Editor: Thor’s Stone
After discussing freeing Asia and acquiring metallic hydrogen the previous day, this time around, Kou decided to check out the entire weapons factory complex.
It seems the weapons factory complex also operates under Astraea’s supervision.
The actual manufacturing of weapons was done in a production facility outside of the ship. It was a huge city-like underground weapons factory complex consisting of multiple layers.
Voy was in charge of showing Kou around said facility. Kou found it very surreal to be riding in a car being driven by a large bear.
The entire complex was far too huge that it was impossible to see everything in just a single day.
The first area they visited was the industrial block.
It was divided into different industrial sections. These were namely the fuselage section, armament section, optics section, ordnance section, maintenance section, and testing section.
The fuselage section was the largest of all of them. It was where the main bodies of Silhouettes, aircraft, and vehicles were manufactured. It had facilities that could process and manufacture parts such as plywood boards, small bearings, and so on.
The armament section was where things where cannon, gun barrels, and many other equipment were manufactured.
The optical section handled the production of all the different sensor systems, and the ordnance section handled the production of live ammunition and energy packs that powered optical weaponry. The maintenance zone was a place to repair and maintain completed units.
The testing section was where general testing of completed units and weapon systems was carried out such as targeting and strength tests.
Nyanta was in charge of the ordnance section, the armament section was Aki’s turf, and Voy oversaw the maintenance section.
This basically meant that weapons can be manufactured at any time.
「Hm. It doesn’t really feel all that futuristic. Apart from the unmanned automated facilities and equipment that is.」
「You mean this all feels familiar to you?」
「Sorta. It all reminds me of one big industrial park.」
「That’s cuz it’s better for all the facilities to be near each other to allow for quick and easy movement and transfer of parts.」
The crane-type industrial machines and transport-type unmanned machines all looked like they were about to start moving at a moment’s notice.
Voy told Kou that they would start working immediately with one order from him. He warmly watched over Kou as he made rounds greeting each machine as usual.
The following day, they visited the material storage area and various refining plant facilities.
Surprisingly, some materials still remained. Only the finished products and parts were brought out of the storage area, and it seems stuff like steel materials and fuel remained within.
It wasn’t possible to build something as massive as a mobile factory platform like Astraea with them, but it was entirely possible to build things at the scale of a hangar carrier.
The storage area not only contained steel materials, but also raw materials used for manufacturing textiles and nanomaterials, as well as various alternative substances to use in place of crude oil. There were also aquatic materials, limestone materials, cellulose nanofibers, and so on.
According to Voy, crude oil was still available, but the other substances were comparatively cheaper, so it’s basically not used at all.
Fuel refinement was carried out in the area, mainly focused on hydrogen fuel. Since electricity was generated by the use of Whis, it was possible to produce hydrogen by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen through electrolysis without relying on methane.
The huge and somewhat foreign-looking processing plant looked quite solid and sturdy to Kou.
They then moved to the residential block. The overall landscape was suitable to be described as a geofront, but at present, it was entirely lifeless and gave off the feeling of being abandoned. A building that didn’t show any signs of deterioration due to a constant supply of Whis still had an air of melancholy to it despite its practically pristine condition.
It was here that the rest of the Familiars and Therianthropes slept.
They moved on to the weapon storage area. It was completely empty. It was here that the mass-produced weapons would be kept and maintained. The section right next to it was apparently a weapon testing area to test fire weapons.
Afterward, they moved on to the bottommost area. A huge underground lake was present within it.
「The second and third ships of the Astraea series lie dormant beneath this lake. Like the lake Astraea is located at, this underground lake is also directly connected to the open ocean.」
「It’s because they are space carriers capable of interstellar flight that might possibly fan the flames of war to a very large degree. The management of this facility is handled by Astraea as well, and the ships were placed into a dormant state and made to sleep beneath this lake.」
「Can they still move?」
「Yeah. If you make them, that is. I think you’re authorized to reactivate them, Kou.」
「Well, there’s no need to reactivate them right now anyway. And besides, we only have a few personnel currently available. One huge ship is already a handful for us. It would be too much if we added another two.」
「Good. I believe that’s the right call as well.」
The last area they paid a visit to was the robot maintenance area. The facility manages and maintains the small maintenance bots, repair bots, and general work bots.
