Chapter 35, Information Gathering Device
Akira was riding through the wasteland on a bike. He was in the middle of an individual patrol request.
The bike was equipped with an onboard information gathering device that Akira borrowed from the Hunter Office. This device would record everything around him, the route that he took, the type and number of monsters that he encountered, and how many of those monsters he defeated. All of this data would be then exchanged for money, deducting the rent fee of the information gathering device and the rest would be paid as Akira’s reward for this request.
If Akira patrolled around an area filled with dangerous monsters, his reward would shoot up. On the other hand, if he only patrolled around a relatively safe area just to kill time, his reward would be so less that it might not even cover the rental fee. And if he got unlucky and encountered another swarm of monsters alone, he could monopolize the reward all for himself. Even if he decided to run away from that swarm of monsters, no one would have any complaint against him. Compared to the group patrol from the last time, an individual patrol request like this had its advantages and disadvantages, but for the current Akira, the advantages outweighed the disadvantages.
Akira was speaking to Alpha through telepathy while on his bike. It was to avoid the information gathering device from recording him talking alone.
“I was really afraid that I might meet another swarm of monsters. But now that I’m here, I don’t even see that many monsters. It’s a bit disappointing.”
“A lot of monsters were killed in yesterday’s battle. But it can also be said that there are that many monsters left even after we killed so many of them yesterday. I’m sure it won’t take that long before the population of monsters in the area returns back to normal.”
“So right now is like a moment of calmness before a storm, huh? But if I think like that, it feels like there are a lot of monsters today. I wonder where all of these monsters come from. Although we periodically thin them out, they always return back to normal in no time, right?”
“I bet there are undiscovered production facilities somewhere out there or production facilities guarded by powerful defensive devices, which makes it impossible to subjugate them. These keep producing monsters endlessly. The monsters in this area might come from a production facility near the area or come from a faraway place.”
“That might explain the mechanical monsters, but still…”
“That’s also the case for the biological monsters too.”
Akira looked surprised and confused at the same time.
“The biological monsters are also produced in factories? They don’t multiply from breeding?”
Alpha smiled, boasting her knowledge.
“That’s right. It’s an easy task to produce biological organisms using technology from the old world. Livestock, pet, bodyguard, biological soldiers, you can use old-world technology to produce all kinds of biological creatures. But a high-quality creature can only be produced by synthesizing everything from scratch. Well, of course, it was properly maintained back in the days, thus these monsters would not randomly attack people. Moreover, some biological monsters can multiply by using their reproductive abilities. So even if the factory where these monsters were originally produced are no more, they would still multiply.”
“…The more I hear about this old world, the crazier it sounds.”
“And you’ll be exploring the ruins filled with this crazy old world technology many times in the future, you know? So be sure to work hard to get yourself proper equipment and skill to survive these deadly ruins, okay? As for training, how about you try fighting a monster on your own? There’s a monster right over there, Akira.”
This patrol request also doubled as training for Akira. As he spotted and confirmed his target, he stopped his bike.
It was a small carnivorous monster. The burly fur hid its limbs and it did not look strong. As a matter of fact, it was a relatively weak monster.
But it was strong enough to actually attack and kill a human. And since it was roaming in the wasteland, it showed that it had enough strength and ability to survive in such a harsh environment. This quality alone was enough to make anyone run away from it out of fear.
Akira held his CWH anti-material rifle with the help of his augmented suit as he took an aim at that monster. But since he was still inexperienced in using an augmented suit and still not that familiar with CWH anti-material rifle, the TPL extended from its muzzle was swaying left and right.
Akira took a deep long breath while making a stern stance, he gathered his focus and pulled the trigger. A bang reverberated as a bullet flew out from the muzzle and cut through the air before landing near the ground where the monster was standing.
“A miss, that was close though.”
“I still couldn’t hit my target even with the help from TPL, huh? It seems that I still have a long way to go before I can shoot accurately on my own.”
“It might also be because you always shoot from a safe range during the training. No need to be nervous and do your best. That monster is heading this way now.”
“Roger that, next shot.”
The monster noticed Akira and immediately ran towards him. Its huge limbs kicked the ground as it closed its distance to Akira. Through his aiming device, he could clearly see that the monster really wanted to take a chomp off his flesh.
The fear that was bubbling inside Akira was telling him to either take his bike and escape or ask for Alpha’s support. But Akira stood his ground and suppressed his fear. Although it drew closer for every shot he missed as that monster was charging towards him, he continued shooting at the monster.
