|"About whether it will be either hope or despair...that awaits us after opening Pandora's Box?"
Howard L. Bridget to Gengo Aoi during their first meeting c.2022
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|Zero Chapter 001 ←||Zero Chapter 002||→ Zero Chapter 003|
|Aoi Kazuha II|
|Volume 1, Chapter 2|
|Translation||Aoi Kazuha - Chapter 2|
Aoi Kazuha I
Aoi Kazuha II
The chapter opens on May 2053, the aftermath of the 7th Nova Clash. This clash saw the first combat deployment of Limiters, who performed exceptionally well against a Type-F Nova during the battle.
At the Chevalier's Anti-Nova Operations Headquarters, a young Scarlett Ohara is walking along a research facility where she chides two scientists for insulting Dr. Gengo Ao i for allowing his ten-year-granddaughter to participate in the Pandora Project. A young Kazuha is then shown about to engage a Type-F Nova replicate alone. At ten, she held ten stigmata in her back. She deploys her Volt Weapon along with two Anti-Nova shields. Scarlett then meets with Gengo, watching Kazuha battle. Gengo then thinks on the time he enacted Project Pandora.
In a second flashback to June 2022, a young Olivia L. Bridget practices horseback riding at the L. Bridget Estate. She asks for her boyfriend, Howard, but he has a meeting, leaving her upset and a little insecure. A young Gengo with colleague Alfred Hughes are the guests at the L. Bridget manor. Eighteen-year-old Howard L. Bridget enters the room, acting like a snobby teenager, but he surprises Gengo to be a very powerful, shrewd, and calculating individual, who is already the head of the L. Bridget family. Gengo is slightly taken aback by the young man's personality. He presents Project Pandora and Project Valkyrie. The former produces a small number on inhuman female warriors, bearing compatibility with Maria Lancelot's stigmata, while the latter produces a large number of warriors with the stigmata stored in devices able to be implemented and disposed when ready. Gengo proposes the former project because it can be implemented immediately while the latter will take years of technological developments, and the Nova will not wait. Howard bursts into a fit of laughter when Gengo begins to revere the power Maria will grant, but shifts into a serious demeanour when Gengo addresses the name of the project: Project Pandora. Recalling Pandora's Box in Greek mythology, Howard knows that such a project must be a double-edged sword, one that could bring both hope or despair.
Out of the flashback, Gengo looks at Kazuha fighting and believes she looks just like Maria Lancelot.
Then, just before Kazuha's arrival, junior Pandora Mi-Ryung Baek has defeated a fellow [[Pandora in a Carnival and has earned first place in her class. She and Yu-Mi are both from Korea, so the class president is excited to hear that Mi-Ryung, not only won, but will be given the honour of being the junior member of the Numbers then the leader of the entire division her senior year. Sister Margaret and a military officer are discussing the exact same topic, and the man reports that Mi-Ryung will not be joining the Numbers. Rather, Gengo has sent a direct request that Kazuha will be the junior member of the elite division.
Kazuha relays this information to her seniors and mentions that she got zero points in that same Carnival, thus coming in last place. Yu-Mi is livid at the news, but Kazuha is rather casual, slightly insulting Mi-Ryung and all of her efforts. Yu-Mi insults Kazuha for using her family name to be a part of the elite unit. But Kazuha indicates that the world is run by the people with power and with connections, and it has always been that way. Kazuha's callous words are met by Yu-Mi's hand that slaps her mouth.
- Limiters are revealed to have been developed around the time of the 7th Nova Clash.
- The Pandora Project was slated for development in 2022.
- Gengo and Howard are revealed to have been the driving forces behind the creation of the Chevalier and the Pandora Project.
- Project Valkyrie is revealed to have existed, at least theoretically, since 2022.