Currently, the robots were all in a dormant state. You can say that they were also awaiting Kou’s command to reactivate.
It seems the high-performance large robots like Arges have already been reactivated ahead of time. Arges seems to be one of the oldest models of robots, and he was tasked with Astraea’s maintenance.
Voy let out an ill-natured chuckle.
「Here on Nemesis, the oldest models of work machines actually possess the best performance. After all, they receive the same software updates as the later models and were directly designed and made by a Super AI beyond human comprehension. The difference in the caliber of the creators was just that impossibly huge. And yet they were actually abandoned here. Laughable, right?」
「Were the humans back then not told of that fact?」
「Heh. They likely never even thought to ask. Outwardly, they looked no different from the later models. It’s hard to tell which one’s better judging on looks alone, and Arges ain’t exactly the type to boast about his own performance either.」
「Ah, I see. But I guess we benefited from their oversight huh.」
「Yeah, I suppose. Aki said she might get regarded as unnecessary goods last time, right? Y’see, all of us can’t help but think along those lines because all of us here were basically abandoned.」
Voy muttered in a low tone as he gazed at the dormant robots lined up within the facility and let out a sigh.
「What’s the reason you guys were abandoned though?」
Kou’s expression became a little stern.
「Nyanta and Aki were created during the heyday of directed-energy weapons such as lasers and particle cannons. But they were made to specialize in combustion firing systems instead. Even railguns were being used sparingly because of the ammo cost. In that environment, of course, they’d have no work to do.」
「Why were they conceived in such a time brimming with super-advanced weapon systems?」
「The war had unexpectedly intensified. A lot of different situations and outcomes became very real possibilities. They were created as a sort of countermeasure just in case optical weapons got restricted. Though the humans back then certainly didn’t expect they’d get turned into quantum data without any exceptions in the end.」
「What about you, Voy? You’re in charge of maintenance work, right? Why were you abandoned as well?」
「Me? Basically, I was a pain-in-the-neck smartass with a foul mouth, so I got unceremoniously thrown into the maintenance department as a result.」
The large bear Familiar laughed heartily, seemingly not caring much about what happened to him.
「I think I just lost a majority of my respect for the humans back in the Interplanetary War era.」
「But I personally like Kou much better than the humans of that era y’know?」
「Hmm. Maybe Aki’s fond of me because of the harsh stuff she went through back then…… It kinda seems like I’ve taken advantage of her feelings in a way.」
「Nah, that’s not it at all. Y’see, Aki back then was really……」
『Mmm! Ehem! Ehem! Kou. Voy. I believe it’s about time for you two to return.』
Aki called suddenly and interrupted the two’s conversation. It seems she was actually listening in on the conversation the whole time.
『And Kou, our previous relationship with humans from before we entered cryo-sleep don’t matter anymore. Please believe in the current me.』
「Okay. I got it, Aki. We’re coming back then.」
Kou couldn’t help but smile after hearing Aki’s cheerful reply.
「That’s how it is. Please trust in the current Aki and Nyanta, Kou.」
「Yeah. I’ll do that. I trust you too, Voy.」
「Leave it to me. I’ll make sure I live up to that trust.」
Voy laughed heartily once more. He really seemed quite reliable in Kou’s eyes.
「That goes for all the ones who can’t communicate and those that aren’t humanoid. Please trust in them as well.」
「I see. I’ll be counting on you, everyone.」
Kou didn’t know if his words were properly conveyed to them, but he still addressed all the dormant machines present.
He didn’t know if they heard his words, but he felt there was still meaning to his actions.