Editor: Thor’s Stone
127 – End of Hotel Stay
The first day of us serving as test pilots ended without any problems. Uh, maybe not totally problem-free, but we pulled through, I guess. Anyway, we completed our job without a hitch.
There were no problems with the weapons test of the prototype ship Hammer Seven. There were a total of four hardpoints where weapon systems could be installed on the ship. It was an average number for a small craft. They were all placed on the upper sections of the hull, so all firepower was concentrated there, leaving the bottom completely bare of weaponry. The two main guns were trained out front while the secondary weapons covered both flanks.
Basically, I think one can judge if a ship has an optimum set-up for weapon hardpoints on whether or not the positioning will allow it to have the ability to focus fire all its weapons from a direction other than the front of the ship.
For example, in the case of a ship with four hardpoints, if one each is placed on the top, bottom, left, and right sides of the ship, you can only focus fire with three turrets at maximum except for firing directly forward. That means one turret is essentially dead if you don’t concentrate fire to the front.
In this case, it would be better to place the hard points in positions which allow Hammer Seven to easily reach maximum firepower in one direction even if you had to leave the bottom of the ship weaponless and a potential blind spot. That’s what I think anyway.
Some folks may place more importance on eliminating blind spots, so I can’t say my take on it is absolute. After all, you can’t make good use of my set-up if you don’t have the piloting skills to match.
And so, regarding that little problem I mentioned at the start…
“The ship does perform as the specs suggested! What the heck are you on about!?”
“There’s no problem with the software! There’s only a lag in the reaction time because the calculation of the weight to thrust ratio is wrong! The data here proves it!”
“There’s no problem with our calculations! The software problem just got compensated by the skills of the pilot!”
“The software is perfect! The mistake in the weight to thrust ratio is the one being compensated for by the pilot’s skills, you fool! The data corroborates this!”
After the performance test, I succeeded to clock in numbers that exceeded the expected values. Well, if the ship’s only problem is being one tempo slow, I just had to operate it one tempo faster to compensate. And once I got used to its tendency to oversteer or understeer, I was able to perform some interesting maneuvers.
And so, I made up for the delay in the reaction time with my skills. I wasn’t sure if the cause of the problem was the hardware or software side of the spectrum, so I just suggested they look into both and implement some improvements based on the results.
And that led to the commotion going on right now. Maybe the hardware and software engineers didn’t get along much, so they both kept passing the buck and pointing at the other party as the one at fault. Well, it’s not my job to meddle in the spats of a company’s employees anyway. My main responsibility was to serve as a test pilot, and I believe I did a pretty good job.
“In any case, I have no complaints at all regarding the ship’s speed when cruising in a straight line. They are also affected by the one tempo delay, but all in all, I think there are no pressing problems with the turning speed and rolling speed either. However, since the ship is heavy, sharp and nimble maneuvers are next to impossible. With its top speed, I think it will be put to good use on hit-and-run tactics which takes full advantage of its speed and thick armor, or by pilots that can similarly make use of its quirks to keep enemies firmly in their crosshairs just like I did. And since the positions of the hardpoints are concentrated on the top half of the ship, I think it’s a unit that can only be put to good use by highly skilled pros.”
I would have liked to share more of my impressions if the dwarven engineers didn’t start to fight amongst themselves. These guys. Honestly.
“I see…… Can I ask what you mercenaries consider as a ship that’s easy to handle for reference?”
“Of course. This is just my personal opinion, but first, it has to be straightforward. What I mean is that it’s better for a ship to have at least a standard response time. That’s a really important factor.”
“Oh. So, placing importance on ease of handling eh?”
“Next is some good defensive capabilities, but I think most mercenaries place more importance on tougher energy shields rather than thicker and more durable armor. Of course, having thicker armor is a good thing, but it does affect maneuverability. And also, there are no mercs who’d prefer to tank shots with their ship’s armor rather than the energy shield. It costs more money to replace damaged armor after all. The costs will add up, and that’s not something mercs welcome at all. In this aspect, energy shields are more cost-effective, don’t you think? A ship’s armor serves as its last line of defense once its shields are down, but I think most mercs would immediately escape when their shields start showing signs of going down anyway. There are next to no mercs who’d rather stay and fight once their energy shields are down, I think.”
There’s also the fact that armor upgrades cost a ton more Enel than energy shield emitter upgrades. There’s a saying that you can’t show off your strength if you don’t spend money, but conversely, you can’t just spend money on pointless stuff.
“Umu, I see.”
“In terms of overall firepower, I think small combat starships should be outfitted with at least two Class 2 weapons. If you can make it so it can actually be equipped with one Class 3 weapon, I think it will turn out to be quite popular. Class 1 weapons are frankly no good. Mercenaries would be more willing to purchase ships that can equip Class 2 weapons by default no matter how few the number rather than ones which can equip lots of Class 1 weapons.”
Class 1 weapons are what you can consider as small arms. Class 2 is the middle ground and Class 3 weapons are the heavyweights.
By the way, Krishna’s pulse laser cannons and ballistic shot cannons are all considered Class 3. It’s a small craft, but it sports a total of six Class 3 weapons plus anti-ship reactive torpedoes. That makes Krishna’s overall firepower on par with a heavy cruiser. Normally, you can only equip a maximum of one Class 3 weapon on a small ship, and those ships are already considered top-of-the-line.
“Thank you. These will be very helpful.”
