The Hermes Cord Race Arc takes place during Volume 5, "The Floating Starlight Bridge".
Haruyuki and the members of Nega Nebulus gain participation in the Hermes Cord Race, a competition to the edges of outer space. However, they encounter strange disturbances by the Acceleration Research Society...
The Tag Team Duel against Leonids
Haruyuki travels to the top of the government office building with Chiyuri to enroll in a tag-team battle. There, they are challenged by Frost Horn and Tourmaline Shell of the Blue Legion, Leonids. Haruyuki and Chiyuri manage to get the first attack by performing a surprise dive kick from the top of the government office building. However, the two blue legionnaires recovered quickly. Frost Horn attacked Haruyuki, while his partner Tourmaline Shell attacked Chiyuri.
Frost Horn activated his special technique, Frosted Circle. This technique froze a small radius of the duel field, changing the characteristics of the surroundings. Haruyuki tried to open his wings to fly, but he realized that Frost Horn’s technique had frozen his wings, preventing them from opening. Seizing this opportunity, Frost Horn charged towards Haruyuki. At this moment, Chiyuri fired her Citron Call, turning a nearby Enemy]] back into the form of an egg. However, Frost Horn did not notice this, and continued to charge Haruyuki. Haruyuki managed to dodge at the last minute, and Frost Horn charged directly into the newly created egg. The broken egg attracted a large beetle-type Enemy, who began to attack Frost Horn, who was forced to flee to the edges of the duel field. While Frost Horn was distracted, Haruyuki and Chiyuri managed to defeat Tourmaline Shell. After Tourmaline Shell was defeated, the two Nega Nebulus members easily won the tag-team duel.
The Hermes Cord
After the tag-team battle with Chiyuri, Haruyuki returned home to his apartment building. There, he began reading a news article about the newly built Hermes Cord, a space elevator built in the Pacific Ocean. The news article explains how Japanese Social Cameras were to be installed in the Hermes Cord. Since the Brain Burst world is created using the social cameras, Haruyuki begins to theorize whether Brain Burst would integrate the Hermes Cord as a new area. Realizing the possible implications, he opens a dive call with Kuroyukihime to consult with her.
During the dive call, Haruyuki explains his theory to Kuroyukihime. After explaining the workings of Hermes Cord, Kuroyukihime concludes that the theory was plausible. However, she then brings up a potential problem. The Hermes Cord floated in the sky one-hundred fifty kilometers about the Brain Burst surface, which was a hundred times higher than even Silver Crow’s maximum altitude. Thus, the Hermes Cord would be inaccessible even if it was implemented. Disappointed, Haruyuki explains that he wanted to reach the Hermes Cord to help Fūko achieve her yearning for the sky. In response, Kuroyukihime discloses an alternative possibility for reaching the Hermes Cord.
Kuroyukihime explains that Brain Burst would not add a new area to the game if there was no way to travel there. Thus, it was likely that Brain Burst would secretly create a method of transportation in a specific place at a specific time. Kuroyukihime deduces that if Brain Burst was to create a path to the Hermes Cord, it would be located at the Tokyo Sky Tree and would open at 5:35 PM on June 5, which was two days from the present.
The Portal to Space
Going along with Kuroyukihime’s predictions, Haruyuki travelled alone to the Tokyo Sky Tree two days later. After waiting for a short duration in the Initial Acceleration Space, a portal suddenly materialized. Going through the portal, Haruyuki was transported to bottom of the Hermes Cord.
There, he accidently runs into Blood Leopard, who had also anticipated the portal’s appearance. Together, they explore the new area. At the opposite side of the Hermes Cord, they discover a line of ten space shuttles. Haruyuki registers as the driver for Shuttle #1, while Pard registers as the driver for Shuttle #2. Afterwards, they were each given a card. In doing so, the two had acquired participation in the “Hermes Cord Race” that was to take place in a little less than four days. Before leaving, Pard offers to carry Haruyuki back to Suginami on her motorbike. Haruyuki accepts, and the two Burst Out.
As promised, Haruyuki meets Pard after he leaves the Accelerated World. However, instead of taking him directly back to Suginami as originally planned, Pard instead takes him to eat at a fast food restaurant. While they eat, Pard explains a few things about the Hermes Cord Race. The card that they had acquired allowed for up to ten Burst Linkers to teleport together to the start of the Hermes Cord, allowing easy transportation for the racers. Here, Haruyuki questions why the inclusion of a new area had suddenly turned into a race. Pard explains that with large-scale updates in the Accelerated World, Brain Burst would often create one-time events to commemorate. The upcoming Hermes Cord Race was one such event. Finally, the last quirk of the event was that the health gauges of the competitors were locked, and they could not be damaged while racing.
