Editor: Thor’s Stone
A certain great person once said: Battles are all about numbers, aniki! And the scene before my eyes right now is proof of that very concept.
“Man, our forces are pretty overwhelming huh.”
“They’re not your forces you know.”
“Yes, I’m well aware ma’am.”
A human-sized combat bot fired lasers (death rays) from its two weapon arms, and even when it was swarmed by Twisteds, it tore them off itself with even greater force and crushed them with ease. The attacks of the medium-sized combat bots with a height of 2-3 meters were even more fierce. The firepower of the medium-sized combat bots, which consisted of not only lasers but plasma launchers as well, easily decimated the enemy Grapplers and the type with dense frontal armor we designated as Bulls. And the ultimate master of the battlefield was the large-sized combat bot sporting a towering height of 5 meters.
“That big guy sure is amazing.”
Even though it was huge, it was surprisingly agile. It looks like it was the lead unit. It continuously slaughtered the large enemies with its ranged weapons and grappling attacks while blocking their counterattacks with a sturdy energy shield. Its energy generator sure can pump out some serious juice.
“A Titan-class combat bot is the key unit for ground engagements after all. In fact, the imperial ground forces at present are mostly comprised of combat bots.”
“Cuz they’re easy to replace and even easier on the wallet huh.”
Lt. Col. Serena silently shrugged after hearing my words.
It takes at least 15 to 18 years to train an individual to be a qualified combat-ready imperial soldier on average. Fifteen years is still a bit too short in my opinion, but you’d at least be able to build up their physical capabilities to at least a respectable degree in that amount of time. If they didn’t care about their methods though, they’d be able to pump out soldiers in an even shorter period.
In other words, they can achieve that result if they were willing to go the route of using child-soldiers and clone soldiers produced by using advanced biotech. Well, I haven’t witnessed that kind of thing so far. And judging from the combat bots before me, it seems that the empire hasn’t gone in that direction at least…… Or haven’t they? In a sense, aren’t the Twisteds proof that they’ve dabbled in such research.
The existence of the Twisteds at least proves that there’s a faction within the empire that has already made use of biotechnology for military purposes.
Anyway, I’ve gone off-topic. I mentioned the bots being easy to replace and easy on the wallet, right? Well, in other words… training and fielding human soldiers are simply very costly.
However, what about fielding combat bots? Although it also costs a lot of money to manufacture them, it was definitely cheaper than training people to become soldiers within 15 to 18 years. Not only was the cost cheaper, but the time invested was also drastically lowered.
For combat bots, once a production line is built, it’s possible to continue mass-producing battle-ready combat bots as long as the resources allow for it. Moreover, in the case of gaining combat skills, you only needed to install the requisite battle data in order for them to function effectively. Furthermore, unlike human soldiers, even if they get harmed in combat, they won’t need to be given a survivor’s pension. They don’t need food, water, clothes, medicine, and you certainly don’t need to pay them any salary, so the logistics costs are very low as well. If you think about it, fielding them truly had a lot of advantages.
“They’re easy on the wallet after all.”
“Why did you have to say the same words twice?”
“Uh, I just thought the imperial military really has its own share of troubles after all.”
“It’s none of your business.”
If they also employed space-use combat bots in starships instead of a regular crew, I’m sure they’ll be able to further cut the costs, but I wonder why they’re not doing so? Hm. Well, the Graccan empire seems to have suffered under AI in the past, so maybe they were just not too into the idea of fielding combat bots as their main combat force due to that. So it looks like the combat bots are only mostly used in ground combat huh. Perhaps that’s because they’d be able to easily take care of them via orbital bombardment if things go south for some reason? I’m a bit curious now.
“But how’d you prepare a force like this in such short notice?”
“They were originally meant to be dispatched to handle the aggressive lifeforms that attacked the Comatt III colony bases. We merely transported them here to Comatt IV.”
“Ah, I see.”
It’s been a couple of days since the aggressive lifeforms like the Grapplers appeared on Comatt III. The Comatt system isn’t that far from the nearest gateway, and it wouldn’t take that long to contact the capital and transport the required forces over.
Compared to the so-called frontier systems like Izrooks where we fought the crystal lifeforms and Termaine where we met Mimi, transportation was very accessible here.
“But this is getting boring y’know.”
“Ara. I won’t try to stop you if you want to jump right in the middle of that you know?”
“I’ll pass, thanks.”
If I rushed in the middle of a chaotic melee between the dangerous lifeforms and the combat bots, it won’t be enough no matter how many lives I had in stock. Although this dimension resembled SOL in my eyes, it was also unmistakably real. Unlike games, once you’re dead here, you’re dead for good. I think? Anyway, I have no intention of testing out that theory.
“Well, we still don’t know how much resources our target has at his disposal. I believe this will take a bit more time to get settled, so just go ahead and try to relax for the time being.”
