Story and art by Ryuko Azuma
See the original pages at Web NewType here
Narrative reads right to left
Linne hovers in Earth orbit, waiting for the as-yet-unseen Mark X battleship to be located so she can launch an assault. But Abbey reports from the lunar base that there’s a new complication; a wormhole has opened near Jupiter. Another Seireness attack is coming.
“Only one aria is visible on the video. We don’t know what they’re planning. Estimated time of arrival, 14 hours. Alexei is currently analyzing Mark X’s location.”
Right side: the Topness pilots listen to the conversation and wait to mobilize.
“We can’t order a sortie until the Mark X is destroyed,” Abbey continues. “As an insurance policy, I’m requesting a sortie from the Seventh Fleet at the moon base.”
Linnes says it would be a waste of time and lives. She’s prepared to intercept the incoming alien herself.
“The time limit is 14 hours,” Abbey thinks to herself. “I hope you’re right, Alexei.”
Left side: wounded and exhausted, Alexei stumbles through the streets of Hong Kong, tripping into a pile of garbage bags.
Right side: still bleeding from his gunshot wound, he stares helplessly up at a fireworks display.
Left side: his laptop delivers news from Abbey about the incoming enemy. He curses her ignorance of his situation.
“As usual… you don’t know what’s going on. The fate of humanity depends on you…good luck with that.”
Right side: the nameless Nirvana hit man is on the lookout for Alexei, knowing he can’t get far with his wound. As he finishes a call, he examines info on another of Alexei’s associates.
Left side: that associate is now in New York, communicating with Alexei by phone and telling him to send over his data. Suddenly, he is strangled from behind in his own car.
Right side: still in Hong Kong, the enforcer uses the call to pinpoint Alexei’s position and mobilizes.
Left side: Linne receives a text message from Alexei. She begins her descent.
Right side: Abbey finally makes contact with Alexei and demands to know where he is. He tells her the truth; in a pile of garbage in Hong Kong, watching fireworks. But he has sent the Mark X’s location to Linne. He won’t let Nirvana carry out their plans. She figures out that he’s hurt, but he says he’s called his friends for help.
Left side: as Alex’s life ebbs, he becomes delirious, saying he needs a cup of coffee…his friends will be there soon…does Abbey know of a cafe nearby?
“Alexei! Hang on!”
Right side: “All I’ve been thinking about is revenge…
It’s lonely…I couldn’t even save Mikhail…but the room with you was always warm…thanks to you, humanity will be saved…! So… please…Abbey…if… we survive this…”
Left side: “I’ll have coffee with you again…”
The enforcer finally finds Alexei and reports in. He also finds the laptop and opens it in his car, realizing that he’s too late to stop the worst from happening.
Linne launches her attack on the Mark X and we learn what Alexei told her: “Mark X is at Yellowstone…ground zero for Deus.” (Referring to the orbital energy station that crashed and killed millions.) Seth, wearing his grotesque mask, realizes what’s about to happen.
At that moment, far ahead of schedule, the Seireness invader reaches the lunar base.
Chapter title: FIREWORKS
On the base, Abbey pulls herself together and an alarm goes off.
Right side: in the control room, Abbey learns that the Seireness arrived ten hours earlier than predicted.
“Confirming a time fault with a radius of 50 million km!! It seems to have instantly closed the distance from Mars!”
The invader generates explosives and pitches them into the base.
Left side: it is reported that 80% of the upper levels have been vaporized and Abbey realizes that this Seireness has adapted – and magnified – the time-jumping ability of Mikhail. They have no defense against this.
Right side: the alien reacts as a hail of laser fire explodes upward, followed by Yu Yamato’s battleship.
Left side: the Seireness warps out and then back in and the topness pilots instantly launch and assault.
The entire remaining NerfThis fleet goes at the invader like an experienced machine.
Right side: Nina opens fire with her “Second Sight” drones and cautions everyone that since this Seireness has the same ability as Mikhail, it won’t strike from long distance.
Left side: Abbey monitors the battle helplessly, knowing full well Topness is now Earth’s last line of defense. All they can do is hold out until Linne incapacitates the Mark X on Earth.
There, she is in a running battle, shouting to “Prop mask” that there’s nowhere for him to run.
Right side: Lousy copy…don’t think you can compete with the original!”
Left side: Having finally dropped his mask, Seth stands alone inside the Mark X (which has served as Nirvana’s base all this time).
“You fool…Linne Aegis…you want to live the same life over and over again. You want the same suffering again…”
Right side: a flashback begins, a young Seth sitting in a Washington DC park with a young Maya Yamato, discussing the origin of the universe.
Maya: “You subtracted negative 1 from Zero, didn’t you? God…”
Seth: “Maya… I’m talking about how the universe came from nothing.”
Maya: “It’s mathematical. Because that’s the only way to make one out of zero. That’s all there is to it, right? This universe was born because God denied himself. Maybe the God who created this universe is a nekura (dark being). Because if you’re omnipotent and almighty, you don’t have to create a universe. God must have been surprised. Then such a beautiful world was born.”
Seth: “Then negative emotions…if you multiply suffering with hatred, you won’t get world peace. It will be World war.”
Maya: “Seth…you’re a nekura too. If you want world peace, you can’t multiply, you have to add. Human life is about love.”
Seth: “And with love comes suffering. Eventually, it all comes back to zero.
Maya: “I know. But isn’t that enough? The last remaining zero is all you need to affirm yourself.”
Moments from the Topness’ lives flash by as we hear Maya conclude her thought.
“Love yourself…if you want to love someone again…”
Seth reacts as Linne strikes a deciding blow.
“Surely a universe will be born…”
TO BE CONTINUED