031 – SOS Signal

 


Translator: SFBaka


The Alein star system is a flourishing place sporting two residential planets, three active technological research colonies, and one commercial trade colony.

It doesn’t have an expansive asteroid belt area like the Termaine system, but it mainly obtains wealth through the export of their high tech products and component parts. Thus, it’s a common sight to see a large number of mercantile ships coming and going to and from the system.

And, of course, opportunistic pirate groups aiming for said ships are also fairly common.

Due to this system being a place of strategic and economic importance to the empire, the military’s on-going crackdown against the pirate groups is more strictly enforced compared to other places. But even so, their patrols can’t possibly cover the entirety of this relatively large star system. That meant more jobs for mercenaries like us.

“That’s the Alein system in a nutshell.”

“Bravo〜!”

I clapped encouragingly after Mimi’s concise explanation of the Alein star system’s particulars. She was holding her personal tablet terminal in one hand and looked quite professional. It seems she was a bit embarrassed due to my unreserved praise. Her cute face reddened in a light blush.

“So, which colony are we heading to?”

“Since the research colonies strictly prohibit the entry of anyone apart from the actual researchers, we’ll be heading to the trading colony instead.”

“There’s still an opportunity for us to visit those places if we took delivery requests from the guild branch in the trading colony. But it’s not like we’ll get to see any interesting stuff if we do manage to go there. There’s nothing worth visiting after all. They don’t have a single tourist attraction available.”

“It sounds like quite the dull place. How do they even get any entertainment over there?”

“The only entertainment they need is research work, apparently. The people staying there are all honest-to-goodness research addicts.”

“Ugh…”

Just hearing about it already made me feel all worn out. It sounds like a place filled with workaholics treating their jobs as their hobbies. I wouldn’t want to stay there long even if we do need to go there.

“Well then, let’s set course for the trading colony. Elma.”

“Aye, aye, Sir〜!”

Elma, who was sitting on the sub-pilot seat, pointed Krishna’s bow towards the coordinates leading to Alein system’s commercial trade colony.

“We’ll be arriving in approximately fifteen minutes.”

“Roger. Keep a sharp lookout while on the way. Please pay careful attention to the radar readings, Mimi.”

“Yes!”

Mimi responded enthusiastically and moved her attention to the hyperspace sensor that can be used even when the ship is in the middle of traveling via hyperspeed drive. It seems normal sensors just won’t cut it when a starship is moving near the speed of light… or so I’m told. The only thing that will work is the hyperspace sensor. And, of course, I have absolutely no idea how the thing works. What’s ‘hyperspace’ anyway?

In any case, if we use this thing, we’ll be able to keep a constant lookout over a wide range even while traveling via hyperspeed drive. We can detect the presence of other ships within the sensor’s effective range, as well as former battlefields field with drifting debris. Also, we can pick up SOS signals; even though encountering such a situation is fairly rare.

“Um, Hiro-sama. I managed to pick up an SOS signal.”

“What the heck!? And they call this rare!?”

“I understand how you feel, but we can’t just ignore it.”

I would’ve normally ignored such a side-event if this happened in the game, but I can’t just do that now that it’s happened in reality. A mercenary starship is also obligated to respond to an SOS signal, except under certain special circumstances.

“Yeah, you’re right. Please change our course toward the SOS signal’s coordinates. There’s a good chance of encountering hostiles, so brace yourselves.”

“Yes!”

“Roger!”

Krishna changed course and headed towards the SOS signal’s coordinates. We can’t be absolutely sure unless we see the situation for ourselves, but there aren’t many reasons where sending out an SOS signal is necessary. It’s either a starship encountering some form of mechanical trouble or being assaulted by pirates.

We can just temporarily let the crew on-board and tow their ship to the nearest station or colony in case of a mechanical breakdown. If it’s a pirate assault… then a battle is inevitable.

“A few more moments to contact. Deactivating hyperspeed drive in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… Contact!”

*Boom! The hyperspeed drive deactivated; accompanied by a booming sound akin to an explosion. Krishna got ejected to normal space. We immediately checked the radar and caught five responses. A single medium-sized ship was being chased by four smaller ones.

