433 – Sorting Out the Situation and Presenting a Plan

What was the problem we were facing in this current situation? I asked Captain Serena directly for the details. The fact that I was sent here through an edict directly given out by that damned emperor himself probably meant that he must have had other intentions apart from his amusement. It shouldn’t have been given out on a whim. I’d expect so anyway.

So, I inquired with Captain Serena, and she told me that the mission was to restrict the activities of the so-called space pirates and, if possible, destroy them completely. However, the star systems in which said pirates were operating had many spots where they could enter and exit freely. The Independent Mobile Anti-Pirate Fleet couldn’t possibly cast a wide enough net to corner the pirates on their own, and since they employed relatively slow battleships and cruisers as part of their fleet, they also had a pretty hard time pursuing the targets.

I listened to accounts of their encounters so far, and there were several disappointing instances. For example, they rushed to the scene after picking up a distress signal, but by the time they arrived, everything was over. Then they discovered a suspicious fleet navigating at superluminal speed, but they were a lot faster than the Independent Mobile Anti-Pirate Fleet which had battleships and cruisers among their ranks. Hence, their attempted interdiction failed spectacularly.

“As expected, those battleships and cruisers of yours are holding you guys back.”

“If you keep saying mean things, I’m going to cry, okay? Really. I’m gonna bawl my eyes out, you hear me?”

“What kind of threat is that……? C’mon. It’s not like those ships can’t be put to good use. And so, I’m gonna tell you about the strategy I came up with now.”

“Just to be clear, I am a naval captain serving in the Imperial Space Force, and my military knowledge and tactical acumen are more than adequate for that position. Also, I’ve received an education befitting that of a qualified imperial officer, okay……?”

Captain Serena threw a scornful gaze my way. Her adjutant, standing by behind me, also looked at me with interest. Well, of course, she would. These women were military professionals and were intelligent enough to climb the ranks and serve as a captain and an adjutant. How could a mercenary who hadn’t undergone systematic education from a military academy teach worthwhile tactics and strategies to them? Well, these were indeed valid doubts.

“That military knowledge and education are narrowing down your perspective and freedom of thought by emphasizing widely accepted common sense and established standards. You need to think outside the box and don’t make things unnecessarily complicated.”

“That’s quite the claim. Very well. Let’s hear that strategy you came up with, shall we?”

“You got it. If you can’t manage with a single fleet, then split your forces into several divisions. With that, you’d be able to put up a net and even artificially create a choke point, right?”

“……I see? But that’s…… No, um……?”

After Captain Serena heard my words, she covered her mouth with her hand and started thinking. Her bio-enhanced brain must have already started operating at a super-high rate.

To summarize. The fleet faced two problems: the activity range of the pirates being too wide and the stark difference in their speed. Therefore, they should divide their relatively slow battleships and cruisers into small groups and station them at hyperlane entrances. This would prevent the so-called pirates from escaping to another star system, as well as block suspicious fleets arriving from the other surrounding star systems. This move alone could greatly limit their activity range.

Since activating a Hyperdrive took far more time compared to activating an FTL Drive, those so-called pirates would first warp out to an area within a star system near a hyperlane entrance before activating their Hyperdrives. And so, the battleships and cruisers could perform scans to identify those ships and destroy them before they could jump inside the hyperlane. Conversely, they could also force ships jumping out of a hyperlane entrance to undergo scans. If those ships ever refused and forcibly activated their FTL Drives, the battleships and cruisers were free to open fire with their large-caliber laser cannons. No questions asked.

There were very few small or medium-sized starships capable of surviving direct hits by the main guns of Imperial Space Force battleships and cruisers. Even my Krishna would be hard-pressed if an Imperial Space Force battleship or cruiser performed an ambush on it as it was exiting a hyperlane. There’s just no way to escape from a main gun’s volley in a situation where there’s no cover to speak of and quickly closing the distance wasn’t an option.

If we took a volley head-on, at the very least, our shield would be taken down in one hit, and once it goes down completely, we wouldn’t be able to activate our FTL Drive either. If we collided with debris while navigating at superluminal speed without an energy shield up, we’d definitely take fatal damage. That’s why it was virtually impossible to activate the FTL Drive without the safety provided by an energy shield.

“Um, dividing a fleet’s forces is expressly forbidden by the Imperial Space Force’s combat doctrine though……?”

“That damn doctrine of yours is useless against space pirates. So, just ignore it completely. And besides, isn’t that so-called combat doctrine of yours designed specifically to go up against other nations’ professional space forces such as those of the Vereverem Federations’? Also, based on military operation standards, the enemies we’re currently up against can be adequately dealt with by a minimum of a single frigate and two corvettes.”

