UMP45 - 다이아몬드의 꽃

Griffin Control.

Helian ...Simply put, the client would like Griffin to stage a burglary.
We will steal the "Star of Glory" from a public venue and secretly return the jewel.

Helian notices my bewildered eyes.

Helian That should be enough to make outsiders abandon their schemes for the jewel, leaving the client free to live their twilight years in peace.

Even though the client's message has been appropriately censored, they're still prominent enough that I could easily discern their identity.
She's an old lady who survived the Collapse and World War 3.
A vast fortune left behind by her husband, her excellent eye for investments, and a healthy dose of luck ensured her fame on the list of the world's billionaires.
The huge jewel mentioned in the file is so big that it could not be made into a ring or some other jewelry. Surely the client must have had a hard time in ensuring its security...

Helian This operation will take place on the client's 80th birthday, when she exhibits the jewel at a cocktail party.
That will be next week...on the same day as our company's own anniversary.

Commander So, about the anniversary celebration...

Helian We'll run it as originally planned. Your participation in this operation will be considered as overtime with additional pay.
In addition, HQ will be sending two Dolls to take part in the operation. They will be responsible for the safekeeping and delivery of the jewel.
As for how this show will be run, that is entirely up to you.

Commander Do I need to discuss the plan with those two Dolls beforehand?

Helian There's no need. They will carry out their own mission. All you need to do is make it seem like a theft.
While this is last-minute overtime, do consider it as a sign of the company's faith in you, Commander.

...And so the transmission ends.
While I would be getting extra pay, missing the anniversary celebration is a bit of a shame.
In addition, making a gigantic diamond that is worth more than I could save in an entire lifetime "disappear" is no easy feat.

Commander What a troublesome jewel...

One week later.
At the cocktail party.

UMP9 Hello? Big sis, you're ready? Gotcha, I'll head over right now.

UMP9 We're about to begin, so I'll be heading off now.

Commander Right, it's just about time for the operation to start.
...Indulge yourself at next year's party to make up for the missed celebration.

UMP9 Heehee, I was waiting for you to say that, Commander...

UMP9 skips ahead and vanishes into the bustling cocktail party.

A moment later, my parched throat makes me consider getting a martini from a nearby Doll server, but then I hear a deliberately hushed female voice from behind me.

??? "I've brought misfortune."

Commander ...
"What a shame."
"My motto is to treat ladies nicely."

Before I could look back, the owner of that voice has already circled around in front of me.

She looks like a mirror image of UMP9, except for that ominous smile of hers...

UMP45 My, you remembered.
Does that mean you took notes, Commander?

Commander How could I forget? If it wasn't for you all...

UMP45 Stop, hold it right there. Keep it secret.
It's enough that you remember me.

Commander You all went missing for a long time after that. Were you called out for another mission?

UMP45 Are you testing me?

Commander ...
Alright, I don't want to talk about work either, so let's change the topic.
What made you decide on that dress tonight?

UMP45 You mean...this?

Unlike her sister, UMP45 is wearing a deep purple evening dress.
Though she has a large ribbon at her waist to complement her stature and looks, it could not conceal the air of maturity radiating from her.

UMP45 No particular reason... I just picked something out from the client's cabinet, just like 9.

Commander You two are sisters, yet your standards for fashion seem to be completely different from each other.

UMP45 We've only met a few times and you're already confident enough to comment about my nature?

Commander You have a point...
I'd like to be able to hang around you two more often.

UMP45 Being around us for too long will make saying goodbye more difficult.

UMP45 narrows her eyes.

UMP45 This isn't my world.

Commander ...

UMP45's gaze drifts outside the window.
Is she trying to leave this topic and this place behind?
I don't know, but I don't want things to end like this.

Commander ...Do you not like the atmosphere?

UMP45 Perhaps you might call it...envy?

Commander Why don't you try blending in? The atmosphere's important too.

UMP45 Blending in...?

Commander Just this once.

UMP45 ...

Beep.

UMP45's eyelids flutter, then she looks away from my face.

UMP45 I'll have to give it a pass, Commander.

Commander (Sigh) I'll invite you earlier next time.

UMP45 Next time?
Yes, next time...

Commander Next time won't be too far off.

UMP45 But it won't be for long either.

She doesn't look back at me. UMP45 quickly vanishes into the sea of people.

...Several hours later.
The chaos at the party has settled down, and the guests are exiting in an orderly fashion under the direction of Griffin T-Dolls.

They do not seem very panicked at all. In fact, they seem to be chattering in front of the lavish manor, discussing the curious sights they had seen earlier.
I head in the opposite direction of the guests into the vacant manor.

UMP45 Were you waiting for me, Commander? Have you seen 9 already?

Commander I told you that next time wouldn't be too far off.
So you've already handled the cleanup, right?

She pulls up her skirt and shows me the transparent container strapped to her inner thigh.
Although it's made of reinforced glass, the container could not fully block out the sparkling shine of the massive jewel within.

UMP45 Just as you said, the jewel will find its way safely back into the hands of the client, so don't worry.

Commander You know, if I were in your place, I'd be happier in completing this mission.

UMP45 (Laugh) That's like telling a depressed person to cheer up, or telling someone with a broken leg to get out more often.

Commander (Shrug) Guess I'm just that empathetic.

UMP45 I'm sorry, but there's no point being nice to me.

Commander "My motto is to treat ladies nicely."

UMP45 I should remind you that the operation is over, Commander.

Commander You mean I can't keep using it as my motto? I might even have it engraved on my tombstone.

UMP45 (Laugh) I can't imagine the manner of death that would lead to that being carved onto your tombstone.
And besides, I said I wasn't worth it, so why are you so concerned about me?

Commander That's because UMP9 looked really happy. I wanted you to have fun too, like her.

UMP45 Have fun?

Commander Yes, it's too sad to sacrifice your precious vacation to work all day without enjoying yourself in the slightest, isn't it?

UMP45 ...
So that's the reason?

Commander What?
According to the organization regulations, Griffin Dolls are scheduled for R&R between missions.
If you would like to take some time off to relax, why not request for more special leave?

UMP45 ...
I don't think that's possible...
After all, we're pretty busy most days.

Commander So you'll be out on a mission again, huh?

UMP45 I can't be sure of my schedule, so I can't give you a definite answer...
...And I can't thank you either.

Commander I-Is that so...
Still, we're on the same side, given that Griffin stole our vacations!
For next year's anniversary, I'm planning to postpone all missions so we can have a nice, big celebration on the company's dime to make up for this year's overtime.
Want to come, UMP45?

UMP45 ...
Commander...
You really don't know anything?

Commander You...
...Do you want me to know?

UMP45 No...
That's fine...

UMP45 backs up a few steps.

UMP45 That would be for the best.
I should go.

Commander You got other things to take care of?

UMP45 I told you, this time won't be for too long.

Commander Then how about next time?
Like I was saying...

UMP45 ...

UMP45 looks back and slightly lifts her scarred eyelid.

UMP45 I'll think about it.
Next time, I'll try to blend in a little more...

UMP45 Just a little bit...for just a little longer...

Only after she leaves that I realize that was a smile on her face.

I can't discern how much sincerity is contained in that mysterious Doll's smile.
But when UMP45 left, she was not walking slowly and silently. Rather, the echoes of her heels clicking against the marble floor echoed through the air...

I look forward to hearing those echoes again, except hopefully, they'll be the echoes of someone coming back.