404 – Widespread Pandemic


“We’re here, huh?”

The Lotus passed through subspace and arrive at the hyperlane entrance near the edge of the Reemay star system. Basically, the hyperlane entrance was located at the outer edge of the star system, so it will take about two hours for the Lotus to travel from here to the system’s habitable zone where the colonies and inhabited planets were located.

It will be a little faster using Krishna, but it didn’t make much sense to do so.

“Let’s take out the protective equipment in preparation for heading out there.”


We went to the ship’s cargo hold and prepared our protective suits. They were basically jumpsuits…… Or rather, coveralls. Coupled with tough and airtight helmets, they were capable of completely shielding an individual from harmful substances and pathogens.

At first glance, they looked like rather low-tech equipment with a retro-futuristic aesthetic, but they were equipped with mechanisms that allowed them to perfectly conform to the wearer’s physique. They also had several hard points for equipping a variety of optional parts so they can be converted for use in outer space. All in all, they were actually pretty high-performance.

“The only flaw of these things is that they don’t leave much for the imagination. They completely show your curves.”

“You do seem like you’re enjoying this quite a bit though.”

Elma’s body lines were truly akin to works of art. She was, overall, quite slender. However, the delicate curve from her waist to her thighs and her modest but perky chest were truly…… beautiful. Just plain beautiful.

“I don’t mind seeing this for myself. But it’s a waste for other guys to see something so wonderful. And so, here you go.”

“Oh, a chameleon thermal cloak.”

I handed Elma one of the cloaks I bought in the Brad system. In addition to their optical camouflage system, they were also capable of regulating body temperature. I remember being told that they were a waste of money back then, but they eventually did come in handy. When the optical camo function was turned off, they looked like predominantly white hex-patterned cloaks. However, when the optical camo function was turned on, they were able to freely change their pattern and colors in order to match the surrounding scenery.

If they wore these, the women in our group won’t be exposed to invasive glances when we’re out and about.

“My Lord, would it not be more troublesome to sterilize ourselves if we wear this much equipment.”

“Well, it probably will, but just think of this as a measure to prevent a different sort of trouble.”

It will be a lot more troublesome if they didn’t wear cloaks and ended up attracting unwanted attention. Even more so if they attracted the attention of particularly shady folks. I’d feel a lot more secure with the cloaks on them as well.

“I see…… Um, My Lord. It seems that I cannot wear it after all.”

“I see…… It can’t be helped. It would be nice if we can find a protective suit that you can wear at the Reemay Prime colony, Kugi.”

I was wondering if Kugi can wear the suit since she had her fluffy tails to account for, and it looked like it really was no good. The protective equipment we prepared couldn’t accommodate Kugi’s tails. Of course, poking a hole in the suit was a no-go. In other words, Kugi will have to stay behind for now.

“Well, that didn’t exactly go as smoothly as we hoped, but for now, it seems that everyone’s fine except for Kugi. Let’s get back to our posts, guys.”

“Roger that.”

“Alright, My Lord.”

After completing the final checks on our protective equipment, we changed out of them and went back to our respective posts.

The chances were pretty low, but it never hurts to be prepared for pirate raids. After all, even if there was a pandemic going rampant in the Reemay star system, pirates wouldn’t necessarily pass up the chance to attack passing ships.

The Black Lotus also outwardly resembled an ordinary cargo ship for the most part despite its more rugged look, so it was a bit of a pirate magnet. Well, that was actually the point, but it does get a bit annoying during times when you don’t particularly wanna get entangled with them. Well, it can’t be helped, I suppose.

We were now in the middle of traveling to the Reemay Prime colony. After checking up on Tina to see how she was doing, I went straight to Krishna’s cockpit to stay on standby there just in case there was an emergency. However……

“This is terrible.”

I displayed the information gathered by Mei on Krishna’s main screen and started browsing it, and honestly, Reemay Prime’s situation didn’t look good at all.

First, the epidemic was primarily an air-borne disease. However, it didn’t infect people through sneezing or coughing. Instead, it was actually spread through exposure to the air-borne spores of a certain type of fungus.

The symptoms begin with fever and coughing, and as the disease progresses, the patient experiences acute chest pains and ends up coughing out bloody phlegm. Ultimately, the lung tissues of the patient die out, and they end up suffocating to their deaths. If they were unlucky, their central nervous system might get infected instead. Either case will eventually lead to death if the patient was left untreated.

The troublesome thing about the disease is its rapid proliferation after the patients die. If the corpses weren’t properly treated, they will become new sources of infection. To be more specific, if a corpse was left on its own, mushrooms will start to grow on it within two hours and will immediately start scattering spores afterward.

