Remember to thank Narane & Co. for bringing you this glorious [sub]chapter.
Editors: MadTix, Foodpenguin
The Space Federation had been in a constant state of war since its formation.
The heavy military spending posed a severe problem for the Federation's economy. Not even its superior technology could provide a relief for the worsening deficit in its trades with its autonomous member planets. The lack of trade income caused the Federation to levy military funds, and that could only be detrimental to the trust between the Federation and its members.
Out of fear that the members would attempt to overthrow the Federation's government, the Federation committed the most appalling crime against all of humanity.
That is... the Federation's assistance policy for women relocating to Federation-controlled planets.
For unmarried young women, employment priority was given to them in Federation-controlled areas. This led to a mass migration of the female populace out of rural and developing planets, thus heavily skewing the ratio of the sexes.
With a great percentage of the eligible women gone, many young bachelors were left behind on their home planets. It is clear that the policy is the Federation's vile plot to stymie the members' population growth and ultimately remain in power.
Thus, we, the Autonomous Planet Manus Solidum, publicly denounce the Federation's attempt to unbalance the population's sex ratio, and we demand that the Federation discontinue the manufacture of male Replicants and relinquish the technology to produce female Replicants.
- Head of Autonomous Planet Manus Solidum, William Mayer
* * *
I thought I'd take my time to read what looked like an ambitious declaration pasted on the message board at the airport lounge. Quite amazingly, it seemed to be incorporating a sophisticated literary device that was popular on old Earth, which commonly followed with a gleeful expression from those with finer tastes that went "What a twist!"
"What a beautiful piece of writing. It's almost nostalgic."
Well, despite the idiotic message, the data that they've presented was at least believable. It made sense that the Federation was trying to prevent their loss of power through financial deficit by decreasing the number of females on member planets.
"Hmm. I think it's safe to ignore the last part, but there's some truths in it, yes? It really is unnatural for an entire planet to have significantly more males than females in the middle of a war. It's definitely purposeful."
A girl stood beside me, reading through the poster as I did. She had short, brown hair-- maybe hazel-gold is more appropriate-- and below were her bright, emerald eyes that stood out, contrasting her gentle, almost docile face as they sped through the words.
"It's not surprising that there's a feeling of dissent against the Federation. Now they ended up with the Alliance on their hands, so the Federation should prepare for the time when the Alliance grows powerful enough to attract more Autonomous Planets into their union."
She walked closer to me as she talked.
...Ah, her hair had a pleasant scent.
At a glance, she almost looked like a prepubescent boy. At another glance, she had a very pretty, womanly neck that drew a pleasing curve downward, meeting with her collarbones further below. Her clothes weren’t very revealing, yet that one area was particularly satisfying to look at. Maybe this is what people call a classy sort of beauty?
'......Wha-? What was I doing just now? I better focus.'
That almost sounded like it's straight out of an adult novel! I surprised myself with the way I thought about her.
No, no, control yourself! If I didn't know any better, I might have thought that she was some cute girl traveling on her summer break, but she was actually Luise Maynard, the Chief of Staff and the Admiral of the old Space Federation.
Despite the title of Chief of Staff, her appearance was that of a teenager who barely began maturing. If I didn’t know the truth, I would have said that she’s seventeen-- no, definitely a lot younger than that.
Of course, I, myself, used to be a Vice Admiral of an entire space fleet, a hundred and twenty years back.
Vice Admiral and Commander of Dawn Corps, Lezirth Dawnbringer. History says that the Vice Admiral had died a hero in a great final battle against the Letix, but as everyone could see, I was alive and kicking. And yet I also looked like a common teenager.
It was partly because we were born from an alien race, the Old One of the Letix Uberlords, the beings that revealed the secrets of hyperspace travel to humanity. We were the first generation of the Replicants, the Children of Letix. On top of that, we were in cold sleep for about a hundred and twenty years...
Yet there was no scientific support about why we weren't growing older. There were many more Children of Letix, most of whom grew older and sometimes died of old age. As far as I could remember, the only Children of Letix who never grew older were Admiral Luise Maynard, and the one named the Alpha Type for being the first of its kind: me.
"Oh, I'm sorry. I shouldn't be saying this while we're on a vacation... I'll never drop this habit, really. Heh heh." Admiral Luise apologized, apparently believing that she bored me into silence.
I shook my head. "No, that's fine. I was just thinking to myself. I'm sorry that I didn't pay any attention, actually."
