Disclaimer: I do not own Negima. I do own Reina Whitehall, William Whitehall, Hisao, and a small number of other OC's, even though most of their appearances are small and not worthy of note.
Pre-story Exposition: Let's see… Where to begin? Giant robots are cool. However I've always thought that the method of control is flawed. Always someone sitting at a control panel. What if we could get "inside" the machine and operate it directly. Merge man and machine. When you think about it, it really is the only way we can truly explore space. Zero gravity situations are murder on the human body. Even more so on long trips.
As for why this exists… I think perhaps I've taken a few too many hits to the head. I also plan on using this as a gauge for a future project, if it does well I'll go ahead with it and if not, I have a bunch of other things to work on. The currently unloved Twins Testing Trouble for example. (I plan on updating it soon, I promise.)
Negima: Femella Intra Machina
By Dark Dragon Dave
Chapter 01: The Girl with the Spiky White Hair
Another day of classes has ended at Mahora and Hakase seems anxious to leave class. Finally the end of the day comes. She quickly packs up her materials and not a second later she is out the door.
Ayaka asks after Hakase brushes past her, "Where is she off to in such a hurry?"
Natsumi decides to answer her question, because she overheard a conversation between Satomi and Chachamaru earlier in the day. "I heard some big robotics company is having an 'open house' kind of thing for students and tech industry bigwigs tomorrow."
"Doesn't sound like the kind of thing she could pass up then," Ayaka says. "Still, it seems very rude."
"I've got a flier, if you're interested," Chao adds.
"No thanks, Chao-san. Robots don't really interest me," Ayaka says. "Why aren't you in a big rush? You're in the robotics club too, right?"
"I've got other things that just have to get done. I've simply not got the time to go to some trade show," Chao explains. "She has some research she wants to get out of the way before she goes."
That evening as Konoka, Asuna, and Negi watch television they pass by a news broadcast.
Something catches his eye. "Hold on a sec, please," Negi pleads.
"Eeh, boring," Asuna groans.
Thinking quite the opposite, Konoka observes, "I'd figure you'd like the news, Asuna."
"I just deliver the news," Asuna states, "that doesn't mean I like it."
Chamo jumps down from the loft and lands on Asuna's head and she freaks for a second. "You know," adds Chamo, "your life would be a lot better if you enjoyed the content of your work."
She brushes him from her head and glares at him. "Nothing travels faster than bad news, you know."
Chamo knows to back off or there will be some fast news in his future.
"… And Kaminari Grand Industries promises to show the future of robotics tomorrow at their hosted tech expo." The television reporter reports while standing in front of some large scale machines; a large white one taking the focus of the image, a large white human figure cast in painted metal, presumably made by Kaminari Grand Industrial. "A special 'Industry Only' portion of the event will, according to the company's board of directors, set the standard for heavy robotics, and the technology field in general, for years to come." The camera switches to the main anchorman who switches to a new story. "In other news-"
Asks Konoka, "Isn't that the thing Hakase is going to tomorrow?"
Negi reaches into his pocket and pulls out the same flyer that Chao had. It is slightly crumpled so he has to flatten it out to read it. "Yes it is. She handed me this when she told me that it was an open house for university students only and for her to go she'd need a teacher recommendation."
This strikes Asuna as silly. "Why you?"
"I'd say it's because I'm her homeroom teacher," replies Negi, he sounds satisfied.
Asuna disagrees. "Homeroom teacher nothing, it has got to be because you're small and easily manipulated."
The television now shows images of suns behind small clouds. Apparently it is going to be partly cloudy for the rest of the week by the looks of it. Konoka changes it as this time of year always has nice weather.
"I might see if I can go," Negi says. "I'd like to see the things too. If only to participate in some of the activities my students enjoy."
"You can't honestly tell me you'd understand anything that would go on there," Asuna tells him, "or much less understand anything that would be said."
"Well, I'd like to also learn a bit more about the schism between magic and technology. The Magic World obviously has more magic. And this world has more technology… but why?" Asuna stares at him with a dead stare, Konoka has her usual happy face, and both are waiting for him to continue. "I-" A knock on the door interrupts the teacher's explanation. He stands up and goes to answer the door. "Hello."
Satomi Hakase is the visitor. "Hello, Negi-sensei," she gives a cheerful wave as she speaks.
"I have that recommendation sheet."
"Right, okay. Please come in," Negi says as he motions for Satomi to enter. He follows her in. "Say, do you think it'd be okay if I came along?"
Satomi practically chokes. "N- Negi-sensei? What brings this on?"
"I'm always trying to learn more about my students and I feel this would be a good opportunity to learn about you," explains Negi.
"Um… I guess you could come. It says that they welcome teachers. Besides, I have it on good authority I can bring a guest." Satomi agrees with a smile. "We need to leave at seven tomorrow morning." She hands over the sheet.
"That's okay. I can do that." Negi looks at the sheet and signs it where it needs to be. "I do have one question. Shouldn't you have handed in this sheet in earlier? It looks like it needed to be handed in two weeks ago."
"No. It's an open house, but I'm not actually a university student. So when I show up I'll have to show my recommendation to an event representative," explained Satomi. "They'll be able to help us from there. In fact, I got to meet the owner and CEO earlier this week, even though I didn't find out his name, when he came by during the Robotics Lab's employment outlook and recruitment drive. And he said I shouldn't have a problem. The sheet is just a formality." Negi hands the paper back. "Thank you, sensei."
"Well I'd like to stay and chat, but I still have to get some things out of the way first. I'll see you tomorrow." Satomi bids her farewell and leaves.
Konoka exclaims, "I hope you have fun tomorrow!"
"Just watch yourself tomorrow." Asuna advises, "You'll be in a large group of people and I won't be there to babysit you."
