Editor: Thor’s Stone
“Here you go.”
I and Chris finally got back to shore after spending an enjoyable time boating. I took the water bottle Elma handed to me and plopped myself on top of a beach chair. I had to consciously avoid talking about certain topics while I was conversing with Chris earlier, so it kinda tired me out.
Chris, who had her fill after hearing about several stories regarding my mercenary adventures, went over to Mimi with her shark-shaped float in tow. Mimi was using a dolphin-shaped floater by the way. Are they gonna have some girl talk while floating on the water or something……? I guess not. They started to race around using their respective floats. But they sure look like they’re having fun.
“For now, it looks like things are pretty peaceful.”
“You worry too much…… We exterminated every single pursuer, so they wouldn’t get any new information about us so easily. There’s a low chance of being attacked, at least for now. And even if they manage to find out our location in the end, they won’t be able to mount an attack on a resort planet that easily.”
After saying that, Elma called out to a maidroid and ordered a drink. She sure is enjoying her luxurious vacation.
“They’re the kind of enemy who managed to prepare a skilled and relatively powerful force within a day after all. I think it can’t hurt to be too careful.”
“Well, you do have a point. But we can’t really do anything much to prepare right now you know? Miro’s taking care of this planet’s defenses anyway.”
“Is it really okay for us to be this complacent……?”
We just arrived at this place yesterday anyway. I also don’t think Chris’s uncle would be able to send his people after us again right away as well. On the other hand, they’d probably launch an attack without any hesitation if they think they’ll be able to finish us off with certainty.
“If you have any concerns, I’ll hear you out, you know?”
“There’s just something bugging me for a while……”
What I’m really worried about is the possibility of Chris’s uncle throwing all caution to the wind because of his desire to kill Chris. For example, he may book an island on Sierra III as a guest along with his men and then come kill us directly. There’s also the method of attacking Sierra with a great number of warships, silencing Miro’s defense network, and launching an all-out orbital bombardment. Whenever I think about possible worst-case scenarios, I end up coming up with quite a number of them. It’s a bit nerve-wracking.
“Mmm. White clouds, blue sky, bright sunlight, and cold liquor. This is paradise.”
“So you’re already drinking this early huh……”
“Isn’t it fine? We’re on vacation anyway, so let’s have as much of a blast as we can.”
Elma was smirking while sipping a glass filled with an alcoholic tropical drink. She really seems to be making the most out of this. But, well, this truly was a wonderful beach resort. But I just can’t enjoy it as much due to the tense situation we’re currently in.
“You’re surprisingly a worrywart, aren’t you?”
“Shut it. This much cautiousness is just normal for a merc.”
I also ordered a drink from the maidroid. I asked for the light yellow colored carbonated beverage to be poured in a glass with ice.
“But just how tight is the security in this place anyway? Can we really count on it?”
“I already told you this before. If they wanted to break through this planet’s security system, they’d have to get the help of an autonomous AI on par or greater than Miro. But there’s no way an autonomous AI will agree to perpetuate that kind of illegal activity.”
“I guess you’re right. But there’s not just one method to get past the security here, right? Maybe they’ll just forcefully breakthrough or something?”
“Forcefully huh…… First of all, sending in an assassination squad to directly infiltrate this place isn’t the least bit realistic. If guests attempt to leave the island they’re assigned to in order to go to another island, Miro will immediately apprehend them.”
“But there’s plenty of methods to do so like diving in the sea or flying directly through a ship similar to Krishna, right?”
“That’s impossible. Miro’s terminals are also spread throughout this world’s oceans, so they’ll be found at once. A subjugation squad can get deployed instantly via that mass driver, so there will be no escape. Aside from the subjugation squad, there’s also the method of shooting them down via strategic shells fired off by the mass driver, as well as bombardment from the defense platforms deployed in satellite orbit. Any standard ship will be down in an instant. But it may be possible to break through if they use a ship like Krishna though.”
“That’s some crazy defense network…”
The maidroid carrying a glass of the light yellow drink I ordered finally arrived in the middle of our discussion.
“Thank you. Sorry for the trouble.”
“It’s fine. This is also part of my duties, so please do not mind me.”
The maidroid flashed a serene smile. Did she really smile? Apart from a scant few times, the maidroids have kept their faces devoid of expressions for the most part. And now, one actually smiled at me…… But I guess this is good. It’s always better to smile than keep an expressionless face.
“But I think we’ll be helpless if we’re hit with a saturation attack though.”
“Saturation attack. Do you mean something that would overwhelm the firing capabilities of this planet’s defense platform network? That’s just not realistic, mister.”
“It’s not like you can only use a ship. Wouldn’t it be possible to overwhelm the platform network’s interception capabilities by pouring out a lot of shells, space debris, and asteroids toward the equatorial base where Miro’s main terminal is located? There’s also the option of destroying the platforms first before raining down an orbital bombardment too.”
“Now that’s just unreasonable. Miro’s sensor arrays should be able to pick up the movements of space debris and asteroids straight away no matter how much they try to hide it. Depending on the scale of the commotion, there’s also a good chance the local imperial garrison will be alerted and deployed to intercept.”
It looks like it would be really difficult for the methods I proposed to disable the defense network of this planet.
“But the defense network isn’t completely invincible, right?”
“Of course. If they can really amass a force that can overwhelm the defense network, they’ll be able to do an orbital bombardment. Miro can still use the surface defense systems to retaliate, but losing the orbital platforms will be a huge blow.”
