Compared to Zero Three's room, the other two were rather minimalistic. Zero Five's only had the most basic necessities while Nine's had a few flower pots as decorations with artificial sunlight to keep them alive.

Well, not that I'm much different… Sam thought letting out a long sigh.

"Alright then." He said. "This concludes today's visit so I will be heading back now."

"Why don't you stay for dinner, Doctor?" Nine asked wearing her usual gentle smile.

"Maybe another time, I have my own arrangements right now."

"I see..."

"Doctor, will you be coming to the training room tomorrow morning?" Zero Five asked.

"Hmm… maybe?" When Sam mentioned it he didn't mean he would start right away, however it seems the ponytailed Valkyrie understood it differently. "It's better if you don't wait for me."

"Is that so…"

Now two out of the three looked down. Sam turned to the last one, the youngest in the group, and was met with an indifferent smile. Seeing that the brown haired one didn't care enough to have a request, he suppressed the urge to sigh fearing she would take it another way.

"Well, have a good night."

Leaving them with those words, Sam turned around and left the Valkyries' quarters. He passed by his lab and checked if there is anything he forgot, he then went to his dinner date with Shizuru.

"Doctor, do you know the reason why today's announcement was delayed?"

The moment the Asian girl asked that question Sam choked on his drink.

"... w-why… cough… why would I?" He asked between the coughs.

"Well, as the person responsible for the Valkyries you seem to hold a higher position than the rest of us, even though your rank is sergeant as well."

"You have a point."

The recent increase in his security clearance pushed Sam to the level of a captain, even so his title stayed the same. Sam was a noncombatant and wasn't that involved with the rest of the troops so it didn't make sense for his position to be higher.
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"It's not that my position is higher, it's just that my job makes it easier for me to come by useful information, and I have my own connections as well."

"Is that so?" Shizuru said, taking a bit of her burger steak.

The scouting team found a flock of sheep the day before which allowed the soldiers to taste some natural meat for the first time in a long while. Shizuru seemed to enjoy the dish quite a bit, and so did Sam. The difference between artificial food and natural one couldn't he more apparent.

"So, do you know the reason?" The Asian girl asked after swallowing.

"I heard the commander wasn't feeling well this morning." Sam replied, keeping his eyes on his tray.

The truth is that Alice had sent him a message soon after he left his room. She sounded rather upset, saying she's unable to stand after that rough night. Basically an important arrangement had been delayed because the one with highest authority in the base was unable to move after having sex for the first time in a long while. It's obvious that no one should learn about it, especially Shizuru.

"It must be quite bad if it forced that commander to delay something." Shizuru commented.

"Well, in the end she is just a human."

Very few have direct interactions with Alice so the image people have of her is that of an iron lady who's unfazed by anything. Some even doubt that she's actually human, going by her unrealistic beauty that bordered on the realm of the Valkyries.

That led to people thinking; if that commander is suffering from something then it must be much worse than what a normal person could handle.

"Anyways, it's rather quiet today, don't you think?" Asked Shizuru.

"You're right." Sam replied, taking a look around the cafeteria.

The other soldiers were busying themselves with their food, no one sparing the two a glance as if everything went back to normal.

"I guess the word had already spread." He said.

They had asked Melissa to help spread the information that the Valkyries wouldn't be visiting for a while, thanks to that no one came to bother them with the question of when will the next time one of the goddesses descend upon them come?

"Zero Three sure did enjoy her time here, right?" Shizuru remarked with a smile. "I know it's somewhat of a bother, but I wish to meet her again."

"Sadly you will have to wait." Sam replied. "We don't really know what effects would result from the Valkyries interacting with humans. I would like to research the matter a little bit before allowing them to wonder around."

According to the Valkyrie file the AIs were created with the ability to behave like normal humans and interact with the people around them just like anyone else would, although with some tweaks here and there to suit their specific character traits.

With that said there shouldn't be any problem if they're allowed to do whatever they want, however Sam still wanted to study the matter a little more before making his final decision.
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I should ask Alice and see if she can obtain info on the behavior of Valkyries in other bases.

Sam had a personal reason for not allowing the three to roam around unsupervised. Before giving them his permission he wanted to make sure that he had become their official master. He didn't want to risk them getting attached to other male soldiers so until he gets a taste of bedding them, which would confirm that they belong to him, he didn't plan on letting them roam around too often.

"You really care about the Valkyries, despite how indifferent you usually act."

Glancing to his right Sam saw his girlfriend smiling at him. He stayed silent for a moment, chewing on some meat for far longer than he should.

"It would only cause me more trouble if something were to happen to them."

The weapons were technically the commander's responsibility, however nowadays it's starting to feel like he is the one managing them. It's not supposed to be his job to instruct the three on what they can and can't do, let alone keeping an eye on them. Well, it was until recently. Now that Alice had given him that mission he had no choice but to become the Valkyries' manager.

Suddenly Sam remembered what he saw throughout his tour in the Valkyries' quarters and the question of whether he cared about them got a different feel to it making him question his own intentions toward the three weapons.

"Shizuru." Sam spoke, addressing the woman beside him with her first name for the first time. "I was holding back on this question but… what do you think of Zero Three now that you got the chance to interact with her?"

"Hm? What do you mean?" Shizuru asked, the sudden familiarity placing a surprised look on her face.

"Well, let's say you didn't know she's a Valkyrie." Sam said. "Would you have suspected that she isn't a real girl?"

"Well… I would think she is an angel, since she's so cute." Shizuru replied. "Ah! I think I get what you mean…"

Sam had found himself asking why Odin went through such lengths when creating the Valkyries. It obviously didn't have many benefits, and most of the time it's outright impractical. Even if one were to consider his true goal of creating artificial women to be his lovers, there is no reason for him to go to such lengths to make them almost indistinguishable from normal humans.

"Sometimes I find myself feeling guilty about sending the three out to fight for us."

Hearing Sam's statement, Shizuru's hand stopped as she was about to bring a bite to her mouth.

"When you think about it, very few of us had ever seen what a calamity with our own eyes. Can we really say we're doing anything when someone else is doing all the fighting?"

"Hey now..." Turning to him with a wry smile, Shizuru reminded Sam of something very important. Something that seemed to get overshadowed the more he interacts with the Valkyries. "Even if they look and behave like humans, in the end they're weapons created by us to fight our enemies. To say that someone else is doing all the fighting in this case you first have to consider the Valkyries as normal people, right?"

"... I guess you have a point."

Sam closed his eyes and exhaled, finally noticing that his view of the Valkyries had been shaken quite a bit.

Sometimes he thinks of them as nothing but sex dolls he could use to satisfy himself, and sometimes, even if he doesn't admit it, he sees them as normal humans just like anyone else. He might try to convince himself otherwise, however the guilt he felt when seeing the notebooks in Zero Three's room, in addition to the time he spent monitoring her and Zero Five's condition when they got injured, it all shows how much he cares for the three weapons.

,m This is bad… Sam thought, taking off his glasses and rubbing the bridge of his nose. I must not let myself get attached. Nothing good will ever come from it.

Whether he liked it or not, the day he will be separated from the three will inevitably come. The more he thinks of them as humans the more attached he would eventually become. It would be for the better if he continued to think of them as nothing but weapons or tools for him to satisfy his desires. Otherwise he would one day find himself crushed under the guilt.

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