Editor: Thor’s Stone
The Kensan system was a star system that has just been incorporated into the Graccan empire. Its existence itself has been recognized for a while already, but it took quite a lot of steps and time in order for it to be recognized as official Graccan imperial territory internationally. That’s why, technically, it was just newly incorporated.
“Well, that seems to have happened only three months ago.”
“That is considered recent?”
“Um, maybe it is?”
Whisker responded to Kugi’s question with another question. Well, on an international scale, I suppose three months can be considered as something recent.
“So, what’re we gonna do now, Boss?”
Tina, who wasn’t wearing her usual work overalls but casual room wear instead, inquired. Her get-up didn’t seem out of place because we were currently relaxing inside the dining hall of the Black Lotus. It didn’t look out of place, but just wearing a thin tank top was still a bit too defenseless.
“For now, we’ll do stuff like recon and info gathering.”
Elma responded while sipping a mysterious drink from a straw extending out of a cup-shaped container. She was always drinking it when working out, so I assumed it was some kind of protein drink, but I’ve never confirmed my conjecture with her. Was it tasty? Maybe I’ll ask her about it later.
“Specifically, we’ll gather info related to hunting pirates. It seems there are many cases of pirates aiming for transport and adventurer ships around these parts. The imperial space navy is checking out the surrounding star systems, thinking there’s a pirate stronghold in them.”
“That’s why we mercenaries are going to split up and hunt down space pirates in order to get information out of them. We need to either capture live prisoners or secure data caches.”
It seems that Tina, Mimi, and Elma were convinced by my explanation.
We need to take prisoners because whenever space pirates surrender, they basically erase all available information inside their database before purging the cockpit block from the rest of their ship. If they didn’t do that, they’d end up selling out their fellow pirates. It seems that even pirates have a certain code they abide by. Either way, they’d still die miserably in the end, so I wish they would at least prove useful though.
If a data cache couldn’t be found, it was just a matter of interrogating the prisoners, but that would cost the imperial military some time and effort. In this world of super-advanced technology, it just wasn’t possible to hinder information collection for long. And besides, human rights weren’t applied to space pirates in the first place. In a way, it was an extremely scary world.
“In other words, it’s just business as usual.”
In short, we were tasked with filling in for the military that wasn’t able to conduct effective small-scale operations. Presently, it seems that the defense garrison against pirates in this star system was woefully lacking in the required numbers.
There was no problem with protecting the supply mothership Dauntless itself. And the Dauntless was equipped with a large number of defensive turrets and interceptor fighters. Its being called a supply mothership might sound like its combat capabilities were low, but in reality, it’s more like a mobile fortress.
However, when it comes to protecting the entire system, the Dauntless by itself wasn’t enough. Although fighter interceptors had all the combat functions a proper combat vessel needs, they were basically unable to operate too far away from the mothership. So, whenever a rescue request comes in, they’d need to send a fleet to respond instead of sending fighters, but the Dauntless escort fleet alone just won’t be enough. That’s why we who were hired by Col. Serena and her Independent Anti-pirate Mobile Fleet were sent all the way to this Kensan system.
However, as far as I could tell, the actions of the pirates active in this system were refined and troublesome. Their raids were quite swift, and they’d already be long gone way before the system garrison and the imperial space navy’s combined fleet could even arrive.
Pirates weren’t stupid after all. If they judged that they couldn’t win, they’d have no qualms running away. Even I couldn’t prevent some from escaping from my sights several times already.
“I think it’s just a coincidence, but now we’ll need to go up against slippery space pirates who tend to run away right after we purchased the Antlion that’s equipped with a Gravity Jammer.”
“I understand what you’re getting at, but Antlion’s Gravity Jammer was developed to be a bane to space pirates in the first place. It’s inevitable that we use it to deal with space pirates, right?”
I responded to Whisker’s words and shrugged.
We’d probably get the same impression even if we hunted down space pirates like normal without accepting Col. Serena’s request. There was no equipment more suited to mercenaries like us who make our living hunting down pirates than something that’s able to interfere with the activation of a pirate ship’s FTL drive.
Well, if I asked Kugi, she’d just tell me it’s a result of my innate predisposition for bad luck or something like that, but anyway, we made the decision to purchase the Antlion that day ourselves, so simply chalking it all to fate didn’t sit that well with me.
“They say the bounties placed on the heads of the pirates are getting higher and higher. Let’s act carefully yet boldly and earn lots of money…… Well, it’s our day off today though.”
“Thanks to Tina and Whisker, our ships are in perfect condition, and we’ve also completed stockpiling supplies in the Windas system. Do you guys want to check out the Dauntless? We’re going to be staying in it for a while after all.”
“Ooh, that sounds good. It looks like a pretty old ship, but I’m curious about its interior.”
“It should be fun walking around a ship this big.”
Tina and Kugi look very up to my suggestion. Tina was just acting as usual, but Kugi was also displaying a strong sense of curiosity. It’s probably because she was brought up in a sheltered environment. Her three tails were wagging back and forth cutely.
“Let’s go and check it out then, everyone.”
“Yes! I’ll call Mei-san over too.”
Mimi operated her tablet terminal and sent a message to Mei who wasn’t present. It seems we’re gonna be staying here for a while, so let’s do some sightseeing first.