"Oh, you. Let loose a little! How often do we get these vacations? I can't wait~!" Her emerald eyes sparkled.
I felt for her. Back when she was the Chief of Naval Staff, she tirelessly slaved over the Federation's military computers. It was all thanks to the hundred and twenty years of cold sleep that she got a break from it... wait, that's a strange way to put it, isn't it?
"I'm happy, too. They gave us an entire month of paid vacation! Did the Federation finally have a change of heart?"
"Giving a well-deserved break to fighting soldiers is a natural thing to do, of course. If you were a normal human being, Lezirth, I'm sure you would be in a hospital bed for at least a month after that last battle! This is only normal! And if you consider all the vacations that we've missed, not even ten years would make up for them!" She shouted, and turned her head away.
I couldn't see her face then, but I heard her say something along the lines of 'This should have been just us two, but he ended up bringing two thieving cats along. Psh.' I must have been hearing things.
At the same time, across the airport lounge, around the taxi lounge, two more girls were calling for us from afar. "Luise! Lezirth! The taxi's here!"
Surrounded by walls of overgrown palm trees and aloe plants, a model-like girl with silvery hair waved at us. She had a pink sun cap that neatly shaped her shoulder-long hair, along with a semi-backless blouse, short, tight jeans, and synthetic fiber skirt that was vertically asymmetric. Perhaps embarrassed of her considerable height, she wore a pair of glossy sandals that lacked heels, and yet her smooth, athletic legs did not fail to attract attention.
If any other feature pulled even more attention, it was definitely the pair of white wings on her back. They were small enough to pass as a costume piece to be worn at a masquerade ball, but those were real, natural wings. She was born between a human and an Elcro, an alien race noted for their wings.
She is Ensign Meihowa, our superior after the hundred and twenty years of cold sleep.
Beside her was a tan girl with long, striking red hair and pointed ears, chewing bubble gum. She is Sergeant Aroha Pereira, also our superior like Ensign Meihowa.
The two girls respected their difference in rank for official matters, but they seemed to have a friendly relationship when off the record. The fact that Ensign Meihowa is a Half-Elcro may have contributed, since Sergeant Aroha is also a hybrid, though with a human and another alien race called the Asa.
She wore blue jeans that looked a bit too tight, a white tank top that contrasted her copper skin, covered up by a shirt to presumably protect against the blazing sunlight, as shown by her baseball cap which bore the logo of the Chicago Cubs, a team that had never seen a single victory after its debut in the space-wide stage.
"Hurry up, I didn't come here to get a tan."
"Aren't you tanned already?"
"What? No, this is my natural colour!" She giggled.
I approached the taxi to start loading our baggage into the trunk.
"Aloha! Welcome to Critik!" The taxi driver, an aging man with white hair and dark skin, came out to greet us in his shorts and a generic Hawaiian shirt. His greeting felt a little exaggerated, but it did gently remind me that I was indeed on a relaxing vacation.
The surprising part was that the taxi was driven by a human being. While most military vehicles needed to be precisely driven by humans, most civilian taxis were remotely operated from taxi companies. It was astonishing to see a taxi operated by a human on a civilian planet.
The taxi driver took and stacked our baggages in the trunk, and when it was full, he put the remaining ones on the roof of the car. "Welcome to Critik-4, everyone. Is it your first time?"
"I suppose I could say it's my first time."
Vacation Planet Critik-4.
Specifically, it was the Dominion of Space Federation Critik-4, but this place came to be widely known as the Vacation Planet. It was understandable, considering how Critik-4's major industries were mining, farming, and fishing.
Back when I was still a Vice Admiral, this planet was in development as the terraformation phase had just completed, and basic infrastructure had settled in. So, I was pretty hopeful for my experience here. It had one hundred and twenty years to completely change itself, so it was safe to say that it was my first time on this planet.
'That aside, I'm a little worried about my vacation funds.'
How much would it cost to pay for a human-driven taxi? The Space Federation's minimum wage was about ten thousand credits an hour, right?
To add, Admiral Luise and I were lowly Apprentices in the navy as of now, so our wages were right at the minimum. What's worse, we'd been in the navy for less than a month. In that short time period, we encountered an incident in the Azoran System and got a month's break as compensation for our efforts.
Well, we did have five million credits as an extra compensation, so maybe that would be enough?