"Don't worry about it." Negi asks, "Besides, I think I'm beyond all that, wouldn't you say?" Asuna just gave him a blank stare with half open eyes. "Everything will be fine." Negi attempts to bolster confidence. However, it seems from the expressions of his roommates that the attempt fails.
7:58 a.m. rolls around to find Negi and Satomi at the bus stop, along with all the others from Mahora who were going. They will take the bus because the train at Mahora didn't go to Kaminari Grand Industrial. This bus will take them to a different train that does go to Kaminari. The chatter makes this event out to the best convention all year. Satomi must admit that she has been looking forward to it. Her heart has been beating a little faster all morning, mostly due to anxiety.
The bus is right on schedule and they quickly find a seat because this is a special charted bus exclusive for the event. They sit next to each other and Negi looks out the window to watch the scenery go by. Trees, houses, and poles with wires pass by again and again. A few minutes in and Satomi taps him on the shoulder.
"Are you sure you'll be able to handle this?" Satomi asks, her voice with a genuine tone of concern.
"I'm certain I'll be okay. And if I don't understand anything, I can always ask you," Negi answers.
Satomi smiles and asks, "Will you be able to understand my answers?"
"Likely not. But I'd still like to learn more about my students. I may not be able to grasp it all, but at least this way I won't feel like I didn't try."
"I can't fault you for that. I'll try to explain everything as best as I can and as simply as possible."
The bus ride is quickly over and they find themselves in the hustle and bustle of an unfamiliar train depot. The train at the station is a big, flat black colored affair that looks like it is a double-wide Cold War hold-over. It has the Kaminari Grand Industrial logo on the side. The train takes both sets of rails and is used to move large groups of people and very large things to and from the company. It isn't a bullet train either. This is a steel-wheel on steel-rail train. Though they aren't used often anymore, but this one carries massive amounts of weight so a maglev might not be the best option.
"Come on," Satomi says. "Let's get on."
There are six passenger cars that all come in the same flat black as the train, just as double-wide as the engine. Two flat cars are behind the engines presumably to carry large objects.
The inside of the passenger cars is furnished in un-cushioned seats and all in a battleship grey. It is industrial design at its best. The young teacher ends up sitting next to a blue humanoid robot, which; when standing, stands around eight feet tall. The head cranes out in front of its body, attached by a neck that arched forward. Its "eye" was a larger blue lit lens with four smaller red ones that; if one were to draw lines connecting them, would form a perfect square around the center blue light. The metal of its skin was blue in color and it had black rubber covering the joints. It observes him quite closely for around four minutes.
"Aauh!" Negi reacts with a start. Satomi laughs to herself in reaction.
"My apologies, it was not my intention to frighten," the hulking blue robot professes. "I merely intended to ask you if it would be okay to ask you a question."
Negi is only used to Chachamaru asking to speak with him. "Sure, go ahead."
The woman on the other side tells the android to stop bothering people. Negi tells her it really isn't a problem and there isn't anything to do on the ride so he didn't mind. "So what was it you wanted to ask me?"
"What is the weird energy I am sensing from you? I can clearly detect it but I cannot match it to any known type within my memory," The robot asks.
Satomi overhears this and it piques her interest. She tries to keep her heart rate in check as she is going to what she has built up to be heaven, but this is also interesting. She asks herself, "It can see magic?"
Negi can only think it has detected his magic. He panics a little before covering his trail. "I don't know. Youth perhaps?"
The aperture in the lens of the main camera adjusts along with the top two. "No. There is something else to it. I cannot place it." The robot observes him closer. It analyzes his posture, body temperature, heart rate, and adrenal output. "I'm sorry. It seems I may have asked an uncomfortable question. I apologize again." It makes what Negi assumes was its version of a bowing gesture.
"Honestly, I don't mind. I lived under power lines until I was eight. Maybe that has to do something with it." Great way to cover it up.
Negi could hear the thing thinking about it. The drives kicking back responses and passing information around. "Perhaps. By the way, I do believe I have been rude in not introducing myself. I have no name, only a model number. Again I apologize. You may call me 'OC #45.' It stands for Operation Carlsbad. I am the 45th version."
Negi is relieved that it doesn't seem to pursue the inquisition any further. "Hello, OC #45. My name is Negi Springfield."
Satomi forms a small smile after this.
The four red cameras around its central camera begin to blink happily. "Hello, Negi Springfield… san." It seems to blink a couple of times, as if it is confused. "Would you believe that you are the first friend I have made?"
"Huh," Satomi thinks, "it has a concept of friendship even though it has never left the lab… interesting." She mutters this bit to herself.
"Really?" Again his only frame of reference is Chachamaru.
"Yes. Being what I am, I don't get out of the lab often."
The child and OC #45 talk for most of the trip to the company. The train comes to a stop at the depot just outside the company. The depot is obviously made for large objects to go in and out of. Everybody and everything gets up to leave the car.
The woman who was with OC #45 approaches Negi as he steps off the car. "Excuse me. Springfield-san."
Negi turns to her. "Yes?"
"I'm sorry for him bugging you like that. He gets so inquisitive around people and in particularly children. I've never been able to determine the reason for this."
"Seriously. It was okay. It was interesting to talk to a computer thing like that. Not everyone gets to do that every day." He did, but really not everyone did.
"Thanks for entertaining him. My name is Masumi Makamura and I co-created OC #45 and run his maintenance."
Negi introduces himself in return. "I am Negi Springfield."
"Nice to meet you Negi-san. I hope you have a nice day here at Kaminari Grand Industrial." She waves and then leaves to catch up with OC #45 who, despite claiming to be friends with Negi, has gone to talk with someone else. Perhaps today will be remarkable in the fact he will gain two friends in one day.
"Come on Negi," Satomi says.
Now that they are truly off the train, they look on in awe of… everything! Negi, being the paragon of languages he is, can only manage a small "wow."
