Editor: Thor’s Stone
It seems that the military makes it a point to have regular ship maintenance to ensure peak performance during operations. The idea is that the ships were a product of the citizen’s blood, sweat, and taxes, and were a grace bestowed upon them by the emperor, so they can’t treat them poorly.
And so, even if they managed to dominate their enemies during their maiden operation, the recently sortied ships of the independent anti-pirate mobile fleet were now temporarily moored in the docks for some maintenance and repair work. The soldiers took advantage of this downtime to go to shore (i.e. the colony) for some R&R. Not that it has anything to do with me anyway. I wanted to think up more strategies we could use for today, or at least review the results of the previous operation.
But it seems someone had other plans.
“Shall we go then?”
When I went over to the bridge of the flagship Restalias, I found Major Serena all decked out in casual clothes for some reason and beaming with a beautiful smile akin to countless flowers in bloom. There weren’t any other crewmembers present.
Major Serena was wearing a beige knit sweater which sharply emphasized her shapely body line paired with a black skirt. On her waist hung her personal sword that had a bit of a cyberpunk flavor to it. How should I describe it……? Fantasy casual style?
“Where are we……? Rather, what the heck are you planning this time?”
I asked Major Serena in a tone filled with suspicion. Even someone like me would think twice and not go all「OK! A date with a hot babe! Hyahooi!」like an idiot. Judging from her previous actions, I’m sure as heck Major Serena was planning something again.
“How rude. To think you would imply I’m planning anything unsavory……”
Major Serena dodged the issue with an *ohoho laugh. After seeing that, I operated my personal data terminal.
“What is it?”
“It’s nothing. So, where do you plan to go?”
I just shrugged her question off with a tilt of my head and asked a question myself. I only fiddled around with the terminal for a few seconds, so Major Serena didn’t care too much about it in the end. In any case, let’s just hear her out first.
“I’m off-duty today as well.”
Looking at her outfit, you can easily come to that conclusion. But it would be kinda interesting to see her doing military work while wearing these types of clothes, I think. But it wouldn’t have any ounce of formality, so I guess that’s impossible huh.
“So I was thinking of having a meal in the city for a change.”
“That sounds great.”
“But doesn’t eating out alone seem somewhat sad?”
Hahaha, sad she says.
“You can just invite your friends, right?”
“Unfortunately, I don’t have any friends in this star system.”
Major Serena put one hand over her cheek as she displayed a troubled and somewhat depressed expression. How artificial, lady.
“Is that so. Well then, how about inviting some of your subordinates?”
“I don’t think they would be able to feel at ease while off-duty if they’d still see their superior officer’s face during this time.”
“While it’s just until the contract period expires, aren’t I considered one of your subordinates as well?”
“But that relationship will end once the contract expires, right? So you would be able to relax around me better compared to my full-time subordinates. And you don’t seem to be all that timid around nobles, so……”
Major Serena shortened the distance between us while smiling. I, on the other hand, was desperately widening the distance bit by bit to stall for time.
“From the looks of it, I don’t have any work lined up today as well. So I guess it’s fine if I take a day off myself today, right?”
“No, no. I’m free today but you’re not. I was planning on discussing anti-pirate tactics and strategies with you over a meal today you know. Of course, it’s all part of work.”
“Part of work huh…… Isn’t this abuse of authority?”
“Fufu, something like this doesn’t count as an abuse of authority you know, so worry not. You were hired by the imperial military as an anti-pirate expert, so you can’t slack off on your duties okay.”
Major Serena’s smile was akin to that of an apex predator that completely cornered its prey. The pressure coming off from it was no joke. I can completely see that this was a ploy for me to be completely under her thumb.
As I mulled over my options, my data terminal’s ringtone rang out. I quickly took it out of my pocket and asked Major Serena with a glance if I could go outside to take the call. She reluctantly agreed, so I took the opportunity to get out of the bridge for the meantime to take the call.
『So, what’s the situation?』
I sent a message to Elma asking for her to call me a moment ago when I operated my terminal. I can’t handle someone like Major Serena on my own after all.
“It seems it’s her day off. She’s asking me out for lunch.”
『It’s a bit difficult for you to refuse, right? Just accept it under the condition of us coming along with you.』
I put down my terminal. Major Serena’s gaze didn’t leave me all this time.
“Would it be fine if the rest of my crew came along?”
“……To think you’d suggest other women barging in on us during a date, of all things?”
