Peaceful Day at Strategic Area S09
WA2000 bowed and reported, “Everything at Strategic Area S09 is normal today. The patrol team has not spotted any suspicious enemy activity.”
I nodded. I went to call WA2000, but she ignored me and left the office. I sighed. Hopeless, I scrubbed my head. G36 then came in. She placed a cup of coffee on the desk and said, “It has been a long day for you, Commander. There is nothing else for the day, so you can take a break now.”
I peered outside and picked up my cup of coffee. Ten days had gone by. We finished recapturing Strategic Area S09. There were no signs of any other forces from Sangvis Ferri. The patrols essentially went out on a daily tour. That put me on a rollercoaster of emotions. My goal when I came to Strategic Area S09 was to recapture it. The end result was boring and annoying.
Miss Helian did state that it was a celebration party, but I had yet to receive any notifications. Moreover, she hadn’t contacted me since the last call or assigned me any missions. She just sent me a challenger medal, and that was it. It was a form of acknowledgement, but I wanted something to do.
I got up out of my seat and placed my empty cup down. I said to G36, “G36, you can call it a day, too. I’m heading to the cafeteria.”
“Roger,” responded G36, bowing before she left.
When I reached the cafeteria entrance, I spotted Kalina’s head of orange hair coming out first. Surprised to see me, she dryly chuckled: “Oh, hello, Commander. It appears we have a lot of free time.”
“Indeed,” I replied with a nod. “I was hoping you’d have something for me to do; however, we haven’t heard from Miss Helian, have we?”
“No, we have not… I have not heard anything.”
We heard zilch. Zilch about Strategic Area S09 and zilch on Anti-Rain Team, as well. After Team 404 took Anti-Rain Team, they both seemingly vanished off the face of the planet, although Team 404 was actually sent on another mission. There were a considerable number of T-Dolls coming and going from Strategic Area S09 to replenish their supplies and whatnot, having said that. Strategic Area S09 didn’t get to take part in any skirmishes, though. I wanted to know how M4A1 was doing.
After bidding Kalina goodbye, I went into the cafeteria. When I opened the door, the bell overhead rang. The heart-warming smell of coffee greeted me. Springfield, who was busy behind the counter, looked up at me and smiled. She wiped her hand and said, “I am glad to see you, Commander. Do you want something to eat? I have prepared dishes for you. Take them back with you while they are still hot.”
I sat down at the counter. It was undeniably embarrassing, but a man couldn’t ignore his wife when she leaned in. I clasped Springfield’s face and kissed her cheek. She giggled as she walked off to bring me my coffee. G36 and Springfield’s coffees were practically the same, but I always felt Springfield’s tasted better. I don’t know; maybe the touch of love made it that much better.
“You do not appear to be in a very good mood,” said Springfield, pinching my face after cleaning up. With a smile, she added, “Tell Springfield what is bothering you. Springfield will try her best to cheer you up.”
“Mm… It’s nothing, really. I just feel restless with nothing to do.”
Springfield’s cafeteria’s business picked up during the peaceful period at Strategic Area S09, which explained why she didn’t have any complaints. She touched her hair while smiling: “I see. I thought you were worried about M, I mean Anti-Rain Team.”
“I guess I am to a certain degree. M4A1 was the first humanoid I met, after all. She then became my comrade, so I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried.”
I looked down and stirred my coffee. I didn’t notice the tinge of displeasure Springfield revealed. When I looked up again, she wore a gentle smile. She turned around and took out a piping-hot apple pie: “You do not need to worry about Anti-Rain Team. They are just being inspected. In saying that, they will have other missions afterwards. I doubt they would come back to the secured Strategic Area S09. It is a pity that you did not get to bid farewell to M4A1.”
I nodded: “Indeed.”
I grabbed hold of Springfield’s hand. She titled her head, and then kissed me on the forehead before returning to work. I rested my chin in my hand and watched her. Truthfully, it was nice to just watch her.
One day later at Area S05
M4A1 took in a deep breath and firmly patted her cheeks. She silently looked into the camera before her. She nodded to SOP, who was behind it. SOP switched the camera on and pulled a funny face. M4A1 took a moment to gather her thoughts before beginning: “Hello, Commander. It has been a week since we last met. Are you doing all right? We are safe here, and we have everything we need. The inspections are almost over; nothing unusual has been detected. We understand what headquarters must do. There is no need to worry about us too much. Commander, thank you for protecting our Anti-Rain Team. We will earnestly cooperate with Griffon’s inspections and look forward to the day we can return to Strategic Area S09. M4A1, over and out.”
“Mm…” mumbled SOP. SOP then laughed: “That’s good enough, right? We’ll be able to leave soon. We told them we’re fine, yet they still locked us up for so long. Here she comes, here she comes. Miss Helian is coming!”
Helian crossed the long corridor to arrive before M4A1. M4A1 nervously tidied her bangs and stood up to salute Helian. Helian nodded, and then opened the folder: “After Griffon’s thorough investigations, Anti-Rain Team’s M4A1 and M4 SOPMOD II have shown no anomalies and can return to their operations. However, they have detected an unidentified signal on ST AR-15. We must clean up ST AR-15’s system. So, ST AR-15, please follow me.”
“AR15…” mumbled the surprised M4A1.
AR15 just calmly nodded and stood up: “Understood.”
“It’s reassuring to see you still obedient and docile. That proves you don’t have a malicious virus. Rest assured. 16Lab’s research team will not damage AR15 during the process. Now, please come with me. M4A1, you can prepare your clothes to attend the celebration banquet.”
“Me?!” Surprised, M4A1 pointed at her nose.
Helian nodded: “Yes, because everyone attending the banquet has the right to invite a friend. Strategic Area S09’s commander, Li Wuan, invited you to it. Springfield is his wife, so she doesn’t count as the invited guest. I guess he’s concerned about you.”
M4A1 sighed heavily. Her friend AR15 was about to undergo a purge, yet she couldn’t withhold her smile. She was given freedom she hadn’t had in a long time. It was freedom that came wrapped in champagne, perfume and formal dresses.