423 – Emergency Launch
The next day, I invited Airia, Heinz, and Sieg to the ship. But we couldn’t leave the children at the facility alone, so I sent Mei and some combat bots to watch over them.
“I am perfectly capable of taking care of children. I am a maid after all.”
That’s what she said, but I set her emotional expression value to the bare minimum though…… I just hope the children won’t end up being scared of her. Mei was extremely beautiful, so some people find her pretty hard to approach. But since I was the one who designed her, I didn’t feel intimidated by her at all.
Airia and the guys boarded the Black Lotus and let out cries of admiration when they reached the break area. When we boarded the ship from the gangway and entered after the disinfection procedures, they were already saying stuff like ‘It’s brighter than I expected.’ and ‘The floor and walls are pretty clean eh.’, but they were absolutely floored when we reached the bright and spacious break area.
“Apparently, the image people have of mercenary ships is that they’re damp, dark, and dirty, with bare metal walls, floors, and ceilings.”
“At the very least, they definitely wouldn’t think of something this spacious and beautiful. I’m truly impressed.”
“It looks like a really high-end hotel…… Eh? What’s with that wall?”
Heinz was simply impressed, while the terrarium on the wall caught Sieg’s interest. As for Airia……
“Hey there, Airia. Been a while.”
She immediately saw Tina and ran straight to her. Yeah, I’m sure they have a lot they want to talk about, so I better leave them alone for a while. Airia seemed to be acquainted with Wiska as well, and along with Linda, the four of them quickly settled down and began talking at length.
“Shall we head over to the dining hall first?”
When I went to the dining hall with the two guys in tow, all the female crew members except for Tina and Wiska followed as well. Err, well, I couldn’t spot Dr. Shouko, so she’s probably holed up in the lab again.
“My Lord, dear guests, please partake in some refreshments.”
I thanked Kugi for bringing over some drinks. It’s hot Imperial-style tea. It was similar to black tea.
“Uh…… Bro, these people are……?”
“These are my crew members. The one who served the tea is Kugi. She’s from the Holy Empire. And……”
“I’m Mimi. I’m an imperial citizen, and I serve as the ship operator and supply manager.”
“Name’s Elma. I’m also an imperial citizen, and I’m a pilot. I’m also a Silver rank mercenary.”
“My Lord has already introduced me, but in any case, I am Kugi. I am currently apprenticing as a sub-pilot.”
After Mimi, Elma, and Kugi introduced themselves, Heinz and Sieg followed suit.
“Pleased to meet you all. I’m Heinz. I suppose you can consider me a security guard of sorts.”
“I’m Sieg. I’m a guard like Big Bro Heinz…… Um, Big Bro Hiro. They are all really cute and pretty.”
“You jealous? Honestly, I also think I have it too good.”
These are my true thoughts by the way. Was I really qualified to surround myself with this many beautiful women? I often asked myself that question. I mean really.
“That’s surprisingly humble Bro.”
“I gotta make sure they can depend on me after all. I need to work hard every day to become a man deserving of their trust. I can’t just sit back and relax all the time.”
“Haha…… Being the head of a harem seems pretty tough.”
“I guess. Well, honestly, I’ve been relying on them a lot as well. I can’t allow myself to get carried away.”
In any case, I believe it’s my responsibility to do my best to respond to the girls who shower me with so much trust and adoration. Of course, there’s a limit to what I can do on my own and how much responsibility I can shoulder, so in reality, our team functions by relying on each other’s strengths.
“You sure are saying some pretty admirable stuff there, mister. Aren’t you pretty sloppy whenever there’s no work to be done?”
“Even so, Hiro-sama never misses a day of training. Besides, don’t we all act sloppy on off days as well?”
“My Lord does put forth great effort in his endeavors. However, no matter how sturdy a rope is, it will eventually break if it is constantly strained. I believe he has found a good balance between work and rest.”
“You two always try to spoil Hiro any chance you get.”
“I wonder why…… Why am I being shown such a scene? What are these feelings that are welling up inside me?”
Sieg, who witnessed our usual lovey-dovey antics, seemed to be about to fall into the dark side. If things go on like this, Sieg will eventually be consumed by the burning flames of jealousy.
Now then, how should I calm this guy down? In any case, I decided to show them around Krishna’s hangar. I had Mimi and the rest check on Airia and the other girls, so it was just the three of us guys this time.
“Can you give me the lowdown, Bro?”
As I was guiding the two around the hangar where Krishna was kept, Sieg suddenly inquired. I tilted my head while wondering what he meant.
“Are you really doing it with those girls……?”
“I’m so damn jealous right now……”
“Does it really bother you that much?”