“It looks like we hit the jackpot. The one being chased looks like a medium-sized passenger cruise ship.”

“The SOS signal is coming from that ship. We’re moving out then. Mimi, scan them and send out a courtesy call!”

“Yes! This is a ship affiliated with the Mercenary Guild, callsign 『Krishna』. We came here in response to the SOS signals being sent out. To the unidentified ships attacking the passenger cruiser, halt your assault immediately!”

Mimi gave out a cease-fire warning while scanning the other ships at the same time. Their response, however, was quite straightforward.

“They locked on to us.”

The unidentified ships immediately activated their weapon systems. Since they’ve already locked on to us, I guess they’re saying further words are unnecessary huh.

“Mark them all as hostiles. Weapon systems online. Raise the generator output to battle level.”

“Aye, aye, Sir. Weapon systems online. Raising output.”

“Let’s do this!”

Our ship’s weapon systems immediately activated, and four manipulator arms sporting large-caliber pulse laser cannons popped out from the hull. At the same time, two cannon barrels popped out from both sides of the cockpit, gleaming menacingly.

“The four ships have all been placed with corresponding bounties.”

“Great. We can shoot them all down without holding back then.”

Two of the ships chasing down the passenger cruiser broke away from their formation and headed for us. I responded in kind and moved Krishna towards them as well.

『This guy’s fas– 』

I’m not obligated to let them get the first shot anyway. I locked on to one of them immediately and fired all four large-caliber pulse laser cannons. The enemy ship’s energy shields were saturated easily and brought down.

『What the-!? The shields!?』

“That’s one down.”

I fired the large-caliber canister-shot cannons at the now-defenseless ship when we passed each other by, and its hull was immediately filled with countless holes.

These two cannons – alternatively called shotgun cannons – fired live rounds that scattered innumerable smaller submunitions, and packed quite a punch. It was a fairly destructive weapon. Its range was limited, but its destructive ability was quite high. One shot was all it took to bring down a shield-less enemy ship and reduce it to swiss cheese.

“These shard cannons of yours are brutal as usual.”

“Calling them shard cannons is so old-fashioned.”

“Old-fashioned, he says…”

While we exchange pointless banter inside the cockpit, the flight assist system made the ship turn around, positioning us right behind the exposed rear end of the other enemy ship.

“Fire〜! Fire〜!”

I fired another volley of pulse lasers and brought down the enemy ship’s shield, destroying its main thrusters afterward.

『No! Stooo–』

“No way.”

I heard someone begging for his life through the comms and ignored it completely. These damn pirates attack unsuspecting civilian ships, kill all the crew and rob everything valuable they’re able to find inside. They also tend to capture civilian passengers for slave trade. They’re not worth sparing. Not one bit.

After losing their shield and main thrusters, the enemy ship got pelted by a merciless volley of pulse laser fire. After getting hit by all four large-caliber pulse laser cannons, the enemy ship promptly exploded and was shot down.

“That’s two. Next!”

“There are only two more enemy ships remaining… but it looks like they already turned tail and fled.”

Maybe they got terrified after we easily dispatched two of their comrades, so the two remaining ships chasing down the passenger cruiser hastily pulled away and escaped from the area.

“The hell! Don’t run, you bastards!”

『Don’t screw around! We’re not fighting a monster like you!』

One of the surviving enemy ships retorted back via comms. Guess he’s one of the smarter pirates out there. Oops, now’s not the time for being impressed. We’re still a bit far from the passenger ship. Can I make it?

“The pirates have activated their hyperspeed drives!”

“Make iiiiiiit!”

They’re nearly in range of our laser cannons. Just a bit more……!

『Later, bastards!』

*Boom! The pirate ships turned into streaks of light after the sound of explosions and successfully escaped from the area. It’s not impossible to give chase… but aiding the attacked passenger ship was more of a priority.

“Dammit. They sure can run away.”

“It was an impressive escape for mere pirates. We sometimes encounter guys like those. Pirates who use their brains.”

“Those types are really troublesome……”

We could have shot them down if we managed to get them within range of our weapons, but it looks like this time’s a bust… It’ll be a different story if we had weapons sporting even greater range than the pulse laser cannons though. Something like a large-caliber electromagnetic rail cannon perhaps.