After Pard transports him back to Suginami, Haruyuki muses over the upcoming race. Suddenly, an aggressive voice assaults his mind. The voice speaks of the hatred Haruyuki should feel for his enemies and persuades him to devour them. However, Haruyuki forces the voice in his mind to cease and walks back home.
The Territory Battles
On June 8, three days later, Haruyuki participates in the Territory Battles against Great Wall. The battle had Haruyuki, Takumu, and Fūko of Nega Nebulus on the defending side, while the attacking side included Ash Roller and Bush Utan. Haruyuki fought against Bush Utan while Fuko fought against Ash Roller. They both won their respective battles, and Nega Nebulus won the territories.
Fifteen minutes later, the five members of Nega Nebulus gathered together, and Haruyuki explains the outline of the Hermes Cord Race that was to take place the following day. Fuko, believing that her legless avatar would only be deadweight, offers to stay out of the race. While Haruyuki tries to convince her otherwise, Chiyuri suggests restoring her legs with Citron Call Mode II, which rewound an avatar’s time in terms of status changes. Believing that it would work, Chiyuri directed her Citron Call onto Fuko. However, just as her legs began to grow back, they suddenly vanished. Fuko explains that the disappearance of her legs was likely due to her unconscious influence on the Incarnate System, which prevented the Brain Burst system from restoring her legs. Nevertheless, Haruyuki continues to persuade Fuko to join them in the Hermes Cord Race. In the end, she agrees, and the five Nega Nebulus members leave the duel stage.
Returning back to his bed in the real world, Haruyuki ponders his growth as a Burst Linker during the last eight months. Unwittingly, he calls out Kuroyukihime’s name. Then, Haruyuki somehow hears Kuroyukihime’s voice answer his call. Believing it to only be his imagination, he turns around to find… Kuroyukihime in his bed. Still believing it to be either his imagination or a bug in his Neurolinker, Haruyuki begins pulling on her skirt to test his theory. At this moment, Kuroyukihime screams and smacks his hand away. Suddenly realizing that it was the real person in his bed, Haruyuki also screams in shock. After calming down, Kuroyukihime explains that she had come to visit his house after the Legion meeting.
After talking with Haruyuki for two hours, Kuroyukihime explains that she should be leaving soon. However, Haruyuki suddenly realizes that her footsteps were heavier than normal. Sensing that something was wrong, Haruyuki invites her to stay over for the night.
That night, Kuroyukihime comes into Haruyuki’s room to talk with him. She theorizes that part of the reason why Fuko’s legs weren’t growing back was because of her own interfering Incarnation. She believes that her piled up anger, resentment, and despair had caused Fuko’s legs to be permanently amputated. Seeing her overwhelming amount of self-hatred, Haruyuki begins to comfort her. In order to convey his feelings in full, Haruyuki offers to engage in a duel with her.
In the following duel, Haruyuki unleashes his newly learned technique which he had dubbed Aerial Combo. Using the instantaneous thrust of his wings, he could freely change his direction midair to launch a continuous barrage of attacks in all three dimensions. Feeling Haruyuki’s heartfelt rush of attacks, Kuroyukihime realizes that despite her many regrets, her actions in the Accelerated World had also brought good to many people. In the end, Kuroyukihime manages to defeat Haruyuki, and uses her Death By Embracing attack, which she had not used in two and a half years out of guilt, to end his life.
Returning to the real world, Haruyuki finds that Kuroyukihime had fallen on top of him in the bed. While hugging him, Kuroyukihime says that she was proud of him for everything that he had accomplished. As this was the first time that anyone had said that they were proud of him, Haruyuki begins to cry. Soon, they both fall asleep in Haruyuki’s bed.
The Hermes Cord Race
The next morning, Haruyuki is awakened by the sound of the door chime. Thinking that it was simply a delivery man, he opens the door. To Haruyuki’s surprise, it was Fūko. Fūko walks in and begins talking to Haruyuki. However, at this moment, Kuroyukihime walks out of the bedroom, still in her pajamas. Still half-asleep, Kuroyukihime nonchalantly greets the them and walks away to the bathroom. Fūko, in shock, interrogates Haruyuki about the situation. After Haruyuki explains, Chiyuri and Takumu also arrive to attend the Hermes Cord Race. Emotionally impacted by the close friendships within the second Nega Nebulus, Haruyuki vows to protect his new “family”.