But soon, I noticed that the numbers on the taxi meter had been barely climbing up during our trip to the our destination hotel. We were going to a busy city full of casinos and hotels, and yet the taxi fare seemed to be less than two thousand credits. So, the taxi driver earns less than our minimum wage?
Oh, wait, maybe the Federation minimum wage only applies to Federation-controlled planets, and the other planets are given different minimum wages to follow?
"That was pretty cheap." I exclaimed as I approached the hotel entrance.
Sergeant Aroha grinned, and gestured a V-sign at me. "Prices at these autonomous planets are extremely low, you know. What we really need to watch out for are hotel prices and limousine services operated by large companies. They usually adjust to Federation prices."
"You sound like you've been having some fun, Sergeant Aroha. How do you know all this?" Ensign Meihowa asked.
Sergeant Aroha shook her head. "Hey, I'm a soldier too. Do you really think I'd have a lot of vacation days? I've mostly been window shopping and having vacation fantasies online."
"I get online window shopping, but what do you mean by vacation fantasies?"
"I read about other people's vacations, and then I dream about how I'd feel like if I were there myself."
I felt sad after hearing that.
"But hey, we have an entire month of paid vacation! This is going to be great!" Admiral Luise shouted, raising her arms into the air. She looked like a playful child for a moment.
"I know! We haven't even been in service for a month, so we're going to end up with more vacation days than work days."
"Yay~! Look at that! It's a roller coaster!"
She mostly ignored my reply and became excited over roller coasters that twisted around various hotels. We weren't at an amusement park, and yet there were still all kinds of rides like the swinging ship and roller coasters. As expected of casino resorts.
Our destination was a casino city, full of hotels that each had a massive casino on the first floor. The entire city sparkled and dazzled like a part of a musical theatre set, with a large circular lake at the center with a musical fountain. Along the edges of the lake were many, many brand name stores.
Sergeant Aroha's eyes sparkled as she turned her attention toward the brand name stores. "Fufufu. I've been waiting for this day..."
Tsk tsk, Sergeant Aroha. Don't let your window shopping habits become anything other than window shopping.
They were quite blatantly placed there to attract customers that had just hit the jackpot. A sergeant's pay couldn't possibly afford any of that!
"But why a casino resort?" Admiral Luise restlessly glanced around. She had the eyes of a surprised rabbit after spotting some waitresses walking around in revealing bikinis, serving people in the hall of the casino. It was understandable how she would be shocked after spending most of her life in a formal military setting.
"Because casino resort hotels are cheap, Luise. And all the food is even cheaper! Look, they're serving free margaritas!"
"Wait, Aroha, that's just a plot to get gamblers drunk and make them waste all of their money! That's not what's important anyway, look at this here! Shanghai mitten crabs! It's not some mixed meat or canned crab, it's real crab meat! It's the first time I've seen something like this!" Ensign Meihowa shouted in excitement, which was a rare sight. Usually, she spoke in an extremely formal and cold tone, but even she was quite relaxed for her vacation.
And she really likes crab, huh?
I do recall seeing a strange label on a military ration energy gel that said... 'crab meat included', or something like that. I remember complaining about it, thinking to myself 'Who'd eat this crap? They really don't care what goes in military rations as long as it's edible! There's no saving military foods!' … But in retrospect, I was wrong about everything.
I came to a realization that the world is full of different people with different tastes. Ah, I should be clearer; I'm only talking about the energy gels. Shanghai mitten crabs are probably quite delicious.
"It shouldn’t even be twelve o'clock in this time zone. It's too early to check in. Shall we leave our baggage here and walk around the city first?" Admiral Luise suggested, and everyone agreed. She was visibly excited. And I was, too; I could have fun just by looking at the streets in front of the hotel!
"Alright, let's get to the reception!"
We strolled over to the front desk. The receptionist happily greeted us. "Welcome, how may I help you?"
"We're checking in today. We reserved a room with this ticket.." Sergeant Aroha presented a ticket that she claimed to have been given by her sister. The receptionist took it.
...Hmm, everything is going a little too well.
And then the receptionist was going to say...
'This is fake! You think some lowly minimum-wage Apprentice has any right to stay a month at our great hotel?! Dream on!'
Then we'd probably be kicked out of here.
But the receptionist kept her smile up, tapping gently on her keyboard. "Miss Aroha Pereira? Yes, check-in can only be done after noon. Do you want us to hold onto your baggage?"
