Editor: Thor’s Stone
It’s been three days since Kou first came to Skunk Technologies.
Currently, he was having lunch on the company facility’s lawn. He was having sandwiches with some companions.
Besides him and Aki, there were also Jialing and a young Caucasian man who surprisingly was dressed like your stereotypical Japanese anime version of a princess-type loli. The guy’s name was Matty. He was called Matt by his colleagues.
He held a frilly parasol and grew out his black hair down to his waist, creating the atmosphere of a mysterious beauty. But he was a man.
He was also a huge fan of Japanese culture and was transferred recently like Kou and Jialing. He was a C-Rank Development Engineer.
He was in charge of teaching Kou how to write daily reports and cost reviews.
「Learning cost reviews is really hard.」
Kou grumbled in complaint. Cost reviews were basically detailed accounts of cost prices for various items.
「It’s important to take note and keep tabs on cost prices, Kou. That’s especially true for us Development Engineers since our work basically consists of designing and selling off weapons.」
Matt was petite and beautiful. He was so slim and delicate that even other men’s hearts would likely pound when seeing him for the first time. Due to his experiences back in Japan, Kou was aware that the goth loli style suited men with a slender body type.
Since Matt was a fan of Japanese culture, he treated Kou well just like Jialing.
「To think I’d have to convert the prices to asu units too.」
「It’s mostly similar to the cost accounting method used in Japan you know. They use the sen unit in addition to yen. There’s a big difference between writing out the price as 21 yen and 20 yen and 50 sen, so the total cost you’ll come up with will also be different. Using sen makes the report more detailed and exact.」
Kou was once again reminded that Aki was an android and felt that she was really good at stuff involving calculations.
He was used to fawning on her in her dog form, so that resulted in him being more aware of the gap between that and her behavior in her humanoid form.
「Development Engineers are both makers and managers after all. I’m glad I was picked up by the people from this place.」
「It looks like Development Engineers like us are in pretty high demand huh.」
「It’s not just at that level you know. The moment you’re found to be an unaffiliated Development Engineer, things could develop into you being abducted and, eventually, a conflict between Fortress Areas for your custody.」
Matt revealed such shocking information in a casual manner.
「I was also almost kidnapped you know. I was saved by a passing Familiar. Then I was introduced to this place!」
「So they’d actually go that far huh……」
「Have you never been invited by an organization, Kou?」
「Fortunately no. I guess I haven’t had the chance to come into contact with such organizations yet.」
「Hey, why don’t you join us here!? Right, Matt?」
「That would be nice.」
「Haha. Thanks, guys. But I have something I have to do, so I’ll have to refuse.」
Due to them being close in age, the three engineers became fast friends despite spending only a short time together.
「Yeah, I know. That’s why our Boss is teaching you with all he has, right?」
「He’s just making me learn the basics.」
「Boss must be really happy that you’re someone worth teaching. The people here can all be considered weirdos you know, including me, of course. The only ones I’ve met who haven’t frowned or gotten taken aback after seeing me were the Familiar who saved me and you. As expected of a true Japanese person.」
「I haven’t exactly had many encounters with them, but I have met guys who were super into loli cosplay…… That’s why I’m at least aware that slender men generally look good in loli costumes. It’s kinda amazing how much they suit guys like you, honestly.」
「Sweet Loli cosplay is something of a Japanese specialty after all. The moment I was told I could freely and easily make any clothes I liked here in Asia, these types of clothes were the first on my list.」
Kou didn’t expect that it was really a case of sweet loli cosplay. He merely thought Matt really liked old-style European dresses.
「Japanese culture is also popular in Taiwan y’know. I’ve never cosplayed myself, but I do have some interest in it.」
「Kou is a person who wouldn’t even blink after seeing people with dog and cat ears after all.」
Kou received an unexpected blow from Jialing’s seemingly innocuous words. Aki immediately nodded in agreement.
「Uh, do other people really find you guys strange, Aki?」
「Of course, they do. They were suddenly sent to an era of interplanetary war you know. And Familiars and Therianthropes do look different from normal humans. I was really surprised that you treated us no differently from how you treat other humans like you, Kou.」
「Err, I was just thinking this was the future and all. So stuff like that wouldn’t really be all that strange.」
「That’s it. That’s exactly what’s terrifying about you, Kou.」
Matt expressed his unabashed admiration after hearing Kou’s words. He was apparently praising Kou.
Afterward, their lunch chat became even livelier as they started exchanging stories from their time on Earth.
「Alright. That’s all the stuff about reactor components.」
Kou studied the basics of Silhouettes with Kelly today as well. Kelly lectured about the various components making up a reactor this time around.
「About 600 parts, right?」
「That’s right. You’re familiar with parts count, aren’t you?」
「Yes. I’ve heard that cars averaged about 30,000 parts.」
Kou was barely familiar with that fact. He did work in the manufacturing industry after all. However, the regular production workers most likely didn’t really pay that much attention to the exact parts count while at work.
It was the total number of parts making up a vehicle, down to the smallest bit and bearing after all.
