Chapter 150: Candle of Destruction

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“That's right.
The navy's influence was greatly diminished when the neighboring countries turned against it.
……
Well. That's why the navy has a plan for a .”

 

 

 

“……
yes?”

 

 

 Abigail let out a questioning sound.
Her hand stopped touching the wine glass for a second.

 

 

 

“The Archelon ice is very hard.
Even if we break some of it, the ice will continue to form from the inside out.
So, We plan to use a strong directional microwave ray to blast through the ice and melt it down to the inside, then use a huge drill attached to it for a frontal assault.”

 

 

 

“Eh ……
that's ridiculous.”

 

 

 

 Abigail was half-amused, she was shocked.

 

 

 

“No I'm not joking, Once the drill is buried deep in the ice, we will leave it behind and evacuate the area.
The plan is that the explosives in the drill will blow up the turtle from the inside.
The project code is called Project Armageddon.
It's a reference to the movie where they drill a hole in a meteorite and destroy it.
Isn't that cool?”

 

 

“Ummmm ……It's that sounds ….
stupid? I don't think it will work out.”

 

 

 

 She finally started giggling, and Logan raised an eyebrow at her, indicating that he didn't understand.

 

 

“Here's the thing, they modified a patrol boat as a prototype and rammed it into it, and it went really good.
It temporarily ripped a quarter of the ice off the Archelon .”

 

 

 

“You joking right?”

 

 

 

“The idea is childish, but it's a sensible strategy, and now they want to do it with a huge battleship class.
Well, unlike the Abaddon, this one will be a new design.
It's going to take a while.”

 

 

 

 

 Logan broke off the conversation and looked to the sommelier to order a second bottle.
Abigail's glass was already empty many times.
But Logan was still on his first glass.

 

 

 

 

“Oh, I'd like to pick the next one, too.
—- That bottle.”

 

 

 

 

 Abigail immediately pointed to the wine cellar without even glancing at the list.
The sommelier faltered.

 

 

 

 Abigail looked excitedly at the new glasses being poured, while Logan watched with some hesitation.

 

 

 

 The third dish was a ball shaped liver covered in fresh truffles.
It was supposed to be eaten with a crunchy sweet meringue.
After a few words of nonsense about such seasonal ingredients, he went back to his story.
The snow outside was getting a little stronger.

 

 

 

“But as it turns out, Abaddon is completely useless in certain weather conditions, and the Navy has nothing at all to deal with ground combat.
In reality, the Candle of Destruction is what is most anticipated right now.
After all, the cost versus offensive power is unparalleled.
You've studied it, so you know what I'm getting at.”

 

 

 

 The Candle of Destruction is the code name for the army superweapon that Abigail was involved in developing.

 

 

 

 In simple terms, it is a long-range cannon, but its scale is overwhelming.
Because of its overly dramatic concept design, it is also known as the or the .

 

 

 The gun's barrel is over 150 meters long, pointing almost directly upward, and once it fires, it can launch a shell into the outer stratosphere.

 

 

 

 

 When firing, a deafening roar of fire and a red-hot column of flames shoot up from the tip of the white cylinder that pierces the sky, and developers who saw this began jokingly calling out “light the candle!” This was the inspiration for the code name.

 

 

 

 The artillery projectiles that flew through space had tremendous trajectories and fell like meteorites from directly above the enemy.
Rocket motors ignited in satellite orbit extend the range of the projectile, eventually allowing it to hit targets 100 kilometers away.
A 100 kilometers is such an unparalleled range, which would take it from Tokyo to Kagoshima in the south and to the Hokkaidou in the north.

 

 

 

 

 Moreover, the bullet weighed five tons.
The amount of kinetic energy contained in the projectile was so great that it could easily smash through a skyscraper from rooftop to basement, and because it fell almost vertically, by the time you saw its shadow in the sky, it was too late.
No matter what kind of alien it was, there was no way to deflect it or shoot it down.

 

 

 

 The most important thing to remember was that this was a bombardment.
The launch system uses electromagnetic acceleration, so all we need is a dedicated power plant, an electric storage battery, and a lump of metal.
One-shot is cheap.
Maintenance is also much simpler than for aircraft or missiles.
This “cheapness” was important for the continuous barrage on the aliens.

 

 

 

 

 The only way to prevent a candle of destruction attack would be to destroy the source of the projectile, but the aliens had never shown such an ultra-long-range attack before.
FORCOM concluded that this was probably impossible with alien technology.

 

 

 

 

 An artillery system that can bombard the alien territory one-sidedly from the absolute safety zone, far behind the front line created by the Fort.
The pinnacle of megalomania.
That is the candle of destruction.

 

 

 

 

 Of course, there were many problems to be solved.

