Editor: Thor’s Stone
I had them show me several more combat bot models to choose from, but in the end, I went with the first model they showed me, which was the military version of the Alkeny type combat bot. The clinchers were its high versatility and the fact that it could fold itself to a fraction of its fully deployed size when not in use. When it comes to pure combat performance, there were several models better than it, but since it was highly versatile, we could put it to good use even outside of combat scenarios.
Due to Lt. Col. Serena’s introduction letter and us purchasing a set of ten units, the price for each unit + OS dropped to 60,000 Enels, and the maintenance and equipment swapping system plus optional parts amounted to 600,000 Enels. All in all, we had to fork out about 1.2 million Enels.
“……They were surprisingly cheap, weren’t they?”
“This is bad, Whee. Even Mimi has fallen to the dark side.”
“Um, Mimi-san, 1.2 million Enels is an astronomical sum for most people you know. The average monthly wage for normal citizens is about 1,500 Enels, okay? They’ll need to save up every Enel for 66 years in order to earn that kind of amount.”
“Y-You’re right! What was I thinking?”
Mimi got taken aback when Tina and Whisker admonished her. Muahaha. That’s good, Mimi. Come. Come to the dark side…… It’s fun over here y’know?
“Um, it feels a bit late to be saying something like this now, but isn’t Mei-san far more capable than any combat bot?”
“Of course, she is.”
“Thank you for your praise.”
I and Elma agreed to Chris’s words, and Mei bowed her head in gratitude for our acknowledgment.
“Um, so, wouldn’t it have been better to purchase more maidroids similar to Mei-san instead of combat bots?”
“Well, it’s not like we couldn’t have done that, but…… Mei.”
“Yes. Just as Chris-sama says, we could have procured high-performance custom maidroids just like me, but you have to take into account the fact that my unit cost was 480,000 Enels. If we include the optional parts and maintenance equipment, the price will easily exceed 550,000 Enels. In other words, two maidroids similar to me in performance and abilities will already cost about 1.1 million Enels. In that case, it is more cost-effective to purchase ten military combat bots complete with the maintenance equipment for 1.2 million Enels.”
Mei began a comparative explanation of the cost-performance and cost-effectiveness of custom maidroids and combat bots.
“There’s also the issue of total uptime. Maidroids like me are required to undergo maintenance for two hours every 48 hours. This is essential in order to maintain our external appearance and ensure optimum performance. Furthermore, if we ever receive critical damage, we will have to be shipped back to the manufacturer for repairs. In contrast, military combat bots can continue operating with no noticeable drop in performance for up to two weeks without maintenance. And if they get critically damaged, you can easily repair them as long as you purchase the requisite maintenance and equipment swapping system. Due to their long operation time and ease of maintenance, military combat bots are still objectively better than custom maidroids like me in terms of pure combat performance.”
“I see. Mei-san’s overall performance is far superior, but military combat bots are tougher, cost-effective, and easy to operate and maintain.”
“As a bodyguard and escort for Chris, Mimi, Tina, and Whisker, Mei is certainly far more suitable. After all, you can’t walk around places like the imperial capital with combat bots constantly following after you, right?”
“That’s true. That scene would be too intimidating.”
“So, what about me?”
“I and you don’t really need any escorts, Elma.”
Elma asked me with a straight face, so I answered her with a straight face as well. The situations where Elma and I would need a bodyguard wouldn’t exactly be your usual fare after all. For example, battlefields where lasers and bullets are flying around. Judging from her expression, it looks like Elma wasn’t that convinced, but let’s just ignore that anyway.
“Well, I just bought them as a form of insurance anyway. I don’t think we’ll have many chances to use those bots.”
“Right. We don’t really get subjected to boarding actions from pirates anyway.”
“That’s right. I will never allow such an atrocity to happen within the halls of Master’s Black Lotus.”
Chris had a confused expression. She was probably asking something along the lines of ‘So what was the point of buying combat robots then?’ inwardly. That’s just how it is, girl. For us people blessed by misfortune, making preparations like this would allow us to feel safer.
“Well, since we already bought what we came for, let’s just return to the villa. It’s getting late anyway.”
“Right. It’s about time my grandfather returns to the mansion as well.”
“I have a request for you all.”
Chris got angry and raised her voice toward Earl Dareinwald who got down to business without so much as a greeting.