Soon after, the Nega Nebulus legionnaires dive into the Accelerated World to participate in the Hermes Cord Race. The moment they arrive, they are greeted by loud cheers from all directions. Stunned, Haruyuki looks around, realizing that three huge audience stands were now arranged around the Hermes Cord. The Burst Linkers filling the stands cheered on the arriving racers.
Blood Leopard walks up to the Nega Nebulus group and approaches her longtime rival, Sky Raker. After promising to compete with all their heart, Pard and Fūko return to their respective groups.
Ash Roller is also a participant in the race. After greeting Haruyuki in his usual way, he tells Haruyuki that he had discovered something suspicious. In contrast with shuttles one through nine, which shined with bright colors, shuttle number ten was completely covered in rust. However, before the two could investigate further, the race countdown clock reached three minutes. After parting with their usual abusive language, they returned to their own legions. With this, the Hermes Cord Race began.
Starting as soon as the countdown reached zero, Haruyuki quickly accelerated the shuttle to the maximum speed of 500 km/h. Soon afterwards, Prominence shuttle began attacking the Leonids shuttle adjacent to them with long ranged attacks. The blue team's shuttle was soon eliminated. Prominence then set their sights on the Nega Nebulus group beside them and began a barrage of bullets. However, Kuroyukihime and Takumu defended against the bullets, protecting the shuttle from direct damage. Once again, Fūko offers to exit the shuttle to lighten the load. However, Haruyuki manages to persuade her to instead use her Enhanced Armament “Gale Thruster” to boost them.
After equipping the Enhanced Armament, Fūko navigates to the back of the shuttle and activates her thruster, pushing the shuttle forward to achieve greater velocity. Soon after, a warp zone appears in front of them, and the shuttle speeds through it. While travelling through the warp zone, the mysterious voice once again assaults Haruyuki. This time, the effect is much stronger than it was previously. However, Fūko manages to shake him out of his trance. Disturbed, Kuroyukihime reports that Haruyuki’s body was momentarily colored by what looked like a dark colored Incarnate OverRay. However, they brush off the phenomenon as a strange trick of light.
Soon, they exit the warp zone back into the main stage of the Hermes Cord. At this moment, a large, black plate emerged out of the shadow of their shuttle. Then, the plate split in half to reveal a shuttle hidden inside. The shuttle was the same rusted shuttle that Ash Roller had investigated beforehand. Recognizing the black plate and the driver of the shuttle as Black Vise and Rust Jigsaw of the Acceleration Research Society, Haruyuki begins to question Jigsaw. However, Jigsaw immediately tells Haruyuki to be quiet and begins to form an Incarnate OverRay over his body. Jigsaw uses the Incarnate skill "Rust Order", covering the entire surface of the Hermes Cord in corroding rust. Three of the shuttles were immediately covered. As their bodies were covered in rust, the avatars inside of the shuttles immediately died in spite of the locked HP gauges. The rust even spread to the spectator stands, instantly destroying one of them and killing a hundred of the gallery viewers.
Accelerating the shuttle to its limits, Haruyuki attempts to escape the spreading rust. However, the rust eventually catches up, destroying the back of the shuttle and even spreading to the avatars inside the shuttle. Fūko attempts to counter the negative Incarnation using her own Incarnate skill “Wind Veil”, successfully warding off the spreading rust.
However, Rust Jigsaw’s shuttle is far ahead of them at this point. In an all-or-nothing decision, Haruyuki launches himself at Jigsaw’s shuttle using his aviation ability. He successfully latches onto Jigsaw’s shuttle and attempts to attack him using “Laser Sword”. However, the rust emanating from Jigsaw destroys Haruyuki's attacking arm. Easily incapacitating him, Jigsaw begins to torture Haruyuki, cutting his limbs one by one using an Incarnate saw. After amputating both of his arms, Jigsaw begins moving the saw towards Haruyuki’s neck.
THE SIXTH CHROME DISASTER
At this point, Haruyuki is once again assaulted by the mysterious voice. Succumbing to the hatred emanating from the voice, Haruyuki releases his built-up rage. A large tail bursts out of his back, instantly destroying Jigsaw's saw that was cutting into his neck. Freed, Haruyuki jumps into the air, and calls out the name of the myserious voice's owner: "CHROME DISASTER”.
A system message scrolls through Haruyuki's vision, informing him that he had equipped the Enhanced Armament, “THE DISASTER”. Dark, jagged armor begins to spread across Haruyuki’s body, restoring his lost limbs and turning his hands into large talons. His almost depleted health gauge is instantly completely restored. Finally, a gray visor covers his face, greatly enhancing his vision.
Haruyuki has fully transformed into the Sixth Chrome Disaster.
