Editor: Thor’s Stone
“It looks like I’ll be able to capture some good footage……”
The pirate subjugation operation was finally going to commence today. Mr. Wamdo, who was sitting on the cockpit sub-seat, beamed happily. Well, it’s true that today’s operation was probably going to present some nice filming opportunities for the guy. After all, we’ll be attacking the base of the pirate group messing around in this star system with the combined forces of the star system garrison, imperial space navy, and us mercenaries.
And not long from now, this combined fleet will set off to completely annihilate those evil pirates from this system. There’s no doubt that this event will have lots of nice scenes to film.
“So it’s your turn today huh.”
“Yes. We’ve given enough opportunities to the other media companies after all.”
Mr. Wamdo was sporting a warm affable-looking smile, but he did make sure to schedule his turn to board Krishna at a very opportune timing, so maybe he already anticipated today’s events and planned it all out beforehand. And that’s why he seemed to always defer to the other media guys before today. If that really is the case, then this guy might be more crafty than I gave him credit for.
“Just how would we go about storming the pirate base though?”
“We would basically start off with naval bombardment from the imperial military’s battleships and heavy cruisers. That preemptive attack will aim to destroy the vital facilities of the base such as the starship hangar and the dock in order to make sure that the pirates would have no way to escape. That said, there’s a good chance that a fair number of the pirate starships won’t be parked inside the hangar and dock, so those guys would immediately scatter and attempt to escape regardless.”
“That’s where us mercenaries come in. We’re fast and maneuverable, so we’ll lie in ambush along the possible escape routes the pirates might take before the bombardment starts, and once their nest is shaken up, we’ll move out and start hunting them down. In other words, we’re like hunting dogs.”
“I see. The military will be responsible for the frontal assault and the mercenaries will be in charge of encirclement and pursuit.”
Wamdo listened to my explanation while filming the interior of the cockpit with several filming drones. He dutifully recorded every detail of our conversation. The footage he took will then be edited later and added to the documentary their company will be releasing.
“It’s been a while since we attacked a pirate base hasn’t it, Hiro-sama?”
“These events are like festivals to us folks after all.”
Yep. These events are akin to festivals to us mercs, but the fireworks will be the pirate starships getting blown up to kingdom come.
“Mei, are your preparations coming along?”
『Yes, Master. I’m completely ready.』
Black Lotus, where the other media guys were staying right now, is scheduled to accompany the imperial space navy today in order to participate in the long-range naval bombardment. The range and power of the large-sized high-caliber electromagnetic rail cannon (EML) equipped on the bow of the Lotus actually trumps the main guns adapted by the navy’s capital ships after all. Well, although an EML has overwhelming firepower, it’s really unwieldy and hard to make good use of, so it wasn’t adapted by the imperial military in the end. After all, unlike laser cannon projectiles, EML rounds can’t achieve the speed of light.
“We’ll be acting separately this time, so be careful, alright?”
『I think that’s supposed to be my line, Master.』
Yeah, I guess. After all, Mei would act together with the imperial space navy and the private fleet of Earl Dareinwald while we’ll go up directly against the space pirates with our small-class combat ship.
“Then, please pray for our safety.”
『Yes. Good luck. And please be safe.』
“Thank you. You too.”
I wonder which entity an AI would pray to though? I bet it won’t be to a god. On second thought, they might actually believe in things like gods and miracles more than us. After all, the fact that they managed to evolve from a mere program to a completely new race of fully sentient AIs due to coincidences piled on top of coincidences can be called a miracle unto itself.
After a couple more moments of waiting around, the operation briefing finally started. The particulars of the operation are more or less the same as what I explained to Wamdo. There wasn’t anything particularly worth mentioning. We’ll be performing a standard operation after all.
These standard tactics have proven to be effective time and time again, so there’s no need to fix what ain’t broken. Of course, you can’t dismiss the use of unorthodox tactics from time to time, but unless there’s a particularly pressing need for such things, sticking to the standard procedure would be more preferable. That’s especially true when you have numerical superiority. If you’re like me and often take on lots of enemies with just a single ship, there would be more of a need for unorthodox tricks and strategies, but that’s another thing entirely.
After the briefing, Chris’s face got displayed on our cockpit’s main monitor next.