Satomi on the other hand, has a different reaction. She has the look of a child on her birthday and every present is for her. "Oh. I… wuh…" A usually verbose Satomi says in response to the sheer size of the place and the number of robots walking around. The absolute grandeur and spectacle of it all hits her a bit hard as she forms tears of unfathomable joy in her eyes.
"Excuse me. Excuse me!" A man in a sharp suit accosts the student and teacher. "May I see your passes please?"
"All I have is this recommendation sheet. I was told this would allow me to get a pass." Satomi reaches into a pocket and presents her recommendation sheet after unfolding it.
"These needed to be presented two weeks ago." He looks at the boy next to her. "How about you, kid?"
"I don't have a recommendation sheet," Negi answers, "but I am a teacher."
"Yeah, I don't think so. I'm going to have to ask you to leave," Suitman orders as a girl with spiky white hair and emerald green eyes watches.
"But I was told it was okay. I got permission."
"You'd need a signature here." Suitman points to a blank line. "You don't have this line signed so you can't get in."
"But-" protests Satomi.
"No buts. I'm doing my job. Leave!" He points to the train.
"No way! I came and now I am going to see what is here."
Suitman speaks into his watch, "We've got a couple of punk kids trying to force their way in here. I need extra force at Gate One."
Satomi turns to Negi. "I'm sorry sensei." In a bold move she makes a break for it but gets Suitman's arm around her for her effort.
"Well that didn't work," Satomi states. "I should have known this was going to happen. And then to drag you along too."
"It's okay since I asked to go. I'm more worried about you, though," Negi says to her. "I know you really wanted to go. I suppose there's always next year," he says supportively.
"Enough chatter. Time to go back home kids," demands Suitman. Negi and Satomi turn back dejectedly.
The girl with the spiky white hair speaks up. "Are you harassing these people, Smith?"
Suitman Smith seems to be shocked by being confronted by the girl. "I- I was stopping these people," he explains nervously. "They don't have passes." The two Mahora outsiders watch this interaction.
The girl with the white hair waits for a moment before saying, "Then they're with me."
"As you wish." Suitman Smith backs down.
"You two," she says to the Negi and Satomi as she waves them towards her, "you're with me."
Negi doesn't feel like disagreeing. "Okay."
Satomi follows his example with a, "Right."
They both walk past Suitman Smith to their new 'friend.' Smith seems a little angry as he walks away.
"Thanks a lot. I'm Satomi Hakase."
"My name is Negi Springfield."
"Satomi-san, Negi-san," she introduces herself, "My name is Reina Whitehall. Kinda funny when you think of my hair." She wore cargo pants, a belt, and a black t-shirt with a red circle with a line through it.
Satomi thinks to herself for a second. "I think I know that name… Anyway, I do have a couple of questions. How and why did you get us in?"
Reina turns red. "How isn't important." She quickly turns away from the bespectacled girl, mostly to avoid eye contact. "As for why, well I heard of a gifted, young, robotics student." She turns to Negi. "You are pretty young."
"It's not me," Negi answers. "I'm an English teacher."
"I'm the robotics student of the two of us," Satomi corrects.
"Oh! I'm sorry," she replies, shocked. "Still to be an English professor at your age. You have to be some kind of super smart whiz kid." She smiles. "I like that."
Negi turned red at the compliment. "Well I…" All he can manage to finish with is a hesitant laugh.
"I bet you want to go see the exhibits now, so you can go do whatever. I hope you don't mind if I come along since I am kind of your pass card."
"By all means, Reina-san. And thank you," Satomi says. "It might be insightful to have the perspective of a true industry insider."
Reina laughs nervously a little while avoiding making eye contact with her. "I'm not an insider. I'm only 15. I know I'm tall for my age." And she was. She stood just over a head and a half taller than the young robotics professor.
"I have classmates about your height, so I can believe it."
Reina seems nervous by the remark by the made by Satomi. She looks away in response and then at Negi. "Why don't we go look at some exhibits?"
"That's what we came here for," Satomi states.
Looking down at the ground and away from Satomi, reaching her glance over to Negi, she says, "Well let's get going because there is plenty to see."
The newly formed group heads deeper into the grounds of Kaminari Grand Industrial. They pass by plenty of people and robots, some humanoid, others clearly not. The three of them move to the side to let a large truck-like machine roll through. It looks like a centaur with the lower half being a truck rather than a horse. Satomi observes it with an inquisitive glance. Her keen glance yields weight ratios, center of gravity, and possible weak spots.
"Nice work. Well built for transport. Not so much for dangerous situations…" She stops for a few moments to get a better look when it stops and the crowd happens to swarm at that moment. "Huh… Nice work." She turns back to ask a question to Reina when she realizes that she can no longer see them. The braided girl looks around to try to find some hide or hair of the other two. Her expression changes from studious to mild irritation. "…Great."
Negi and Reina walk past a big blue box. It looks like an old phone booth. Negi stops shortly after walking past it and realizes he is minus his student, "Reina-san, wait!"
"Satomi isn't with us."
Reina turns to look at Negi. "What do you…" She sees that Satomi is not with them. "…mean? Aw now, where could she have wandered off to? That should be rule number one, 'Don't wander off.' It's dangerous around here."
A man in a black leather jumper approaches the box, walking around Reina and Negi, pulls out some keys from his pocket, unlocks the door and heads in. He reemerges a moment later and looks around. "Fantastic!" He makes the remark with a big grin on his face and closes the door.
Negi and Reina walk back a short distance to see if they can see Satomi. "I can't see her," Negi says.
Reina uses her height to her advantage and peers through the crowd. "You know…"
"I can't see her either."
Negi slowly goes into panic mode. "What are we going to do?"