Then finally, one of his bullets hit the monster’s body. The monster immediately slowed down. Akira then calmly took an aim and delivered the killing shot.
Alpha smiled and praised him for his performance.
“You did well, that was pretty good.”
“Thanks. Well, I guess this much shots against a monster won’t put me on red, right?”
Akira firmly nodded and smiled lightly.
As he returned back to patrolling the wasteland, he asked Alpha.
“Alpha, about the patrol request though, we’ll keep doing this request until I reach a certain Hunter Rank, right? Although my Hunter Rank went up to 17 from the last battle, until what rank do I need to keep doing this?”
“Your goal is to reach Hunter Rank 20. You’ll need to at least reach that level to be able to borrow a custom made vehicle to traverse the wasteland. Although a lower Hunter Rank is actually enough if you just want to borrow a vehicle, you also need to think and find a balance between the vehicle specification, the rental fee and the insurance fee.”
“A vehicle, huh? But I already have a bike. So, do I still really need to hurry up to get a vehicle?”
“Yes, you should. There’s a limit on how much supplies you can bring with you on this bike. Although you’ll need to get all the required equipment before going to explore the other ruins, a vehicle specially designed to travel in the wasteland is quite expensive. So you’ll just have to rent for the time being.”
“The other ruins, huh? Is it okay if I take a peek into those ruins for a bit with this bike?”
“We’ll only do that once you get yourself the proper equipment and a vehicle. If it’s possible, I want you to get an information-gathering device at least. We’ll only visit other ruins after you have all of that, okay?”
“Hmmm. To be honest, I want to at least collect some medicines though. Is the bike really not enough?”
“Oh, I haven’t told you this, huh? My detection ability deteriorates outside Kuzusuhara ruins, you see. That’s why it’s crucial for you to get an information-gathering device. Or do you still want to go without one?”
“Alright, let’s not do that.”
Akira immediately backed off. He understood that it would be futile to challenge a ruin relying solely on his own power without Alpha’s detection support. After all, he would not want monsters to swarm him from all directions.
“So besides a vehicle, I should get an information-gathering device too, huh? That would require a huge amount of money. Although I just got 12,000,000 Aurum, it has gone in a puff, the CWH anti-material rifle is pretty expensive after all.”
“That’s what it means to be a Hunter. If it requires more money than what you can earn right now, then it means that it’s still too early for you to get it. That’s all there’s to it.”
It was not a rare occurrence where a Hunter who got ahead of himself challenged a ruin that was outside his ability and then was claimed by the ruin. It was the same for Akira too, he would have died if he did not meet Alpha in Kuzusuhara ruins.
Akira understood that lucky coincidence had kept him alive up until now and let out a bitter smile.
When Akira visited Shizuka’s shop, he found Elena and Sara talking with Shizuka. Akira then joined their conversation while placing a refill order for his ammo. As they were talking about the augmented suit, the conversation somehow shifted to Elena’s augmented suit.
Akira seemed obviously surprised when he found out that Elena was not using an augmented suit until now.
“…Elena-san, so that’s just a simple armour, huh? Since I’ve seen you carrying heavy equipment, I assumed it was an augmented suit. So you’re actually stronger than you seem, huh?”
Sara looked amused by Akira’s reaction.
“That’s right. But even so, Elena always says that she’s just a weak girl, you know? Don’t you think that’s just unreasonable?”
“Eh, Ah, no…”
Akira could not immediately agree to that as he was at loss for words. Elena who had just gotten teased there quickly retorted.
“I don’t want a girl who carried an A4WM Automatic Grenade Launcher saying something like that to me. That gun is crazy heavy, you know. And even more so when it’s fully loaded.”
“That’s normal for me. After all, I’m a nanomachine enhanced human. But of course, without the nanomachines, I’m just your normal weak girl.”
“And without the nanomachines, Sara’s glorious chest will turn back into its original pitiful size.”
Elena and Sara smiled at each other. Although Akira was just an observer, he could feel the immense pressure in the air.
Shizuka was enjoying the show, but when she noticed Akira looking uncomfortable, she tried to mediate between them.
“You two should stop there. Akira is scared, you know? What are you girls doing letting out veteran Hunter’s intimidating aura in this place?”
As Elena and Sara heard Shizuka and turned down their intimidating aura, both of their gazes shifted to Akira.
Akira, who was still at loss for words, tried to squeeze out everything he had to change the mood. He took a standpoint between Elena and Sara with his narrow knowledge of vocabulary.
