saw your face I wasn’t angry any more. But definitely tomorrow!”
“Tomorrow for sure. But what kind of face did I make?”
“The face of a man of the sea,” she replied.
Kodai smiled and gently stroked Miyuki’s head.
Kodai, Yuki, Sanada, Kitano, and Tasuke settled around the terrace outside. With no other houses nearby, there was no worry about being overheard.
“First, look at this.”
Sanada took a black card out of his jacket pocket. It was a small projection device. When he touched it, a spherical hologram about the size of an armload was projected into the air.
“Aquarius,” Kodai muttered. Sanada nodded.
Illustration by Ryuji “Umegrafix” Umeno
The Aquarius ice mass was a new Earth satellite born at the end of a battle twelve years ago. It now orbited slightly closer than the moon. Its diameter was about 1,000km. It was less than a third of the moon’s size, but from the ground it looked about the same. A ball of red light burned in the center of the ice, which people likened to fire and blood. This light was something it had in common with the larger Aquarius body.
All five, including Sanada, were silent for a while. Pain flowed through them as they cast their gaze over the Aquarius ice mass in the hologram. In that sea, in that mass of ice, had sunk the ship on which they’d spent their youth. Many had forgotten that great ship that once saved the world. But these five had never forgotten Yamato.
Yamato had saved Earth several times until twelve years ago, at the end of the battle of 2203, it self-destructed to prevent the massive water planet Aquarius from flooding the Earth. A water column of unimaginable mass came pouring down from Aquarius, and Yamato exploded to cut it off. This column, broken by Yamato, wove around Earth for several months, alternately heated by the sun and cooling in the vacuum of space, finally freezing as it approached a spherical shape. The body of Yamato was sunk somewhere inside it.
The frozen sphere came to be called Aquarius, like the world that drifted away from the solar system. Now it traveled around Earth along with the moon. Aquarius spun faster at first, but over time its rotation and orbital period synchronized, and now – like the moon – only one face of it was turned toward Earth.
“Aquarius is Earth’s second moon, and as everyone knows it blocks the airspace around it. The effect of quantum gravity on the Aquarius ice mass is spreading. Ships aren’t able to scan it, much less approach it. That’s why we haven’t been able to accurately determine Yamato’s sinking point for many years.
Sanada touched a portion of the hologram to expand it. Lights appeared on its upper and lower points.
“The other day, Wave-Motion Energy was confirmed at this point. About a thousand meters from the surface.
“Wave-Motion Energy! Is Yamato’s Wave Engine still active?”
“Tasuke, you know well that the wreckage of a Wave Engine releases wave radiation for a long time.”
At Kitano’s sober words, Tasuke sank back into his sofa. Sanada looked at everyone and continued speaking slowly.
“I don’t know the details. But Yamato sank to this point. With Captain Okita.”
Sanada’s story was getting heavier, far beyond the expectations of the other four. Despite the seriousness of the adults on the terrace, Miyuki played games with Papilizer up on the third floor, occasionally cheering. After confirming that she wasn’t listening to them, Kodai turned to Sanada.
“That’s everything you told Yuki and I earlier.”
“That’s right. I want you to see the condition of Yamato with your own eyes now.”
But Miyuki was listening to their conversation through an earphone stuck into Papilizer. Her cheering had been an act.
“Very few ships have landed on Aquarius, right?” asked Kitano.
“None, as far as I know,” Sanada said.
Illustration by Ryuji “Umegrafix” Umeno
Papilizer had various high-performance sensors. Through the earphone, the tension and sighs of the adults outside were transmitted in real time. Sanada’s explanation continued.
“The abnormal gravity gradient caused by Aquarius creates turbulence in the surrounding space. The average flow rate is 8,000 meters per second.”
Miyuki unintentionally shouted this, then quickly covered her mouth with her hands. But it was all right, they couldn’t hear her from outside.
“Is that why you wanted to tell us?”
While listening to the sheepish men who Sanada spoke to, Miyuki asked a natural question.
“Papilizer, how do you get to that place? It’s impossible even for a great big ship.”
“I think it would take a gravitational wave generator Papy! Sanada is the Deputy Secretary of the Science Bureau Papy!”