Shocked, Rust Jigsaw again tries to attack Haruyuki, who is now the Sixth Chrome Disaster. However, before Rust Jigsaw even released his attack, text spread across Haruyuki’s visor, informing him of the exact type of the attack and the predicted path. This was the future prediction ability of the Armor of Catastrophe, which predicted attacks based on the accumulated experience of the past Disasters.
Jigsaw’s rust attack is completely ineffective against Haruyuki’s chrome armor. Seeing this, Jigsaw again tries to attack Haruyuki, launching boomerang saws that curved to attack from behind his back. However, using the future prediction function of the Armor, Haruyuki effortlessly deflects the attacks without even looking.
Then, Haruyuki forms an incarnate Katar sword in his right hand. Diving from the air, he begins to rush Jigsaw. Using a perfected version of his Aerial Combo, he easily dismembers all of Jigsaw’s limbs. Finally, using his hands, which had turned into large talons, Haruyuki crushes Jigsaw’s head.
Looking up to the many gallery members watching the carnage, the Sixth Chrome Disaster prepares to fly towards his new prey. However, Haruyuki’s consciousness begins to resurface. As he fights against the Armor’s desire to devour, the material of the Armor began to dissolve and his original helmet emerged once again. However, Haruyuki could not resist any further. As his will began to crumble, the Armor solidified once again. At this point, the rest of the Nega Nebulus team arrived on the scene. Chiyuri immediately used her Citron Call Mode II ability, rewinding Haruyuki’s avatar status to before he equipped the Armor of Catastrophe.
However, right before the Armor returned to its dormant state, it admonishes Haruyuki, saying that out of all of the previous Disasters, he was one who was able to fuse the strongest with the Armor since its original creator. With these last words, the Armor fell back to sleep. As Haruyuki began to fall back to Earth, the members of Nega Nebulus are there to catch him. Kuroyukihime, Fūko, and Chiyuri reassure him.
The Green and Red teams were also still alive, and Ash Roller and Blood Leopard approached the Nega Nebulus group. The two proposed for the three teams to work together to reach the race’s endpoint. According to their plan, Ash Roller and Blood Leopard would carry Haruyuki and Fūko until their special-move gauges were depleted. Then, Haruyuki would fly Fūko as far as he could go. Finally, Fūko would fly by herself to the end of the race.
The four Burst Linkers proceed with their plan. Ash Roller and Blood Leopard carry Haruyuki and Fūko as far as they could, but their gauges ran out in the end. They exchanged a few heartfelt words, and finally fell down to Earth.
Haruyuki and Fūko travel the rest of the distance on their own. As the atmosphere thinned, Haruyuki could no longer fly with his wings, since they relied on striking the molecules in the air. However, Fūko’s Gale Thruster was not limited by this characteristic as it used jet propulsion instead.
Haruyuki tells Fūko that she had never actually reached for the sky. Instead, she had reached for what lay beyond it. She had longed for a place much higher than clouds, much higher than even the stratosphere; she had always wished to reach the world of stars. As such, her avatar was designed for use in Space.
Struck by this revelation, Fūko slowly looks towards the Earth below them, and begins to cry. Finally, hugging him, she thanks Haruyuki for helping her realize her true purpose. She realizes that what had kept her legs from returning was not her obsession of flight, but her fear of reaching the sky’s limits and ending her dream. However, in their current position, looking to the stars at the border of space, she finally realized that the world was infinite and that the possibilities were endless.
With this, Fūko began to fly towards the top of the Hermes Cord using her space-oriented Enhanced Armament. As Haruyuki’s wings gave out, he began to fall down to Earth. However, before he was expelled from the world, he saw particles of blue light gather at Fūko’s knees, restoring her lost legs. With this, Haruyuki left the Hermes Cord Race.
After all of the Nega Nebulus members returned to the real world, they began to discuss the matter of Haruyuki’s transformation into Chrome Disaster. They come to the conclusion that the hook left on his back by the previous Chrome Disaster’s wire had a parasitic attribute. This parasitic attribute allowed the Armor of Catastrophe to attach to a new host after the previous Disaster’s destruction. Haruyuki realizes that even though Chiyuri had returned the Armor to its dormant form, the parasite was still attached to him. In response, Kuroyukihime says that the matter of the Armor of Catastrophe would be discussed at the next meeting of the Seven Kings of Pure Color.
Afterwards, the meeting was disbanded, and Chiyuri and Takumu were the first to leave. However, before Kuroyukihime left, Fūko stopped her to talk about her restored legs. Shocked, Kuroyukihime embraces Fūko, and the wall that had appeared between the two friends was finally broken down.