“It’s work-related, right? So it’s not anything that romantic. And Elma’s more of a veteran in the mercenary business than me in any case. She would be the perfect person regarding relevant mercenary work experience I think.”
As long as she insists it was work-related, I don’t think she would be able to refuse something like this.
“Kuuh…… Fine then.”
As expected, Major Serena agreed, albeit grudgingly.
“Good morning, Lady Serena. You look quite different in your casual clothes. It looks great on you.”
“Thank you, you also look quite pretty Elma-san. Mimi-san looks really cute as well.”
“U-Um, t-thank you…… You also look really pretty, Lady Serena.”
Elma and Major Serena exchanged pleasantries with each other as Mimi shrunk back in shame from being complimented on her outfit.
Elma was wearing a pretty, green-based outfit full of native charm. It was a really elf-like outfit. Now, this is what I call ‘The Elf’. There wasn’t even a hint of cyberpunk elements. Now that she’s put on this kind of outfit, it’s the first time I felt that her usual nickname of disappointing elf wouldn’t fit her.
Why don’t you wear these types of clothes more often? Whether inside the ship or outside of it, she’s always put on mercenary-like clothes. And on off days, she just wears stuff like normal shirts and pants. I’d welcome it if she were to wear these kinds of outfits on a more regular basis.
And Mimi was wearing one of the dresses we bought. It was the one which looked somewhat plain in colors but emanated a classic feel. When worn by the cute Mimi, she becomes the very image of an elegant young lady from a wealthy family. And her clothes also emphasized her bountiful chest weapons more than usual.
Me? I’m wearing my usual outfit of a plain-looking shirt, baggy pants, and rough-looking jacket. I’m a guy so I don’t really care so much about fashion and stuff like that. I’m of the opinion that it would be fine if I at least didn’t look weird. Yep.
“Normally, it would be my job to guide you ladies, but unfortunately, I’m still unfamiliar with this colony, so…… Oh, excuse me. I ended up speaking informally since we’re outside the ship and all. Is it okay?”
“Yes, I don’t mind.”
“Thank you. I’m still not used to speaking formally and it makes me feel all stiff. So do you have a place in mind already, Lady Serena?”
“Yes. There’s a restaurant specializing in organic dishes here that has garnered good reviews. I’ve already made a reservation, so let us proceed down elevator number 4 to the city proper.”
“Aye, aye ma’am.”
Organic dishes huh? In other words, it’s not food made from food cartridges but from real meat and vegetables? I’m a bit curious now.
Mimi also couldn’t hide her excitement and was smiling brightly as she walked. Mimi has made it her goal to eat all sorts of gourmet dishes in the galaxy after all. I bet she’s happy to get the opportunity to taste new dishes.
We chatted around while walking and finally arrived at elevator number 4.
“We haven’t visited this area before, have we?”
“That’s because we shopped around the elevator number 2 area before instead.”
“The area around elevator number 2 is considered the downtown area of this colony and is fairly popular. This area, on the other hand, houses a lot of government offices and large corporations as tenants, so there are lots of places like specialty shops for nobles and the rich, such as high-end restaurants and the empire’s leading brand stores.”
“There truly are a lot of well-dressed people walking around.”
“But there are also a lot of guards patrolling.”
Aside from Elma and Mimi, who were dressed in neat and beautiful clothes, and Major Serena who had a sword slung on her hips, if a merc like me walked alone in a place like this, chances are they would be held up and thoroughly checked out by the musclebound guards on patrol.
I guess they see someone like me as a sort of private bodyguard when they see me walking around with three properly dressed young ladies, so they didn’t really pay attention to me as a result. Well, there was little chance to be stopped by the patrols anyway since Major Serena has already arranged for a taxi for us.
“Our destination is the third floor of this building.”
“It looks just like a normal establishment though.”
“Living space is precious here after all. Conversely, the interior of the building is quite fancy.”
“I kinda feel nervous for some reason.”
“Fufu…… There’s no need to feel so nervous. It’s just a restaurant after all. I have booked a private room for us, so there’s no need to be particular about manners.”
“Private room, huh……”
If I didn’t manage to bring Mimi and Elma along, I would have been all alone with Major Serena in a private room. Just what sort of ploy was she planning to rope me in with, I wonder?
“Now then, we’d better go ahead and enter.”
Invited by a smiling Major Serena, the three of us stepped inside the building.