Editor: Thor’s Stone
“This is our latest iteration of Skizbrazunil. It has two hangars that can house two small-sized combat ships. They are fully equipped for repairing or replacing damaged hulls, swapping parts, and replenishing ammo. All of these functions are fully automated, so the ship is serviceable even with a small number of crew members. This is one of Skizbrazunil’s main selling points.”
Sara-san explained away as she took out something resembling a laser pointer and used it to indicate the lower-rear part of the ship where the hangar is located.
“The two fully automated hangar bays are part of the Skizbrazunil’s basic features, so you also have the option of removing one if you think it’s unnecessary and replace it with another facility you think you might need more. You can also convert one to a specialized hangar for a surface exploration vehicle if you wish.”
“A surface exploration vehicle huh……”
It may seem unrelated to the mercenary business at first glance, but that might not be necessarily the case. Though, admittedly, it’s a better fit for researchers instead of mercenaries. But there are also situations where mercenaries make good use of it. For example, it’s possible to accept escort jobs from explorers or researchers and accompany them on things like frontier exploration and researching ancient ruins on underdeveloped planets. It was a bit of a hassle so I really didn’t accept such jobs while playing SOL, but I can’t say the same now because of my current situation. If the pay’s good, then I’ll take whatever job comes my way as long as it ain’t shady.
“In any case, I’ll consider it. Please continue the explanation.”
Being able to house two ships will open up the option of having Elma as my wingman once she buys her own ship in the future. Or maybe we’ll get lucky and discover another ship like Krishna one of these days. Who can say? Considering such things, maybe having two hangars isn’t such a bad idea after all.
“Yes. The utility blocks which allow you to mix and match different optional facilities and equipment number more compared to other carrier ships of its class. If you dedicate all of them for cargo, the ship will have a maximum loading capacity comparable to medium-sized transport ships. If not, it’s possible to install other useful facilities. For example, you can install an ore refinery for processing raw rare metal ores, as well as ammunition, armor, and spare parts production lines for a certain degree of self-sufficiency.”
“Oh, so it can turn into a ship specialized for deep space exploration huh?”
Basically, those kinds of facilities aren’t much use for mercs who tend to operate near colonies and space stations. An ore refinery may be useful if one wants to enter the mining industry though. If you manage to find a huge deposit of rare metals and mine it, you’ll be raking in lots of cash after all.
“Well, depending on the situation, we may be able to put a refinery to good use.”
“Well, it’ll come in handy during downtimes when we’re not actively on the hunt.”
It looks like Mimi still doesn’t get it, but Elma seems to already know what I was talking about. In other words, while we’re taking a break after a job, we can use the Skizbrazunil to mine mineral deposits to make good use of our time. Mimi still looked perplexed, but I’ll just explain it to her later.
“Well, if we’re installing a refinery, then it’ll be nice to have an ore scanner and a mining drone unit as well. It would be nice if the drone is a high-grade one though… Anyway, let’s just talk about it later when we finalize the price. Mining is a complicated business after all. Compared to it, cargo transport is much more simple and straightforward.”
“That’s true. There are other facilities we need to prioritize as well.”
“Yes. Well then, let’s talk about the generator next. It’s an essential component and the ship is capable of mounting generator models up to Class 6. We can use the standard model for carrier ships of this class, but the one bundled with our new product is a newly developed generator as well, and its overall output is higher by 20% compared to the generators currently out on the market. Its fuel economy is also 5% more efficient.”
After saying that, Sara-san changed the image shown on the holo-display. Fumu. It does look the part of a high-performance generator. Well, Krishna’s generator is way better though, since its output is unthinkable for its size, but Krishna’s a special case anyway, so it can’t really be used as a reference.
“If possible, I would like to purchase the best armor, energy shield emitter, and generator you have available. The other equipment aside from those three is secondary. Our current ship can handle the combat–”
My shoulder was suddenly tapped from behind. Since the only one standing behind me was May, it should be her who did it.
“……You want to have a go with combat, May?”
“If the budget allows it, then please.”
I asked her without turning behind and a soft voice positively answered back. Seriously?
“Okay. In any case, the priority items are the shield emitter, armor, and generator. Cargo space also needs to be prioritized. Next is the drone and mining equipment–”
The hand on my shoulder pinched it lightly.
“–On second thought, make those weapon systems. Yep. In any case, those will improve the survival rate in missions. The shield emitter, armor, and generator all need to be of the highest quality.”
“Yes. We will equip the ship with the latest three-layer energy shield emitter, military-grade laminated armor, and large cargo space. What do you wish to do with the rest of the interior?”
“Please install high-quality life support systems and air conditioning. Instead of performance, I want to prioritize reliability. A standard medical bay is enough, I think. As for the living quarters, just install the bare minimum facilities. We will be spending much of our time on Krishna anyway. I will be the one who will be stationed inside the carrier ship most of the time, so a luxurious living space is unnecessary.”
