Code Geass: Oz the Reflection - Photo Story Translation

Chapter 9: "Guidepost"

"Let's go, Ze."



The artillery shells that came flying emitted a shrill wind-cutting sound similar to a dying scream. When the pitch reached its peak due to the Doppler effect, the artillery shells reached a business complex about 30 m away from the Byakuen. The electrical energy stored in the warheads activated an explosive compound within them, and it was released as a huge amount of thermal energy all at once. A tremendous explosion occurred, and the pulverized portions of the building were sent flying all over the ground. Those pieces also rained down on the Byakuen, which was hiding itself in the shadow of a trailer car that had been turned on its side along the roadside. Of course, the Byakuen wasn’t covered with damage due to an impact of that extent. Sitting in the cockpit, Orpheus Zevon had a calm—no, an even more expressionless face than usual as he checked the surrounding situation through his Factspheres. The reason for his lack of expression was because, right behind Orpheus, there was a girl stuffed into the auxiliary seat that had been temporarily built into the cockpit.

“U-Umm! Can’t you hear some kind of clanking noise!? Is it okay? No, rather, it should be okay, right? The Byakuen’s armour wouldn’t be dented by fragments like this. Ah, but there’s been that clanging noise since earlier. It’s the sound of fragments hitting the armour, right? Getting hit could be bad…B-But, just this amount will be okay, right!?”

The girl, who had fallen into a half-panicked state, violently shook Orpheus’s shoulders. It was a sight that would have made Miss X faint if she had seen it. Shutting out the incoherent and looping words of the girl from his consciousness, Orpheus concentrated on the information being sent through his camera monitors. Although the second and third artillery shells exploded, they had fallen farther away from them than the first shot.

Eastern Germany, Berlin. Orpheus and the others were in the center of the city. Since urban battles between the EU and Euro Britannia had occurred countless times there, the city was desolate and in ruins. After confirming that the enemy hadn’t grasped the position of the Byakuen, Orpheus cautiously turned to face the girl in the auxiliary seat, who was trembling as the tension finally went out of her. Whether it was because she was tired from shouting or had given up since Orpheus never replied to her, she was now quiet.

“Have you calmed down?”

“Yes…umm, I’m sorry…I can never get used to situations like this…”

Watching as the girl became dejected like a different person, Orpheus gave a rare wry smile.

Neha Shankar, age 15. Just as her name and dark swarthy skin indicated, she was from India. However, although it couldn't be imagined from her short stature and innocent looks, she was regarded as one of the young aces in the next generation of the Knightmare engineering community.

(No, rather than an ace, she’s more of an idol.)

Orpheus gave another wry smile, but it was noticed.

“Ah, why did you smile just now? Is it because…I shouted loudly?”

“Don’t worry about it. I wasn’t laughing at you.


“Oz! It seems this round of bombardment is over.”

As if interrupting Neha’s word, Ze’s voice flowed out from the communicator. Ze had gone 50 meters ahead of the Byakuen aboard his Glasgow and had hidden his machine in the shadow of rubble created from some crashed buildings.

“We’ll move forward, then. Make sure to cover us.”

“Roger. Hey, little girlie at the back.”

At first looking blankly as she heard Ze’s suddenly blunt voice, Neha soon realized that the “little girlie” was directed towards her.

“L-Little girlie!? Do you mean me!?”

“Let me tell it to you clearly. I can’t stomach how a brat blessed with a comfortable and easy life like you is researching something like Knightmare development. Just remember that.”


Orpheus sensed Neha catch her breath behind him.

“Are you satisfied now, Ze? We should go soon.”


Orpheus made the Byakuen rise out from the shadow of the trailer vehicle, and began to move southwest down Greifswald Street using his Landspinners.

Several days before—

“I’d like for you guys to escort this girl to Rakshata.”

While visiting the Peace Mark hideout, Miss X showed Orpheus and the others Neha Shankar’s data. The prodigy girl who was accepted to the EU General Engineering University at a young age, Neha Shankar—everyone expected that her interest and talent would bring about ground-breaking progress in Knightmare-related engineering fields.

“Heh…A girl like this, huh. Looks like the retirement of oldsters like me isn’t far away.”

Ganabati said. Ze, on the other hand, frowned as he looked at Neha’s profile.

“…A weapon otaku, huh.”

“What is it, Ze? Your face says you don’t like it.”

“Yeah, I don’t like it. Soldiers like us are supposed to risk our lives with weapons made by a brat like this?”

