2. Fragile

At AD Police HQ, Leon and Daley are getting chewed out by their superiors. Not only did the Knight Sabers beat them to the scene of the last rogue boomer attack, but various manoeuvrings of higher placed personnel mean that dealing with the vigilantes doesn’t even fall in their jurisdiction. Annoyed, Leon and Daley wonder just what the Knight Sabers’ motives are. Are they just out to ‘kick some ass’, or is this a test run for the advanced hardsuit technology they use? Of course, what the two officers don’t know is that one of the Knight Sabers is right under their nose- in the shape of the annoyingly juvenile communications officer Nene Romanova.

At work, Linna is surprised to find that there is no mention of the recent rogue boomer attack on the news. Unfortunately, accessing news websites is against company rules, and Linna is reprimanded by the supervising boomer once again.

Meanwhile, at the Silky Doll boutique, Sylia is busy with a customer. Sylia is all smiles and froth, that is, until Priss arrives. When Priss asks for her pay for the last job, Sylia switches into business mode- but pay isn’t the only thing on Priss’ mind. Despite Nene’s enthusiasm, she really isn’t that good a fighter, and Priss wonders if Sylia is ready to bring in a new Knight Saber. Sylia wonders if Priss has someone in mind, but the rock star refuses to name anyone; still, it is clear that Linna’s request to join is still at the back of her mind.

Having been forbidden to use the internet on her own workstation, Linna decides to skirt the rules- by using someone else’s computer instead. Slipping into Kain’s office, she attempts to hack into the AD Police server for information on the Knight Sabers. Unfortunately for Linna, Nene diverts her hacking attempt, and all she gets is a message telling her that investigating the Knight Sabers is a dangerous business.

Back at home, Sylia’s butler Henderson is also wondering if Sylia will add another member to the Knight Sabers. It is true that Nene isn’t skilled enough to be a good partner for Priss, but finding a suitable new candidate won’t be easy. And for Sylia, this is just one more thing to ponder as she sinks into the anger and despondency triggered by the authorities’ determination to ignore the number of rogue boomer incidents. Can’t anyone else see that boomers are anything but safe?

Meanwhile, at Genom Corporation, Chairman Quincy Rosencroitz is conferring with his vice president Mason. Their overproduction of boomers after the quake has led to a surplus of product. Fuelled by ambitions that encompass more than merely financial domination, Quincy wants the timetable for the Shohamm project accelerated. Even though Quincy and Mason seem at odds in their agendas, one thing is for sure- neither of them has the public’s best interests at heart.

Despite her setbacks, Linna is still determined to become the latest member of the Knight Sabers, and to that end, she tracks down Priss once again, repeating her request to join. After evading Linna’s demands, Priss leaves on her motorcycle, but just slowly enough that Linna can follow on her new scooter. Is this some kind of test?

Linna manages to follow Priss back to the Silky Doll, although her scooter does break down in the process. Seeing Priss and Sylia inside, Linna enters the boutique, and is guided downstairs to the Knight Sabers’ secret base, where Priss, Sylia and Nene are waiting.

After greeting Linna, Sylia seems willing to listen to her, and even though Priss doesn’t come out and say it, it seems that she went to the trouble of talking to Sylia about Linna after all. Nene isn’t so sanguine about a potential new member showing up- surely not just anyone can come in off the street? Indeed, joining up won’t be as easy as that, but Linna insists that she at least be given a chance to prove herself.

The hardsuits used by the Knight Sabers are custom built, so Linna won’t be able to try out in the real thing. Instead, Linna is plugged into a simulator that will let her relive one of the Knight Sabers’ earlier missions; taking on the role of the blue Knight Saber (Priss), Linna finds herself in the middle of the action. During this mission, the police tried to deal with a rogue boomer using their own less advanced suits; when they failed, Priss and Nene took charge themselves. For Linna, reliving the experience is nothing short of heart pounding, as she finds herself jumping, somersaulting, and punching into the boomer, until finally, she holds its “heart” in her hand. With one final squeeze, the heart is crushed, and the simulation is over. Having endured the raw intensity of the simulator, Linna falls to the floor. Will she be willing or even able to cope with battling boomers in a real hardsuit?