“I see. It would be better for a mercenary ship to be fast on its feet, correct?”
“Yes. It would be better to raise FTL navigation speed as much as possible.”
“Understood. I will arrange it. This will be the total price, dear customers.”
The price she quoted us wasn’t over our current budget. It was about 28,000,000 Enels. However, if we consider the operating costs of the mothership as well as the estimated repair fees if it ever gets damaged, the leftover five mil from our current assets won’t be enough to cover it all. If the ship ever gets shot down before we made our next big paycheck, we’ll be plunged into the red zone all at once.
“It’s a bit over our budget.”
If we didn’t care about the cost, it would be possible to buy the weapon systems May wants with the leftover money, but we’ll be practically penniless afterward. I’ll have to haggle after all. If possible, I’d like to reduce it to about 22 million.
“……How much is your current budget, if I may ask?”
Sara-san made a doubting smile as she asked. Should I come clean, or should I make a little white lie?
“……About 22 million.”
“I see, I see……”
Her smile was honestly a bit creepy now.
“If you accept all of the conditions I proposed earlier, I’ll give you a big, big discount! We’ll give the ship to you with all of the specified items for exactly 22 million. Not one Enel more, dear customer.”
So, a discount of 6 million huh… Hm.
“Fine. I can accept those terms, but……”
“There is a condition.”
May, who stayed mostly silent the whole time since the negotiations began, finally started actively participating.
“I will run through all the operational data before handing it over to Space Dwerg. I have a duty to protect my Master’s interests, so I will not concede on this matter.”
“Are you saying we aren’t trustworthy enough?”
Sparks were flying between the smiling Sara-san and May who was still holding my shoulder. Me? I was busy pretending to be nothing but air.
“……Well, alright then. I will accept that condition. We will take the operational data only after you have finished checking it. Is this fine?”
“Alright. But please do not try any underhanded tricks, as I will be keeping a close watch.”
I don’t really get it, but May was strangely hostile to Sara-san. I don’t think there’s any strange relationship between May and Sara-san who’s working for Space Dwerg since May has only been made recently. If so, then maybe they just rub each other the wrong way. May was usually polite and thoughtful. It was kind of a surprise to see her being all confrontational.
“However, we will be interviewing the Captain and the rest of the crew after this. I already accepted your condition, so this much is fine, right?”
“I’m down with it. But…”
I glanced at Elma. Mimi was all gung-ho about it and May didn’t have any objections either. The only one who seems to have a problem with it was Elma.
Me? Like I said, I’m cool with the interview. If we get featured in a documentary film, Krishna will be showcased to lots of people in the galaxy. Maybe Krishna’s designers will get in touch with me afterward, and that would help in unraveling the mystery of my current situation.
“……Don’t show my face and please change my voice. If you’re okay with that, then I’ll take the interview or whatever.”
“Understood. I’ll arrange it. Next is the weapon systems. As you can see, there are also quite a number of slots to equip weapons. It also has one slot for mounting a large-caliber weapon, so if you want considerable firepower, then you can make use of this slot.”
“Please equip an EML on the large-caliber weapon slot. As for the rest, please equip them with medium-caliber laser cannons and seeker missile racks.”
“Eh? A large-caliber EML? Seriously? Can you really hit the enemies with that?”
“Yes. There is no problem.”
I got surprised and turned around to face May, who nodded with her usual blank expression on. An EML is basically an electromagnetic railgun. Yep. A railgun. Or in this case, a rail cannon. In the game, it’s a highly destructive weapon that consumes large amounts of energy to fire.
Since it shoots out physical rounds, the projectile speed is slower compared to optical weaponry. So when attacking an opponent from a large distance, it’s necessary to predict the enemy’s possible future positions in order to successfully land a shot. Moreover, since the barrel is essentially fixed in place, you can only fire it while the ship is directly facing an enemy, and you’ll have to aim, for the most part, manually.
As you can probably tell already, it’s extremely hard to land a hit using it. But in exchange, it’s absurdly powerful. It can sink a medium-sized warship in one shot. A small ship will be completely obliterated.
It was hard to use but really destructive. That’s why the players often call it the Romance Cannon.
“An EML, yes? An interesting choice… We will prepare one for you then.”
“……Please give all weapon systems a concealment function. Make it so it would look like an unarmed ship at first glance.”
The so-called concealment function is basically just hiding the ship’s weaponry with additional movable armor when not in use. Krishna also makes use of this for its weapon systems like the laser cannons and ballistic shot cannons. Even so, you can tell it’s a combat ship just with one look though.
Sara nodded without any fuss. Mm. It’s great that the talks are proceeding in a speedy manner.
But to think May would suggest disguising the mothership as an unarmed ship only to get the drop on enemies by transforming into a heavily-armed behemoth… Or rather, all the weapon systems May ordered easily dwarfs her own manufacturing costs though. How should I take this, I wonder?
Oh well, as long as she’s happy. If May can make it work, having the support bombardment of an EML is an exciting prospect.