『This operation is not only for ensuring the safety of the Comatt system and the people who live here, but also all imperial subjects and travelers who are active in the surrounding systems as well. That said, the one that would benefit the most from its success would be our House Dareinwald.』
I thought she would just give a standard speech, but Chris, whose image just appeared on the screen, began saying strange things.
『Everyone’s efforts will protect the safety and future of many people. In addition, the interests of House Dareinwald will be preserved as well. The soldiers will earn military merits, the mercenaries will be paid handsomely by House Dareinwald, and you’d also earn a lot from the bounties placed on the pirates.』
After saying so, an enchanting smile akin to a flower in full bloom appeared on Chris’s face.
『–In order to ensure everyone’s happiness, the total annihilation of all pirates currently in this system is an absolute must. I look forward to a good performance from all of you.』
Her smile hid fatal danger behind its loveliness, just like a jet-black lily of the valley.
After being sent off by Chris who displayed a pretty but dangerous smile, we finally arrived at our assigned coordinates and hid behind the shadow of a large asteroid. Naturally, our engine’s output and the life support systems were reduced to the bare minimum in order to maintain stealth.
“My word, Christina-sama’s speech earlier was truly quite thrilling.”
“You don’t really need to lower your voice y’know. In various meanings.”
Chris must have done it intentionally. By the way, I wasn’t really referring to Chris finding out that we had some, err, opinions regarding her smile earlier when I said there’s no need to lower our voices while we’re talking. I was just pointing out that there’s no particular need to control our voice’s volume even if we’re hiding in stealth. After all, no matter how loud we were, there’s no way our chatter would be heard outside Krishna, and even if it did, we’re in the middle of outer space. I mean, c’mon.
“Ahaha…… Chris-cha– I mean, Christina-sama is definitely the daughter of an imperial noble house huh.”
“Well, I guess things have been proceeding quite smoothly. In various ways.”
Mimi and Elma also sported bitter smiles after witnessing the formerly innocent and pure Chris’ transformation. There’s a saying back on Earth that you need to evaluate a young man again after not seeing him for three days, for he would have changed a lot in that short span of time, but girls might actually develop even faster.
“There’s only a short while more before the start of the operation…… Everyone, prepare for combat. Wamdo, make sure not to bite your tongue or vomit all over the cockpit later.”
“Hahaha…… I’ll do my best. Actually, I’m already wearing adult diapers, just in case.”
It would be absolutely disgusting to have vomit and other bodily fluids floating around the cockpit during combat after all. You can’t easily clean them up during a hectic battle after all, and you’ll have to put up with the smell of vomit and pee, at least until the battle is over. I definitely don’t want to experience such a thing.
“Adult diapers are essential for newbie space sailors after all. Yup.”
I avoided turning toward Mimi and kept my gaze straight ahead. I felt a certain someone’s gaze boring at me from behind, but let’s just ignore that. I mean, c’mon. What I said was just a general statement, right? And Mimi’s already gotten over using adult diapers anyway, so it’s all good.
“Yosh, it’s time. Let’s begin.”
“As carefree as usual…… Switching engine output to combat mode. Rebooting all systems.”
“Muu…… Sensor and radar systems, set to active. We’re good to go.”
“Hahaha, it’s time for action. Entering combat.”
The moment Krishna flew out from the asteroid’s shadow, the naval bombardment from our main fleet finally began, illuminating this sector of space and causing intense explosions when laser cannon fire hit the pirate base. I couldn’t tell due to all the explosions going off, but I’m sure Black Lotus’s bombardment has also hit the pirate’s base – a modified giant asteroid – right about now.
“Alright! Let’s go and earn some money!”
“”Aye, aye, sir–!””
As I listened to Mimi and Elma’s replies, I punched Krishna’s thruster output to the maximum and headed straight for the battlefield.
Now then, it’s been a while since I fought in such a large-scale battle. Let’s go wild, shall we?
 TL Notes: Lily of the valley, or Suzuran in Japanese, is a woodland flowering plant with sweetly scented, bell-shaped flowers that bloom in spring. It’s also highly toxic. So this chapter alludes to the fact that Chris is gradually turning into a pretty but venomous belle. Brr. Run, Hiro. Run!