Reina purses her lips and glances thoughtfully upwards."Hmm…" She crosses her arms and taps her foot. "I think we can… Come with me." She holds out her hand. "Since we seem to get easily lost."
"Um… I should be fine thanks."
"Okay. But stay right next to me, okay? I don't want you getting lost too. There are some incredibly dangerous things around here."
"Now come on. I know where we need to go." Reina and Negi head off in what seems like some random direction.
Satomi looks about as she walks off in the direction she thinks they went. As she walks along she steps in a spot where there had been a big blue box and a man in a black leather jumper. Negi and Reina had also been there. She is walking in the opposite direction they had gone. "I'd hate to admit it but I didn't feel like being alone here. When Negi mentioned coming along I was grateful for the company…" She sighs heavily. "Now everyone is going to be mad at me for losing him. Asuna… Ayaka… Oh well, might as well make the best of it till they throw me out."
It hits her like a truck. "I need to find her too. She's my ticket around here." She stops to look around and see if she can find any sign of them. She headed further into the crowd, looking for any sign of her teacher and the slightly odd girl they met up with. She seems to be the shy type and a bit awkward. "Wish I was taller."
There doesn't seem to be any sign of them. You think that spotting a tall girl with spiky white hair would be easy to do in a crowd. Satomi moves on further. She doesn't get far before Suitman Smith is back.
"I've got you this time. You don't have a pass and I'm throwing you out." Smith grabs her shoulder and starts to move her along when he is interrupted from his duties a second time.
"Smith-san! What do you think you are doing?" This time the voice comes from a man in a forest green suit. He is slightly older than Smith and Satomi recognizes him right away. She doesn't know his name but she did meet him a number of days ago. Smith releases his grip when he hears the tone in the man's voice.
"Sorry sir, but she doesn't have a pass."
The man in the forest green suit removes the pass he has around his neck and hands it to Satomi. She takes the lanyard and places it around her neck. "What are you going to do now, throw me out?"
"But I can't sir. You own the company."
"And she has a pass now, so you can't do anything."
"Yes sir. Sorry sir." Smith seems highly frustrated.
Smith's boss went on to say, "I met her during our little job fair at Mahora Academy. I quite like it when I meet a girl this enthusiastic about robotics. It proves not only how much progress we've made in research but also the field of diversity. Not too amazingly, the field of robotics doesn't have many women in it."
Smith takes this moment to bow out and head back to rousting people. He doesn't look overly happy.
The boss asks, "It's nice to meet you again… Satomi Hakase, wasn't it?"
"Yes. I don't know your name though."
"My name is William Whitehall."
This throws Satomi for a loop. "Do you have a daughter?"
"Is her name Reina?"
"She was the one who got us past that guy to begin with. I was with her and my homeroom teacher when we got separated."
William seems to ponder this a moment. He glances thoughtfully upwards, crosses his arms and taps his foot. "I know exactly where she would go… the only thing is how your teacher would react?"
"He's a ten year old boy."
"Well then that answers- What? A ten year old boy teaching at a school for girls… Poor kid. Anyway, I know where she went. Let's go find your teacher" Satomi follows William as he walks off in the same direction Negi and Reina had gone earlier.
Negi and Reina look about a small little security room. Oddly, in Negi's mind, Reina has clearance to get in here. There are a number of monitors here observing the flow of people about the grounds of Kaminari Grand Industrial. No Kaminari Industrial inside secrets will get off these grounds. Reina looks at various monitors and asks the people working to find "a girl with black hair, two braids off to the sides of her head, and roundish glasses."
That being a horrible description, aside from the girl part, the security people start scanning as best they can. The monitors show throngs of people wandering here and there. There are many people moving about enjoying the exhibits and robots walking about.
Negi notices something behind Reina's one ear. It catches his eye when a glint of light comes off of it before her hair moves to obscure it. His first impression was it looks like a headphone jack.
"Miss Whitehall, I think we may have an answer," says one security guard as he points to the screen.
Reina takes a look at the screen. She sees her father walking along with Satomi and they were heading to the same room she is currently in, which makes Reina smile. "Problem solved." She points Negi to the screen.
Negi takes the direction and looks at the screen. He sees Satomi with some guy in a suit. "Who's that guy?"
"That guy's my dad," Reina says. "He adopted me."
"Oh… I didn't know that…"
"That I was adopted? Why would you know about that?" Reina asks in a friendly manner. She smiles at Negi and ruffles his hair. "Don't worry yourself about it."
The door opens shortly and Satomi comes in first, William holds the door for her.
"Hey Negi. Nice of you to just leave me behind," Satomi says.
Negi is deeply apologetic. "I'm really sorry. I didn't mean to. It's just that you were behind us and was quiet."
"At any rate," Willam says, "you've both been reunited, so no harm done." He looks at Reina. "Reina."
Reina walks over and hugs her father. "Hi dad."
William hugs her back. "I've got to get back to the convention, so I'll see you at the presentation."
"Right," Reina tells him.
Whispers Negi to his student, "How are they able to come and go as they please?"
Satomi whispers back, "He is the owner of the company."
The light inside Negi's head clicked on. "That explains why she was able to get me in here."
William looks at Reina and asks quietly, "Are you sure about this?"
"I need to get over it some time. It's stupid when you think about it and it embarrasses me," Reina explains.
William says, "If you want, I could get you in at-"
Reina shakes her head. "With these two, I'll see how it goes. I really want to get over it. Maybe going there would be best."
"Okay. You can tell me your decision later," is the last thing he whispers to her. He turns and opens the door. "Have fun you three," Whitehall tells the group. He leaves and the door makes a click.
"Your father owns the company?" Negi asks Reina.
"Yep. So that makes me someone important here, I guess. But I look at them all like an extended family." She takes a deep breath. "Well let's go see some exhibits. But keep in mind this isn't all Kaminari stuff. This is kind of like the Tokyo Game Show or the Electronics Entertainment Expo, but one company sponsors it."