“How’d ya do it, Bro?”
“Well–…… Let’s see. I suppose it was good timing and acting like a dependable guy.”
Whether it was Mimi, Elma, Tina and Wiska, or Dr. Shouko who I haven’t introduced to these guys yet, I believe what led to them joining me was ultimately a mix of good timing and my financial capabilities. Well, it’s not like we’re only connected by money, but money did play a large part in how we came together.
“You need to be prepared to give everything you have when the opportunity comes. Whether it’s financially or simply risking your life.”
“That…… sounds really rough.”
“For example, rescuing a girl from thugs in a back alley, taking care of food, shelter, and ensuring her freedom, paying off compensation worth millions of Enels to the imperial military, actually buying a ship worth several millions, or equipping it with parts that cost about the same amount.”
“It’s impossible. No matter how many times I get to redo my life, I don’t think I’d ever get to earn that much money.”
“Other examples include fighting a space fleet sent to assassinate a noble family’s legitimate heir, attacking a Vereverem Federation fleet with a single ship, heading straight into a swarm of crystal lifeforms, or fighting with bioweapons that can go toe to toe with fully armed imperial marines…… I have lots more where those came from, by the way.”
“Those are more than enough already…… Or rather, seriously, Bro?”
“Seriously. You can try asking Mimi or Elma if you want.”
“Not to mention money, it sounds like even multiple lives wouldn’t be enough. But if you’ve really survived such chaotic situations, it’s no wonder you can kill all the Bloodies without breaking a sweat.”
Heinz, who’d only been listening silently to me and Sieg until now, quipped while displaying a bitter smile. Still, laser weapons were pretty scary y’know. The Ninja power armor was relatively thin, so it was pretty dangerous to get hit multiple times without an energy shield.
“It’s not like I particularly enjoy killing. It’s just that I don’t care much if the opponents are pirates and criminals. Also, I have no mercy for those who come at me with the intent to kill.”
“That’s pretty cut and dry.”
“That’s just how mercenaries are. And we’re here. This is my beloved partner.”
“Whoah. It’s pretty big.”
“It’s still quite small for a combat ship.”
I took Sieg, who was crying in admiration, and Heinz, who looked rather impressed, around the interior of the Krishna. I also showed them the rest of the hangar and my armory of close-combat weapons.
“It’s amazing to have your favorite weapons lined up in display like this, right? It’s a man’s romance.”
“I get that.”
“I totally understand, Bro. How nice. I’d like to have an arsenal like this someday.”
It looked like the close combat weapons armory was a big hit with the two of them. They also enjoyed test-driving the power armor. I also had them test-fire some weapons at the shooting range.
“When you get to use them like this, you really feel how important having a high-quality weapon is.”
“Right? I believe you need good quality weapons in order to do a good job.”
“I think your level of arsenal is a bit too much for guys like us though, Bro.”
There were apparently plenty of stories of folks getting killed in the low-security areas around the lower block, but it was unlikely to engage in firefights using military-grade weapons like the ones I had. After all, if people died in said firefights, decontamination teams will be dispatched and government intervention would be inevitable. That’s why, surprisingly, they only engaged in shootouts with laser guns with outputs just one step short of being lethal and were only capable of causing serious injuries.
As we talked about the situation regarding the weapons used by outlaws, the ringtone of my portable terminal rang out. What’s up? I checked the terminal and found that the caller was Hartmut.
“Sorry. I need to take this.”
I excused myself and answered the call after going outside the armory.
“This is Hiro speaking. What’s u–”
『I’m going to get straight to the point. I’m sending you the data right now. Please go after the ship indicated and either capture or shoot it down.』
“Roger that. Don’t forget about the pay.”
I answered immediately without asking for details. I’ve already gotten a read on Hartmut’s personality. There must be a reason why someone like him, who places a big deal on etiquette, skipped through all the formalities in order to ask a favor like this.
“The Krishna and Antlion will perform an emergency launch. Is it fine to leave the required procedures to you?”
『One small and one medium-sized combat ship, correct? Understood. Please don’t let them get away.』
I gave Hartmut a fast reply, cut the call, and showed my face inside the armory.
“We got a sudden call from the colony governor. We’re performing an emergency sortie. I’m sorry, but I’m gonna have Tina and Wiska take care of you guys, so please stay put inside the break area.”
“Got it, Bro.”
Heinz and Seig nodded in response. I nodded in return and used my portable terminal to inform Mimi and the others about the emergency launch.
I’m not clear about the exact situation, but since they requested us to make an emergency launch, the target must have left port already. I had to get Krishna started as soon as possible in order to make it in time.