Miyuki nodded at Papy’s explanation. But would her parents really want to go there?
“This is really dangerous!”
From the window of her room, Miyuki gazed up at the Aquarius ice mass floating dimly in the sky. Sanada lowered his voice further to tell another worrisome tale.
“I’ve gotten anonymous information. There seems to be a group secretly working on Aquarius.”
Sanada’s story, including the uncertainty of its source, was unclear but his expression was serious. Taking the entire situation into context, it was likely that its accuracy was quite high.
“It’s alarming. The anonymous person claims only to be a defense official, but it seems Aquarius has been under scrutiny for some time. In fact, the identification of Yamato’s sinking point was made possible due to information from that person.”
“An anonymous person and a mysterious group?” Tasuke folded his arms in thought.
“There’s no doubt something is happening right now where Captain Okita sleeps. But that place is that place. I’d like to avoid sending troops in. That’s the reason for this mission.”
Everyone nodded at Sanada’s words.
“Maybe it’s also connected to what these two told me earlier,” Kodai said.
“What do you mean?”
When Sanada heard from Kitano and Tasuke about the disturbing atmosphere they felt during their security mission, he agreed.
“Galman-Gamilas and The Bolar Federation are two nations that lost power, and hidden forces may be on the move. Two people on the front would have been sensitive to that.”
That’s why Kitano and Tasuke had visited Kodai, to convey that vague feeling. Sanada chuckled to himself so as not to distract the others. Even though he felt like Kodai was a younger brother, he recognized him as a leader. It’s inevitable that they would all have visited like this, gathering on the same day.
“It’s going to be a dangerous mission…”
Sanada looked at Kodai and conveyed his conclusion.
“Kodai. Please go see Yamato and Captain Okita with your own eyes.”
— ３ —
After seeing off Sanada, Kitano, and Tasuke, the Kodais confirmed that Miyuki had fallen asleep in her room and went out on their second-floor patio for a view of the lake. The moon and Aquarius floated in the night sky together.
“Are both of them full moons tonight?”
“Yes. I think a lot of people are taking their boats out on the lake.”
The lake that spread out before them was a crater punctured by a Gamilas Planet Bomb. Hopeful people later named it Star Lake.
“Your promotion exam for captain is coming up soon, Yuki.”
They sipped wine as they looked into the sky.
People of Dengil were continuing terrorist activities in the galaxy. Twelve years ago, the Dengil Empire fought Earth to the death. At the end, Emperor Lugal tried to destroy Yamato by self-detonating his home base City Satellite Uruk, but failed. Lugal’s last Dengil fleet was then destroyed by Dessler, who rushed to Yamato’s rescue. It was not unreasonable to assume the surviving Dengil people were engaged in repeated sabotage against Galman-Gamilas.
Of course, the Earth side had taken a major blow as well. Yamato was injured when Kodai’s close friend Daisuke Shima was killed in the fierce battle against Uruk.
There was no wind tonight, and the surface of the lake was still. In his heart, Kodai spoke to his lost friend.
Shima, that was the human race’s last war. There hasn’t been a battle in the twelve years since then. I’ll do my best to make this peace last.
History called it the “Aquarius Incident,” a crisis in which the Dengil Empire manipulated the water planet Aquarius in order to flood the Earth. As it neared its end, two situations became intertwined; after all the crew members had left Yamato’s bridge, Kodai and Yuki faced Captain Juuzo Okita.
Kodai, Yuki…have a good child.
Captain Okita embraced them. Those were the last words he said to them both.
“The next anniversary of the captain’s death will be the thirteenth,” Kodai murmured.
Yuki nodded and rested her head on Kodai’s shoulder. Her hair shone gold in the moonlight as the evening breeze picked up.
On the other side of Aquarius’ ice mass, the other side of the blowing storm, Earth looked to be about the same size as the moon. Soldiers dressed in airtight suits ran up a steep hill and blundered into a robot horse. In the Aquarius incident, Dengil soldiers riding robot horses had challenged Yamato in a fierce hand-to-hand fight on Uruk. Something identical to one of them now kicked a dozen or so of the men, then ran away across the ice.