“Gee, thanks a lot.”
It looks like we’ll be watching the ‘wargames’ for a while more. I looked up at the new drop pods rapidly descending as I reached out for the water canteen hanging on my waist.
『We’re also seeing everything over here! It’s amazing! So cool!』
『Mr. Wamdo is on cloud nine after getting a lot of good footage.』
I talked to Mimi and Elma through the universal mask. The fighting between the Twisteds and combat bots was still ongoing, but the Twisteds seemed to be constantly getting pushed back due to the seamless cooperation and intense firepower of the combat bots. At this rate, it was only a matter of time before the Twisteds out here were completely mopped up by the combat bots and they proceed to invade their base.
『The moment when you rushed at that huge fellow with swords was pretty intense.』
『That was just too cool! I got the data from Wamdo-san so I’ll send it over!』
After Mimi said so, a small window opened on the HUD of the universal mask which played the scene of me and Lt. Col. Serena heading straight for the Grappler taken from an exquisite camera angle.
“The camera angle’s pretty good.”
After saying so, I moved my attention to the sphere floating around my shoulder. This sphere was an autonomous camera device that followed my every move in the same way as the Gravity Sphere we use to bring our drinks inside the cockpit. It combines hologram tech and other advanced stuff to record our every move on the ground. First, it was the Gravity Sphere, and now this. Don’t you think the humans in this dimension have a weird tech tree progression?
“So you’re finally being relieved from air support duty huh?”
『The main ground attack forces from the imperial military have arrived after all. And also, ships specialized in air to surface attacks have arrived with them, so we no longer have any role to play. We’re still gonna stick around to guard you and your companions though.』
“Oh, I see. Military vessels specialized in air to surface bombardment huh? I’m sure their air support capabilities are top-notch.”
I nodded and turned my attention to the green-colored plasma bolts that just rained down from above.
Plasma artillery was developed by applying energy shield tech and basically worked by trapping ultra-high temperature plasma within a weak energy shield and then launching it out. Since the projectile was slow and the range was short, mercenaries rarely equipped them on their ships since they engaged mainly in space combat. There’s also a newly developed plasma accelerator, but the projectile was still quite slow and it was generally hard to handle…… Even if there was a limit to the number you can stuff on your ship, anti-ship torpedoes were still comparably more convenient. Large ships were generally slowpokes after all.
As for plasma weaponry, the combat bots battling in front of us also had them equipped. They were plenty powerful. They were equipped with both the 2nd generation plasma weaponry that shoots out plasma trapped within a weak energy shield and the 1st generation plasma weaponry that fires a physical cannon round that causes a plasma explosion the moment it hits the target.
Their destructive power was roughly on par with each other, but one advantageous feature of the 2nd generation weapons is that there’s technically no limit to their ammo. Since the plasma was enclosed in an energy shield, the stress on the barrel was next to non-existent, and it had the ability to fire almost an unlimited amount of rounds as long as the generator output allowed it.
『This scene also has plenty of impact as well.』
『That’s right. The imperial combat bots look really reliable as they slay the dangerous creatures.』
“It really resembles a scene from an action holo-flick huh…… There aren’t that many movies where combat bots play leading roles though.”
There were also plenty of movies for entertainment available in this dimension. In them, imperial elites often fight against alien species that are hostile and impossible to reason with, and scenes similar to the one we’re currently witnessing were pretty common. But in those works, it was imperial soldiers – including non-human ones – that take on the main fighting roles. But in reality, combat bots like these played a more active role huh.
“Well, when it comes to imperial troops fighting…… It’s not like I’m an imperial soldier but there were plenty of instances where imperial troops fought the creatures earlier as well, so I’m sure Wamdo knows what to do.”
The nobles of the Graccan empire tend to not leave any truly crucial work to machines and AI after all. Well, perhaps the imperial nobles only wish to avoid completely relying on the AI and want to work hard themselves. I’m not sure though.
“Once the combat bots are done with sweeping away the creatures, I wonder if it would be my and Lt. Col. Serena’s turn to finish things with the boss by clashing swords with him? ……Man, it really is like an action holo-flick.”
『And it’s standard to have a fight that’s either done barehanded, with knives, or swords while being surrounded by flames at the end huh.』
『A-Ahaha…… It really sounds like something like that might actually happen later.』
So those kinds of scenes are also classic staples over here huh. The final fight scenes where the main characters had to fight in the flesh I mean. But how about we go for a smarter method in reality? I mean, like, chucking a poison gas canister or two inside the boss room or something.
 TL Notes: Aniki is a slang term in Japanese that’s often used by Yakuza members or delinquents to refer to those above them, though it’s also used by regular folk and siblings/cousins as well. Basically, it’s just an informal term for ‘big brother’.