 

 

 

 

 Capacitors to generate high current.
Wear problems when bullets slide on rails at high speed.
The thermal problem in the electric current channel, including the bullet.
Heat dissipation and a material that could take a tremendous amount of shock.
In addition, if the trajectory deviates by even a millimeter, the projectile will fly away into space.

 

 

 

 

 A supercomputer is necessary to calculate the long-range trajectory, and to keep correcting for the constant deformation of the barrel due to continuous firing and changes in the weather.
Terminal guidance must also be considered to ensure accurate landing on the target.
And so on……..

 

 

 

 

 –But at the time, Abigail had found the key to complete it.

 

 

 

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“Heh, the candle of destruction durability problem, well that problem was already solved.”

 

 

 

“That's true.”

 

 

 

 

 Coughing, Logan leaned forward a little and his tone deepened.

 

 

 

 

 

“When it comes to solving the durability problem of the gun barrel, they based their solution on a paper published by Damien.
The idea was to use the alien metal ……
to forge the rails with unobtanium.”

 

 

 

 

“That.”

 

 

 

 Abigail gulped down a glass of white wine, then said dismissively.

 

 

 

 

“Isn't that my research?”

 

 

 

 

 She laughed.

 

 

 

 

“There's also something else.
A static superconductor is used for the current path.
If the shells are made of it, the efficiency will be dramatically improved and the heat dissipation problem will be solved.
Both of these technologies are said to have been announced by Damien.”

 

 

 

“That man ……”

 

 

 

 Abigail was not angry, she just lamented the foolishness of it all.
There is no room left in the human species for those who can't afford to pull each other's legs.

 

 

“Of course, I know about it.
his latest major paper is very similar to the one you've been working on to complete the Candle of Destruction.
The static superconductor was also something you discovered in the alien's equipment, but before I knew it, Damien was taking credit for it.”

 

 

 

 

 

 Abigail had once been a researcher in FORCOM's force development department.
It was during this time that she discovered a metal among the equipment and other items left behind by the aliens that were superconductive in almost every temperature range.
This earned her quite a reputation within FORCOM.

 

 

 

 From there, she realized the endless possibilities of reverse engineering alien technology and moved to AASPINT, which was the most active in this field at the time.

 

 

 

 It was AASPINT role to first analyze the items recovered from the front lines, considering the risk of them exploding.
AASPINT confirms the safety of the items and sends them to the central.
In other words, if something was deemed dangerous when AASPINT collected it, it would be rejected and would not reach the institute.
That's why Abigail decided to put herself in the hands of AASPINT  and analyze all of them, knowing the risks involved.

 

 

 

 Logan naturally disagreed with Abigail's decision, and the two eventually broke up.

 

 

 

 

“Now, Damien is the chief scientist, and he's leading the development of FORCOM.”

 

 

 

 

“FORCOM? not AASPINT?”

 

 

 

 

 I remember that Damien belonged to AASPINT.

 

 

 

 

 

“He's a dual agent.
It seems that he is in a position where he can move some of the AASPINT privately.
If he succeeds in developing this, he'll have a solid position close to the director in either capacity.”

 

 

 

 

“Hmmm…….”

 

 

 

 Abigail now understands.

 

 

 

 Logan has been using the natural flow of conversation to communicate implicitly.

 

 

 

 

 It was her former colleague, Damien, who was targeting her.

 

 

 

 

 In other words, it was probably the same man who set her up.

 

 

 

“But don't worry.
Your computer drive is still in my office.
I just happened to pick it up when it was about to be destroyed because it was encrypted and no one could decrypt it.”

 

 

 

 The drive was supposed to contain Abigail's unpublished research results and experimental data.

 

 

 

“It's going to be huge when you get back to the central.”

 

 

 

 

 In other words, if Abigail revealed the contents of the drive, she could formally denounce Damien.

 

 

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 The bullets are already loaded and ready to fire when she enters the password.
That's what Logan trying to tell.

 

 

 

 

“It would like a dream come true.
But the precise ballistic calculations, rail distortion correction, and terminal guidance are still incomplete.
That's where we need your help again.”

 

 

 

 Logan laid his own hand on Abigail's hand on the table.

 

 

 

“We can help you.”

 

 

 

 Logan seemed to want to strip Damien of his position.

 

 

 

“……
Why?”

 

 

 

 Apart from the personal struggle between Abigail and Damien, Damien is contributing to Forcom's weapons development project, the Candle of Destruction.
I don't understand why FORCOM would go to the trouble of destroying Damien.

 

 

 

 It's a common practice to steal the results of research.
It's a waste of time to be indignant and accuse him of wrongdoing every time.
What the upper management is interested in is the results.
That's all they care about.

 

 

“……”

 

 

 

 

 Logan looked a little lost, but after emptying his glass, he simply said, “It's classified.”