The dwarf engineer finished typing my words on his tablet terminal, bowed to me in gratitude, and joined the fray of his quarreling peers. It looks like he’s gonna finally put a stop to it. Do your best, man.
“Are you finished?”
After the engineer left me, Elma called out. It looks like the girls also finished their report.
“Yeah. It looks like you guys finished early though.”
“Yes. There were no problems with the radar and communication systems. It looks like it was the same for Elma-san too.”
“Well, Space Dwerg is known for the toughness and reliability of their products, so I guess it isn’t much of a surprise. I really can’t say the same for the overall performance of the ship though. There’s no point in a ship that can’t be piloted unless you make strange unorthodox maneuvers like Hiro. It’s totally out.”
“C’mon. They aren’t that strange……”
Uh, I guess if you don’t get used to the oversteer and understeer, you’d likely end up spinning endlessly in space like an out of control ice skater. But that can be made up with practice. Yup. You have to start with mastering the timing for the auto-balancer and gyro. You’d probably end up puking in space a few times, but that’s just how it is. I did manage to experience that in front of a computer screen back on Earth, and I felt sick even then, so I guess the experience will be a good magnitude worse if you do it for real.
“So what will we do now?”
It seems the turmoil subsided before it grew worse, but the engineer’s faces still looked positively miffed. A dwarven engineer with a slightly tired look on his face approached us. It was the guy who was talking with me earlier.
“We’re stopping with the tests for today, so your jobs are finished as well. We’ll be counting on you again tomorrow though.”
“I see. Guess we have some free time then.”
I turned toward Mimi and Elma and saw them nod in response. We took off the skin-tight pilot suits and changed back to our normal clothes. We then exited the Space Dwerg testing facility.
After completing the five-day test pilot gig, we were once again back to a life of leisure and relaxation. Well, we weren’t exactly keeping idle because we spent the majority of our time touring the colony and enjoying the sights.
What about the test pilot gig? There’s isn’t really much to comment about, actually. I just played around with the prototype the whole time and got Mimi and Elma blue in the face because of the lacking inertial control system. That’s probably because it was a prototype, and not everything had been adjusted optimally. But they eventually got used to it in the latter half of the five-day stint.
“Hey, hey, boss. Are you free today?”
“T-That’s no good, big sis……”
Tina plopped her head on my lap as I sat on the sofa and began flirting with me. Whisker got all panicky after witnessing her sister’s brazen actions. I don’t really mind you doing that since you do look cute, but aren’t you too casual, Tina?
I pinched Tina’s nose, who was enjoying my lap pillow without a care. Hahaha, now your cute face is ruined.
“She just did that so naturally…… I’ll have to step up as well.”
“Well, aren’t you quite something, dwarf.”
Mimi and Elma, who were lounging around the nearby table, looked at Tina as if she was a formidable foe. I’m not all bothered by it because I didn’t really look at Tina in that way. Honestly speaking, I saw her more like a small pet such as a dog or cat rather than a romantic partner.
“So, uh… there’s about five days left until the mothership gets finished, right?”
“Yes. If everything goes on schedule, it will get finished after about 120 hours. There seem to be no delays in the work, so it will most likely get finished on schedule.”
May, who was standing right next to the sofa as she looked after me, answered my question.
“It looks like Krishna’s about to roll out as well.”
“Yes. They’re a little late, but it seems they will finish the overhaul by today. I was told they will be handing it over by tomorrow due to them needing to finish reloading the luggage onboard.”
If that’s the case, then I guess this is our last day staying in this fancy hotel.
“Are you guys okay with your preparations, Tina?”
“Hm, of course, boss. We’ve done all the necessary paperwork and packed our things, so we’ll be ready to board the mothership once it gets finished.”
Tina, whose nose I was still pinching, answered with a confident grin on her lips. I turned toward Whisker and saw her nod several times in agreement. Guess there’s no problem then. I hope.
“Good. Hm…… Let’s see. How about we visit that luxurious restaurant you mentioned the other day, Tina?”
After hearing my words, Mimi sat up straight away. Ok, ok, of course, I’ll take Mimi along as well, so don’t be so anxious. I’ll take Elma too, of course. I remember her eyes twinkling when she heard they stocked up on famous liquors around the galaxy.
And so, that night, Tina led us to the restaurant in question…… and I found myself eating yakitori in a restaurant called Yakitori.
Yeah, I know what you guys want to say. This so-called luxurious restaurant served yakitori and even named itself as Yakitori after all. It seems it was a restaurant that used real chicken meat bred from a farm two systems out. It wasn’t as expensive as that Kobe beef I encountered back then, but it was still quite pricey. One skewer costs 15 Enels. Ain’t that too pricey? If you convert it to Japanese Yen, you’d end up with 1500 Yen a pop.
Mimi was impressed by the taste of real chicken while Elma was satisfied with the taste of those famous liquors. The sisters were gushing about the taste of yakitori but lamented the fact that they were banned from drinking as they watched Elma chug down bottle after bottle. They were looking at Elma like she was their parent’s murderer. It was honestly a bit creepy. It looks like they still weren’t past the liquor ban.
“You don’t look like you’re enjoying this much, Master.”
Cuz it’s just your standard yakitori, y’know! I would honestly cry tears of joy if they served authentic carbonated cola here, but unfortunately, apart from liquor, they only served water and 100% all-natural fruit juice, which was insanely expensive. One glass was 100 Enels. That’s highway robbery. I’ll just stick with 3 Enel glasses of water.
And so, our last night staying at the hotel ended in such a fashion.