Ze flicked the monitor that displayed Neha’s wide-eyed face with his finger.

“If your personal feelings are going to get in the way of this mission, please say so clearly. I’ll remove you from the mission.”

Miss X said. Ze shrugged and shook his head.

“Neha Shankar wishes to move from the EU to a research base where Rakshata us. Since Euro Britannia also have their eyes on her talent, it's a sensible decision in the current situation.”

Miss Z said that Neha’s talent might influence the state of the war. They were to secure her person in Berlin and guard her as she was transported abroad. For Peace Mark, this was an easy job.

“I had a bad feeling about this from the beginning.”

Ze’s complaining voice flowed out from the communicator. The job that should have been easy had changed into a desperate escape battle soon after Orpheus and Ze had joined up with Neha. Spies who had infiltrated the EU agency that had been the intermediary for this mission had called a squadron of the Euro Britannia army in order to prevent Neha’s departure from the country. As a result, Orpheus and the others had gotten caught up in a Knightmare battle within the devastated ruins of Berlin.

“There was already warning signs when Miss X said it would be easy, damn it.”

Ze’s Glasgow readied its two chain-machine guns and searched for enemies nearby. It seemed that the enemy were hiding among the ruins while aiming at Orpheus and the others.

“Umm…won’t any support or backup come for us?”

Neha timidly asked.

“The EU is already sending a backup squadron.”

“Eh? When did you call for them?”

“While you were shouting earlier.”

“…Ah, but thank goodness! Then we just have to hold on a little longer, right?”

“Unfortunately, that’s not the case. The enemy reinforcements will arrive first.”

Orpheus shifted his body in order to show the display of the wider battle situation to Neha.

“No way.”

Neha’s face started to tear up. Deciding that another bout of panic on her part would be bad, Orpheus gave a weak smile.

“Don’t worry. It’s not a problem.”

“Are you sure, Oz?”

Ze said. There was clearly concern in his tone. Certainly, this situation definitely did not allow for any optimism. But—.

“Our reinforcements are currently approaching from the west side of Berlin. We’ll head over there and shorten the distance between us.”

Orpheus pointed at a location called Kreutzberg in the southwestern part of Berlin’s streets.

“The meet-up point is here.”

Ze quickly looked up the course in his Glasgow. The destination was about 5 km away from them. It was such a short distance that you could barely call it a drive away.

“It’s close even by walking…isn’t it?”

It was just as Neha said. However, those 5 km were crowded with enemies.

The orders given to the special Knightmare battle team of the Euro Britannia army were brief.

1. Stop Neha Shankar from leaving the country and restrain her.

2. In the case that restraining her should be difficult, kill the strategic target.

The commander of the battle team had deployed his squadron according to instructions and attacked Neha. However, despite having a perfect organization, the attack was repelled by the two Knightmares that had appeared to transport her. The team had taken many casualties and had been forced to retreat and remake their strategy. But, the orders they had received were still in effect.

The commander had rearranged the squadron with the capture of Neha as the top priority. He was going to use the strategy of asking the enemy to surrender after securing absolute military dominance by blocking Peace Mark’s escape routes. However, the commander didn’t know. That the group that had been contracted to transport Neha was the strongest private military organization, Peace Mark—and that they wouldn’t sit and wait quietly for defeat.

Orpheus’ Byakuen and Ze’s Glasgow moved forward in turns while covering each other. Whenever enemies attacked the machine that was moving forward at the time, the person covering them would shoot and eliminate them. By repeating this, Orpheus and the others succeeded in crossing through Alexanderplatz Square in the center of the city, and made it into western Berlin.

“What a simple strategy.”

Neha looked on meaningfully at the sight of Orpheus and Ze handling their Knightmares. Perhaps as expected, her curiosity as a specialist in Knightmare engineering exceeded her fear of battle.


Orpheus responded with few words. Right now, it was Ze’s turn to move forward. His senses were completely turned towards his partner’s advance. He could see a small shadow moving at the corner of his monitor. He at once aimed his 7-Type Integrated Armaments arms at it and fired a 30mm high-velocity Tungsten armor-piercing shell. The cockpit of a Euro Britannia-type Sutherland that had been leaning out from the terrace of a skyscraper was pierced, and it fell down. Using, his enhanced Factspheres, his enemy-searching system detected three other Knightmares. With an unbroken flow of motion, Orpheus knocked them down one after another.


