Editor: Thor’s Stone
“Well then everyone, to victory. Cheers.”
The dinner opened with a toast from the most senior officer present, Colonel Broadwell.
I was a bit expectant when I heard that they would bring out the finest menu the imperial military has to offer for tonight’s dinner, but in the end, it wasn’t anything I haven’t tried before. The course consisted of a pasta dish that resembled Neapolitan spaghetti, a plateful of steak, and a consommé soup in a mug.
I tilted my head and muttered ‘This is their so-called best menu?’ as I used my knife and fork to cut off a piece of the steak and brought it to my mouth.
The meat was a little firm, but the more you chewed, the more gravy and meat juices scattered within your mouth. The garlic fried rice was pretty fragrant, and the baked onion slices which served as the side dish were cooked to perfect– Hm?
“You guys used real meat and vegetables huh……”
Now I understand why Major Serena claimed this was their best menu. You could easily reproduce such a menu using food cartridges and an auto-cooker, but nothing beats the real thing after all.
I looked toward Mimi who was busy eating her own steak and saw the sparkle in her eyes as she ate with gusto.
“Fumu, so the hero who received the Silver Sword Wings Assault medal surprisingly also has an eye for gourmet food hmm? Now, this is certainly unexpected.”
“I’m not really much of a gourmet at all. I just simply had the great fortune of sampling real meat and vegetables several times before. One of my crew members also loves sampling different kinds of food. Or rather, she absolutely adores eating good food.”
Mimi, who was sitting beside me, called out to me in a fluster. She got easily embarrassed when all of our gazes gathered toward her, but I really like watching Mimi eating food happily. It’s food for the soul.
Colonel Broadwell eyed Mimi and I with great interest after seeing our exchange. What is it, man? Just give it to me straight if you have something to say.
“Will we continue with the operation after this break?”
“Of course. Twelve hours will be allotted for making necessary repairs, and another twelve hours will be allotted for rest. We will resume the operation after those 24 hours. Right now, we are having some ships scout the surrounding area.”
“I see. It would be good if they could find some clues.”
I remembered the SOL questline related to crystal lifeforms while having an exchange with Colonel Broadwell. So far, we’ve undergone a raid event, a counterattack event, and an info-gathering event. If this were the game, what follows would be an enemy base assault event. We’re well in the middle of the info gathering event right now. I didn’t have much experience regarding this particular event since I was a mercenary player. On the other hand, explorer players were absolute experts in it. They often journeyed far to find and scout out undiscovered planets and star systems after all.
“How should I put it? You…… do not resemble a mercenary at all. I somehow feel like I’m talking to a fellow soldier or noble whenever I talk to you.”
“I also feel the same as His Excellency, Colonel Broadwell. Your manner and speech are all strangely refined. It doesn’t fit the image of a mercenary at all.”
Lieutenant Robbitson, Major Serena’s adjutant, nodded in agreement as he cut a piece of his steak with a knife. To think they’d call me refined and elegant, of all things. Just how vulgar do typical mercenaries in this dimension behave anyway?
“Well, I wouldn’t really know……”
“Do you ladies feel the same as well?”
“Yes. After all, to ensure comfortable living conditions for his crew, he remodeled the interior of his ship to be on par with a luxury liner, and he’s also really gentlemanly in terms of his treatment toward us.”
Elma nodded at Lieutenant Plant’s question as she elaborated and Mimi expressed her agreement as well.
Eh……? Uh, but I lay my hands on them all the time, so I can’t really see which part of me can be considered ‘gentlemanly’ at all.
Or rather, do these two really think that way about me? Seriously?
“Um, somehow, I feel like you’re all focusing a lot on me…… If possible, can we just leave it at that please?”
“It can’t be helped if you feel that way. Alright. But can I ask about a somewhat personal matter then?”
“As long as it’s something I can answer.”
