Editor: Thor’s Stone
The first to notice that something was wrong was Mimi. Well, not exactly. The reason Mimi made a puzzled hum was the data May sent to Krishna that was parked inside of Lotus’ hangar.
Anyway, the first one to notice the abnormality in the data was Mimi.
I already had a bad hunch, but I asked her anyway. It seems that Elma, who was sitting on the sub-pilot seat, had the same hunch as me, and she quickly pulled up the radar and sensor data that was sent to Krishna with brows wrinkled in worry. I operated my own console and checked out the data as well.
“This is where the outpost is, right……? Aren’t they in the middle of an engagement with hostiles?”
“Me!? You’re telling me I caused this!?”
Now that’s just unreasonable, you guys. You’re telling me my words earlier were a flag or something? It’s not like I have reality-bending powers or anything. And if I did, I would’ve used it for something other than calling disasters on top of our heads. I was denying the accusation inside my head when the mechanic sisters called the cockpit via the comms.
“This ain’t my fault!”
You called just to rub that in my face!? I dropped the call from the sisters and contacted May.
“We’ve seen the situation. There’s a high likelihood of getting involved in the battle, so prioritize safety above all else.”
『If our priority is safety, then there’s also the option of waiting it out until things settle down.』
“That’s also an option…… but judging from the current situation, we probably wouldn’t be able to pull that off now. The imperial forces losing a defensive battle within their home grounds isn’t that likely, but if things turn for the worst, we’ll immediately escape.”
I don’t plan to fight a losing battle and die in the process. But I do plan to take advantage of the situation if the military is winning though.
That said, the fixed base defense weapons installed on imperial outposts are pretty powerful. And with the addition of well-equipped troops, successfully overrunning an imperial base was an exceedingly tall order. But of course, there are always exceptions, so we should still be careful.
『Understood. We will be arriving at the Izrooks system imperial military outpost soon. We will return to normal space in thirty seconds.』
“Roger. Prep the catapult. We’ll get the Krishna ready for launch.”
『Yes. Please leave it to me.』
I cut the call with May and changed the setting of the main monitor. I then displayed the images taken by Black Lotus’s sensors on it.
“Okay, let’s see what exactly is going on.”
The flowing lights displayed on the monitor turned stationary once more. We finally stopped the FTL Drive and exited to normal space, but there was no booming sound this time since Krishna was inside Black Lotus’s hangar.
Uh, that doesn’t really matter right now anyway. Now then, how’s the battle looking……?
“Huh? They’re having a harder time than I expected.”
“Looks like it.”
“Uwaa…… They’re swarming like crazy.”
Mimi’s face turned blue after witnessing the sight of the imperial outpost and its garrisoned forces being assaulted by a great number of crystal lifeforms. It really feels like those large-scale war movies.
The small-type crystal lifeforms rapidly charged toward the imperial military outpost and the deployed ships. Most were shot down by interception fire or blocked by energy shields. The medium-type crystal lifeforms were exchanging energy projectile and laser fire with the defense fleet, while the large-types were ‘birthing’ new crystal lifeforms continuously in order to press the attack on the base.
Right now, the imperial forces were managing to successfully repel the attacks of the small and medium-type crystal lifeforms, but their attacks weren’t able to reach the large-types either since they were being blocked by the small and medium-types.
The large-types can’t produce small and medium-types endlessly, so their numbers will eventually thin out the longer the battle goes on, but that also applies to the imperial forces, since their ammo and energy aren’t unlimited either.
“It’s a fierce battle of attrition.”
“Yes. If the remaining supplies of the garrisoned forces get depleted, coupled with increasing fatigue, the tide of the battle may turn for the worse.”
“Let’s do this, May……”
“Change heading and point the hatch at the large-type on the far right of the battlefield. Launch Krishna at maximum speed and set course for the base to ask for reinforcements. Also, tell the commanding officer that we’ll proceed to take down the large-types for them. We’ll negotiate the reward once we’re done.”
“Well somebody’s eager…… Or rather, are you seriously planning to jump in the middle of that mess?”
“It’s just like always, Elma-san.”
Mimi had a peaceful look on her face as if she was enlightened by Buddha. It’s good that you’re already used to this, Mimi.
As I marveled at Mimi’s impressive growth, the Lotus finally finished turning. As the hatch opened, we finally saw the chaotic battle between the imperial garrison and the crystal lifeforms before our very own eyes.
『There are many crystal lifeforms obstructing the launch path.』
“Don’t mind them. Launch us out.”
