It’s been a few days since the former Lieutenant and now Major Serena’s unexpected visit. We basically spent these past few days inside the Krishna, having some much-needed training.
Mimi continued to hone her Operator skills while Elma acted as support. As for me…
“Mmhm, nobles really are scary.”
At Elma’s recommendation… or rather, coercion, I was charged with watching documentary holo-vids regarding the various troubles and incidents involving the imperial nobility all throughout the Graccan empire’s history.
According to Elma–
『The way you treat nobles is absolutely dreadful. In the worst case, you’ll get yourself and the rest of your crew branded for disrespecting noble authority and prestige, so do some studying about the subject, you dolt.』
At first, I thought it was all just too bothersome, but in the end, I began understanding just how scary nobles really are.
The really scary thing was that nobles in the Graccan empire were allowed to punish and kill non-nobles as long as there was a justifiable enough reason to do so. This was a point worth noting.
The so-called ‘justifiable reason’ can be quite vague at times. It can go from things like doing something that would harm the Graccan empire to nobles being subjected to insults. Anyway, it was quite ambiguous. To put things bluntly, making arbitrary use of such a rule is very possible, and it’s basically up to the nobles themselves to judge what actions to take and when to take them.
Nobles would restrain themselves somewhat if they are within another noble’s territory, but generally, nobles would side with their fellow nobles in most circumstances. That’s of course unless they were opposed to each other due to conflict of interest among other reasons.
So, if you take a rude attitude against a noble, chances are it’ll go something like this: How rude! You’ve sullied my dignity! Off with your head! Guwaaah! Basically something to that effect.
Nonetheless, if a noble goes too overboard, there’s a chance he or she would get eyed by the imperial government and could possibly be charged with『treason against the empire』and get imprisoned for it, or worse.
The normal imperial subjects are also treated as valuable assets by the emperor, and a decline in the population would result in a drop in national power. And allowing despotic nobles to run loose is an affront to the empire’s dignity, or so it seems.
Yes. Imperial nobles place major importance on dignity and honor above all else. It is said that imperial nobles who were overly domineering against the common people would have their standings within the rest of noble society fall and would be ostracized by the rest of their peers.
It’s a bit daunting for me who was born and raised in modern Japan, but the current Graccan empire has kept such a delicate balance going for years and managed to establish a relatively stable rule. But if corruption within the ranks were to spread, this sort of balance may collapse on its head. However, since they’ve managed to stand strong until now, there may be some sort of system in place that prevents that sort of corruption from spreading.
“Nobles are bad news.”
I blurted this out to Elma when she came to check up on how I was doing and got an exasperated sigh in return. Did you really have to be that exasperated?
“Yes, that’s right. Nobles are dangerous. That’s why you need to watch your words when you’re in their presence.”
“I’ll be sure to keep that in mind in the future. But it’s too late regarding Major Serena, right?”
“That may be so, but you can never be too careful. Most imperial nobles carry swords strapped to their waists, so pay attention, alright.”
For imperial nobles, their swords were a symbol of their honor and prestige, it seems. Guess you can think of them as similar to a samurai’s katana.
“Most of the nobles in the Graccan empire are fundamentally even-tempered people so you shouldn’t have to worry so much most of the time. But a select few are foolish to a ridiculous degree. It’s best to avoid getting involved with those types. Well, it’s not like people like them would purposefully get in touch with humble mercs like us except for certain special circumstances anyway.”
“Is that so?”
“Unlike most civilians, mercs like us generally carry laser guns after all. And a lot of us are good in combat too. We also own armed starships as well, right? Even they would think twice about recklessly provoking folks like us and suffering a frenzied retaliation in return. In fact, in the case of a noble attacking you with their sword, you can just suppress them with your laser gun, right? When it comes to it, you can also use your ship to give them trouble. If we’re somewhat afraid of nobles, they’re also wary of us as well.”
“I see. Well, even the most harmless-looking herbivore would bear its fangs towards a carnivore if pushed into a corner.”
“The example’s a bit off, but that’s basically it. But just like I said earlier, it’s better for you to watch yourself when dealing with imperial nobles.”
“I’ll really have to keep that in mind. I don’t want to be cut down for stupid reasons after all.”
I have no idea what kind of sword imperials nobles were carrying, but I imagine you would get really hurt if you end up in the business end of said swords.
“In any case, it’s just as I thought. It would have been better if I noticed it earlier.”
Elma shook her head as she grimaced as if she swallowed a kind of bitter bug. What’s up? Elma opened her mouth again in response to my questioning expression.
“Whether you really do have problems with your memory or came from another dimension instead, I should have noted your complete lack of common sense earlier. I should have made you learn about general customs and common sense over here when we had the chance.”
“I’m sure you mean well, but it kinda feels like you’re making fun of me for some reason……”
Yeah, I have absolutely no idea regarding this dimension’s common sense! There was no such setting in Stella Online after all! I’m only aware of my dimension’s common sense, okay.
“From my point of view, it’s this dimension’s standard of common sense that’s weird. I mean what the heck’s up with women automatically getting in a relationship with the owner of a ship once they’ve boarded. It sounds like some sort of crazy eroge scenario.”
“At present, Hyperdrive tech has advanced much, so traveling from star system to star system is a breeze. But a long time ago, once the ship enters hyperspace, it would take one or two months before you can get to your target destination. Do you think nothing will happen between a man and a woman spending time all by themselves inside a ship for one to two months?”
I think some sort of special circumstances are needed in order for the folks stuck in that situation not to lay their hands on each other. Like impotence, maybe.
“That’s how it is. That’s why it became the norm for women who board a man’s private ship to prepare themselves for that sort of development nowadays. That kind of custom has an appropriate history behind it.”
“I see…… I’ll do my best to learn then.”
“You better. I’m sure you’ll find it useful.”
Elma smiled at me gently. Once you come to my age, it’s kinda hard to re-learn your common sense from scratch, but let’s do our best…… But can’t you do something about the teaching materials, Elma-san. They’re all stuff aimed at kids and teens y’know.
“I’m Captain Hiro. I’ve been assigned as this fleet’s tactical advisor as of today. Looking forward to working with you all.”
It’s been a week after my in-depth study session. There were no problems with me physically, and the study sessions and training proceeded without a hitch.
That said, I only studied for a period of two days and spent the rest of my time reviewing the data of the independent anti-pirate mobile fleet sent to me by Major Serena in detail. I then ran various simulations using said data. I tried piloting the ships on the Mercenary Guild’s simulators and tried fighting with them as well using Krishna’s data.
“I’m told that Major Serena intends to build up this fleet in order to turn each and every space pirate, who are nothing but scum of the galaxy, into space debris. And I’m an expert in that particular field. That’s why I was invited as your adviser at this time.”
I declared as such as I ran my gaze around the military crew gathered within the spacious briefing room we were currently in. Video feeds of the briefing rooms of the other ships were also displayed on various monitors. It seems my speech was being broadcasted live to the entire fleet.
“I shall teach you methods to effectively hunt them down, deceive them, and corner them. I want you to absorb those methods fully and put them to good use in actual fleet operations. I’m sure you’ll face some trouble getting used to the fighting methods of a mercenary such as myself, but I’m also quite certain my experiences will serve as good reference material. It would be fine if we respect each other as comrades in arms going after the same enemies henceforth. Looking forward to working with you, ladies and gentlemen.”
After my preliminary greeting speech, the crew of all the fleet’s ships broke into a round of warm applause. Mm. Thank you for appreciating such a common-sounding speech, guys. Well then, let’s do our best, shall we?