Neha’s voice leaked out as she leaned forward from the rear auxiliary seat. Since she said something like that loudly right next to his ear whenever he eliminate an enemy, Orpheus couldn’t help but be distracted, but he didn’t display even a slight visible sign of it at all.

Ze’s Glasgow hid itself in the shadow of a building they had ascertained of beforehand, and then Orpheus made the Byakuen advance. Although a new wave of Sutherlands and Glasgows appeared from the surroundings, Orpheus did not slow down the Byakuen. He squeezed out as much speed as he could on the desolated road surface and aimed towards the entrance of the building where Ze was hiding himself. It was an act that would have been impossible if he did not believe that Ze’s covering fire would definitely eliminate the enemies. After almost jumping the last 10 meters, the Byakuen fell in beside the Glasgow.

“Oz! It seems like the enemy has figured out our aim.”

Ze said. Orpheus confirmed the battle situation and knew those words were correct. The enemy was trying to squeeze them into an encirclement ring despite the heavy damage they had received. They had sensed that EU reinforcements were approaching and so were hurrying to finish the battle.

Orpheus checked the ground. The enemies had crossed the Gertlowden Bridge a moment ago and were currently on the boundary between Axel Springer Street and Linden Street. If they immediately went south down Linden Street from here, their destination Kreutzberg would be right before them. And the enemy had also undoubtedly already perceived that that place was their goal.

“We’ll have to cut across all at once.”

Orpheus said.

“I thought it would turn out like this.”

Ze’s voice carried a hint of a wry smile from the other side of the communicator.

“Umm…I’m sorry, for having you go through this for my sake—”

Neha hanged her head as she said that.

“Don’t misunderstand, brat. We’re fighting because we want to survive.”

Ze said.


Neha gave an expression that showed that she didn’t understand what he meant. For the first time since this battle had started, Orpheus twisted his body around and looked directly at Neha’s face.

“We chose this mission of our own free will. No one forced us. This is our job. That’s all.”

Without waiting for Neha’s response, Orpheus turned back around.

“Let’s go, Ze.”


The Byakuen and Glasgow commenced their advance forward.

By the time they arrived at the Kreutzberg plaza, the two Knightmares were damaged all over. However, although their appearance conveyed extreme damage, their combat efficiency hadn’t dropped at all. Once she was allowed to come down from the Knightmare after the EU reinforcement ensured their safety around them, Neha confirmed with her eyes that the Byakuen and Glasgow hadn’t received any fatal damage, and was once again astonished by Orpheus and Ze’s excellent skill.

“This is…how Peace Mark fights, huh…”

Neha remembered the fierceness of the battle they had gotten through.

“This is what our daily life is like. Well, it doesn’t any connection with you anymore, though.”

Ze said as he stopped his hand from checking the exterior of his machine. Orpheus addressed Neha.

“Neha. How about you tell Ze the truth?”

“! …You noticed?”

“I saw the way you boarded the Byakuen, after all.”

Ze showed a puzzled expression as he watched the two of them converse with each other.

“…Very well. Please look over here, Ze-san.”

After saying that, Neha grasped and raised the hem of her long ankle-length skirt.

“Aah? Why are you suddenly holding up your skirt—!”

Ze lost his voice after that. What appeared from underneath the skirt were, completely unlike the girl’s lovely appearance, a set of crude mechanical legs—artificial legs. And what’s more, this set was an early model.

“I was caught up in a battle five years ago—and I ended up having to have my legs amputated.”

The one who attached artificial legs to Neha was Rakshata. Back in those days, Rakshata had been a leading scientist in body prosthetic medical engineering. Since then, Rakshata became Neha’s aspiration.

“That’s why, I also wanted to help someone like Rakshata-sensei did for me. I wanted to follow the same path as her. But—”

Rakshata had left medical engineering and thrown herself into the world of Knightmare development. When she learned that Rakshata had chosen a path that supported war, Neha was devastated. However, she eventually learned that Rakshata had hardened her heart for the sake of the huge objective of ending war and pursued Knightmare development with an agonized heart.

“What…this is the first time I’ve heard of that.”

“Sensei never talks about such things herself.”

After learning Rakshata’s true intentions, Neha also changed her career path to being a Knightmare developer in order to devote herself to that great labor. While wanting to support and help Rakshata’s work even a little.

“These legs break down a lot. Since they’re already old…But, I don’t want to change to new ones. Because these legs are the guidepost between me and Rakshata-sensei.”

As she said that, Neha lovingly caressed the outdated prosthetic legs that had marks of repair here and there.

(To be continued)