The trio leaves the security room and heads out to look at some exhibits.
The three kids enter the main heart of the display grounds. There are buildings after buildings with signs on them denoting different companies. There must be hundreds of companies and tens of thousands of people. The possibilities are nigh endless.
Reina turns to the other two, mostly to Negi and asks, "Where do you want to start?"
"Let's start here," Satomi says and points at a nearby building.
The three of them enter and see all kinds of small robots, some look like Centurions and others look like bugs, running around lifting similarly small boxes. All of them were white with a red trim. Some ran by the trio carrying small blue boxes, heading to some small green boxes. One of them stops to look briefly at Negi and the others and then carries on with its business.
Satomi comments, "I fail to see the useful application of such small robots, unless you are going to go nano and use them for medical applications."
"I think they would be useful for making tea," Negi says.
The two girls look at him. Satomi has a stare that is a combo of deadpan and frustrated. Reina has a smile.
"Is this all that is here?" Satomi asked.
Nervously, Reina answers, "N- no. Not at all." She turns away and says, "There are more exhibits."
"I meant here," Satomi corrects. She notices the same thing behind Reina's ear, but she sees one on both sides. She subconsciously passes it off as jewelry of some nature. Is she wearing earrings? Meh. Not like it matters to her one bit.
"Oh, um… yes. This company specializes in small personal robotics," Reina answers.
Satomi looks around with a sense of boredom. "Can we move on?"
"S-sure, um… Maybe if you told me what you are looking for that would be helpful?"
Satomi knew exactly what she wanted to see. "Got anything more large scale?"
"Actually, that is part of the large presentation later this afternoon. So there wouldn't be anyone there," Reina explains, seemingly trying to dodge the issue. "And I'm sure that you'd know more than me about them… so I'd be no help."
"So you've lived your whole life here and don't know anything about robotics?" Negi asks.
Calmly, Reina answers. "I know a little. I suppose you could say I have my area of expertise. I can fix them but creating them is something else."
Satomi comes up with a secondary choice. "How about something a bit more human sized?"
Reina once again looks nervous. "Um… there are plenty. They are all clustered around W- West Block 5. It's a bit of a walk. But we can get a ride if we hurry. There are carts that take passengers around and there should be one we can use around here." She switches her focus back to Negi. "For V.I.P. use of course."
"Are you okay, Reina-san?" Negi asks.
"Yeah… I'm fine." She took a deep breath and becomes red. "Why wouldn't I be? Let's go get that cart." Negi can see her green eyes shaking nervously.
He can tell there is something bothering her but he doesn't want to push the issue. They head out to a cart that is just sitting by the building. Reina produces a pass key from her pocket.
Upon seeing this, Negi asks, "So we can just take it?"
"They are here for us to use, and I have a key, so…" Reina answers.
"You can drive?" Satomi asks.
Reina takes a seat at the front and closes her eyes. "Just these things. They don't go very fast and don't have nearly the control of an actual car so I don't know how well I'd do behind the wheel of a car, but these I can handle well enough." She gripped the wheel. "Please get in." Her breath quickened as Satomi got in behind her.
Satomi got in on the left and Negi got in on the right. This was the first time Negi saw the small metal thing behind her ear on this side. With the insertion of the card key followed by the whine of an electric motor they head on their way. They drive for quite a bit, passing many people and hangars, and soon stop near a large concrete post that had W5 painted on it in bold yellow paint. The cart came to a slow stop. Reina withdrew her card key and the trio got out.
Satomi asks as she looks at the number of people and what are obviously machines moving about, "So this is it? I'm looking for something truly top of the line."
"Uh… Um. I'm sure w- we can find something." Reina seems nervous again.
There are a number of humanoid androids wandering about. Satomi gains a smile. "Now this is what I wanted to see." Without another thought she heads off into the crowd.
Negi exclaims, "Woah, hey!" Satomi stops and turns to look at him. "This is what got us into trouble last time."
"Well this time we have a known meeting spot. Right here at this post," Satomi observes. "Now come along." She heads towards another building.
Negi and Reina follow up and walk behind Satomi.
"You know," Negi observes, "I'm amazed that all these companies would come together like this. You'd think they'd be worried about espionage and thing like that."
"Actually you'd be surprised," Reina tells him. "We're all sort of like a big community. We all just want to get robotics to be commonplace. Admittedly, there are some of us who are a bit… rouge and would rather just use them for their own motivations. But generally we all just want to march technology forward."
"Well that's nice that there isn't any animosity within the community," Negi comments.
Reina seems saddened by this. "Like I said, there are a few companies that have their own agenda. We tend not to have any dealings with them. Robots should be made to help and protect people, wouldn't you say?"
"I wholeheartedly agree," states Negi.
As they walk about several white, football shaped, tripod like turrets with a single red "eye" activate. They all say something but are all drowned out by each other and their child-like voices. The red lasers all focus on the party. Reina dashes in front and spreads her arms out while taking a wide stance. The turrets make several clicking noises before a technician comes to stop them. Reina lowers her arms. Once again Negi and Satomi can see the metal things behind her ears.
"I am sorry. They were turned on. We didn't load any ammo in them for this reason."
"Be more careful next time," Reina admonishes. "Someone could have died."
"We're terribly sorry." The man reaches to a nearby switch and they all go into a sleep mode. A few of them remark that it is naptime.
"I didn't know you had that kind of pull in the industry," Satomi states.
Reina nervously waves her hands in front of herself."I- I- It's not that. I'm sure of it. I don't have any pull, trust me."
"You mean you just threw yourself out in front of harms way to protect us?" Negi asks.
Reina doesn't even think it over. "Yes I did."
"Well, I guess it might have been a bit of a reflex."