『Acknowledged. Good luck, Master.』
Right after May’s blessing, Gs that couldn’t be prevented completely by the inertial control system immediately assaulted my body, and I was pressed tightly onto the pilot seat. As I thought, outside force can’t be completely negated by the inertial control system.
“What’s the plan!?”
Elma bellowed a question while enduring the intense Gs.
“We’ll break through at maximum speed, throw a couple of anti-ship reactive torpedoes at the large-types, and escape dashingly before we get swarmed. In other words, we’re gonna do a hit-and-run!”
“T-That’s the… plan……!?”
Mimi raised a strained and worried voice, but we definitely have a good chance of pulling it off. Their hostility was entirely directed at the imperial forces, and the crystal lifeforms were putting their all into attacking them. In other words, we weren’t even in their radars, so we have a good chance of mounting a sneak attack.
Of course, it won’t be that easy either. The medium-types were acting in concert with the large-type as escorts to a certain extent, but the small-types were acting fully on instinct, and there’s a good chance they’d swarm Krishna the moment they detect us.
However, Krishna’s shield wouldn’t go down from the crystal fragments shot out from the small-type creature’s bodies which served as their main projectiles, nor their ramming attacks. I wouldn’t be so sure if it was a head-on collision at maximum speed, but it’s not like I’m planning on doing that in the first place.
Medium and large-types are quite slow to react, so the moment they’ve turned their hostility toward us, we’ll be long gone. Some of the medium-types may chase after us, but even these alien creatures were wary of friendly fire, so they wouldn’t be able to effectively use their laser beams and energy projectiles to take us down if we weave in between large concentrations of small-types. And since they were fairly large themselves, they wouldn’t be able to continue chasing after us unless the small-types got out of the way.
We’ll take that opportunity to close in on the large-type and hit it with a few anti-ship reactive torpedoes.
“We’re punching through, guys! Activate the weapon systems! Clench your teeth! This one’s gonna be rough!”
Krishna accelerated further and plunged through the swarm of crystal lifeforms. The small-types immediately gave chase, but I refrained from firing any weapons and focused on evading them and shaking them off. I didn’t fire any weapons to avoid getting the aggro transferred from the imperial forces to us.
Of course, attracting the attention of the crystal lifeforms was inevitable, but now’s not the time to paint a target on ourselves.
I slipped in between the plentiful swarms of small-types and headed straight for the large-type crystal lifeform. But the crystal lifeforms actually looked quite beautiful in appearance. They were like exquisitely crafted crystal arrowheads. If it was just based on appearance alone, they may be one of the most beautiful alien species in this galaxy.
“We’re right in the middle of an emergency, but there’s not much I can do in this situation.”
“Yes, me too. I can’t offer any effective support in the middle of such a chaotic battle……”
Krishna’s shield was tanking the crystal projectiles with ease, so there’s no need for pinpoint defense or shield cells. And if you use ECM or chaff within a swarm like this, you may get the attention of even more crystal lifeforms instead. As for Mimi’s job, I already put up a holo-window of the short and medium-range radar displays in one corner of my field of view, so she didn’t have much to do either. Or rather, if I relied on her warnings, we probably wouldn’t be able to completely avoid what’s coming to us in such a short distance. The alarm set off by the short-range radar is quite a bit faster after all.
We finally made it through the wall of small and medium-types and got the large-type in our sights. At this point, the large-type spewed another batch of small-types to intercept, and the medium-types were in the middle of coming after us, but it’s too late.
An anti-ship reactive torpedo equipped with a reaction warhead was ejected from Krishna’s lower deck and rushed at a large-type with tremendous speed. Originally, reactive torpedoes were fairly slow, but I made use of Krishna’s momentum to forcibly increase its speed. As a result, the torpedo rushed at the large-type with roughly the same speed as Krishna right now.
Before the warhead hit the target, I changed course and headed for the next prey. A few seconds later, the anti-ship torpedo’s warhead finally hit the target and caused a massive explosion behind Krishna. From the image captured by the rear monitor, it looks like that took down not only the large-type but the small-types that were chasing after Krishna as well. They weren’t able to deploy shields, so after getting caught up in the explosion, they were torn apart by the ricocheting debris.
“Yosh! Let’s go for the next target!”
“Yes, yes, I know. I’ll keep an eye on the shield, so go wild.”
“I will also issue a warning whenever a large number of enemies come after us.”
I was exhilarated after destroying the first target and headed for the next one straight away.
Eh? Whatever happened to hit-and-run? Ain’t I doing that right now? This is called successive hit-and-run folks. Alright! Time to go ham to my heart’s content.