Eyes watched the scene from the surface of the frozen sea. A periscope confirmed the action of the Dengil soldiers and disappeared below the surface while melting the ice. The hole quickly closed over and froze. Aquarius ice was not made only of water. It had an unknown physical structure.
The periscope descended ten meters, then twenty, retracting into a type of submersible ship hiding in a cavity below the ice sheet. The dim light of Earth that managed to penetrate the ice was not enough to reveal the ship’s details. It was a simple silhouette with few projections. There was no emblem on the colorless hull to indicate its affiliation. Only the ship’s name Gensoku [Ice Flower] was carved into it. It stood silent in the darkness under the ice.
Mecha design by Shinji Nishikawa
Ten weeks after Sanada’s request, it was the night before they would leave for Aquarius. Kodai and Miyuki bandied words, ribbing each other. They had already repeated this conversation many times.
“I want to go too!”
“Miyuki, we explained it already. We’re just going to visit some old friends. We’ll be back in a week.”
Miyuki groaned loudly at her parent’s misleading explanation. After eavesdropping on them with Papilizer, she knew they were headed to Aquarius.
“You haven’t been to Dr. Sado’s field park in a long time.”
“It’s okay, I guess,” Miyuki said with a moody expression.
After his retirement, Yamato’s physician Sakezo Sado established the Sado Field Park, where wild animals could live together. Now he was its director. Naturally, Miyuki became an animal lover after going there from an early age. But now she wanted to go to other places.
“I want to go! I want to go!” she yelled, bouncing on the sofa.
Kodai flinched at her continuous complaints. Her persuasion was weighing heavily on him.
“It can’t be helped.”
Unable to resist, Yuki came to Kodai’s rescue.
“Papilizer? Miyuki’s bodyguard?”
Papilizer responded to Yuki’s words with a flash of light. Doctor Sado was with Analyzer, Papilizer’s prototype, and their AI had a parent-child relationship. Since Papilizer was a newer model, it saw itself as a child.
“I will be happy to see my papa after a long time Papy!”
“Bah! You traitor!”
“Now that that’s decided, get to bed early. You’ll take tomorrow’s midday bus.”
Early the next morning, Kodai and Yuki stood on the lakeshore dressed in science uniforms. Before long, the ship Sanada had arranged to pick them up appeared in the sky right on time. With gas jetting from its underside, the ship with a white hull and red belly landed on the shore of Star Lake.
“I heard from Sanada that this would be an older aircraft, but this is…really…”
Kodai and Yuki looked at each other. This was the craft that they’d used to escape from Earth when it was occupied by the Dezarium Army. A high-speed diplomatic boat exclusively used by the president. They never thought it had survived. But they didn’t want to step into it right away. For the two of them, this ship held some vivid memories.
As a hatch opened in the middle of the hull and a ramp was lowered, Kodai remembered that day and was unable to move for a moment as he looked up at the ship. In the wake of invasion by the Dark Nebula Empire, Kodai and others had tried to escape on this vessel.
Even though Kodai and Yuki had been only temporarily separated, they were still torn apart. They each believed the other was still alive, but they were wracked with anxiety every day. The despair Kodai felt when he let go of the hand he’d grasped was rapidly rising in him right now.
It was a very nostalgic way to be addressed.
Yuki had already walked up the ramp and was now looking back, her hand held out toward him. Their positions were reversed from where they were back then. Kodai took her hand firmly and went up the ramp. Near the house, eyes watched this scene from behind shrubbery.
“To deceive an enemy, start with your ally. The three robot principles Papy.”
Miyuki, wearing a hat and backpack, lowered her binoculars.
“That ship looks like an old steam iron.”
“It is antiquated. Let’s go Papy.”
Using the tall grass for cover, Miyuki and Papilizer approached the old ship, running toward the ramp as it began to retract.
“I will carry you Papy!”
With Miyuki on his back, Papilizer extended both his arms to their maximum reach, catching the edge of the ramp as it was pulled inward. Soon after, two shadows nestled into the boat as it started to ascend. Rising over the lake, it turned around to point itself at Aquarius in the sky and the two-tone aircraft accelerated with abrupt speed.
“A ground antenna has detected a flying object. It seems to be approaching Aquarius.”