We left most of our belongings with them, other than a few essentials.
"I was incredibly worried that they wouldn't take the ticket." I commented honestly.
Admiral Luise nodded and agreed. "Yes, me too."
Originally, Admiral Luise and I were quite the penny-pinchers. While we received huge paychecks as higher-ups in the navy, we had nowhere to spend any of it in a meaningful way. Moreover, both of our saved wealth had been fully returned to the Federation, since we were officially dead to them.
In the end, we were just poor, homeless Apprentices! I was afraid that we'd have to sleep out in the streets if the ticket hadn't been valid.
"Even if it's a reward for a frequent-flyer program -- a whole month's worth of hotel reservation? I'm almost sorry for Sergeant Aroha!"
"Yeah, so why don't you praise me?"
"Oh, praised be the Aroha. Grovel, grovel."
I playfully pretended to grovel at her feet, like Ensign Meihowa did to her a while back, and everyone burst out in laughter. We all seemed to be quite excited for the first day of our vacation.
But soon, Ensign Meihowa, Sergeant Aroha, and Admiral Luise sat in front of the musical fountain, looking incredibly depressed. After a single trip around the brand name shops, the girls had noticed the price tags on their products and immediately fled from the shops in sheer terror.
Tsk tsk, I did warn them to not to go in unprepared.
I bought ice cream from an ice cream cart nearby to try and lift their mood back up.
"Okay, the matcha-flavoured one is for Luise, chocolate chip cookies for Aroha, and, uh... toothpaste mint ice cream... is for Ensign Meihowa... right?"
What the hell is 'toothpaste mint'? Is it legal to sell it in the first place? I know, the universe is infinite and all that, but there has to be some limit on people's preferences!
The girls sluggishly took their ice cream. Even Sergeant Aroha looked like she was going to cry, and she usually was the brightest, most energetic person here. The power of the price tags must have been pretty deadly. Unlike a jewelry store found in an average mall, every brand shop here was owned by their original respective companies.
When a customer approaches any of them, a tall, suited man appears to guide them and treats them like they're talking to the emperor of the universe. While they wait, an employee who looks more like a butler than anything else brings in tea, then finally a woman absolutely covered in products of their company appears, suggesting products that fit the customer the best. The service was so formal and well-organized that it was almost too much for me.
"Holy... I thought this place would be like a trip to the mall. This is too... luxurious for me!" said Ensign Meihowa, after taking deep breaths.
"Hah, well, it looks like a Platoon Sergeant's payroll is nowhere enough. What about your wages, Ensign?"
"Probably about the same as yours. I got to be an Ensign right away because I'm from an officer cadet school, but I haven't been in the service any longer than you."
"Hahahaha! Looks like our only hope is getting a jackpot at the casino!" cried Sergeant Aroha, who sounded like she was about to go insane.
She didn't appear to be joking about it, so I immediately spoke up. "Hey, no! Don't walk into their trap! We need to spend a whole month here! We can't afford to waste any money!"
"Yeah, that's exactly why! I need to get a jackpot!"
"If you can get a jackpot just because you feel like it, they won't be in business like this."
Admiral Luise sighed quietly as I tried to stop Sergeant Aroha. "What I'm wearing right now is borrowed from Sergeant Aroha..." She sobbed, "I only have my naval uniform apart from this. I don't have anything to change into tomorrow, what do I do?" She looked like she was going to break out in a tantrum at any second.
Really, she and I had spent more than a century in cold sleep, then joined the navy with nothing but a military rashguard. I, myself, had nothing to wear outside of a war setting, apart from cheap jeans and a shirt that had I purchased for basically nothing.
"I thought I could take care of that by shopping here..."
"Well, shouldn't there be at least one discount store somewhere here? There must be some place where we can buy things with minimum wage's worth of money."
"Shopping at discount stores in a place like this? Ugh, what a disaster." Ensign Meihowa complained, taking a bite out of her ice cream.
Maybe because of its name 'toothpaste mint', the blue chunk on her ice cream cone looked nearly identical to a clump of solidified toothpaste. That said, I got very curious as to how the mysterious 'toothpaste mint' would taste.
"Can I have some of that?"
"Hmm? Ah... Ah, oh-okay. Only if you eat the part that I haven't touched yet." Ensign Meihowa held her ice cream towards me, her face slightly red. I took a small bite.