Moreover, the spores had the capability to infect seemingly any living creature, not just people. In other words, they were able to infect and kill rats and other animals that roam within ventilation ducts, sewers, and maintenance passages, and then turn them into mushroom-spawning nurseries that will threaten the entire colony.

“If it’s like this, then isn’t this disease already on the level of a bio-weapon?”

“It appears to indeed be approaching those levels……”

The mushrooms didn’t look like the edible kind at all. They had umbrella-shaped caps on top of thin stalks…… They looked kinda similar to waraitake, which is one of those so-called magic mushrooms.

『The fungi are the source of the pathogen, but after looking up their composition and genetic information, they seem to originally be raw materials for a certain narcotic. However, they also seem to already be quite different from the original strain.』

“In other words?”

『Perhaps some idiot brought those mushrooms into the colony and tried to cultivate them, only to fail spectacularly. Or maybe someone who used the drug refined from those mushrooms suddenly died and ended up becoming the initial source of the contagion…… I can’t be sure regarding what exactly happened, but it’s probably something along those lines.』

“Either way, they ended up harming a lot of other people…… How will we handle this situation?”

『What about purifying all the infection sources and and giving appropriate treatment to all those who were infected? Well, I suppose that’s gonna be pretty hard.』

The Reemay Prime colony was quite large and old, and it’s reasonable to assume that there were already tons of dead animals that have turned into infection sources. It certainly seemed quite difficult to exterminate and purify all of them on top of treating the surviving colony inhabitants. Even with the advanced tech of this world, such an undertaking will be impossible without spending a lot of time and money.

『Well, you’ll be fine as long as you don’t allow any spores to enter your body and don’t bring them inside the ships. There seem to be no small animals that can serve as potential infection sources inside the ships anyway.』

『Yes. The quarantine systems are flawless.』

Mei had complete control over the interior of the Black Lotus, and since she didn’t allow even a single rat to infest the ship, there will be no problems as long as we’re sufficiently careful out there. That’s quite reassuring.

『Oh, this goes without saying, but please don’t sneak around buying any weird drugs out there. As I said earlier, drugs that were processed using those mushrooms as ingredients can cause a breakout.』

“We don’t have any crew members with that kind of hobby. But I’ll give everyone a warning, just in case.”

『Please do. And if you ever feel like trying something like that out, just consult me instead.』

“Will you quit saying such disturbing stuff, Doc?”

Did she mean she was gonna do something to curb our desire for taking such drugs, or was Dr. Shouko actually offering to concoct something for us herself instead of us trying out potentially dangerous substances? Either way, it was still disturbing, so no thanks.

However, does that mean there was a possibility this matter was actually related to illegal drugs? This was Tina’s old nest as well…… I have a bad feeling about this. But it’s not like there’s any way to prepare for such a thing…… For now, I better just suck it up and resolve myself for whatever’s coming.

Novel Schedule

I Woke Up Piloting the Strongest Starship, so I Became a Space Mercenary

Schedule will be reduced when the goal is reached

Balance: 0

Comments (11)

  1. UnwantedFoe

    Getting an error, can’t find this chapter

  2. RPGsus

    They keep calling it a “disease”, but they clearly label it as a fungal infection instead. Not all contagious sicknesses are diseases. Most, but not all. A lethal strain of fungal spores certainly can fit the bill of contagious and non “epidemic”, considering that term more or less specifically refers to disease type contagions.

  3. ERedStorm

    “Instead, it was actually spread through exposure to the air-borne spores of a certain type of fungus.”
    Aw crap

    “The troublesome thing about the disease is its rapid proliferation after the patients die. If the corpses weren’t properly treated, they will become new sources of infection. To be more specific, if a corpse was left on its own, mushrooms will start to grow on it within two hours and will immediately start scattering spores afterward.”
    Ah shit

  4. Philips

    [sources and and giving appropriate] -> {sources and giving appropriate} ~ unless the repeat is intended

    Space covid, now comes with mushrooms. I guess even in a fantasy sf world, them chinese will still eat anything.
    Thanks for the chapter! Awesome translation! May God bless you!

    1. Philips

      The stupid joke made me forget about a better thing. It’s number 404, yet I forgot to make any “missing” joke. Sad times.

      1. RPGsus

        You forgot about something else… This is a Japanese novel.
        Just because it’s an epidemic, that doesn’t automatically associate with covid. Moreover, this is more like a fungal infection or poison, rather than a viral disease.

      2. Erulian

        Last of Us anyone?

  5. theracr

    ERROR 404: chapter not found

    sorry, had to do that. joke aside that sounds like Last Of Us

  6. sfcipher

    SARS, or COVID?
    Thanks for the treat.

    1. theracr

      nah, corticeps from last of us

Get More Krystals