 

 

 

(Isn't that superweapon development you were talking about also highly classified?)

 

 

 

 Abigail laughed bitterly.

 

 

 

“One thing's for sure Abby, FORCOM wants you back.
Your brain is needed by the human race.
What we need now is not a patchwork of brilliant minds.
We need a true genius with a strong sense of duty.”

 

 

 

“Hmm ……
do you really think I'm that honorable?”

 

 

 

“Yeah.
I think I understand you.
I don't know anyone who's as passionate about ending the war as you are.
If such a genius were to come back from alien territory and announce that she had perfected a superweapon, people would see you as a true hero.
It would definitely build momentum to fight back against the aliens.”

 

 

 

 

 Logan showed her a story about the development of a superweapon that would be of great interest to Abigail, among many other classified information.
It was probably to recruit her back to the central.
They even set up a route for her to counterattack Damien.

 

 

 

 –I finally got it…

 

 

 

 If Abigail returned with a bang, she would have powerful political power.

 

 

 

 FORCOM wants to send Abigail into the political arena to become a billboard.
To push for faster weapons development.

 

 

 

 Or maybe they're just going to turn her into an aggregator who's going to launch a coordinated counterattack.

 

 

 

 

“-I'm not interested in being Jeanne d'Arc, you know.”

 

 

 

 Abigail pulled her fingers out from under Logan's hand and emptied her glass.
The second bottle was almost empty.

 

 

 

“Come on baby, you haven't had a drink in a while, At that rate, you're going to tip over.
Water please.”

 

 

 

 When Logan gave the signal, water was poured into the chaser glass.
Abigail, who boredly watching the clear liquid fill the glass, chuckled.

 

 

 

“You know what the first thing I did when I got back to the Fort?”

 

 

 

 Abigail looked straight into Logan's stupid eyes.

 

 

 

“Tequila.”

 

 

“huff”

 

 

 

 Logan looked back into her steely eyes, trying to hold back his laught, and shook his head.

 

 

 

“What?”

 

 

 

“I remembered how much that eye had done to me.
I was stunned, intoxicated, and then my heart was broken.
Those're magical eyes, your eyes.”

 

 

 

 Abigail made no response, but took a small breath and sipped her glass again.
It was fruity, There are some kicks but not strong enough.
Her rating for white wine was sixty points.
It's time for a nice bottle.
Something rich and strong.

 

 

 

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 –Abigail was a “colander”.

 

 

 

 Bottomless.
No matter how much she drank, it all slipped through.
A woman with a liver made of steel.
She is what most people would call a heavy drinker.

 

 

 

 

 She can drink just about anything, but she is especially fond of wine.
In the days of FORCOM, she was sometimes called behind her back because she could get any man who drank with her drunk.
people began to call her the ,the and the Some people began calling it in a drinking party.
Some people actually offered her wine and prayed to her on their knees in order to escape the evil of drinking.

 

 

 

 

 Logan, of course, knew that, so he was not surprised.

 

 

 

“Abby, I actually brought you a bottle, the strong kind you like.

 

 

 

“What? Where? Show me, show me!”

 

 

 

 Logan looked at Abigail's brightly lit face and took out the bottle with a wry smile.

 

 

 

 

 Abigail took a closer look at the label and carefully scrutinized the bottle.
'West Coast' she snorted, her expression looking the most serious of the day.

 

 

 

 

“I hear lamb is the main course today.
It goes well with it.
—- Open it.”

 

 

 

 The sommelier was quick.
*pop*!

 

 

 The beautiful woman innocently watching the red wine being poured into the glass was too cute.

 

 

 

“So, once again, Merry Christmas.
Abby.”

 

 

 

“……
Merry–Chris–Mas!”

 

 

 

 With a ding, Abigail took a chug.

 

 

“Haaaahh”

 

 

 Abigail shines her glass through the lights and squints as she speaks.

 

 

 

“……
I'm home, my West Coast grapes.”

 

 

 

“I've got another bottle of the same ready for you.
Take your time.”

 

 

 

“Really!”

 

 

 

 

 Logan, scratching his head and looking sullen, contrasted with Abigail, who was smiling broadly.

 

 

 

 They changed the subject for a while and finished their meal with some small talk.

 

 

 –Next time, I'd like to have a beer while biting into a rib with BBQ sauce.
As she was thinking about this, a memory flashed back in her mind.

 

 

 

 The sound of the wind, the sound of water in the distance.

 

 

 

 The sound of insects, the sound of birds.
The smell of the morning, the smell of the night.
The light of the sun, the light of the moon.
The coolness of the wind, the warmth of the fire.

 

 

 The food I ate while feeling nature with all my senses was simple but full of emotion, which I could not get from the formal food served in such a sophisticated space.