Satomi asks, "Can I ask you something?"
Reina turns red again. "What?"
"Those things behind your ears, what are they?"
"N- Nothing at all. I can't really explain it right now. I hope you understand," Reina says and looks down at the ground.
Satomi ponders it over. "The thing is, they aren't any kind of jewelry…"
"Stop it Satomi-san! She said she can't tell us and I think it would be improper to ask her any more about it," Negi reprimands.
"It's just a harmless question. I really don't see the issue." Satomi sneaks closer and tries to lean to Reina's side. Reina steps back like she's scared and ends up tripping over all the turrets that had previously tried to kill them. They all go crashing over into one another.
"Hey, what do you think you are doing?" The technician from before rushes over to where Reina had fallen and knocked the turrets over.
Reina stands up and begs her forgiveness. "I'm very sorry sir. It will never happen again. I'll help you pick them up if that will smooth things over." The technician accepts and the two of them right the turrets.
During that time Negi lays down the law with Satomi. "Usually I wouldn't get this way, but what you did was like bullying and those things are her secret. Leave it alone." His voice carried an unusual amount of force in it.
Satomi is actually wary of him. "I'm sorry."
"I'm not the one you should apologize to."
Reina finishes picking up the last turret and joins the two again.
Satomi speaks first. "I want to apologize. I didn't mean to pry into your secret. I'm sorry."
Reina's voice wavers as she says, "It's no problem."
A young boy of about 15 sits on a crate and leans up against a large black bipedal robot holding a similarly colored rifle. It looks a bit like a knight. He had black hair and a hell of a smile… when he felt like smiling. He is wearing a white shirt with the sleeves slightly rolled up. He had a black necktie, black slacks, and black shoes. He wags his leg like he's listening to some kind of music, which he clearly isn't. There are a number of technicians walking about making checks and notes. The lot of them are in a wooded area.
"When can we get on with this?" The black haired boy asked, looking severely frustrated. "I'm getting bored."
"Hisao-san, please be patient," one of the technicians tells him. "You know the plan is to attack them at the time of the big presentation."
Hisao looks perturbed. "I fail to see why."
"That is when we can embarrass them the most. We attack them at their weakest. They will be so when all those representatives from other companies are at the large presentation," the technician explains. "We attack and the representatives see this, the story will leak to the news media and Kaminari stock will plummet."
Hisao sighs. "All of this so the president's stock will go up a quarter of a point."
"Actually we were expecting it to go up quite a bit more than that," the technician replies.
"I was quoting Office Space idiot. Not verbatim though," Hisao tells him.
The technician looks put off. "Hmm… yes," he says, his voice thick with superiority.
"You do realize that this company wouldn't be in half the condition it is now if it wasn't for me," the black haired boy tells him. "And you wouldn't have this thing," he points to the huge knight-like machine over his shoulder. "You don't own this."
"Neither do you, if you want to get technical."
"It's more my body than anything. And it's not like you can pilot it."
"While that may be true, you still need to learn your role within the company. You are not our savior, you are our tool. We told you this from day one."
Hisao shouts and leans forward, "Listen! I don't give two craps about that sorry trash! Without me, after this Kaminari would still be kicking this sorry company in the ass!"
"Despite your outrage, we don't need you as much as you think."
Hisao scoffs at this and goes back to leaning against the large robot. "I'm amazed they haven't detected us out here yet," he thinks to himself. "We'll see how far you get without me," he mutters.
The final hour before the presentation approaches and sees Negi and the two girls leaving the humanoid robot area. Satomi is anxious for that part. Humanoid robots are all well and good, but large scale is something else. They climb back into the cart and head to the presentation area set up at the north part of the company.
Satomi queries, "So you are going to be a part of the presentation?"
Reina becomes nervous again. "Y- Yes. I hope i- it'll live up to your standards."
"I'm sure it will. I know this company's products quite well. So, can you give me an inside look?" Satomi asks with a bit of humor in her voice.
Reina laughs nervously. "Maybe afterwards." She faces away from Satomi and turns beet red. She wants to run, badly. One is actually getting friendly with her. The one thing she's tried to avoid ever since she was a child…
"I'd love that, thanks. I think it was a measure of good luck you found us."
Reina looks a little sheepish. She mutters something that goes unnoticed except by Negi.
Negi asks, "Are you okay? You've been acting strange all day."
"I'm fine, thanks for asking."
They stop at the stands and find a place to park. Reina pulls the key card and it shuts off. The three get out and make their way to the security checkpoint. The guys checking badges here are a bit surlier than the others. As a side note, they enjoy action movies, especially those with Steven Seagal.
"Well this is where I part company with you for now," Reina says.
"I can't wait to see what part you have in the presentation," Negi tells her.
"I guess I'm the star of the show for now."
Satomi gets certified to pass and Negi is stopped in his tracks. "Sorry. No card, no entrance."
"But she's my student."
The security officer looks at him. "Yeah, I don't think so. Go away now and let others with certification get in."
"Oh, that right. He's with me," Reina says to the security officer. "Come on." Reina grabs his hand and drags him off with her.
Negi asks the girl pulling him along, "Are you sure about this?"
"Yep. You can get in but you'll have to be with me. Satomi's pass doesn't work for anyone but her." Reina explains. "But when we are out where I need to be you should be able to go up into the stands like you were a guest.
"Okay," Negi answers.
They make their way to a special building. Reina uses her keycard to open the door and nside there is essentially a large changing room. There is a strange suit hanging on a hanger inside. It seems to be a lot like a neoprene scuba diving suit. It's white with black trim. But this has what looks like pauldrons on the shoulders. They are rounded and black. There's also a pair of black boots.
Negi looks around and asks, "So where do I wait?" But it is too late. Reina had already taken off her shirt and is now removing her bra and Negi gets an eyeful. He quickly turns around and rushes to a wall.
