Time seemed to go ever so slowly. He remembered how it used to be, back on Earth. They had cars and shopping malls and entertainment. That word always made him choke. Wasn’t enough that they’d lost their home planet without making them lose the things that made them happy? Who the hell did DES think they were, enslaving them to a dull and monotonous life, full of misery and commands? He waited for the day when they would all be free.
On his death bed, he heard it. AKB0048 - we’ll outstrip the stars to come see you! It was too late for him, but perhaps, one day, the future wouldn’t be so bleak. Smiling, he was gone.
She didn’t understand DES. What could make people fight they way they did? They attacked everyone without mercy or hesitation, as long as they suspected they were doing the wrong thing. But why was entertainment so wrong? Why didn’t DES’s members understand how entertainment could bring people together, for the right reasons, unlike their cruel and dull dictatorship? They had never lived in a universe where entertainment was fully available or allowed, but still, everyone had their stories of concerts they passed down, or old musical technology they played quietly to their children, sparking the love of all things amazing. She hoped DES’s members lived in decadence, otherwise she couldn’t help but think they were heartless monsters.
She was the older sibling, it was her job to protect Sonata. But when Tsubasa let her in, despite her age, how was she supposed to help? Sonata had proven herself capable of passing the test, but a test wasn’t real life! But as time progressed, Kanata found Sonata was more reliable than she was... Perhaps, she should take a leaf out of her sisters book, to relax and move forward. She didn’t have to forget her goal or throw it away, she just had to find a balance. Apart from her goal, she was also a sister and that should always come first.
She wondered about a lot of things. AKB0048 had a huge price tag. So did DES. Both sides had various machinary and technical staff. They had their own propaganda and staff to keep them going, including office staff, cleaners and chefs. But the highest tag was their front lines. Did the family members of DES front liners hate them for not wanting a world with entertainment? She knew the life of a kenkyuusei wasn’t easy; most girls ran away from home, never seeing their parents until they graduated and after that, there was such a rift it was almost impossible to fix. She often wondered if anyone else thought the price was worth it. She never asked, fearing the answer.
Chapter 2: Valentine's Day, Sou-Chan Style
They were young girls, celebrities, models, idols, warriors. They were AKB0048. They were known galaxy wide and not much escaped their fans notice. Valentine’s Day didn’t mean much for them in the traditional sense. If they weren’t liberating a planet, they were performing on their home stage - or they were in a photo shoot, or modeling, or promoting, or practicing, or blogging, or at a handshake event or getting some well deserved rest. The no-dating rule was in place and what else could they give their fans that they hadn’t already given?
But that was okay - she didn’t need a boy to give chocolates to. She had the rest of her life ahead of her, boys and love could wait. For now, she had her team. All of the understudies; Kanata and all of her adorableness; all of the successors; all of the senbatsu; Yuuko and her supporting rivalry; Tomochin and her friendship; Mariko-sama and her guidance; Acchan and her legacy.
No matter how their dynamics changed, it was the same every year. As captain, it was her duty to support her team mates. It wasn’t much, but a small gift of friendship chocolates generally made everyone smile and laugh. It wasn’t romantic love but sometimes, friendship was just as good or even better. And really, it was an extra excuse for chocolate, and who could complain with that?