EP. 09-4  Double Search (1)

...Click.

RO635 Testing, testing... This is RO with a mid-mission report. The operation is proceeding smoothly, I think...
It's just that SOP II's efficiency is still a little low... I suspect her emotions are negatively impacting her reactions.
That's right... She has noticed it herself, but the situation is worse than she thinks...
For the past hour, her responses to my orders have been slower by an average of 1.3 seconds.
Her processing speed is still within an acceptable margin, but she occasionally zones out while resting. It seems that her concentration has waned as well.
I don't know why, but I have a feeling that she is keeping something from me.
The search operation for M16 relies on SOP II's experience, and we only have one last area to search.
However, it's not just SOP II. I probably need some rest as well since we've been working for 20 hours straight. It's been a bit stressful, not because of the mission, but rather it's that...I've been thinking about too many unnecessary things...
How strange, I'm clearly just a T-Doll...
I'll end the report here for now. We're continuing the operation.

M4 SOPMOD II RO...

RO635 ......

M4 SOPMOD II RO...?
RO...!?

RO635 Whuh...?
What is it?

M4 SOPMOD II I've finished searching this side. The Commander's echelons still need some time. Shouldn't we have someone guarding our position?

RO635 Ah...right...I'll go...

M4 SOPMOD II You're the leader, so the load on your neural cloud must be much higher than mine. You're already struggling to keep your eyes open, aren't you?

RO635 ......
(Bitter smile) Indeed, whether it be recharging or clearing my cache...
Are you sure you're fine by yourself?

M4 SOPMOD II The nearby Sangvis troops have all been eliminated, and just standing around won't really drain my energy.
You helped me fall asleep before, so now it's my turn to help you.

RO635 Uhm...can you forget about that? It was kind of embarrassing.

M4 SOPMOD II Heheh, that's right, only you would do something like that, RO.

RO635 Is that...a compliment?

M4 SOPMOD II Of course...
I'm thankful you're here, RO.
Sorry for giving you so much trouble...

RO635 You don't need to apologize all the time. It's fine as long as you're happy. Besides, you've been treating me very nicely as well.

M4 SOPMOD II That's because you treat me well, so I'm just returning the favor.

RO635 Haha... If only everyone in the world is just like you, then things would be much simpler...
I'll leave it to you, then. I'll try to recover as soon as possible, then you can rest.
Also, report to me if there's any change in the situation.

M4 SOPMOD II You're really like M4 right now.

RO635 Do you like me this way?

M4 SOPMOD II At least this time, I do.

......
...One hour later.

RO635 ......
...It's been an hour on the timer. It went by pretty quickly this time...
SOP II...it's your turn to rest.

RO635 ...!

RO635 SOP II?!
Are you there, SOP II?

......
...RO carefully opens the door of the safe house, but there aren't any Griffin signals nearby.

RO635 Damn it...
Not again...
Not like this...!

RO635 SOP II's signal should still be trackable... I need to find her.

EP. 09-4  Double Search (2)

...RO finds SOP's hiding spot.

RO635 (Panting)
Is this the place? This should be it according to the tracker...

RO635 SOP II!

M4 SOPMOD II Eh? RO? What are you doing here?

RO635 You...!
(Sigh) You've really done it this time! Do you have any idea...!
You really scared me. If you disappeared as well...

M4 SOPMOD II Sorry, but...!

RO635 You can't use the authorization rights I gave you to leave the team by yourself! Do you know how much effort we spent——

M4 SOPMOD II Hang on, RO, look at this!

RO635 What? This is...
M16's...

M4 SOPMOD II M16's equipment case. I'm sure you recognize it.

RO635 Of course, but what's inside it? I've asked her several times in the past but she never gave me a proper answer.

M4 SOPMOD II "Nothing good." That's what she had always said.

RO635 How did you find it?

M4 SOPMOD II Persica put a small transmitter on it, which can only be detected at close range.
This was something M16 herself requested...just in case.
She once said that M4 would probably need it more than she does in the future.

RO635 So the reason you ran off by yourself was to search for this... You being distracted earlier...was it because you were allocating a part of your neural cloud to search for its signal?

M4 SOPMOD II I'm sorry...I thought I'd be able to return before you wake up... Since it wasn't far away, I thought heading out solo might have been safer...

RO635 So you thought that I'd slow you down?

M4 SOPMOD II No...that's not what I meant.
M16 once said that having emotions allow us to make better decisions.
I thought that it'd be better if you rested some more, as I'm capable of doing such a small thing by myself.

RO635 I know that you are concerned about me, but...you should have reported this to me earlier. I wouldn't have refused to let you go.

M4 SOPMOD II What about Helian and the Commander? It's not that I don't trust them, but they care for us too much. They wouldn't have allowed me to retrieve M16's stuff with my own two hands.

RO635 ...Retrieving it with your own two hands... Does it matter to you that much?

M4 SOPMOD II We'll be able to gain some firsthand information on M16's disappearance this way.
Look, there are bullet holes here and indications that it was dropped on its side. It was probably shot down from the air...

RO635 ......

M4 SOPMOD II There aren't any other signs of damage. It seems that at the very least, M16 was safe at the time when she sent this out.
And since she was able to send it out, it probably means that she wasn't in a dangerous area, so...I think we can relax for now.

RO635 SOP II...
You're...unexpectedly smart today.

M4 SOPMOD II W-What is that supposed to mean!
I'm not dumb! I just have a one-track mind, that's all!

RO635 I know, I know. AAT-52 once said something similar. "I'm not stupid, I'm just inefficient at multiprocessing."
Though, I'm glad that it's you, SOP II. If any other Doll tried to do the things you did today, I'm sure we wouldn't even be alive right now.
Perhaps I should update my information on the AR Team as I've always thought of you guys as unprofessional goofs...

M4 SOPMOD II The AR Team is certainly not as capable as the top elite T-Dolls, but we have far more autonomy.
That's why operating under M4's command allows us to achieve the full potential of our operational efficiency.
RO, if you really want to become a member of the AR Team, then you must think from our perspective and not merely follow orders from above.

RO635 Being lectured by a serious SOP II... This is my first time seeing you like this. Sorry, for some reason I feel like laughing, haha...

M4 SOPMOD II Haha, laugh if you wanna. This is what AR15 taught me back then, and I've always kept it in my mind.
Yeah... AR15... She talked about so many things, but I understood so little.

RO635 AR15...
Yeah, I'm like that as well...
I understand too little... But...I've also learned a lot.

M4 SOPMOD II Yup, everyone is a good person. That's why I like everyone so much.

RO635 Am I included in that "everyone"?

M4 SOPMOD II Of course! I like you too, RO.

RO635 Heh... Even though I know what you mean, hearing it like that is a little embarrassing...

M4 SOPMOD II Really? I've always talked like this.

RO635 Okay! Let's get out of here first. It'll be dangerous if we stay here for too long.

RO635 ......!

RO635 Hold up! I've detected the signal of an advanced Sangvis T-Doll rapidly approaching in this direction!

M4 SOPMOD II Were we discovered?

RO635 (Sigh) Either way, it seems like it won't be easy for us to escape...

M4 SOPMOD II Isn't this perfect, though?
I was just thinking that it'd be too boring to end the day having done nothing besides running some errands.

RO635 Ha...that's true. That's certainly more like your style, SOP II.

M4 SOPMOD II Hehe, looks like you're adapting well to the team!