Reina realizes what is going on. Like a secondary thought she puts her arm over her chest. "If you want, I suppose you could wait over in the corner if you want."
"That'll do," Negi says, embarrassed by what he has just seen. Facing the corner he asks a question, mostly to reduce the embarrassing noise he can hear of her changing clothes.
"So you're a pilot then? Of giant robots?" He hopes an answer will come soon.
Reina removes her pants and answers, "Not exactly, no."
"So what do you do then?"
Reina stops for a second. "You know those metal things behind my ears?"
"Yes. I don't want to pry if it is a secret."
"Well in a few minutes it won't be. So I don't see the point of keeping it anymore. They are connections."
"Connections?" Negi is confused as to what she means.
"Yes. They allow me to download my mind into a compatible machine. In this case it's a mech."
Reina puts her boots on. "Yes. It took many surgeries to my brain to allow such a thing to take place. Sometimes… Sometimes I feel…"
"Nothing. Who am I to place my burdens on you?" Reina answers.
"Wait!" Negi thinks as he wrestles with morality. "She was adopted and yet they turned her into someone that can do that? Is that good or bad? Yes, she has a family but at what cost?"
"My father adopted me just in case it didn't work and something happened to me. I thank him all the time for it."
"You thank him for letting them experiment on you?"
"I could have not been adopted," Reina answers. "I'm glad I have a home and someone who loves me like his own daughter."
Negi thinks about his own past and how his parents weren't there, save his father that one night. She is lucky. "I'm sorry. I didn't think about that."
Reina is fully dressed and ready to go. "It's okay." Somehow she sneaks up behind him and pats him on the head. "Such a considerate boy. If you were a few years older I'd consider you dating material."
This time Negi turns red for a different reason. "I- Uh…"
"Come on, we need to go."
Back out in the woods several people were checking their watches. They were all synchronized
"We're ready to go Hisao-san," says the same technician from earlier.
Hisao let out an exhalation of relief. "Finally. I was getting bored." He hops up and runs over to a strange chair, plopping down into it like he enjoys what's going to happen. Two wires were handed to him and he takes them and attaches them to the metal connections behind his ears. With a few chuckles, his body falls limp.
As a counter-action, the giant black mech activated. "Ah… All systems nominal. Everything checks out on my end," the giant robot says through on board speakers. The voice sounds exactly like Hisao's.
"Listen Hisao, it is vital you do not kill any members of the other companies representatives. They need to live."
Hisao's voice chuckled. "We'll see how it goes. Now get out of my way."
The people around did just that. They cleared the way for the massive black machine to walk forward. The local area shakes with every step. He gets out to a point and uses thrusters to lift up and fly towards Kaminari and what he hopes will be the end of the company.
William Whitehall picks up a microphone and the public address system whines some feedback. He motions for the sound guy to turn something down then points and gives a thumbs up afterwards. He turns to the gathered crowd and says, "I'm sorry. Anyway, to get started, I'd like to welcome you to Kaminari's Annual Robotic Exposition." He waits a few seconds for crowd reaction. When they finish he continues. "We hope to present to you the future of robotics."
"How do we march forward in the field of large scale robotics? To tell the truth there isn't much more we can do. The next logical step is in control. We've created a way of enhancing the level of control one person can have over something as such. We have an answer to that." He makes a gesture to where Reina are Negi standing.
"Okay, now when we step out, go ahead and walk into the stands, but you already knew that didn't you?"
Reina smiles. "Of course. You're a smart kid." She steps out into the stage area and is met with a small amount of applause.
Negi looks at her in her suit and inadvertently glances at her butt. "A proper gentleman doesn't do that," he thinks to himself. He turns red and hurries to the stands and grabs a seat near Satomi, who was considerate enough to save him a seat.
"Where were you? What did you two do?"
"Well, I saw her topless and I'm sure if I hadn't reacted like I did I could have seen everything else she has," Negi didn't say. What he did say is, "I didn't have a pass so she took me with her."
"Oh." Satomi's voice seems a little indifferent as she is wrapped up in the presentation.
Back out on the stage William Whitehall gives an order for something. After it, he looks up into the sky. Everyone follows suit and looks up as well. Shortly afterwards, a shape forms in the sky. It slowly becomes more humanoid in shape. Soon a giant white robot lands, kneeling to reduce impact. "This is our large scale mech, The Ivory Knight. Ladies and Gentlemen," William says dramatically, "welcome to the future of control." He aims his microphone away so the audience can't hear him. He asks his daughter, "Are you ready to go?"
"Yes, I am," she replies eagerly. She moves over and sits in what looks like a dentist's chair on steroids. Multiple lights and buttons are on it. Two wires with what looks like speaker plugs come down from a mechanical arm. She takes them and plugs one into each side of her head.
"Well that explains those." Satomi thinks.
When they are both connected, Reina writhes a bit before settling down. She doesn't seem to be in much, if any, pain. She feels her consciousness flow from her body. It hangs in the air before settling down somewhere else. It's been here before, this place… It's almost like a second home or rather body. Her "eyes" open to see several points of data in her field of vision. She was used to the amount of data she could feel. There are all kinds of things from distance to Negi to current ambient air temperature and everything about her current body's systems. All kinds of information is flowing into her mind.
The Ivory Knight stands up and takes a good look around like she has done many times before. "Everything is good," she reports. Some of the people in the stands react. Very few though.
"Now some of you are wondering 'what is going on here?' Let me say it's more than what it look like." William says to the crowd. "The girl here is now this giant robot."
Satomi's attention focuses. "What?" She turns to Negi. "Why didn't she say anything? I would have loved to know about that. I'm sure we could have talked for ages." Negi doesn't say anything.
