Editor: Thor’s Stone
『Don’t split up! Gather around! We’ll break through together!』
『How are we supposed to group up in this situation!? Huh!?』
『Anyway, let’s just get outta here! Don’t bother with those bastards! Use the asteroids as cover and proceed carefully.』
The exchanges between the pirates could be heard on the comms. Most of them were stupid so they often communicated using unencrypted channels, but the pirates this time around were using properly encrypted lines. That alone showed that their equipment really was a bit more decent than the ones employed by pirates active in other star systems. However, the encryption strength was too low, and we were still able to tap into their comm lines.
“Hiro-sama, a good number of them are going to get away at this rate.”
“It can’t be helped. With my skills and Krishna’s firepower, we’re still able to chase after and bring down pirate ships even if they run deeper into the asteroid belt. But there will eventually be some ships that the military space fighters won’t be able to bring down with their firepower. Pirate ships with good mobility and decent shields will eventually be able to get past the ambush.”
That’s why our formation had already accounted for this matter.
『The FTL drive ain’t working! I can’t lift the safety!』
『It’s another ambush! Uwaaaaaah–!』
It looks like the pirates who managed to pass through the asteroid belt were caught by the gravity jammer-equipped military ships and their escort fighters. Due to us chasing the pirates around within the asteroid belt, they were coming out in smaller batches and not all at once.
If twenty space pirate ships rushed out all at once, the jamming ships and their escort fighters probably won’t be able to intercept them all. But if they rushed out in small groups, interception would be easy.
『Hey? There’s quite a number of them coming our way though?』
“There were a lot more of them than we expected. Or rather, I’ve been doing my best already. You should tell the fighters to work harder.”
『It’s a bit unreasonable to tell them to work just like you though, Hiro…… Alright, that’s one down.』
Elma had already engaged the pirates in combat on the inner side of the asteroid belt. Since even Elma was fighting, did a lot more of them get away than expected? No, maybe Elma was just taking the initiative to earn more money.
“In any case, I guess we’ll have to make our move to get the situation under control. We’re going after them.”
I kept hunting pirate ships one after another while closely skimming the surfaces of asteroids.
It would be troublesome if one of them stayed behind to buy some time in order for the others to escape, but pirates really don’t have that sort of self-sacrificing spirit.
“Man. Blasting the backsides of pirate ships desperately trying to escape feels like a chore.”
“There’s also a strange sense of guilt because of how one-sided it is.”
“But they’re still pirates after all.”
It’s not like I think nothing of my actions when blowing them up. However, I’m aware of exactly how these pirates operate. That’s why I don’t feel any sympathy for them in the end.
“My Lord, we’re about to exit the asteroid belt.”
“I was thinking it was about time to assist the others.”
I checked the data sent out by the information satellite while shooting the backsides of the fleeing pirates and found that the battle inside the asteroid belt was just about over. The pirates that fled their base made it out of the asteroid belt and got intercepted by our allies equipped with gravity jammers.
“Wow, it’s turned into one big melee.”
“We’re charging in.”
After getting past the asteroid belt, the pirate ships engaged the jammer ships and their fighter escorts that were deployed by the Dauntless in a large-scale battle. It would be fairly difficult to find the Antlion in this mess.
“We’re heading to support the Antlion. I’ll leave the navigation settings to you.”
“Make sure you can activate the sub-systems at any moment, Kugi.”
“Yes, My Lord.”
I continuously defeated the pirate ships along the way while heading to the Antlion. Arm-mounted weapons with wide firing angles were incredibly easy to use in situations like this. The pirate ships that suddenly get attacked by Krishna’s laser cannons wouldn’t even know what hit them.
“Hey, I found it.”
I followed Mimi’s navigation and soon saw a pirate starship emitting an intense glow. It was being roasted by the Antlion’s high-output laser beam emitter. Beam emitters quickly expend or ‘throw up’ a capacitor’s energy in continuous bursts, so that’s why they’re nicknamed gerobeams or ‘vomit beams’. It’s really annoying if you get hit with them. Ships with weak shields and thin armor would instantly get destroyed.
『Stoooop!? Surrender! I surrender dammit!』
The pilot of the pirate ship was screaming desperately and wanted to surrender, but Elma kept firing on it without a care. The ship eventually exploded to bits. Either the beam finally reached its energy generator or ignited its oxygen supply system.
『Ara? You guys are here. There’s no need to feel any mercy for guys like them, right?』
“True. Scatter seekers and restrain them please.”
『Aye, aye, sir.』
The Antlion quickly launched seekers from its two missile pods. This will have the pirates prioritize evading the missiles and will make it even more difficult for them to attempt an escape. Pirate ships were usually slower than seeker missiles even when flying in a straight line.
“Let’s keep going.”
『Okay. Let’s compete on kills, Hiro.』
“Uh, it would be no contest, don’t you think?”
『Pretty confident, aren’t you?』
That’s because there’s a pretty large gap in the mobility and overall firepower of our respective ships. Well, she’s raring to go, so I suppose I’ll just play along.
The progress of the entire operation was going quite well. The Dauntless launched a large portion of its fighter squadron in order to make up for the mercenaries that weren’t able to make it back for the operation, so we were able to obtain victory in the space battle without any incident. I was exercising caution because we were facing pirates active in the Edge World, but it looks like our forces have only taken minor damage.
“What’s the current progress of the subjugation operation?”
“We’ve finished eliminating the enemy’s main force. We’re now moving on to achieving total area control.”
“This part is always rather troublesome…… Let’s make sure to take care of the marines’ mental and emotional health after this.”
Most of the marines will probably witness some gruesome stuff while searching the pirate base. The pirate’s break area was still fine, but areas like the ‘processing plant’ or ‘merchandise warehouse’ will be…… Ugh. Just remembering that stuff was making me depressed.
“The new equipment we got provided with seems to be pretty effective.”
“Yes. The fighter squadron of the Dauntless also played a big part in the battle, but it’s indeed very advantageous to be able to prevent the activation of the enemy ship’s FTL drives.”
While listening to Robbitson’s reply, I checked the combat results of Hiro and his companions. As expected, that man isn’t just missing one screw on his head, but two or three. It looks like Elma-san was doing well too. With their combat results, they should have some leeway when it comes to reward negotiations. My pride does not allow me to make any concessions just because we’re acquainted and on good terms, but there’s nothing wrong with making a proper evaluation.
“Now, we just need to complete the suppression without any issues and–”
“Colonel, there seems to be a problem.”
“–What is it?”
“It looks like they managed to find a number of those mysterious spheres. They’re all in an inert state though.”
“Well, that’s certainly troublesome…… Send in additional marines along with a containment team.”
Nothing was going smoothly for us lately. Perhaps it’s due to the influence of that man– No, I might just be overthinking it. Things always go in a crazy direction with him involved after all…… Perhaps he knows something crucial about this matter just like that time with the Mother Crystal. I better meet him in person and wring him– I mean, ask him politely for information.
Lol, spicy noble girl is having a hard time hiding her true desire. Looks like those ballz are stressing Serena, lol 😀
Thanks for the chapter! Awesome translation! May God bless you!
Thanks for the chapter
Thanks for the treat.
Grazzi għall-isforz kollu tiegħek mal-kontenut. Żomm ix-xogħol it-tajjeb.
Looks like Serena is either completely in Work Mode… or has started to lose romantic interest in Hiro.
Thanks for the chapters.
Hope they repurposed the base as supply hub/trade station