“Ahh, well, I don’t know about being a weak girl, but I think Elena-san is a pretty girl with a beautiful slender body.”
Although Elena immediately understood from her experience that those words were just flattery, she also understood that Akira was being honest when he said that. Thus she was pretty happy with his compliment.
Sara just smiled and stared at Akira as she asked.
“Akira, how about me?”
There was obviously some pressure emitting from her smile. So Akira could only answer back in a panic.
“Of course I think that Sara-san is also a beautiful girl.”
And with that, Sara’s mood immediately turned better.
Shizuka who was only watching them as an observer suddenly joined in.
“Akira, then how about me?”
“Shizuka-san is also a beautiful girl.”
Akira answered back casually since he understood that Shizuka knew he would answer with that when she asked him that question. But it was obvious that Akira was a bit bashful when he said that.
Of course, Alpha could not help but join in as she smiled and asked Akira the same question.
“Akira, how about me?”
“Yeah yeah, you’re beautiful too, are you satisfied now?”
Alpha looked displeased with Akira’s answer as she retorted.
“Why are you always so mean to me?”
“Because I know for sure that you did that only to tease me. I’m trying my best not to look suspicious here, so can you please stop interrupting me?”
Akira was trying to be careful not to look at Alpha, who was invisible to Elena and the other girls there.
Shizuka was a bit surprised when she found herself happy from Akira’s words, thus she tried to hide it by teasing Akira.
“Akira, did you say that just to change the mood?”
“No, I’m not a person who can say anything if someone tells me to say that because it’s more profitable that way. So, although we are in that kind of situation, I didn’t lie. Everything I said is true.”
The mood in the room suddenly turned embarrassing. Shizuka, Elena, and Sara looked at each other and noticed that their faces had turned reddish. Since they all noticed that, they stayed quiet hoping that no one would point out the fact.
Akira then came up with a new subject as he was trying to change the mood again.
“Now that I think about it, Sara-san doesn’t use an augmented suit, right?”
“Me? That’s because I’m a nanomachine enhanced human. If I use a common augmented suit, my physical strength might reduce instead. Moreover, it has to be an augmented suit suitable for someone with a nanomachine enhanced body. Of course, I can get such an augmented suit that solves all of these problems, but it’s soo expensive that I can’t afford to buy one. So until I have enough money, an armour that increases the efficiency of my nanomachine consumption works better than a common augmented suit.”
“I see. So there’s a lot of things to consider, huh? So then, Elena-san, what kind of augmented suit you’re planning to get?”
Elena looked a bit flustered.
“Eh? Well, uhh, it’s basically an advanced augmented suit. Just like in your case, Shizuka is picking one for me.”
“I see. I’m sure an advanced augmented suit will look completely different compared to my augmented suit, right? So what kind of augmented suit is it?”
“Ahh, well, about that…”
Elena answered back vaguely. Akira did not mean to ask anything strange, so he was puzzled by Elena’s answer. His confusion was shown on his face as Shizuka smiled.
“It’s something hard to explain with words, so instead, you can see it for yourself, you know? It should be here by next week so you don’t need to wait that long.”
“Is that so? Alright then.”
Akira was confused as to why Elena panicked, but since Shizuka suggested that herself, he just casually accepted the offer.
Shizuka just pushed that promise to Elena. She was in a panic since she could not say that she did not want to show her augmented suit to Akira at this point. Shizuka noticed that and understood the reason why Elena was in a panic as she smiled teasingly at Elena. Sara could not help but join Shizuka and tease Elena.
Akira caught a glance of Elena’s information gathering device and thought.
“By the way, about that information-gathering device, did you buy that from this shop too?”
Elena quickly answered back to change the subject.
“Nope, I don’t really remember where I bought it, but I didn’t buy it from here. Shizuka doesn’t sell information gathering device, you know.”
“This shop specializes in ammo. It will only bring trouble if I sell stuff that I’m not familiar with, that’s why I don’t sell them. But you can still order them from this shop.”
“But your shop sells everything that’s related to Hunters, right? Since you also sell a lot of guns that can be operated in tandem with an information-gathering device, I think it’ll be fine if you sell information gathering devices too, you know. Don’t you think so too, Akira?”
Both Elena and Shizuka turned to Akira. He looked panicked as he tried to run away from having to choose any side.
“Uhmm, I’m actually thinking of buying an information-gathering device soon. I just thought that it would be a great help if Shizuka-san has some recommendations.”
Shizuka shook her head.