"Her living body is kept alive here. We've done extensive research in the field of the human mind and have learned to transfer it to machinery." Some of the crowd begins to murmur. "While some of you may see it as extreme, realize that this technology or something like it is the only possible way humankind can ever exist in space."
Suitman Smith has had enough. There is that kid again. He can't do anything to the girl, but the boy is here without a pass. He moves over to where Negi is sitting. "Come on kid! Time to go."
"What?! But I came here with-" Negi protests but is cut off.
Satomi also has issues with this. "You can't do this. He has permission from Reina Whitehall."
Smith refuses that data. "Listen, this is an industry only event. He doesn't have a pass, therefore he doesn't get in and if he does, which he has, he gets ejected. End of story."
William sees this and interjects over the microphone. "Stanley Smith! What are you doing?"
Reina also objects to this. "Leave him alone!" Ivory Knight Reina protests.
"By your own words sir. 'No pass, no entry.'"
William knows Smith has him over a barrel. If he contradicts the words he placed down earlier… Hmm. Knowing her… "As long as he is out of sight, right?" He turns to Reina and makes a few a few hand movements and says something the audience can't hear.
"Right." Reina confirms. She steps over the people on the ground and over to the crowd. With what looks like an unusually slow movement she kneels down and holds out her massive metal hand to the crowd, specifically to Negi. "Come on…"
"You're hitching a ride." Reina explains.
Negi stands up. "Go on Negi." Satomi tells him. "Otherwise you'll have to leave."
Negi walks down the steps of the seating area and takes a tentative step onto the giant metal hand of the robot. The fingers wrapped up around him like a safety barrier. She stands up and Negi learns a lesson on perspective. Her movements may look slow but that's only because she was currently several stories tall. When participating in its movements you could see they were quite fast. The wind rushes past him rather quickly as he rises through the air.
A hatch in the robot's chest opens up and the hand lifts him to that spot. "Get in," Reina advises.
Always one to do whatever a 40 foot tall (12.192 meters) machine tells him, Negi climbs into the darkness filled hatch. The door slides down and closes. The pitch black isn't complete. There are lights and buttons blinking away in the dark. Reina's voice tells Negi to "have a seat." All the lights turn on revealing a chair much like the human Reina sat in earlier.
"I won't get… downloaded will I?" Negi asks.
Reina laughs. "No, of course not. Go ahead and have a seat." Negi sits in the chair as he is asked. "Nice first date, eh?"
Negi exclaims and asks, "D- date?"
"But don't think I'm always this easy. I mean, the first date and already you are in me."
Negi turns as red as humanly possible at this comment. "I would never! Not on a first date!"
Reina laughs again. "I kid you. You need to settle down a bit." Negi can feel the room turn as Reina moves. "Negi-san, you may wish to buckle in."
Outside, the technicians were scrambling to figure out what is coming. Satomi is watching intently. She wants to see how much better the control is when the machine is your own body. Too bad Chao didn't want to come, this is highly interesting.
From off in the distance, from an area where there shouldn't be one, an explosion sounds out. Reina turns her metal head to that direction. The technicians start to look at their instruments.
"Looks like someone got a bit overzealous," William chuckles. The crowd, which had turned to the direction of the explosion, turns back and laughs.
Satomi didn't. Something didn't feel right. The number one robotics company shouldn't experience such a thing.
Reina looks back down at her father. "I don't like the data I am receiving on this." She patches herself into his earpiece. "There's no reason for an explosion from that direction. There are no volatile chemicals or anything that would explode over there," only William heard.
Another explosion happens after she says that. This time there is no explaining it away. The crowd and Satomi start to become anxious.
"I'm going to go check it out," Reina states. Inside Negi hears, "Negi-san, I hope you don't mind but I have to go check on something. Want to come along?"
"Yeah, I guess." Negi replies. "Is there some way I can see what is going on?"
"Yeah sure… Just a sec…" A row of monitors lowers down and turn on, providing Negi with a great view of what's outside. "You can now see what I am seeing."
Back outside Reina steps around the crowd and then uses her boosters to effectively "skate" along the ground.
Satomi decides she's going to go see this in person. She stands up and heads to the exit. When she makes it to the cart they used she looks at the card Mr. Whitehall had given her. "Here goes nothing." She places the card into the slot and the cart starts up. With a blur of motion, she takes off in the direction of the explosions and Reina.
Reina comes to a halt around the area of charred ground… actually it was more of a crater. "My radar isn't picking anything up."
Negi asks, "That's not good, is it?"
"Depends," replies Reina. Something slams the white mech from the back. Reina stumbles and Negi is shaken around. Reina turns to see what it is that struck her.
There stands a black machine much like her own and holding what looks like a grenade launcher. "Hello, Reina. Long time no see."
Reina is in genuine shock. "H- Hisao?!"
"Yo." The black mech raises the grenade launcher and fires.
Negima: Femella Intra Machina Chapter 01: End
The End of the Chapter Stuff: This story represents an idea that has been floating around in my head for a while now. It actually was in my head since before Twins Testing Trouble. I would also like to apologize for the lack of Mahora in this fic, but this an opening chapter so I'd like to think this is a bit forgivable. I am focusing on turning this into a longer story, with a lot of neat ideas so let me know what you think in a review.
Thanks For Helping:
Azure: I never intended to keep you that long, to which I apologize. Your help was immense and invaluable.
Eternal-Longing: Thanks for proofreading. I hope to live up to your expectations.
Hydriatus: Thanks for the motivation. If it weren't for you this would still be an idea.
Je-kun: Thanks for the translations. I always feel like I'm making a fool of myself when I use foreign words.
Midnight Sleeper: Thanks for not deleting the hell out of this while it sat in a corner of your hard drive.
Tsutomu Teruko: Thanks for reading through the beta version. I hope you are reading this version and like the different ending.
Thanks For Reading!