An ambivalent voice delivered this report in an unlit, narrow space. Its layout was slightly larger than the cockpit of a deep-sea workboat. There were four sweaty men in the room, dressed in dirty clothes. They sat silently in their respective seats. A big man in the center seat folded his arms, closed his eyes meditatively, and gave an order.
“Ice Flower, dive to 1,000 meters.”
In answer, the crew cooperated on the necessary procedure. Before long, a vibration shuddered through the room.
With this report, the big man opened his eyes. They gave away no emotion.
The ship with Ice Flower etched into its hull was covered by a special field, then silently sank deeper and deeper into the ice, as if it were underwater.
The high-speed communication boat carrying Kodai had been built in 2202, and had been greatly refitted for this mission by Sanada’s Science Bureau. Despite being unarmed, it carried state-of-the-art equipment.
Kitano sat in the front seat and Tasuke worked a control panel on the starboard side. Kodai sat in the higher captain’s seat behind them. It had been a long time since he commanded a ship. Initially, he wanted to leave it to Kitano or Yuki, but he couldn’t approach Yamato with such a compromising attitude. So now he sank deeper into the captain’s seat.
Seated at the port side, Yuki looked uncomfortably at a display.
“What is it?”
“Two objects are moving in the lower section of the ship. What are they?”
In front of Yuki, icons indicated two anomalous objects on a diagram of the ship, moving at about walking speed.
“It might be a transport robot that got on by mistake,” Kitano offered. “I checked it when we left port.”
Kodai nodded to Kitano and Tasuke.
“Yuki, keep your eyes on the monitor. Kitano, Tasuke, grab your Cosmoguns and follow me.”
The three men walked down the stairs at the rear of the bridge without a sound. According to Yuki, both objects were moving around in an equipment room in the lower deck. Tasuke opened the door in a crouch, then Kodai led the way into a dark room. Kitano followed.
Kodai whispered to Yuki to turn on the lights in the equipment room. The moment the room brightened, they heard a bumping sound in the back. Kodai stepped forward decisively.
“Who’s there? Come out!”
“Papilizer? Did you get lost? Eh? Miyuki??”
This was how Miyuki was discovered as a stowaway. She and Papilizer were taken to the bridge, where Kodai and Yuki scolded them at full blast.
“What are you doing here? Do you want us to turn back?”
“But we’ve come this far,” Kitano said.
Kodai was troubled by Kitano’s statement. The high-speed diplomatic boat had already left Earth’s atmosphere and covered most of the journey. It wasn’t impossible to return, but it would be necessary to re-enter the atmosphere. If they did that, the ship would be detected by various agencies. Seeing Kodai hesitate, Miyuki went for her most serious appeal.
“You’re looking for Captain Okita in Aquarius, aren’t you? I can meet Grandpa Okita!”
“Miyuki. You…you heard that?”
Miyuki admitted it, not mentioning that she eavesdropped through Papilizer.
“I wanted to meet my grandfather…”
Kodai had lost his parents to a Planet Bomb. Whenever they talked to Miyuki about grandparents, they’d also talked about Captain Okita.
“Which one of you…does he look like?”
Kodai sighed heavily and asked Yuki for her opinion.
“Not me. But he looks like all of us.”
Yuki laughed and hugged Miyuki
“But Yuki,” Tasuke said, “we don’t have an extra space suit in case of emergency.”
“That’s right. There are only four space suits.”
This was space. They didn’t know what kind of danger they would face. Of course, when it came down to it, Kodai resolved that as captain, he would not wear a space suit.
Tasuke opened a door on the floor of the rear deck and pulled up a rack of space suits.
“What is it, Tasuke?”
“There’s one in Miyuki’s size.”
Tasuke picked up a child-size space suit and showed it to Kodai. Everyone was dumbfounded for a moment.
“That’s too good.”
As Kitano and Tasuke reacted to Sanada’s remarkable foresight, the ship suddenly flipped over.
Kodai quickly caught Miyuki, who had lost her footing and was about to slam into a bulkhead. Everyone confirmed the situation immediately.
“There’s nothing on the monitor,” Yuki said.
“No damage to the engine,” Tasuke answered.
“It’s subsided,” Kitano reported from the pilot’s station.