“I’m sorry, but information gathering devices are outside my expertise. If you want to get some recommendations, I advise you to ask Elena.”
“Me? But even if you ask me… Enemy detection, ruins mapping, relics identification. There are so many different options depending on what you want to use it for…”
Since she did not want to recommend anything bad to Akira, Elena was a bit at loss because of the number of options that she could go for an information-gathering device. As she was humming while thinking, she suddenly remembered an information-gathering device that was only gathering dust back in her house.
“That’s right. I have an information-gathering device that I bought in the past but I’m not using it right now. You can buy that from me if you want. Although it’s a generic type, I think it’s actually perfect for a beginner. I was thinking of dismantling it and scavenging some parts off it, but if you want to buy it, I don’t mind selling it to you, you know? I actually don’t really like that type, so how about you give it a try?”
“But you said that you don’t use it. Is it because it is faulty?”
“It’s not that it’s faulty or anything bad, well, to explain it simply…”
Elena then explained everything in detail so that Akira did not misunderstand her as selling something faulty to him.
The information-gathering devices sold to the Hunters were mainly categorized into two types, specialized and generic. Specialized type focused on one kind of function like movement detection, sound detection, image analysis, etc… While on the other hand, the generic type was an amalgamation of different functions. It could compile all the information that it gathered into a map or an image. Furthermore, the generic type could process all the analysis on its own.
Both of them had their own pros and cons. If a specialized type information gathering device broke, it only needed a small part replacement to fix it. It could also be combined with parts or devices from the other companies to add extra functions. In short, it had great flexibility. But on the other hand, the gathered information needed more processing before they could be used. Although there was a standardized output for each type of information, each company tended to use different formats. Because of that, it needed advanced processing technology to transform all the information into a usable form.
A generic type information gathering device did not need any of that. But in exchange, it was not as flexible as a specialized type. Most of the generic type information gathering devices produced by the companies would need a total replacement even if only one part was broken. Moreover, the information output from the on-board program in a generic type information gathering device was not interchangeable.
Elena preferred to use an information-gathering device that she made herself by combining multiple different specialized type information gathering devices. But lately, the generic type was getting famous as a lot of new generic type products went on sale, thus Elena decided to buy a device from one of the popular series. But after she used it for a while, she found herself not liking it at all. It simply felt like a half-baked device to her. In the end, she just left it to collect dust.
“…So that’s why I don’t use it. If you form a team, it’s a good idea to get at least one person who specializes in analyzing information. But if you go alone, then I recommend you to get a generic type information gathering device. Since the series specialized for the solo Hunters are pretty small-sized, they won’t get in the way of your movement too.”
Alpha then interjected.
“I think that’s a good idea. The problem is whether you can afford it now or not.”
“Uhmm. If it’s alright, I want to buy it, so how much would it be?”
“Let’s see, it’s basically a second-hand for you, and even if I sell it, it’ll only sell for a low price. Not to mention that it’ll be just sitting in my house if I don’t sell it, so how about 2,000,000 Aurum?”
Relatively speaking, it was actually pretty cheap. But even so, it’ll take most of the money that Akira had with him now. So if he bought it, he would have to return back to sleeping in a room without a bath. Akira hesitated for a bit, but since Alpha, Elena and Shizuka recommended it, Akira decided to push his hesitation aside.
“Okay then. Is it okay to pay through bank transfer?”
Akira operated his information device and transferred the payment to Elena and she confirmed his payment.
“I have already confirmed the payment. This will conclude the deal then. I’ll give you the device right away, so let’s go to my house now. Shizuka, see you around.”
Elena and Sara smiled at Shizuka and left the shop. Akira bowed and followed suit.
Both from the inside and from the outside, Elena and Sara’s house was much more different compared to the room where Akira slept. As he was waiting for Elena inside one of the rooms, he looked around and thought that Sara and Elena were really on a different level as Hunters compared to him.
Elena then returned with a box covered in dust.
“This is it. It’s the whole package…I think. Well, if it’s missing anything, I’m sorry. It’s second-hand goods after all. It’s an information-gathering device made by Senva Electronics. If I’m not mistaken, its name is Midnight Eye. I don’t use it only because I don’t like it, but it’s actually a pretty good device.”
“Thank you very much. Do I need to do the initial setting too?”
“Since the last setting is still installed from when I used it, you should be able to use it as it is. But if it’s hard for you to use, feel free to change the setting.”
Akira looked genuinely interested in that box. Elena smiled as she watched Akira’s behaviour, but the alarm in her information device suddenly rang. Elena looked apologetic as she said.
