It had only been a matter of seconds before things went downhill so fast that Miho had no idea how to react. The M3 Lee skidded into the river, got stuck, and nearly capsized before breaking free and falling over a waterfall, but not before everyone inside managed to get out and onto safety.

Well, all except her and Azusa. They had barely gotten out of the tank before it fell off the ledge. Azusa's hand grabbed hers, as she had gripped a tree branch on the side of the sheer cliff. It was death to the person who lost her grip.

The spray soaked her top to bottom, and the waterfall roared in her ears. It was almost impossible to do anything but grip the branch with all her strength, and hope for rescue, which wasn't going to come soon due to the bad weather. A cracking sound above caught her attention; the branch had a small crack on it that began extending to the sides. Clearly it wasn't meant to hold the combined weight of two high-schoolers plus the sudden G-forces, as it was now bent at an oblique angle that threatened to break at any moment.

Then it happened.

The hand that gripped hers with so much strength was already faltering and slipping, and even as it happened, Miho's fingers tightened across Azusa's wrist, ignoring the blood trickling down from the gash on her left side, where she had been hit by flying debris on her way down. But the blood and the rain acted as lubricant, and even as her grip tightened, Azusa slipped down further by a few millimeters.

It might have become clear to Azusa that only one of them could be saved, or perhaps it was the thunder striking nearby, the stress and panic of the situation, or even all three, but Azusa suddenly loosened her grip. Even as it happened, Miho somehow managed to get hold of Azusa's wrist, and the two remained there, waiting for something to happen.

Then it did.


She awoke in a flash with a scream, throwing her pillow across the room. She flew off the bed, off her blankets, before her foot hit air and she nosedived face-first into the hardwood floor. There she remained on the floor, unmoving for some minutes, the only sound in that time her soft crying as she kept her face to the cold hardwood floor.

The ring of the alarm clock sounded harsh and clear to her ears, just as she got herself up a little. Rubbing her eyes, she got herself back standing, before starting for the chair next to her bed, where she'd put her uniform. She'd only began to pick up the collared shirt and necktie before she realized her sweaty condition.

Thought I was dead back then, it was so real.

It took half an hour for her to shower herself and dress up in the the dress shirt, navy skirt, necktie, and brown jacket of Minegehara High School, and a few extra minutes to pack up whatever she needed for school in her backpack, before opening the door of her apartment and stepping outside.

A sudden jolt of pain caused her to wince as she lifted the shoulder strap from her left shoulder. Rubbing the aching spot, she felt the distinct scar that was left there when the debris struck her shoulder during last year's match. A slight sprinkle of rain was still coming down as she pulled out an umbrella before continuing on her course to the gates of the school.

"Um, excuse me," someone said. Miho broke out of her stupor, bending down and meeting the gaze of the person who'd been addressing her.

"Huh?" she responded.

"You'd been wandering around for a bit lately. Reckon it's something of yours?"

Miho instinctively directed her gaze slightly to the left to avoid the questioning gaze of the black-haired girl who'd been addressing her, who for some reason looked eerily like Hana.

"Nothing," she lied, before picking a weapon at random.

"Hey, you know to handle a Martini-Henry rifle?" the other girl asked.

"Huh?" Miho responded. "What are you even talking about?"

Looking around, she finally noticed her surroundings she had unconsciously walked into. It was a large, empty room, with a row of targets at one end and a number of guns and their corresponding ammunition stacked on the other. It was evidently a shooting club she had walked into. It was mostly deserted save for her and the other girl, plus a few extra people taking their shots at the other side of the room.

"You don't?" the other girl said.

"Not really," Miho said. "I've been trained on basic weapons handling before, but never handled this particular type of rifle before. But I know it's a single-shot rifle."

"So you know about trigger discipline and all that? Because you'll find soon enough that the Martini-Henry is gonna be a beast and a half to handle. That thing literally shoots .50 caliber rounds, we're talking about that level of punch."

"So," Miho responded, walking to the front counter where the other girl was standing. "I guess we should introduce ourselves, because I find it likely we live next to each other. To be more specific Tower B, Floor 16."

"Guessed like a true champion, how'd you know it?"

Miho promptly looked down at her opponent's shoes. "They have a small smudge on the left side, where I spilled some grease down onto the floor when I first came here trying to get the lock open," she explained. "It's simple, really."

"Oh, well." she rolled her eyes. "Now load up and fire away."

"Hm?" Miho responded, eyeing the rifle in her hands. "I'm gonna shoot this thing?"

"You picked it up so you're a member now, it's the unofficial rule of the club."

Miho simply rolled her eyes at the word 'unofficial' and took up her Martini-Henry, centered the target in her irons, and fired.

The crack of the rifle echoed throughout the room as the rifle recoiled, sending an 11.6mm round downrange at the target 500 meters away. It hit square on the center, bounced, before falling into the sand below. The computer then transmitted back the results.

"Bullseye," she remarked.

Miho didn't respond, she promptly reloaded her rifle before centering the target in her irons again, and fired. It once again hit dead center.

"And oh wait, I forgot," the other girl said, extending her hand. "I'm Sakurajima Mai. Glad to meet you to-night."

Miho took the offered hand in her left and gave it a vigorous shake. "My name is Nishizumi Miho."

41°43′32″N, 49°56′49″W, Jatkosota High School flagship SSV Hakusan Maru, 0220 local time

In the darkness of the North Atlantic, a single ship pressed her way onwards. White foam churned and surged around her bow, washing round her stern, as she pressed onwards through the cold of the night at a steady thirty-three knots. Seven kilometers from bow to stern, she expertly navigated through the ice field westward as she headed towards her destination.

There was not a single light on her superstructure save the bridge lights, and her running lights, which blinked red and green once every second. The letters SSV Hakusan Maru glistened in the moonlight as she continued onwards, her destination unclear to anyone save her crew.

With a short fluttering of sheets and pillows, Arisu got up, eyes moving to the window beside her cabin, before getting back down in a futile attempt to get back to sleep. At last, when it became clear that it was a futile attempt, she got up, threw an overcoat over her nightclothes, and got out.

The cold of the North Atlantic during the early morning cut and nipped at her, but she didn't mind it much. She was used to such low temperatures; forty below zero didn't affect her at all. Shivering slightly and watching her breath condense in front of her, she remained there for some time, all the while staring at a small photograph she held in her hands.

It had been splattered by blood, and singed at the corners, but the content was still visible enough. It had been discolored, but one could still see the two girls in it clearly enough, the older draping her hand over the shoulder over the younger of the two.

Written underneath, was Mika and Alice, aged 10 and 6, scrawled on in faded pencil-writing.


A reboot of my older story, Gerade, So Wie Ich. It was written on a moving bus, after all.

Another couple notes here. This is set after Der Film and right before Das Finale 1. Also, it takes place during Volume 5 of the Seishun Buta Yarou LN.

Also Mai's still an actress, but she does take her time off to do her usal things like, (insert mamiacal laughter here), being at the Minegehara shooting club. IDK if she would be on the Panzerfahren team or not, but we'll see. Elements of Volume 2 will be added as well.

Also, this story, is a sequel to CrabbyCakes's one-shot, Love, Alice, which sets the backstory for this. He was the one who came up with the baseline, thank him for it. I only crafted a sequel, and rebooted it after a long while.

Also, special thanks to CrabbyCakes and Admiral Kuztenov for helping me proofread this. Glad you both are around to help me on this.

Till next time.