Hmm... It tasted somewhat like a cross between peppermint and spearmint, and it's like-- something found in a gum factory in the Iberian Peninsula, where an employee would brush her teeth at the common room before returning to the production lines-- and she would use a toothpaste that tasted exactly like this.
Well, it wasn't terrible, but I couldn't tell any difference between that and some flavoured toothpaste intended for kids. One difference, I guess, was that the former is edible, latter is not.
"How is it? It's good, right?" Meihowa asked, brightly smiling.
...Agh, my eyes! I averted my eyes from her bright, radiant smile and began sweating profusely. "Uh... yeah, oh, ha-ha, what a... freshening flavour!"
Anyway, I needed to raise their spirits immediately by doing something special for them... I dug around in my travel bag and pulled out everything I could. I had a bunch of pamphlets taken from the information kiosk back at the airport. Maybe one of these would prove useful.
"Oh, this is, hm... aquarium ticket discount coupon?"
One of the pamphlets indicated that the Federation's largest aquarium was on Critik-4. And it was very close by.
Casino resort hotels placed attractions like circuses, theme parks, and concerts nearby to bring more people to their casino. The aquarium was one of those attractions, and it was built into a hotel.
"Alright, we should go there! What's an aquarium?"
"Aquarium? Isn't that some glorified sushi ingredient storage?" Sergeant Aroha replied, uninterested.
What happened to ladylike sentiments? Did she accidentally sell it off? Of all the things she could think of aquariums… sushi ingredients?!
"A long time ago, back in the days of the Earth Federation, I heard that people held religious ceremonies based around watching fish swim. Is that true, Lezirth?"
Neither of those girls seemed to know what an aquarium was, as expected of young girls born in the space age.
"Aquarium, huh? I'm sure I saw most types of fish through digital holograms... do you think I missed anything?"
Admiral Luise appeared to be equally uninterested. Ugh. It was probably an aftershock effect remaining from the brand name shop's onslaught of price tags. It couldn't be helped.
"Let's go anyway, I'll pay for the tickets! You'll go, right?"
The aquarium was a bait set by casinos in the first place, and with a thirty percent discount, I thought it would be fine to pay for four people's worth of entrance tickets.
The three ladies were still apathetic, but they didn't reject my offer that I'd pay for them. I briefly worried that I dug a trap for myself, since they were suddenly willing to go.
"I guess we have some time before check-in."
"Alright. I am a little interested in the old culture of the Earth Federation."
When the two space-age girls began following me, Admiral Luise hurried along, her face glowing red. "I-I know what an aquarium is, Lezirth! Don't bunch me in with them!"
Was that really something to be embarrassed about?
* * *
Soon, I found myself surrounded by some over excited girls going 'Kya~ Kya~' every second. A bunch of space-hicks, that's what they are.
The girls were quite high-strung while viewing the aquarium. Sergeant Aroha's apathy was nowhere to be found, Ensign Meihowa stopped seeing it as a religious ritual, and Admiral Luise, after being so sure that she'd already seen everything that needed to be seen, had been reduced to a blubbering wreck.
"Lezirth! Could you buy this for me?"
Admiral Luise picked out a shirt from a souvenir shop near the aquarium's exit. It had the aquarium's mascot drawn on it. Beside it, there was clearly a label that read 'for children'... It would fit her, regardless.
But why should I pay extra, when I had already paid for their tickets?
"It doesn't feel right to be at a place like this and buy souvenirs with my own money, you know? It would feel better if someone else were to buy it for me."
"All of these would work a lot better as gifts, really."
Sergeant Aroha and Ensign Meihowa butted in. Well, since Admiral Luise didn't even own a set of clothes to change into tomorrow, a single shirt wasn't too much of a problem. It was unfortunate that I had to pay for it on an Apprentice's salary, but she seemed to want one really badly, anyway.
"Oh, that's not fair. You're only buying for Luise? That's favouritism!" teased Sergeant Aroha.
Ensign Meihowa smiled and pointed at the largest space manta plushie in the shop. "Lezirth, I won't ask for anything pricy. We'll compromise with this plushie."
"...I'll buy one if I get a jackpot."
"Is that so?"
That's the most expensive one here! The price tag read seven hundred thousand credits. My weekly earning before tax deductions was about four hundred, so I would have to survive on just air for two weeks to afford that. Absolutely not!
"Ah, I'm getting hungry now. Shanghai mitten crab, was it? Let's get over there."
