15. Minute by Minute

Their hardsuits fused and unresponsive, the Knight Sabers can only watch as Mason takes Galatea (the girl who emerged from the cocoon) away with him. Only after he is gone are they able to free themselves by pulling out their batteries so that the reserve battery will crack the suits open.

Sylia is naturally distraught by recent events, and has to be carried out of the ruins by Linna and Nene. Scouting ahead, Priss runs into Leon, who is more than a little surprised to see her down there. Despite initially claiming that the AD Police were sent down to the ruins after the Knight Sabers, Leon is forced to admit that in fact they were ordered to stay away. And as he isn’t even supposed to be down there himself, there is no chance of him reporting Priss.

Genom’s control of the media allows them to cover up the event surrounding the old ruins by claiming it was all due to a fissure created in the quake. And with the public eye safely turned away, Mason can take the time to introduce himself to Galatea. Galatea (also known as the Sotai) represents Stingray’s attempt to create a creature which would far surpass mere humans; however, when he sold out to Genom, his project degenerated into the mass production of the soulless boomers. Mason cares nothing for those golems- it is only Galatea and her ultimate purpose that interest him.

Macky is sleeping peacefully under Nigel’s watchful gaze when Nene pays a visit. She wants to know just what Macky is- he isn’t quite human, but then he isn’t a simple boomer either. Nigel reminds her that she must decide for herself what Macky means to her. But even as they discuss him, Macky himself awakens.

As Macky tries to explain his relationship to Sylia, Nigel is forced to step in to give a more accurate account of what happened. Both Macky and Galatea were created using Sylia’s body. Her father implanted a nano-machine in Sylia’s brain, which was able to integrate with the host tissue and replicate all the neuro-functions of a human brain. Worse still is the reason why Sylia was the only person whose body didn’t reject the nano-machines; they were created using neural tissue taken from a dissection of Sylia’s mother’s brain. In order to create his boomer, Doctor Stingray killed his own wife and experimented on his daughter.

Galatea was the first doppelganger created by the nano machines; as the Sotai she is the archetype for all the current boomers. Macky, on the other hand, was abandoned for being too much like a human being- and, like any human in his position might, he wonders whether his existence justifies the pain and suffering that allowed him to be born.

It is a lot to consider, but Nene has one more question- she wants to know what could have been so bad that Genom needed to create the great quake. The answer, of course, is Galatea. Her special powers- the Sotai phenomenon that enabled her to control machinery, was too great to be contained any other way- she even killed her own father. At Mason’s suggestion, Quincy agreed to the detonation of the prototype earthquake device Genom had been building for the military. And even though millions died, the lesser disaster helped stay a greater one.

Now that she knows the full story of the past, Macky hopes that Nene has a better understanding of why Sylia hates rogue boomers. Even Macky himself went rogue once- that’s how he came to live with Sylia. Only now he realises that it wasn’t choice that brought him to Tokyo. It was Galatea, calling him to her; maybe he really is just a machine that doesn’t deserve to exist. But Nene doesn’t want to hear that- Nigel’s words have struck a chord, and she realises that Macky will always be a human to her. And humans should never just will themselves out of existence.

At the club, Priss is practicing on the drums when Linna comes down to confront her. Priss seems not to care about the Knight Sabers any more, and Linna can’t believe that she could just quit and walk away at this stage. Priss reminds her that their hardsuits are gone, and when Linna counters that new ones can built, she states that she will never wear a hardsuit again.

Given what she has seen, Priss has come to a shocking, if retrospectively obvious conclusion. When Galatea first appeared, all the nearby boomers went rogue and then the hardsuits fused- but none of the regular humans from Genom were affected. And when they fought the giant boomer-eating monster, the EM pulse that paralysed the boomers had exactly the same effect on the hardsuits. It is clear for anyone to see- the hardsuits are boomers.

Linna has little time to come to terms with this revelation before Leon shows up. He couldn’t help overhearing Linna and Priss’ discussion, and now he knows the identities of two of the Knight Sabers. Linna has no wish to stick around, but Priss invites Leon to come out on a bike ride with her.

As the two go out for a ride, they open up a little to each other. Leon explains that he started out by hating the way the Knight Sabers always beat him to the punch, but eventually came to relish competing with them. Priss responds by telling him once again about her hatred for people who get an ego boost from putting on a uniform. Leon remarks that this is a pretty unfair generalisation- not everyone is like that.

Stopping for a break, Leon continues their talk, hoping to get a little closer to Priss. Unfortunately, his plan to come over as a caring and sensitive man are ruined more than a little when he angrily sends away a traffic copter by telling them he’s trying to score. And before he has a chance to repair the situation, Priss’s eyes take on a glazed look- not because she is bored, but because for some strange reason Sylia’s memories have started flashing through her mind. And elsewhere in the city, Macky, Nene and Linna are experiencing those same memories as well…