THE STORY SO FAR:
Braggadocio between American and Japanese robotics engineers on social media escalates to a real-world face-off on a massive scale. Utilizing multi-million dollar budgets provided by corporate donors, each team builds a gigantic robot to compete in a best-of-three fighting tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada.
When the tournament abruptly ends amidst chaos, eccentric billionaire Eldridge Roundstone reveals he has been secretly funding both robotics teams, with the goal of developing unconventional weapons to combat an impending alien invasion. The doubts of the American Team’s pilot, Lumin Mira, are erased when she witnesses the alien invaders arrive and use their towering beasts to destroy all who oppose them.
Roundstone welcomes the American and Japanese teams as well as their loved ones at his compound near Cupertino, California. There, he reveals his plan to attack the invaders using a robot army built with a hybrid of American and Japanese technology. With new pilots trained and squadrons formed, the resistance has begun. The most recent battle has claimed the life of the Kyoto Team’s founder, Kengi Sato.
Lumin and Miu’s robots cut through the clouds as they made their way back to the encampment at the salt flats. Kengi Sato’s body had been surrounded with padding and carefully placed within Miu’s robot. “Almost there,” said Lumin with a sigh of relief as they left Idaho behind and entered Utah under a crystal blue sky. Miu hadn’t said a word since they left the riverbank.
Lumin was concerned about Miu’s building emotional turmoil. She knew Miu had a big heart despite her cold facade. “I promise you Sato-san’s death won’t be in vain.”
Without warning, Miu veered off course and rocketed towards the ground.
“Miu? What are you doing?” Lumin checked her radar. A CBGB had emerged on a plateau below them, surrounded by a swarm of OMFUGs. “Shit!”
Lumin gave chase. Explosions burst in front of her as Miu began blasting the drone ships out of the sky with her concussion cannon. Two of the red orbs had circled behind Miu and began firing as she stayed on a b-line for the behemoth below. Lumin pushed her robot to its limits in order to catch up, struggling to maintain stability as her robot’s damaged left arm dangled beneath her.
Lumin hammered the remaining pair of OMFUGs with her own cannon then rushed through the ensuing fireball, ending up beside Miu. “Goddamit, stop!” Miu ignored her and ignited the quantum blades of her chain sword.
“Miu, listen to me. We have a chance to do what Sato-san instructed. If we can dispatch this thing without having it disintegrate, we may be able to learn how to stop the invaders for good!”
Miu gave no response, blasting ahead.
“Damn you for making me do this!” Lumin rammed into the side of Miu’s robot and threw a punch that sent her partner tumbling away in a tail spin. Determined to intercept the CBGB first, she continued her descent. Miu recovered quickly and corrected her course.
Lumin landed directly in front of the CBGB with her sword ignited. She chopped through a swirling tentacle then stabbed at the beast directly above its right leg and pulled her sword out. Nothing seemed to happen. You said to strike above the right hip, Sato!
Lumin heard a huge thump and realized Miu had landed behind her. She turned around and dropped her sword to grab the arm of Miu’s robot with her bot’s remaining hand, hoping to stop the swing of her blade. “No! Wait!”
The behemoth didn’t wait. Its claws dismembered the crumpled, hanging arm of Lumin’s robot and knocked the rest of her machine to the ground. Miu stepped over Lumin and chopped through the beast’s neck with a single swing, causing its severed head to hit the ground and bowl over a nearby stand of pine trees, flattening them. The rest of the CBGB’s body toppled over, lifelessly.
Miu’s robot sank to its knees, its shoulder’s rolling slightly and its head shaking. The robotic mimicry of the control system revealed Miu was weeping inside her control bell.
Lumin rose up and moved beside Miu. “Let it out. It’s alright.”
“Sato-sama…wouldn’t like to see me this way,” said Miu finally, her voice despondent.
“I once thought Sato was just trying to manipulate you and yours sisters, but when I saw the way he looked at you back there…I knew he was proud of you. He’d be happy to know how much you cared about him,” said Lumin.
“He was the closest thing to a father any of us ever had,” said Miu, slowing standing back up. “Now he’s dead—packed in this damned robot alongside me.”
Lumin wondered how hard Miu’s sister Ako would take the news of Sato’s death. Miu’s other sister, Kokone Dokujima, would be unmoved–seeing as she was a sociopath of the highest order. Lumin hoped she was getting the treatment she needed after attempting to blow up Las Vegas. The state of the world made the ordeal in the arena seem so quaint. “Come on, let’s get Sato-sama back to base,” said Lumin, standing up next to Miu.
“Look,” said Miu, pointing her robot’s finger behind Lumin.
Lumin turned around. “Look at that…Sato was right,” The corpse of the behemoth was still lying there. It hadn’t burst into white-hot ash like all of the others they had dispatched. Miu ran over to retrieve the head that had rolled way and the tentacle Lumin had chopped off. They rested the stray parts on the rest of the CBGB’s body.
Lumin typed out a quick message on her console then hailed Yasamin. “Yasamin, I need you to send the airship to the GPS coordinates I just gave you.”
“What’s going on?” asked Yasamin. “I thought you were heading back to camp with Sato’s body?”
“We’ll be back in the air soon. We took out another CBGB on our return trip, but this time we managed to keep most of it intact.”
Yasamin gasped. “Wait…the body didn’t disintegrate?”
“No. Tell Skip I want him to start dissecting this damn thing as soon as we get it back to Z. I want to know what we’re dealing with.”
“Lumin, I’ve been trying to contact you. There’s been another development.”
“Oh, wonderful,” said Lumin with a sigh.
“The aliens’ giant orb ships are reentering Earth’s atmosphere…but they’re not attacking. They’ve started collecting the remaining CBGBs, sweeping slowly from the east coast to the west, picking all of them up.”
“Lumin, I think they’re leaving.”
Lumin was stunned speechless.