「You were part of the processing industry when you were back in Japan, weren’t you? Very well. So what about a Silhouette’s parts count?」
「I have no idea!」
「It’s good that you’re honest! Back on Earth, tanks averaged about 100,000 parts. Fighters consisted of about 300,000. Here in the Nemesis system, those numbers have been cut down by a third. Your typical Assault Silhouette consists of about 200,000 parts. I’ll leave judging whether or not that number is a lot to you.」
「I suppose it’s kinda small?」
「Well, that’s basically right. Assuming the Silhouette comes with the full basic loadout, backpack, and standard leg rollers, that number does seem on the smaller side, right? Fastenerless construction technology is developing steadily after all.」
「Do you need to consider that factor too when selecting parts for a design?」
「The limbs of Silhouettes being standardized is really a godsend. However, at present, the trend is the development of compound drive systems. So the types of standardized parts might increase in number going forward. We might not be able to develop the MCS any further at present, but there’s a high chance of us transferees unlocking more and more advanced technology that can be applied to the Silhouette’s main body.」
Kelly’s mouth then formed a nasty-looking grin.
「You have a heavy responsibility on your shoulders, Kou. I’m really looking forward to what kind of earthshaking developments you’re gonna cause from here on out.」
「Please stop piling on the pressure, Sensei! My poor heart can’t take it.」
「I believe my job is to pave the way for you to increase the amount of stuff in your inventory! An increase in the number of parts means an increase in costs as well! Of course, that still depends on what materials are used in making said parts.」
「Materials huh. Nanomaterials are pretty good, but you really can’t rely on them alone.」
「Things are still better here in the Nemesis system compared to Earth you know? Hey, Aki. Could you explain it to the kid? About just how ridiculous material prices are on Earth!」
Kelly moved his gaze and addressed Aki who was standing behind Kou. Aki smiled and readily responded to his request.
「It’s better to explain this matter using yen. The alloy market was quite volatile back then, and in the 21st century where Kou was previously from, one ton of aviation-use titanium was valued at approximately 100,000 to 300,000 yen. One ton of carbon steel costs 100,000, and nanocarbons like graphene went for 10,000 yen per gram. Nanocarbon prices were particularly high.」
「Wait. Are you sure you didn’t make a mistake regarding graphene’s price?」
「It was like that in Kou’s era because it couldn’t be mass-produced in large quantities and there was no proper casting process. They first aimed for graphene being worth 500,000 yen, then eventually started working their way to making it worth 3000 yen per kilo. They were aiming at making it a true low-cost material, but it was said that it would take them at least ten years to put the manufacturing technology into practical use.」
「Back then, there was a point where machines that made heavy use of titanium in their construction were considered pretty pricey, but even titanium was considered cheaper than graphene. But rest assured. Nanocarbon materials can be manufactured cheaply and easily here on Planet Asia.」
「It kinda feels like I’m not in the far future with all this talk about carbon steel, titanium, and aluminum.」
「Because it’s not like the elements that make up the universe magically changed just because we’re in the future now. Just give up. But believe me, I do get you.」
Kelly laughed after hearing Kou’s grumble.
「The steelmaking methods here are pretty different from what we were familiar with you know. There are nanocarbon composites and special alloys that are composed of various non-ferrous metals with different elemental distribution. The way they achieve elemental distribution is even something we can’t understand currently.」
「We have to pay attention to the combination of armor materials too, right? Is it due to the main materials used in armor being steel-based that the cost issue comes up?」
「As long as it’s a weapon, the cost to weight is always gonna be an issue you need to deal with. That’s because extreme diets will eventually cause problems for humans and Silhouettes alike! But if you wanna build a flying Silhouette, you’ll need to use lightweight materials even if they are really pricey. Just like what we did with the Pheasant.」
Kelly offered the Silhouette he designed as an example.
「That’s still fairly cheap, ain’t it? In the Interplanetary War era, there were even ultra-luxury Silhouette models that could serve both the roles of a tank and fighter plane you know. It’s not that new tanks and fighters weren’t developed as well, but the Super AIs just chose to focus more on humanoid-shaped weapons.」
「There’s no way there were stuff like transforming combiners too, right?」
「Ooh, hear me out and be amazed, kid! Guess what? They do exist!」
「Well, it might be more appropriate to say they “did” exist. There were those that transformed into different modes and some that combined into one full Silhouette. The backpack swapping system we employ right now is actually a remnant of that era. I’ve seen an actual antique Silhouette myself, and its theoretical performance values were off-the-charts crazy. Seriously, you wouldn’t be able to stop yourself from laughing like a maniac if you saw them too.」
「Is the technology to build them sealed up so we can’t manufacture them right now?」
「That’s how it is. We can’t analyze the materials used to make them, and we can’t synthesize the fuel that powers them. There were also a lot of weapons that we couldn’t figure out how to fix. And even of you did manage to repair them, you’d be completely bankrupt afterward. Also, we can’t actually make them perform to their full potential. Right now, they would be easily destroyed by concentrated railgun fire.」
Something came to Kou’s mind. Astraea did say that she was able to manufacture metallic hydrogen fuel. However, due to the influence of the technology seal, the technical know-how regarding how to store it was completely lost. In other words, it could only be used to power a spaceship. It can’t be used to fuel Silhouettes because it would quickly change from fluid to gas.
「I wonder why they actually made such weapons that were difficult to employ back then?」
「In the Interplanetary War era, they might have been able to produce such super weapons at a rather cheap cost. No, they were probably still quite expensive. Maybe they would correspond with our Pheasant in the current era when it comes to relative price. That’s why I’m counting on you, Kou.」
「I firmly believe that you will be able to spread technology that would allow us to finally manufacture high-performance machines like those someday. I’m sure of it.」
「Please don’t say something so rash, Sensei!」
Kou’s expression changed as he vehemently denied Kelly’s words. Kelly just laughed it away like usual.