Feeling like seafood after a trip to the aquarium, huh? Ensign Meihowa gestured like she was wiping drool off her face. Admiral Luise was tenderly holding onto the shirt and Sergeant Aroha was busy passionately flipping through a travel guide, so it seemed that I was successful at lifting their mood.
"Shanghai crabs? That's happening at night. Hey, there's a seafood buffet nearby that we can enter for eight thousand credits each. Let's check it out."
"A buffet for only eight thousand credits? What if they have nothing but seaweed?" Admiral Luise questioned, yet her eyes were gleaming in anticipation. Since she had psionic powers, her eyes literally sparkled with Cherenkov radiation with a slight change in her emotion.
"I told you, they're all traps set by the casinos. The plan for our vacation is to take all the bait but not get reeled in, okay?"
'Though I just wanted to enjoy a shopping trip...' Sergeant Aroha quietly complained directly afterward. Still, she looked happy.
I exited the aquarium in a good mood; the girls' happiness had rubbed off on me. I noticed that the exit of the aquarium was just another entrance to a casino, which was quite clever. Of course, we simply ignored the casino machines and walked right by.
Outside, there was a protest with people holding up sign posts.
"Down with the Federation's oppression of free planets!"
"Down with the Federation! Down with the Federation!"
A man with a loudspeaker stood up front and shouted, and the crowd before him followed. There were maybe a hundred people there. They marched down the road in front of the casino. A few groups of journalists traced their path with news cameras.
"Stop favouring Federation planets and take your anti-immigration laws back!"
"Take it back! Take it back!"
Whoa, what a perfect rhythm! They must have had a lot of practice. I knew that there had been a lot of opposition against the Federation's government, but I never thought I'd get to see a protest in action.
Suddenly, the angry mob stopped in place, and the man with the loudspeaker walked towards me. The various cameras soon followed the obvious leader of the mob.
"Hey, you! You're a worker of the Federation, aren't you?"
"Huh? Are you talking to me?" I asked, looking questioningly at the man and the barrage of microphones that made their way towards me.
"What are you people doing?!" Admiral Luise shouted. The man turned around to look at her, and suddenly looked away, his face red. Then he turned around to face me again, now bearing an even angrier expression.
"So, you work on Federation planets, right?"
"Well... I guess you could say that. What about it?" I answered.
The man put his loudspeaker up and shouted towards the mob. "Take a look, comrades! Look at this Federation worker walking around with three women in his arms! This is exactly the kind of atrocity that the Federation has shown us!"
The mob's shouts grew louder than ever.
"That’s not fair!"
"This is an outrage!"
"Let's go destroy the Federation!"
Whoa... wh-what's up with these people?!
My face lit up bright red.
Three women in my arms? Was he talking about me?! I suppose he was half right about that, but... what a joke! I had to explain myself! But that would be too embarrassing! If I spoke another word with them, I'd end up with even more of an embarrassment!
"Wait! What are you talking about?! We're just co-workers out on a group vacation! Stop making up crap!" Sergeant Aroha screamed at the mob leader.
Ensign Meihowa pulled her back. "L-let's just move on from them, Aroha."
"Yes, Aroha, please don't get angry. We shouldn't deal with these kinds of people." Admiral Luise added, signalling me with her eyes. She was silently suggesting that we could easily quell the mob with telepathy, if things were to develop any further.
But I shook my head. There were cameras pointed in our way. If not for that, Admiral Luise could knock out every one of these people with no effort..
"Okay, it's just about time. Let's go check in, shall we?"
We turned our back towards the mob and headed for the hotel.
"There! There goes the debaucherous pig of the Federation!"
"Look at him! In the Federation, men get to enjoy the company of three women at the same time!"
What the hell is up with these people?! Just as the girls' mood settled down, they just ruined it again!
I turned around, but Admiral Luise pulled my arm from behind. "No, Lezirth, don't mind them."
"Okay." As she said, it looked like the situation could only get worse if I talked to them.
We returned to the hotel, almost as if we were fleeing from the mob.
...Ugh, those damn protesters! They weren't going to pester us during our entire vacation, were they?
1. The original name is 남성연대, which likely alludes to a real Korean group of the same name. Since 'Man of Korea' hardly fits the setting and there are no appropriate translations for it anyway (barring terrible word salads coming from direct translation), now there's a... Latin... name? ←