Hearing Kodai’s voice, the ship’s AI displayed a radar image on the front panel. Tasuke stared at it.
“We’re 1200km from Aquarius’ surface. Isn’t it too soon for us to be affected?”
“It seems not. It’s a huge gravitational vortex. There hasn’t been any observational data for Aquarius since the ice mass was formed.”
Kitano projected an analysis image on the hologram monitor. The flow of gravity surrounding the ice mass came in waves, enlarging nearby into an unnatural whirlpool. The diplomatic boat was being engulfed by it.
“Irregular Papy,” a surprised Papilizer expressed.
“It’s all right. We’ve got Kitano here.” Kodai’s words bolstered Kitano’s confidence.
“All right, I’ll get us out of here. Miyuki, check your seatbelt.”
With that, Kitano went at the control panel with blinding speed.
“Tasuke, gravitational wave canceller at maximum!”
Tasuke give support from the copilot’s seat, but immediately responded with a dark voice.
“No good…it’s set at maximum output, but it can’t offset this gravity…”
Illustration by Ryuji “Umegrafix” Umeno
The high-speed boat swung around backward in its direction of travel. The ship was drawn increasingly toward the center of the gravity whirlpool. Kodai called out to encourage everyone.
“Sanada built this ship. There won’t be a problem if we keep our heads.”
Yes, there was Sanada. He didn’t make careless mistakes. Miyuki expected it, too. In other words, not even an astronomical phenomenon as unique as this vortex would have escaped his assumption.
“The parameters of this ship’s software are insufficient Papy!”
“This isn’t something standard EDF software can cope with…”
Kitano looked back suddenly.
“Kodai! You might find it in the Theory Well!”
“What’s that?” Kodai asked.
“We’re developing special software for the military from open discussion. It’s a members-only site on the EDF network. I’ve been invited there before and went on several times, but the security level is high and I haven’t been on lately.”
“I’ve heard about that,” Yuki added. “It’s a closed room only for technical officers. It’s a well where a theory can spring up and be extracted.”
Kitano tried to log into the Theory Well from his online history, but was refused access.
“I’m sorry, Kodai! It seems the password is regularly updated!”
Looking at Kitano’s distraught face, Papilizer issued an electronic sound.
“Such encryption can be broken in a few minutes Papy.”
Everyone’s eyes turned to Kodai. He closed his eyes for a moment to think. It was a delicate situation. Even if they cracked the officer study group’s password and copied the data they wouldn’t be regarded as hostiles, but Kodai didn’t want to do something that would cost him personal clout.
The ship shook again and he opened his eyes.
“It’s an emergency. I’ll explain it to the officers later. Papilizer, do it.”
The Theory Well was displayed on the bridge’s front panel. The datablock formed a cylinder that seemed to extend forever. The content of the data couldn’t be seen from outside.
A small Papilizer avatar appeared at the Theory Well’s top entrance. There were two semicircular lids with a lock the same size as the avatar, and the well was tightly closed. Papilizer transformed the avatar’s hand into a drill that began breaking into the lock. It was decrypting the code.
“Ping! This is dual-sphere theory encryption. It will take time Papy.”
The tip of the drill was inserted into a keyhole and started to rotate. Pieces of the processed code scattered across the screen like sparks. An icon for the security software, which looked like a sailing ship, suddenly appeared on the lock. A data anchor fired out of its bow and quickly caught Papilizer’s avatar. In a moment, Kodai and the others were surprised by a message that echoed through the ship.
“You are under arrest for trespassing!”
— ４ —
The voice was that of a woman, though she sounded more like a girl.
“You seem very young,” Kitano asked, “are you really a military official?”
The voice softened and Papilizer displayed it as a waveform on his head monitor.
“I’m the admin here! But that’s not important, why are you invading?”
“We’re sorry we didn’t go through the formal procedure,” Kodai apologized.
“Our ship is caught in massive gravity turbulence,” Kitano explained. “We were forced to break in and search for compatible control software.”
But the admin’s distrust only deepened at Kitano’s words.
“Compatible ship control for gravity turbulence? Where are you people?”
