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A Martian Successor Nadesico story
by Jonathan Rosebaugh

Disclaimer: Martian Successor Nadesico and its characters are owned by Kia Asamiya, Xebec, and ADV. The concept for this fic is from Bjorn's Sunrise Challenge.

This takes place between the episodes "A Place We Call Home" and "Ubiquitous Righteousness", while the ship is en route to Jupiter. There are, however, semi-spoilers for the end of the TV show.

golden, adj.:

Possessing properties commonly attributed to the precious metal gold, atomic number 79, atomic symbol Au, classification Transition Metal.

sunrise, n.:

Pronounced atmospheric scattering of shorter wavelengths, resulting in selective transmission below 650 nanometers inversely associated with progressively rising solar elevation.

The observation deck's illusion was almost convincing, I decided. The window was hidden, at the moment, creating an unbroken view of a meadow on Earth. A few clouds hung in the sky. I wondered idly if the computer had actually created miniature clouds in the proper proportions, or if it had simply added them to the holograms. I indulged in a few seconds of thought on this, but decided it didn't really matter. I lay on my back in the grass, savoring the crisp green scent, despite the part of my mind that insisted on analyzing the grass.

Half a meter to my left, a sunflower rose, facing the horizon to greet its namesake. Glowing tendrils tickled the sky, heralding the arrival of a new day. A sunrise.

"What would happen if I chose to believe that the sunrise is real?"

There was no response, just a slight breeze, moving the grass tips, bobbling the sunflower.

"Quantum physics tells us that all of reality is dependent on the observer. Without an observer, the wave functions cannot collapse and everything is possible. When someone looks, reality is set on one course or another. We say that what we see is real, because we have observed it, but aren't those discarded possibilities just as real?"

The gold was joined with reds and purples and the whole spectrum in between, layered artistically behind the stand of trees at the far end of the meadow. The early morning calls of songbirds floated from the trees, teasing my ears. Of course, there were no songbirds. Nadesico is too small to house a self-contained ecosystem. But it is a compelling illusion. Mankind has spent centuries waking up to songbirds and even recorded songs do the trick.

"What if the entire war, the existence of the Nadesico itself, and all our memories together are equally fabricated, but are made real because we choose to believe in it?

"After all, we've seen Boson Jumping, rewriting reality at the whim of the jumper. If we can travel through time and space at will, isn't it possible that the war exists because we're willing to fight, and not vice versa?"

And is it worth it then? I sat up and moved myself nearer to the sunflower. I brushed my hand over its stem and head, marvelling at the depth of illusion.

"Of course, the idea of reality dependent on the observer is nothing new. Plato had the same idea, centuries ago, with his vision of an ideal plane and the imperfect copies that we observe, here in reality.

"The Peaceland royal family loved an idealized Ruri, nothing like myself. This idealized Ruri was not, however, the Ideal Ruri of Plato's world. She was another observation, another Reality. If I'd stayed there, would I have slowly changed to fit their ideals?"

I shivered, partially from the cool morning and partially from memories. My memories of this past year, here on the Nadesico, are my most precious possessions. I'd never really had many material possessions; I'd never had use for them. I laughed, remembering the foolish old geneticist at the school. "A young girl can never have too much spending money," he'd said. No, what I truly prized were my friends here on the ship. They were real, living in a way that was important.

"But don't we use Platonism ourselves? We call Yurika 'the Captain'. We might as well call Ms. Howmei 'the Cook'; it's really hard to see her as anything but. That really is her definition."

I thought about that for several minutes, barely noticing the sun continuing to rise, as I concentrated on this. Was it right to define people like that, to limit them to being archetypes, like characters in a story? But, that was how humans thought, I finally decided. So long as we remember the people instead of focusing on the archetypes, there's nothing wrong with such things. Satisfied, I turned again to my definitions.

"And what is Akito? He'd call himself a cook, but that has not been his calling here. Others would call him many things: boyfriend, pilot, otaku, enemy. But Yurika would call him 'the Knight', were I to ask her. And she'd be right."

The sun had nearly reached a respectable hight by now; the colors were shifting to blue and I began to feel warm from the sunlight. Nearby, the sunflower danced in the wind, bobbing its head as if to agree with me. I smiled at it.

"After all, what is the definition of a knight? Honor in war and the honor of a Lady, isn't it? Akito has his honor. That is why he fights; not because it is enjoyable or even because it is necessary. He fights because it is right, right to defend those in need. And because of Ai. Ever since that cavern on Mars, when he attacked the Jovian robots in a service vehicle, he's been fighting because he remembers her. Yurika might be upset about it, but Ai is Akito's Lady. He cannot allow any more innocents to be lost, like she was. But still, lost things and lost people have a way of turning up when they're needed. Perhaps we'll meet her someday, and all his mysteries will be complete."

I stood as the colors began to fade from the horizon. "Thank you, Omoikane. That was… beautiful." As I turned to leave, the scene dissolved away, no longer needed. All that remained was the faintest touch of gold at the horizon and a sunflower bobbing, despite the lack of wind.

I left the observation deck and returned to my Work, content again. Nadesico continued, flying towards Jupiter. And Omoikane smiled to herself and began preparations of her own.



Author's notes: This, unlike most of my fics, was written without a well-defined framework. I wrote the beginning and the end first, then filled in pieces to make them meet. Hopefully it meshes well; hopefully you can tell me when it doesn't.

I'm sure you realize what the sunflower is.

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