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The alien JAM have been at war with humanity for over thirty years... or have they? Rei Fukai of the FAF's Special Air Force and his intelligent tactical reconnaissance fighter plane Yukikaze have seen endless battles, but after declaring "Humans are unnecessary now," and forcibly ejecting Fukai, Yukikaze is on its own. Is the target of the JAM's hostility really Earth's machines?
Chōhei Kambayashi was born in 1953. In 1979 he won the 5th Hayakawa SF Contest with his debut work, Kitsune to Odore (Dance with a Fox), and followed that with his first long series, Anata no Tamashii ni Yasuragiare (May Peace Be on Your Soul). His distinctive style and approach, and his thematic focus on the power of language and humanity's relationship with machines, quickly made him a fan favorite. His numerous long and short series have won him the prestigious Seiun Award our times, and in 1999 he won the 16th Japan SF award.
“Lieutenant Fukai, you are fighting a useless battle. Do you hear me?”
“This is B-1, I read you loud and clear. Please state your name, rank, and unit attachment.”
“Response confirmed. I lack the type of classification and identification codes which you have asked about. Lieutenant Fukai, please respond if you accept or deny my request.”
“If you’re going to make a request of someone, it’s only common courtesy to make your social position clear to them,” Rei replied, knowing that wasn’t true at all. “Who are you?”
After a short, almost embarrassed silence, it responded.
“By your conceptualization, I am the whole of what you refer to as the JAM.”
“The whole…You mean you’re the JAM themselves? Should I think of you as a voice representing the JAM?”
“I would not object to that judgment. Please issue your response.”
Rei switched off the comm circuit for a moment and called out to Lieutenant Katsuragi.
“Lieutenant, what do you think of what it said? Do you think I can believe this to be a representative of the JAM?”
“Hell if I know. I will say that it sounds unnatural, though. Like somebody is ordering it to say that stuff to you.”
“I agree. Maintain observation of our surroundings.”