Editor: Thor’s Stone
「You two went on a date among the stars last night, didn’t you?」
「It wasn’t romantic at all. I was really surprised when this guy suddenly asked me to pilot a heavy attack aircraft you know.」
Kou and the two Metal Iris ladies were currently analyzing yesterday’s combat results inside the combat command center.
「Kou, can you now tell me why you said that machine was a failed work? It was actually very easy to handle, so I’m really curious.」
「It’s not like it has a fatal flaw or anything like that. It’s just that it turned out different from what I intended when I designed it.」
「It’s a heavy attack aircraft with Silhouette carrying capability. I think it’s pretty good, personally.」
Jenny also judged that there were no problems with the aircraft judging from yesterday’s data.
The aircraft also had shored-up defenses, which was normally the weakness of most aircraft. Best of all, it sported two engines. According to Kou, it was an attack aircraft that specializes in survival. As long as it wasn’t carrying a Silhouette, it was capable of cruising even with just one engine functioning.
「You see, Familiars aren’t able to pilot it.」
「Eh? If it’s an aircraft, then wouldn’t you be able to do that by tweaking the MCS settings and limiting it a bit?」
「It’s no good. I thought I could do it at first. I focused on allowing it to perform well in air combat, used deflection nozzles to enable post-stall maneuvers, and made it capable of high angle attacks and high turning rates, but the Fennel OS ended up judging it as unsound.」
「So it judged the attitude controls to be too much for the plane itself huh……」
「That’s right. That’s why the A1 may look like an attack aircraft, but it’s just something with a Silhouette stuffed inside. It simply feels like a Silhouette wearing additional plane-shaped armor, I guess?」
「Isn’t that a little bit too vague?」
Blue gave Kou a cold gaze. It seemed that Kou’s somewhat thoughtless personality manifested itself in such a way.
「The Fennel OS sees it that way, at least.」
「Isn’t it mainly gonna be used for ground attacks? Was there really a need to give it so much mobility?」
「That’s because it’s tailored for ground support specifically on Planet Asia. It’s a heavy attack aircraft that operates at low altitude while cruising at low speeds as it faces enemy anti-air fire from stuff like railguns, light-gas guns, and missiles flying at Mach speed. If it doesn’t at least turn well, it would be impossible to make use of the aircraft.」
「That’s true. But it does feel like a waste to reject the design. It’s highly capable in combat after all.」
「Even though it’s quite large, it can easily be loaded into the Cimon-class. It’s basically in the same size class as a Silhouette Carrier, at 30 meters. Considering the carrying capacity of the Cimon-class, it should be possible to load around 100 fighters and 30 carriers.」
「It looks like there will be no problems with adopting it into our forces.」
「That’s because I was originally planning on getting Familiars and Therianthropes to pilot them. Nyanta and Aki were really depressed when they found out it was no good.」
When they found out that they wouldn’t be able to pilot the new aircraft, Nyanta immediately became teary-eyed.
Aki looked really depressed with her ears and tail drooping down.
Kou did want to make it happen for them, but he didn’t want to let them ride in something half-baked.
「You actually don’t want to make those girls enter the battlefield, right, Kou?」
「Yeah. But I feel the same about you two as well.」
「I really like how considerate you are, Kou. Right, Blue?」
Jenny had her own goals, and Blue was obligated to stand up for humanity in a crisis since she was a Nereid. There was no way the two would agree to stand down and not fight. However, they still found Kou’s concern very pleasant.
Kou got embarrassed by getting told that straight to his face. Jenny sensed his embarrassment and decided to change the topic.
「It looks like the reconnaissance aircraft did great as well.」
「I designed two types of aircraft – a reconnaissance helicopter and a heavy attack helicopter. I finally reached a point where it’s possible for them to survive a direct hit from a railgun.」
「Because of the new type of armor material, right?」
「We’re in the middle of developing new vehicles, Silhouettes, and aircraft. Once they’ve been developed to a certain point, we’ll introduce them to other Development Engineers.」
「I see. You’re only capable of developing prototypes with the production capacity of this base, right?」
The total number of prototypes that were sent out from the sealed area was unknown to the rest of the Metal Iris members except for Jenny.
「Does the A1 have armor on par with that on a tank? It felt like it would be fine even if it suffers a direct hit from a railgun.」
Jenny was filled with curiosity after taking a look at the data.
「I guess it’s on par with a light tank.」
「Come to think of it, what exactly did you do for A1 to turn out like that? It’s not using hydrogen as a propellant, right? It kinda felt like it had infinite fuel. The moment I thought I’ve used up a good amount, the gauge just gets replenished like it’s nothing. Even the armor’s strange. The railgun round fired by that Keres looked like it instantly evaporated and disappeared.」
「The fuel gets replenished? What’s up with that?」
「It definitely uses hydrogen as fuel. I’ll tell you all about it once the development is complete. We’re still in the middle of researching it.」
「You’re being really mysterious again.」
Oh, the fuel definitely is hydrogen alright, Kou inwardly thought. And he wasn’t exactly lying.
「If airpower suddenly turns viable again, I’m sure both our enemies and allies will be sent into a panic.」
「Hurry and develop a fighter too, okay? The huge body of the A1 will just make it an easy target in aerial dogfights.」
Jenny grumbled. Even with high-dimensional projection armor, it was still impossible to completely invalidate railgun attacks.
There were signs that Kou was gonna do something outrageous again.
「I’ve made the armor quite thick. It’s also been made large because it needed to be equipped with the capability to carry a Silhouette. It can also just about reach supersonic speed.」
「It’s about 30 meters, right? Hmm. Why don’t you just develop a Silhouette specifically meant to be stuffed inside it? You did say it’s like a plane-shaped armor worn by a Silhouette. So just make a unit that can wear it perfectly. It would be no use even if you put it on my Snipe, right?」
「You know, that might be a good idea. That would make it impossible to load two units at the same time though. Nn, but I wonder if its performance will improve. If I use that method, that is.」
「Did I say something strange? Just slap my MCS inside it once you’ve made the prototype. I’m looking forward to it, Development Engineer-sama.」
「Please stop it with the “sama”. But a unit specially designed to work with the heavy attack craft huh…… It might be interesting to make it possible for it to fight independently using the additional armor system, then put it up for sale commercially.」
Jenny displayed a mischievous grin.
「Why don’t you go one step further and make a transforming machine?」
「I think that’s impossible at this point. I’ll do some research on it, at least.」
「We get first dibs on a transforming machine, okay?」
「Call us once it’s done!」
「We’re kinda like an experimental weapons testing unit! It’s nice to have something to look forward to.」
The best reaction Kou managed was a dry laugh.
It might be about time to reveal the management and production method of metallic hydrogen, Kou mused.
And next on the agenda was quickly spreading the technology they have acquired.
Now that the Silhouette Base was active, he can no longer make anything that only he alone can develop.