“Well, as for that…” Kitano looked back at Kodai for guidance. Kodai wavered a moment, then shook his head. Even if she was with the military, they couldn’t reveal their operation.
“I’ve heard enough, thank you.” She tapped her mic to measure the time it took for the sound to return from the diplomatic boat’s speaker. “The communication time lag is just under two seconds. There’s no way…”
It was a simple method, but clever. It wouldn’t be easy to deceive her. Kodai had been thinking about the identity behind this admin’s young voice. There was no doubt that she was a technical officer or a cadet in the EDF. But he had to be careful about how he disclosed information. He made up his mind and spoke.
The girl gasped. Her mic picked up the sound.
“I thought that might be the case, but if it’s really Aquarius, that’s a restricted area! Please leave immediately!”
“We can’t move,” Tasuke said. “We’re stuck in a whirlpool!”
“Calm down!” Kodai silenced him and spoke calmly to the girl.
“We’re not civilians. I can’t reveal my position, but know that I am one of you. I know it’s difficult, but can you believe me?”
“It’s difficult…but not impossible,” the girl said. “As for me, I’m someone who works for the defense of Earth, so I can’t overlook a suspicious act. Please show yourself and I’ll report to the person in charge of the appropriate airspace.”
Sanada would handle it if it was reported to him, but valuable time would be lost. Yuki spoke to Kodai before he could get more words out.
“Can I take your place? Nice to meet you, admin. Will you be telling everyone our location?”
“I would certainly only tell people I trust here. There are always rumors and leaks.”
Another big wave hit the ship and spun it around. Miyuki gave a short squeal that surprised the admin.
“Is there a child with you?”
“Yes, she stowed away.”
“A stowaway? I didn’t know that. Okay, I see. Let’s get you through the storm first. I’ll think about my report afterward.”
Yuki smiled reflexively. Everyone on the bridge was quietly ecstatic.
“Thank you! We’ll send you our location and weather data.”
“That doesn’t really matter, since I’m not going there. Send it to the rescue unit that’s coming to save you. What I need now is your ship’s data. We have to update its software.”
Without speaking, Yuki gestured for Kodai to take over again. He nodded.
“All right. We’ll send it to you right away.”
There would be problems later if the information was sent by Kodai, but it would significantly reduce the chance of a girl admin being held responsible. At Kodai’s instructions, Papilizer transferred the files for the diplomatic boat to the Theory Well.
“Yes, I’ve got it. But is it all right to show this to me? No criminals would be aboard a ship like that…why do you trust me?”
Their ship was an older type, but someone referencing it on the military roster would immediately learn its affiliation and history. Yuki laughed.
“You’re an excellent and sincere person. We can tell that much from our exchange so far. Have you sensed that about us?”
“Maybe. I handle AI in addition to ship software integration and hull data, so don’t worry. I’ll get to work here.”
The admin cut off communications before Yuki and Kodai could thank her.
Illustration by Ryuji “Umegrafix” Umeno
In Germany, Stuttgart was sinking into the darkness of night. The lodge dormitory was wrapped in deep sleep, but the eyes of Maho Orihara shone brightly. She switched her XR glasses from Virtual Reality mode to Augmented Reality mode, reverting from her avatar in the Theory Well to her 14-year-old body in the dormitory. She took a breath. Her real identity hadn’t been revealed, had it?
Maho had been recently discovered using VR to hack into a military quantum computer facility, and was yelled at by the dorm manager. Now, there were few people here the day before Christmas Eve and she wanted to read a math thesis in the Theory Well. Encountering an intruder was an unexpected development. She used her AR glasses to call upon the research support AI and started updating the ship’s software.
The high-speed diplomatic boat swayed wildly in the raging gravity turbulence. Those on the bridge struggled to hold their positions around Kitano in the pilot’s seat. According to Papilizer’s calculations, updating the ship’s maneuvering software would take at least two hours, even using the military’s top AI.
“And she may not be able to use military AI in the Theory Well,” Kitano cautioned. “We can’t endure this for another two hours.”
Tasuke turned to check on Miyuki in the back seat. She was exhausted by gravity sickness.
“Miyuki, hang on Papy! What — incoming message! Incoming message!”
“From where,” Kodai asked Papilizer.