We returned to the Dareinwald family villa, and the moment we arrived, we met with Earl Dareinwald, who asked us to work for him straight away. I’m not sure about what he wants, but I really don’t get this guy. He’s past the point of simply being blunt and straightforward.
“Uh, we’re not really upset, sir…… It was just a bit abrupt.”
After a brief nod, Earl Dareinwald lightly waved his hand and activated the holo-display. A map of a certain star system got projected. It seems the star system in particular was the Comatt system.
“If I remember correctly, the Comatt system is a direct neighbor to the Dexer system, right?”
“That’s right. The terraforming of the habitable planet, Comatt III, which has been going on for some time, has just been completed recently. Our Dareinwald House is planning to begin resettlement efforts there. I would like to ask you all to serve as an escort for the immigration fleet and continue to guard the immigrants for a time after they arrive there. We would have trouble remedying them if any sort of trouble crops up on Comatt III after all.”
“So we’re gonna guard immigrants huh…… We don’t mind receiving the standard pay for anti-pirate escorts, but we’ll have you grant us a separate fee for solving any trouble that does happen on Comatt III. Also, it’s next to impossible to defend Comatt III with us alone if pirates ever decide to conduct a full-scale planetary raid, okay.”
That’s honestly on a scale Krishna and Black Lotus are incapable of handling after all. As I said, it’s next to impossible for us alone to defend against a planetary raid by pirates since we can’t really prevent all their ships from descending upon the planet.
“Of course, I understand. Our Dareinwald House will provide adequate support. I simply just want you to join our forces as hired mercenaries.”
“That’ll depend on the reward you’re offering then. Uh, how much was the hiring fee for Platinum rankers by the way?”
“200,000 Enels per day.”
“Well then, I shall hire you all for 300,000 Enels per day. I also guarantee a minimum of 1 million Enels as an additional reward, and it may still increase depending on the situation.”
“OK. The rewards are good enough. How long is the contract period?”
“A minimum of one month and a maximum of three months. In case we exceed the contract period, what do you think about re-negotiating another contract once that happens?”
“A maximum of three months huh. OK. What do you think, Mimi, Elma?”
“I’m OK with it as well!”
“I’m fine with it too.”
“We’ll accept the job then. Please submit a formal request to the Mercenary Guild.”
“Umu. I will have the necessary procedures done straight away.”
I shook hands with Earl Dareinwald after finalizing our discussion.
“Chris, I shall leave you in charge of the immigration fleet. I hope you perform your responsibilities well.”
Chris, who was listening in on our discussion, calmly nodded. I see. So this will also serve as a form of training for her so that she can smoothly take up her duties as a lord in the future. That’s why he sent us along as well huh. Although Earl Dareinwald was a man of few words and could be really blunt at times, he’s properly caring for his granddaughter in his own way.
“I guess we’ll have to do our best to help Chris out then.”
Mimi beamed from ear to ear and Elma gently smiled at Chris. But to think something like this would come up…… It looks like the combat bots would be put to good use sooner than we thought huh.
By the way, the mechanic sisters turned into unmoving statues the moment they came face to face with Earl Dareinwald’s imposing aura.
It seems they already got used to Chris to some extent, but it looks like they would still lose their bearings in front of bona fide aristocrats like the earl. In a sense, Mimi, who’s now able to keep her composure in front of someone like the earl, has turned into a real mercenary.
“I guess we’ll be having a leisurely vacation while watching over the resettlement process huh.”
“That’s right. I wonder what the resettlement will be like.”
“I haven’t witnessed it personally, but I’ve heard that immigration ships will descend onto a promising region on a habitable planet and the development of the area will be centered on that ship.”
As we three conversed with smiles on our faces, we were all of one mind. We all vowed never to utter ominous-sounding statements under any circumstances to avoid trouble. However, that vain hope was soon crushed into space dust without mercy.
“In the early stages of the resettlement process, it seems the immigrants and the resources they brought with them would get targeted by pirates from time to time, so please be on your guard.”
Chris said such words with overflowing enthusiasm. After seeing her like that, I– or rather, all three of us covered our eyes with one hand and raised our heads to the heavens in despair.
So it doesn’t matter if we didn’t say anything huh. Chris planted a flag for us anyway. Damn.