“I’m sorry, I actually wanted to serve you some snacks and tea, but looking for that box took me more time than I thought. I need to go soon for my next request.”
“Please don’t be. I’ll leave right away. Thank you very much for everything.”
Akira politely bowed while carrying the box. As their guest, Elena and Sara saw him off.
As Akira left Sara and Elena’s house, he passed by Katsuya by chance. Although their eyes met, Akira just ignored him and went on.
When Akira arrived in his own room, he immediately opened the box that housed his new information-gathering device. It was a rectangular tool equipped with a terminal and all kinds of extra parts sticking out from it. As he picked it up, his eyes stuck to it without blinking, completely engrossed in it. It was only when Alpha suddenly spoke up did he finally snap out of his state.
“Akira. Connect that tool to your information terminal.”
“Do we still need to do something with this tool?”
“Yep, I need to rewrite the whole software so that it’ll work together with my support.”
“I see. Well, it’s a good thing if it helps me use it afterwards. So, I’ll be in your care.”
Akira then picked the information gathering device out and connected it into his information terminal. Once the two were connected, Alpha immediately took control of the information gathering device through the information terminal.
“There’s some data left from when Elena used it. Is it okay if I erase it?”
“What kind of data is it?”
“There are some blueprints of old-world ruins around Kugamayama city, some data from the scanned monsters, there might be some other data compiled from the other information gathering devices too. There’s also individual output power setting for its parts, it seems that it’s a leftover data from when Elena was tinkering with it.”
“I see. I don’t really understand it, so I leave it to you.”
“Alright. There’s also some data about Elena and Sara’s body measurement. I think it’s from when they did a test run on this device. It seems like a highly accurate data since it was taken from a close range. Want me to make an image reconstruction using this data?”
In the next moment, Alpha used her advanced computing ability to reconstruct images of Elena and Sara based on the data and showed those images to Akira.
Akira was shocked and froze up. Especially after realising that those 2 images were naked.
For Elena’s image, rather than just being simply slender, it was a flawless image with fats in places just where it should be to enhance her sexuality. Her skin was smooth and glossy with a healthy complexion. The elegance of a functional body and the beauty of a sensual body existed together without disturbing one another.
As for Sara’s image, her body was well endowed and simply gloriously voluptuous. The perfect combination between her curvy waist, her firm skin and her glorious chest only served to enhance her beauty.
Both of these images were considered jaw-dropping, although they came from 2 different kinds of beauty. The two beautiful bodies were fully exposed in front of Akira, and top of that, Alpha put an enchanting smile on their beautiful faces directed at Akira.
Akira was captivated by the naked images of the girls who saved him in the past, but he immediately returned back to his senses and shouted.
“Erase it right now!!!”
Those two images immediately vanished from Akira’s vision. Alpha who was floating beside him looked surprised.
“You don’t have to be that annoyed, you know?”
As Akira used one of his hands to hide his reddened face, he glared intensely at Alpha.
“…Why were they naked?”
“It’s because the data is from their body measurement. Putting clothes on them would need extra data.”
“…Just don’t ever do that again. It would only make me feel awkward the next time I meet them.”
“I thought you’re already used to something like that. Or was I mistaken?”
“It depends on the subject and the situation!!”
“Is that so?”
“Yes, it is!”
Alpha looked doubtful.
“Very well then. Don’t worry, I won’t do it again since you told me not to. That aside, we’ll go to the ruins tomorrow, so be sure to do proper maintenance on your guns.”
Akira asked Alpha with a reddened face.
“Didn’t you say that we won’t go to the ruins before I can borrow a vehicle?”
“This information-gathering device is better than I thought and there are still some leftover data about the ruins from when Elena was using it. Moreover, we’ll go to a relatively safe ruin tomorrow. Not to mention, we need to get you familiar with using this information gathering device.”
“…I see, alright then.”
Akira then picked his gun and started his usual maintenance. 2 AAH assault rifle and 1 CWH anti-material rifle, these 3 guns were Akira’s lifeline right now.
Akira was still not used to CWH anti-material rifle maintenance. Thus he was more focused than usual to make sure that he did everything correctly. But the image of naked Elena and Sara stuck to the back of his mind, because of that, he spent more time trying to calm himself down and he just could not focus on his job.
Alpha kept observing Akira closely as she was working on his new information-gathering device.
Silavin: Damn. As a cultured man, I do believe, with some level of experience, that the manga should deliver what we need. So, Gentlemen, I think some screenshots are in order.