“The Theory Well Papy! Software is downloading into me Papy!”
“It hasn’t even been twenty minutes.”
Everyone but Miyuki gathered around the front display panel where the admin’s avatar floated above the Well.
“I’m finished,” she announced with a hint of pride. “This should stabilize your ship.”
“Amazing,” Kodai beamed. “It should have taken a lot longer. Thank you for your cooperation. We’ll close communication once we’ve escaped.”
The ship’s front display panel changed from the Well to a view of the real world. They were close to Aquarius amid countless large and small drifting ice blocks. Kodai grabbed the armrest of the captain’s seat.
“We can’t get any closer! Yuki!”
“Roger! Forming gravity protection film!”
Using the software upgraded by the admin, Yuki carefully layered a spherical hologram around the ship. Papilizer performed auxiliary calculations to determine the intensity of the gravity and the radius of the film. The holo-sphere wavered for a moment, then fixed itself around the ship.
“Protective film stable!”
The hull was now covered by an invisible gravitational membrane, and the vibration stopped at once. But they still couldn’t let their guard down. The four people who had faced death many times already knew that they had to keep their heads here.
“Output recovery! We’ve broken through the turbulence!”
With that report from Tasuke, Kodai made a decision.
“It will be bad for that girl, but we’re going to land on Aquarius!”
“Roger! Shifting to prep for landing!”
Kitano separated the engine blocks that protruded from the left and right sides of the diplomatic boat. Then the lower center block of the hull separated from the rear block. Connected to the main body of the ship by special wires, the four separate blocks reached a specific distance.
The protective membrane could only deal with gravity. The ice chunks that had been blown around by the intense storm struck the ship and its blocks several times. The four blocks formed a tetrahedron in the shape of a pyramid with the ship’s main hull fixed in the center.
“5,000 meters to the ice field. 2,000…1,000…300…100…”
The diplomatic boat slowly descended while maintaining the tetrahedron formation. Although some of the surface plating was damaged by the storm, Sanada’s remodeling had been precise and the engine blocks weren’t shaken at all.
The mass of Aquarius was approaching. Kitano aimed the ship toward the center of its ice field.
“Fixed position, firing gravity anchor!”
Kitano and Tasuke breathed in unison. Even after leaving Yamato, they’d both seen severe duty.
“Anchor position confirmed. Attached to the Aquarius ice!”
Kodai put his hand on Kitano’s shoulder. “You’re always getting better, Kitano.”
“It wasn’t just me. This software is amazing. The 3D, three-axis correction of the ship is perfect. Papilizer did great.”
Papilizer responded with an electronic Papy sound. Yuki gazed at her husband. She was aiming to become a captain, and now she could clearly see what that meant. Susumu Kodai had a natural ability to lead everyone together. It was a bond that connected everyone from Yamato. Kodai removed Miyuki’s seatbelt.
“Miyuki, are you all right?”
“To be honest,” she said as she laughed, “I was really scared.”
The atmosphere on the bridge lightened at once. Kodai and Yuki nodded at each other with regard to their strong young child. Kodai reopened the communication line to report to the girl in the Theory Well. Interference was becoming quite intense.
“Thank you. We managed to escape thanks to your program.”
“I’m glad. I have to ask, where are you now that you’ve passed through the turbulence?”
“We’ve arrived at Aquarius. Sorry.”
“I thought that’s what you were going to do. What did you go there for?”
Kodai was at a loss, but decided to convey his purpose. Even with help, he couldn’t hide the most important thing.
“We have to go to Yamato. You should know the weight of that name.”
Thanks to the anonymous help of Maho Orihara, Kodai and the others finally landed on the ice field of Aquarius. What are the two powers on Aquarius that Sanada is concerned about? As a disturbing atmosphere spreads throughout the galaxy, the search for Yamato begins.
Space Battleship Yamato Resurrection Chapter 0: Aquarius Algorithm, is published in the Star Blazers/Yamato Premium Fan Club magazine starting from Vol. 5. Chapter 1 was published online for more people to know about it. The story gets more and more exciting from here. Thank you for your support!
– Katsuya Takashima & Asteroid 6/Aquarius Algorithm staff
Fan art by Yumatahazuki (posted on Twitter)