 

 

 

(I guess Gevaudan will make it for me if I ask him.)

 

 

 

 

 A smile escaped my lips as the image of him grilling the meat seriously with a scary face.

 

 

 

 A small piece of cake was brought in.
It was cheesecake.
The corners of Abigail's mouth beamed.

 

 

 

 Normally, the glass would be cleared before dessert, but the red wine was still in front of Abigail.
She held the bottom of the glass and didn't let go.
This slender beauty was ready to wash down her dessert with a drink.
The waitress was bewildered as she looked as if she was about to order a bottle of brandy as an after-dinner drink.

 

 

 However, her plan was shattered in front of the cheesecake.
Cheesecake with liquor is outrageous.
It was a masterpiece of the patissier.
I have to taste it carefully.
I love cheesecake.

 

 

 

 

 She just put her hand on the cake when Logan suddenly turned serious.

 

 

 

 

“Let's get married.”

 

 

 

 

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“Uh –what?”

 

 

 

 

 Abigail, who was about to bring her fork to her mouth, stopped her hand.
She was so flustered by the suddenness of the conversation that she dropped the cake on the table.

 

 

 

 She froze, her eyes fluttering, and Logan looked at her and continued in a hushed voice.

 

 

 

“If you become my wife, you can safely return to the central.
No one is going to kill the wife of a senior officer, as I'm sure you know.
No matter how much Damien wants to kill you, he can't do anything about it.
You should stay quiet for a while and then think about your future.
I'm not going to force you to come back.
It's up to you.
Of course, if you want to continue to be my wife after it's all over, you're more than welcome.”

 

 

 

 Abigail's eyes, which had become round, slowly narrowed as she heard this.

 

 

 

 

 Abigail put down her fork and looked back at Logan in silence.

 

 

 

“……
If you're worried about Lieutenant General Penrose, it's okay.
The man is a warmonger at heart.
Ultimately, all he cares about is killing aliens.
Once you've told him everything he wants to know, he won't hold you any longer.
If you leave when his interest in you fades, he won't come after you.
The lieutenant general is just worried that the central forces with their superweapons will take the credit and weaken his command.
The man wants to defeat the aliens by himself, no matter what it takes.
That's why it's rather dangerous if you stay here too long and your competence catches the attention of the Commander.
If he locks you, you'll lose your chance to escape.”

 

 

 Abigail, whose eyes had finally turned sour, stabbed a cold stare at him.

 

 

 

 

“Yes, I know.
I don't like that you are so long-winded and devious.
If we get married, we'll be divorced within three days.”

 

 

 

“Mu …….”

 

 

 Logan's mouth clenched in silence at the unexpected counter. After giving him a cold stare, Abigail took a bite of her cheesecake.

 

 

 

 He was reasonable and a gentleman.
He was dependable, but he didn't understand women's hearts.
That was the Logan in Abigail's mind.

 

 

 

 She gulped down the red wine, wiped her mouth, and stood up.

 

 

 

 

“Thanks for the food.
Thank you for a wonderful Christmas.”

 

 

 

“There's someone I want you to meet soon.”

 

 

 

 

 Abigail left the room, leaving Logan to hurriedly say, “Call me later”.

 

 

 

 Logan, who was left alone in a private room ….
hung his head with a sigh and said, “Where did it go wrong…..”

 

 

 

 

 He looked at Abigail's glass on the table and narrowed his eyes.

 

 

 

“—-You didn't touch the water.”

 

 

 

 

 It was no coincidence that she hadn't sipped her after-dinner tea, let alone water.

 

 

 

 

 Logan thought back to the past.
Abigail was a great woman who could chuck down a bottle of spirits, but she had a habit of rinsing her mouth out with water whenever she changed her drink.

 

 

 

“She didn't trust me …….”

 

 

 

 

 In the end, she never sipped any of the liquor except for the ones that were tightly sealed.

 

 

 

“Hmmm ……
You haven't changed at all ……
Abby.”

 

 

 

 Logan smiled to himself, rested his cheek against his hand, and looked out the window.
The snow was in full swing.

 

 

 

 Abigail didn't let Logan take control of her choice of drink during the meal.

 

 

 

 She always stared at the first glass that was poured.
She carefully sniffed it before she sipped it.
Even when Logan pulled out a bottle of red wine, she carefully studied the label and the seal of the bottle by touching it.

 

 

 

 The fact that she liked to drink was just a convenient cover for that.
The figure of a woman frolicking in front of her favorite drink is a mask.
In fact, Abigail was an iron wall.
It would be extremely difficult to outsmart her at the bar.

 

 

 

 

 Logan sighed in disappointment.

 

 

 

 

“—- Let's try something else next time.”

 

 

 

 

A fingernail flicked the glass, a lonely ding rang out in a lonely room.

 

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