What, what? Are we moving on to interrogation time? I don’t hold much hope for Major Serena, but can you guys help me out a bit here, Mimi, Elma?
“It’s about your ship; the Krishna, if I remember correctly. Just where did you manage to obtain such a fine specimen? I consider myself as somewhat of a starship enthusiast, but this is absolutely the first time I’ve managed to witness such a ship. There are plenty of mercenaries who remodel their ships so much that they turn out to be unrecognizable from the base model, but the entire design concept of your ship is already way beyond such amateurish attempts.”
And this guy suddenly threw such a fastball.
“I’m sorry, but I’m afraid I can’t answer that. When I received the ship, I promised never to disclose where it came from. I don’t have any idea where the person who gave it to me is now either.”
“Fumu…… Alright then. Could I at least take a look at it later?”
“Eh…… Well, if it’s only taking a look…”
“I see! Then I shall pay a visit once we finish dinner.”
Colonel Broadwell nodded in satisfaction. It would be good if I can take that smile at face value, but I wonder if he’s actually cooking up a scheme to confiscate Krishna and make it his own or something? I turned a gaze that expressed such concerns to Major Serena.
“You don’t have to worry. It’s virtually impossible for imperial military officers to forcibly strip a mercenary of his ship.”
“Mu? I was thinking of nothing of the sort, though?”
“It’s well known among our circles that Colonel Broadwell from the Broadwell House is an avid combat starship and mercenary enthusiast, but I guess not many mercenaries are aware of it. You are from the House of Earl Broadwell after all. You’re also the eldest son and heir as well. People who aren’t familiar with you would certainly have their guards up if you suddenly ask that sort of thing.”
Major Serena explained the situation to Colonel Broadwell while smiling wryly. Colonel Broadwell scratched the back of his head in embarrassment after hearing her explanation.
“Ah, I certainly didn’t take that into consideration. Hiro-dono, I only asked such a thing to satisfy my personal intellectual curiosity, so please be at ease. And also, could I take a holo-photo with you and these two lovely ladies after the tour as well? I also have a hobby of collecting group holo-photos of really promising mercenaries you see.”
“Uh, okay… If that’s all… then I guess it’s fine?”
I ended up agreeing after getting pressured by Colonel Broadwell’s desperate gaze. Mimi and Elma also ended up agreeing while being slightly confused by his behavior. And so, we decided to take the officers for a tour of Krishna after the meal.
Just why did it turn out like this?
The rest of the dinner went peacefully, and we also received a monetary reward of 1,000,000 Enels. The tour and group photo-op also proceeded without problems, I guess. Uh, maybe?
“So the frame cleverly hides two shotgun cannons! What a bold design……!”
“These weapon systems are revolutionary. This layout has never been seen before.”
“There are also a great number of attitude control thrusters placed cleverly around the hull. It seems they are operating at peak efficiency by making use of a very high-output energy generator, and the overall mobility of the ship is increased more than several-fold as a result. But it somehow feels like a very brute-force approach…… Is this ship an experimental unit, perhaps?”
Honestly speaking, it was pretty surreal to witness a grown man running around excitedly all over Krishna like a rabid fanboy with a holo-camera in hand while muttering geeky jargon. I even took the trouble of changing the hangar environment setting to low-gravity mode just so the guy can take an overhead picture…… Colonel Broadwell being an avid combat ship enthusiast really felt like an understatement. This guy was absolutely nuts for them.
In the end, he took holo-pictures of me, Mimi, and Elma standing with Krishna in the background. He even took solo pictures of me.
“Ah, I really managed to take some very good photos. Thank you very much, everyone.”
Seeing such a goofy smile plastered on the face of a formerly grim-looking guy was pretty surreal as well.
“……He’s a really strange person, isn’t he?”
“Shh, don’t say it out loud, Mimi.”
“Your reaction is plenty rude already, you know……”
This dinner made me realize there were some pretty weird people in the imperial military as well.