“Oh well. Please connect us to the passenger cruiser. If their navigation systems are fine, we’ll proceed to recover the loot from the destroyed pirate ships.”

“We’re not obligated to escort them back after all.”

It sounds a bit cold, but that’s how it is. It’s not like we accepted a request to guard the passenger ship, so we’re not obligated to look after them. But it still depends on their affiliation and their following demands.

In this world, mercenary ships that manage to pick up a distress signal are obligated to lend aid if possible. But the extent of that aid can be somewhat negotiated. It would be through the distressed party offering additional remuneration and rewards.

The compensation amount would largely depend on the number of passengers and valuables present on a ship, but a medium-sized passenger cruise ship was certainly a promising prospect. It can be said that we were unfortunate to have been involved in such an incident just after arriving at this star system. But it can also be considered a lucky break – monetarily speaking, that is. That’s how we mercenaries earn a living.

『This is the Koueimaru. We’re a civilian passenger ship affiliated with Inagawa Technology. We’re grateful for your help.』

We picked up a reply from the comm line Mimi connected. The Koueimaru of Inagawa Technology? A Japanese company? It’s written in katakana, but the name ‘Koueimaru’ can also be written in kanji.

“We’re glad you’re OK, Koueimaru. I’m Captain Hiro; a mercenary affiliated with the Mercenary Guild. What’s the status of your ship?”

『The life-support systems are alright, but our propulsion systems got done in. Would it be possible for you to guard us until the system military patrol arrives?』

So they want us to guard them until the imperial patrol arrives huh. If the ship were a bit smaller, Krishna could have towed it to the colony. But it seems impossible with that size. It looks like we don’t have any choice but to wait for a military ship to tow them instead.

“Can we take that as an official request? How about the compensation?”

『Yes. Inagawa Technology will pay you the appropriate compensation. I’m truly sorry for being unable to tell you a definite amount, but rest assured that I will immediately forward it to the head office once the request is completed. I do not have direct authority to decide the compensation amount you see.』

Well, I guess he really isn’t given authority to decide even if he’s the ship’s captain. I turned towards Elma who silently nodded in assent. It looks like she doesn’t have any problems with those arrangements.

“I understand. We accept the request and will begin guarding your ship. The request will be considered completed once the military patrol arrives. The rewards for both the earlier rescue action and subsequent guarding of your ship will be paid by Inagawa Technology. Do you agree to these terms?”

『That would be fine.』

“Well then, we’ve reached an agreement. Mimi, please keep a record of the earlier conversation.”

“Yes!”

Mimi spiritedly responded. Alrighty then. Might as well salvage the loot from the pirate ship wreckages while we wait for the imperial military patrol to arrive. But, since we shot them down in the middle of attacking a ship, I’m not expecting much loot anyway.


 


12 Comments

  1. Thanks for the chapter

  2. “The only entertainment they need is research work, apparently. The people staying there are all honest-to-goodness research addicts.”

    He should realize that means if they found a let say a high end spaceship they would flock it like tech priests to toasters.

  3. “They’re not worth sparing. Not one bit”

    This, this is what I’m looking for.
    I already tired for seeing a bunch of naive and dumb isekai MC who doesn’t have even a little’s guts to slice an ex-human or the person who didn’t look like a human at all.

    • Your right. We don’t need pilots who think saving 1 pirate, who sells illegal and damaging goods and people for money, is worth saving.

      Let alone killing those for fun.

      A merc who kills those who have a bounty on their head, has a good mark in my book.

      • I am the same way with Antifa, they go around burning buildings, and stealing. I believe their should be a bounty on their heads, lets let people hunt them scum down and put a few caps in their heads. That will stop stupid kids from thinking about playing Antifa.

  4. I get this feeling, the responding Imperial patrol is his stal*ahem* Imperial recruiter.

  5. Why am I having Dead Space Vibe same with Warhammer Vibes from the so called Research Colony?

  6. Thanks for the treat.

  7. Thanks for the chapter!!

  8. How stupid is this guy. So basically he has no clue how physic works in space. He would have no issues towing a ship 10 times his size without going all out. The creator needs to do some basic research on a topic before spouting so much nonsense.

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