As expected seeing the young Valkyrie walking around the base drew a lot of eyes.

Sam tried to not let it bother him, however it was only a matter of time before the crowd got on his nerves.

Zero Three didn't seem to mind the stares, or to more precise, she was too distracted to notice any of the onlookers. Shizuru handled most of the talking sparing Sam some of the hostility directed at them by the other soldiers.

The three stood in line to get their food, something Zero Three found quite exciting for some reason. Then when she saw that the cafeteria operated in a buffet system where each person served themselves she became nervous, getting overwhelmed by the number of choices even though the menu for breakfasts was quite short.

"If things here are different here then how are things done in your quarters?" Shizuru asked the moment they took their seats.

Zero Three sat near the wall with Shizuru beside her while Sam took the seat facing them. They had decided on this arrangement beforehand to avoid any misunderstandings.

"Well, we have a dining hall with many tables, but not as many as this." Zero Three said. "Our food is always brought to us by a drone so we don't get to choose."

"Is that so…" Shizuru replied, glancing over at Sam.

"Is the food any different?" He asked before biting into his toast.

"Hm… doesn't seem so." The young Valkyrie looked down at her tray. It had a croissant, some toast and jam, a small fruit salad and a cup of hot milk. Though she had a lot of options to choose from, in the end she decided to go with what she's familiar with.

"That's unexpected." Sam looked at her with a start. "I always thought they give you special treatment over there."

On this base they're something akin to a VIP after all. It never crossed his mind that they might be eating the same food as the average soldier.

"Well, it's not like we need to eat." Zero Three said, spreading some jam on her toast then biting into it.

"Now that you said it…" Shizuru's eyes slowly went wide. "If you can live without food then why do you eat?"

"Cause it's tasty." The Valkyrie replied while chewing.

"Swallow before you speak." Sam said with a sigh.

Obviously since they're basically robots the Valkyries didn't have any need for food, but since they're programmed to behave as closely to humans as possible eating and drinking regularly was something they are forced to do.

That much was what the public were allowed to know. Having read the blue prints Sam knew that there is more to it than just mimicking human behavior.

The Valkyries are more than just weapons. They have been made to serve as artificial wombs as well. Though they didn't have a need for the food themselves the nutrients it contained could be used to nourish the child in case they're carrying one.

Otherwise everything gets disintegrated then disposed of the same way humans dispose of waste.

Robots using the toilet isn't something I wanted to think about while eating.
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"Hmm… but this does taste somewhat different…" Zero Three said, looking down at the toast in her hand.

"Is it worse?" Sam asked.

"What? No! That's not what I meant!"

For some reason the young Valkyrie began blushing. She quickly chomped on the toast finishing it before reaching for her cup. With the milk still steaming hot she ended up burning her tongue a little. It was an amusing scene to watch putting a smile on both Sam and Shizuru's faces.

"W-what I meant to say is!" Coughing a little in an attempt to hide her embarrassment, the young Valkyrie told them what she thought. "There are a lot of people here. The atmosphere feels more joyous. I guess I enjoy food a lot more if I'm eating with someone."

Is she trying to say the more the merrier? Sam thought.

"Nine would be really jealous when she hears about this." Zero Three said, causing Sam to choke on his coffee.

"Come to think of it…" he said, quickly wiping the coffee he had spilled with a paper napkin. "Does the three of you usually eat together?"

"Yes." Zero Three said, a hint of sadness in her smile. "Last night's dinner was a bit gloomy though. Five wasn't much of a talker but without her around it was tough to say anything."

"I see…"

"Excuse me!"

The conversation was suddenly interrupted by the appearance of a new party. Sam turned around to check, seeing a female soldier standing close to their table and looking his way. She held a white cardboard close to her chest and what looked like a marker in her right hand. He searched his memories but couldn't recall who she was, meaning they never interacted before.

Sam glanced at Shizuru and saw her confusion. He guessed that the two weren't acquainted. Shifting back to the stranger he plastered a polite fake smile and asked.

"May I help you with something?"

The female soldier appeared somewhat surprised by Sam's response, taking a step back despite herself. A moment later she seemed to gather the courage to speak.

"I w-wanted to ask if I can get an autograph!"

By that point Sam had already guessed her intentions. He was expecting something like this when he invited Zero Three, but now that it was happening he was suddenly struck with a sense of unease.

That said, he couldn't just shoo the woman away so he turned to the young Valkyrie. With all eyes on her Zero Three blinked repeatedly then pointed at herself and asked.


"Y-yes! If possible…" the female soldier said, a huge smile spreading on her lips as if she just had a delightful experience.

Zero Three glanced at Sam with an expression of nervousness. He simply shrugged at her then said it was her decision to make.

"I guess it's fine…"
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When the young Valkyrie voiced her approval, she was stunned to see the female soldier positively beaming with sparkles in her eyes.

After getting the cardboard from her, Zero Three asked for the soldier's name then wrote a dedication and signed it.

"Thank you very much!"

Happiness could be felt from the female soldier as she hugged the cardboard. The other soldiers, having watched the interaction from start to finish, went into a frenzy before storming out of the cafeteria. A couple of minutes later they returned, gathering around Sam and the others holding things they wanted to get signed.

While some brought notebooks and papers, others had shirts and hoodies with them, most of which were merchandise depicting the young Valkyrie.

Sam tried to calm them down reminding them that physical contact is absolutely prohibited. They all glared at him, hatred oozing from their eyes, but when he said that there is time for everyone they all calmed down and organized in a single file.

And just like that Zero Three spent the next two hours giving autographs while Sam and Shizuru kept watch.

Soon enough everyone dispersed, being forced to return to their posts.

Shizuru had to leave as well so Sam and Zero Three headed back for the lab.

"That was… wild…" the Valkyrie said, her shoulders slumped over as she heaved a tired sigh. "I never expected to go through this at all."

"Do you understand why you're told to not wonder into the rest of the base?"

"Yeah… I think." Looking up at him, Zero Three asked a question that had been on her mind for a while. "I thought humans only saw us as tools and weapons, that's why I never expected to be treated like that."

"Well, you could say you're something like a idol here." Sam said, bringing a cup to his mouth and enjoying the aroma of the coffee substitute.

"Is that why they have all those things with my face on them?" Three tilted her head slightly as she asked.

"Yes. Though I don't know where they got them."

Sam was as surprised when he saw the merch. He had no idea where they got those things, but that might be another result of his introverted personality and lack of interactions with his fellow soldiers.

"Humans sure are strange." Zero Three said, looking down at the cup of iced coffee in her hands. "To think they would treat a weapon as an idol."

A slight smile touched her lips and a faint rosy color tainted her cheeks. It was clear just from looking that she enjoyed the whole experience, even though she complained about it a littld.

"Well, if we weren't at war it wouldn't have been strange for you to be an idol." Sam said. "You're this cute, after all."

Odin had created the Valkyries to be as attractive as they can be. If the Calamities never appeared he would probably have had an easier time getting the funds he needed just by selling the idea of the Valkyries to entertainment companies. Idols, pop stars, actresses, models, he would've been abillionaire just by capitalizing on their appearance.

"Hmph! I-I already know that much!"

Hearing Zero Three's flustered voice, Sam looked up to find her blushing to the tips of her ears. Wondering what caused her to react like that, he remembered what he had just said a moment ago. He didn't give it much thought at the time but apparently just calling her cute earned him quite a few points.

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