“If that’s the case, then wouldn’t they come up with something like hiring a huge pirate force?”
“That’s certainly possible, but if they mess up, they’ll have the full force of the imperial military hot on their tail, so it’s a pretty risky move.”
“So, the chances are low, but there’s still a possibility huh…… If it ever came to that, it might be better to directly launch back into space with Krishna and hold out until the imperial military comes huh.”
“That’s right. That would be a good course of action.”
After seeing Elma nod, I was finally somewhat relieved. I now had a good idea of what the possible worst-case scenarios were, as well as how to deal with them to some extent. My unease has greatly lessened.
“You are talking about some dangerous topics.”
The maidroid, who we saw leave earlier, actually returned without Elma and me noticing. She seems to have heard our conversation partway, and suddenly called out to us.
I didn’t reply to the maidroid’s words immediately and took a sip of the light yellow beverage first. Mm. Nice, strong carbonation, and a crisp and refreshing flavor. This is unmistakably ginger ale.
“Would it be possible to ask more details about the ones who would possibly attempt to bypass this planet’s security systems? It is actually this planet’s administrator who wishes to know about such circumstances.”
“What do you think, Elma?”
“We can’t just reveal it on our own, you know.”
“Yeah. We’ll have to consult Chris first.”
And so, I called out to Mimi and Chris, who were busy racing with their dolphin and shark floaters. The two of them swam to shore and quickly came over.
“Uu. I lost……”
It looks like Chris, who arrived on the shore first, was the victor of their little contest. Mimi looked pretty bummed out. Come to think of it, these two were pretty close in age, weren’t they? Mimi should be the older one, but Chris was quite mature despite her looks, so in the end, the two of them seemed to be friends of the same age.
“Is something the matter?”
“It seems Miro wants to ask about the circumstances regarding a threat of a possible security breach attempt, Chris.”
“Yes. There is a possibility of harm being inflicted upon our guests, we would very much like to hear more details about it to prepare adequate countermeasures.”
Chris, who was still in her school swimsuit, was lost in thought as the maidroid awaited her response. Mimi seems to be in a bit of a panic because of the situation, so I had her try a sip of the ginger ale to calm her down. When she took a sip, her eyes immediately went round in surprise. Hahaha, how cute.
“How much should I divulge?”
Chris turned to Elma and me with a troubled expression.
“I personally don’t have any problems with cooperating with this planet’s authorities, but since it might possibly cause harm to House Daleinwald’s reputation if this matter was to be spread, I’m not in the position to offer you any suggestions.”
“In my case, I believe our imperial AI citizens are trustworthy enough. And since this is basically a succession conflict within a noble house, they would be extra prudent don’t you think? You can even say they specialize in things like this.”
Chris made a forced smile after hearing Elma’s words. So I guess the reason why a majority of Graccan empire’s nobles act a bit better compared to my image of nobles from Earth really does have something to do with the autonomous AIs after all huh.
“I am a bit reluctant to divulge matters regarding our house’s troubles without permission from my grandfather though.”
“But your grandfather didn’t expect his dear granddaughter would actually be caught up in a succession struggle and even have her life targeted, right? I bet he’ll understand. It’s his oversight that partly allowed this situation to escalate after all.”
“I think so too.”
“……I guess you both do have a point.”
Chris made a resigned sigh and began to talk about her circumstances to the maidroid. All the AIs on this planet are managed by Miro after all. I bet Miro’s already listening in using its connection to the maidroid.
“I see. We’ve understood the situation. We will now begin formulating countermeasures, so please excuse me for a few moments.”
After saying so, the maidroid paused and stared vacantly at empty air for less than ten seconds. It probably didn’t even take five seconds, actually.
“We have acquired data regarding the attack on the passenger cruiser three months ago as well as all other related information.”
“That was freakin fast.”
It merely took a few seconds. These super-advanced AI are amazing.
“It wasn’t much. In any case, a decision has been made. It is our duty to ensure the safety of all guests visiting Sierra III. We will uphold this duty to the best of our abilities. Please rest assured and continue to enjoy your stay.”
“Even if you say that, would you designate us as targets to be eliminated if we ended up calling over a threat sufficient enough to endanger Sierra III?”
“No. Such a thing will not happen. No matter what the circumstances are, our guests are the first priority after all. We shall take responsibility for your safety until the end of your stay.”
“Is that so?”
“Yes. That is our duty.”
The maidroid firmly nodded.
“We shall inform you at once if we detect any danger, so please be at ease.”
The maidroid then turned to Chris and lightly bowed to reassure her.
It’d really help us big time if we had Miro’s full support…… Well, it’s not like we can let our guards down even if that’s the case. And it’s not like the AIs can overly meddle into a noble house’s succession problem, given their position in imperial society.
“Okay then. It’s getting a bit late, so let’s all take a shower and get back to the lodge. We still have plenty of time to enjoy our vacation, so it’s not good to overly exhaust ourselves on the first day.”
“I guess you’re right.”
Elma agreed with my suggestion right away. She may have been thinking of resting up as well. She’s been drinking plenty of alcohol since earlier after all.
“Understood. We’ll continue playing tomorrow then.”
“Yeah. We’ll play as much as we can. We also have the option of going to other spots on the island to play instead of staying on the beach all the time. Are you fine with that, Chris?”
Since Chris agreed as well, all of us went to the showers, washed the sand and seawater off our bodies, and walked back to the lodge.
Now then, it would be good if Chris’s uncle didn’t make any rash moves for the duration of our stay here. But will things really go that well, I wonder?