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Short Story [Unit Story]
[010] Granaroad Fairtigar
Brandt Gate
Race Battleroid

Card Information

It is said that Brandt Gate is a nation of nothing but snow and ice…
“I’ll show you how it’s done!” I shouted as I crushed a large rock that had fallen from the cliff with my left arm, then brushed away the debris.
“I may have been born in Brandt Gate, but I have a fire burning in my heart! …Ugh!”
An explosion came from behind.
“Surface-to-surface micro-missile, close impact, six o’clock.”
The warning boomed out.
It was barely the size of my pinky, but it packed a punch.
I crouched back down and prepared my hand cannons.
The only enemies left were ones in front of and to the right of me. They were both hidden in the shadows.
I heard a cheer come through my headphones.
Victory will be mine!
As long as I’m piloting the Crimson Battleroid Granaroad Fairtigar!

Nova Grappler was a popular event in the frozen nation of Brandt Gate on Planet Cray. It was a no-holds-barred fighting competition. Weapons, magic, supernatural powers, all were allowed.
The so-called “Nova Grapplers” included flesh-and-blood wrestlers, battleroid pilots like me, and even spaceship grapplers. (There’s more to fighting than just punching and kicking.)
Nova Grappler was older than you might realize.
Some said that it had been held on Planet Cray for millennia, and if you consider the fact that aliens regularly participate, it may have come to Planet Cray after being held on another planet for millions of years prior.
Anyway, back to the rules. Nova Grappler rounds were fought on the ground, at sea, in the air, and even in space. The Fairtigar was a model of battleroid used for ground-based combat. It was supposedly modeled after the “Blue Warrior,” which was famed for its legendary battles in space. On the ground it was able to use detonation charges to crush rocks to dust, and in space it had a beam weapon that tore through the darkness with a brilliant blue streak of destruction, rockets that roared in the silence, and anti-aircraft missiles that all added up to making the battleroid seem more like a star going nova than a machine that was in the heat of battle. That was what it was like to be in a battleroid battle.

Back to the battle at hand⁠—the ground-based battle in the Nova Grappler 5000.
Nova Grappler 5000 was a stadium designed specifically for battleroid battles.
It was not in the mainland of Brandt Gate, which was located around the south pole. It was in an enclave formerly known as the Dark Zone, where the weather was not as inhospitable.
“Come out here!”
I hovered slightly to the right in my Fairtigar, then fired two shots straight ahead using the missile launcher on my shoulder. As the missiles reached the ground they exploded in the dry soil. With the dust now acting as a smokescreen, I stopped the Fairtigar and fired three shots with my hand cannon.
This one had spirit!
A Claymore-type battleroid with a damaged left arm strode out through the smoke and attempted a charge. The idea of closing in to try hand-to-hand combat wasn’t a bad one.
However, I had predicted that this would be their play, so I moved my Fairtigar out of the way, picked up the Claymore by its legs and then slammed it down into the ground. I stepped on the Claymore’s back and aimed my hand cannon at the cockpit.
“Do you yield?”
It was the voice of the referee.
“I yield…”
The Claymore immediately shut down, and my score increased by one to four.
I had won. The crowd cheered.
Everything so far was my public front. Now it was time to get to my real task.
I set the communication monitor to contact mode (which could only be done by touching two parts of the ships together. It was used to transmit secret messages) and sent a message to the other pilot.
“Cosmo Security. You are under arrest on 126 counts of fraud, extortion, unauthorized access to the space gate, and other assorted crimes. Once the bout is over you will be sent to Galactatraz. Resistance is futile.”
Well, not futile, so much as impossible here in the public eye on the Nova Grappler stage.
“Spinel… Scarlet? …Damn it…”
The weak voice came through the communicator then cut off.
My registered name was indeed Spinel, like the gemstone. All Cosmo Security agents were named after something beautiful that matched their color. I wasn’t surprised he worked out who I was. Not that it mattered, I always got my man.
Participants in Nova Grappler were legally protected while the match was ongoing. This was a quirk in interstellar law that criminals would sometimes use, so Cosmo Security recruited several agents like me who would also fight in Nova Grappler.

“The winner is… Miss Spinel! Will the challenger risk it all in sudden death?”
The MC’s commentary came through my comm system loud and clear.
This particular bout was an 8-man battle royale.
The rules were simple: whoever got the most hits in would win.
Under normal rules I would have won by now, but in the Nova Grappler 5000 they added a sudden death option.
It was self-explanatory. You could gamble your victories so far and fight one more challenger. Losing meant handing your winnings over and being eliminated. On the other hand, a win meant your winnings would be doubled.
“I will.”
Another cheer.
They needn’t have asked. There’s nothing that a Grappler liked more than gambling and fighting, and I never back down from a challenge.
“Incredible! Now, let’s meet the challenger! Last year’s Nova Grappler 5000 champion, Adonis Jade!”
A roar erupted from the crowd. Adonis was a huge celebrity. He piloted a Power Trooper called Xing. A worthy opponent. I looked forward to finishing off my day by beating this beautiful man to a pulp.
“Would you like to take a quick breather before we continue, Miss Spinel?”
“No need. This won’t take long.”
I knew the crowds would love that. Their cheers grew ever louder.
I, in my Fairtigar, and Adonis in his Xing moved toward the center of the stage and shook hands.
Contact mode.
“How about a wager?”
“If I win, you go on a date with me.”
“I’m busy.”
“You wouldn’t say no to a wager, would you, agent? It’s settled then.”
He was getting on my nerves. How did he know I was an agent?
“You’re seriously using Nova Grappler as a chance to ask someone out? Very well. And if I win…”
“If you win?”
I didn’t answer, but instead ignited my chest boosters and jumped behind him.
All Arms Green! Clear!
Another massive cheer.
My mind became clearer, and I felt my blood begin to boil.
I was a Nova Grappler!
“It’s sudden death, folks! Who will be the last one standing!?”

The End


<<Notes about Terminology>>
An agile humanoid weapon designed for combat. Some were piloted by on-board pilots, but others operated autonomously using AI.
There were three main types: space combat battleroids, ground combat battleroids, and underwater battleroids. The main differences between them were the armor material used, their armaments, and the secrecy around their existence.

Cosmo Security
As interstellar trade and communication became more common in the Chakrabarthi Divine Era, so did the variety and severity of crimes being committed.
Individual heroes were no longer enough to keep the peace, so there was a trend toward the creation of corporations that could deal with interstellar crime. One of these was Cosmo Security, well known for their commercials.
Known for the Aurora Battle Princess with her body wreathed in Aurora Flame, they also had a number of agents who were capable of investigating all kinds of crime. Under the Interstellar Convention they had the right to arrest any criminals they find, and those they arrested would be sent to the central galactic prison, Galactatraz.


Story: 金子良馬
Supervising Editor: 中村聡