Ms. Adjutant tried to object, but I quickly shot her down. Us mercenaries usually classified combat ships into small, medium, large, and mother ships. However, according to military operation standards, all medium-sized ships and smaller were classified as corvettes, and large ships and mother ships were classified as either frigates or destroyers. Both were considered to only have reached the bare minimum size or merely one size larger than the minimum to qualify for those classifications by military standards. Some of the smaller ships were even considered to be carrier-based fighters rather than actual military starships.

Well, enough about that topic. It wasn’t all that important anyway. The more pressing issue right now was that even someone like Captain Serena was so constrained by this so-called military combat doctrine that she failed to devise the idea of dividing her forces on her own.

Well, I could understand to some extent. In this world, military battles were all about pitting the greatest number of ships with sturdy energy shields, thick armor, and powerful cannons against one another.

Laser cannons had a particularly long effective range in outer space, and their accuracy was almost one hundred percent. Unless there was an overwhelming difference in the destructive power of the weapons or the performance of the shields and armor, the side with greater numbers usually won the day. In that case, it was only natural that dividing one’s forces would be treated as something to avoid in terms of imperial fleet operations and combat doctrine. After all, according to the norms, the one with fewer forces would most likely lose.

“It’s a little terrifying to divide our forces in an area so close to the front lines, but I do understand your point. It’s definitely doable, and might even prove to be quite effective. The final step is to send the rest of our ships that are smaller than destroyers to scour the star system and gradually tighten the net until we finally corner the enemies, correct?”

“That’s right. As long as we keep hunting them down, we’ll probably get our hands on some critical information at some point, and once that happens, we can finally go for the one in command.”

As long as we kept collecting and analyzing data storage devices from the destroyed ships of those so-called space pirates, or capturing and interrogating the pirates themselves, we’d eventually discover where the folks commanding them were hiding. Once we crush them, the disturbance in the rear would finally be put to an end. Well, some more troublesome stuff might pop up afterward though.

“Now, the only thing left to do is choose a suitable location to set up the net. After all, without prey present, the net’s practically useless. Take note of all the sectors you’ve encountered the pirates so far, as well as all sectors where losses have occurred, and ones where merchant ships have been reported missing…… Well, information analysis is more your specialty anyway.”

“Right. Once that’s done, it’ll be your turn to do some work.”

“And we’ll gladly accept. We’re quite used to going after guys like those.”

However, the weapons and equipment of the pirates were apparently top-notch this time around, so I couldn’t let my guard down. Well, as long as Elma’s Antlion was present, we could probably delay the enemies without much trouble until the slower Black Lotus and Captain Serena’s Independent Mobile Anti-Pirate Fleet could arrive at the scene. I better call Elma and Mei to a meeting to discuss this once we get back to the ship.

After concluding our first meeting with Captain Serena, we returned to the Black Lotus. I immediately gathered all the crew members and shared the details of the meeting with them.

“I see. In other words, what we have to do is the same as usual.”

“That’s how it is. But their weapons and equipment are apparently somewhat top-of-the-line, so we need to be careful. However, what we’ll be doing in the end is the same as usual, yeah. You two are gonna be quite busy though.”

“That would be the case if their equipment truly is better than usual. I’ll do my best.”

Wiska clenched her fists tightly in front of her chest in a show of enthusiasm. The extent of our profits would largely be up to the two sisters, so do your best, guys.

“Um…… I’m just curious. Why doesn’t the Imperial Space Force have any effective tactics to deal with the incursion of smaller enemy forces?”

“That’s because no space empire worth its salt will actually choose to regularly employ these kinds of pirate tactics due to them being largely ineffective. This rear disturbance tactic will only cause a slight delay in the supply chain of luxury goods from civilian providers, and it wouldn’t be enough to actually do significant damage to the logistics of the Imperial Space Force itself. It’s basically impossible to penetrate the front lines with a force only capable of doing that much after all. At best, they can only perform small-scale harassment attacks.”

In fact, only civilian ships transporting generally palatable foodstuffs to the front lines have suffered losses, while the Imperial Space Force’s heavy transport fleets responsible for delivering weapons, ammunition, rations, and other miscellaneous supplies vital for maintaining the front lines, haven’t suffered any attacks at all. The Vereverem Federation was probably paying top Enel to fund this operation but to think the only result to show for it was a slight decrease in luxury goods reaching the front lines, which simply served to irritate the soldiers a little.

“Then why did the Vereverem Federation even decide to implement such a tactic in the first place?”

“They’re the only ones who know the answer to that, I suppose…… I believe Captain Serena’s true mission is to investigate this matter and find out the other party’s true aims in addition to putting an end to the pirate problem once and for all. In fact, the stated mission of Captain Serena and the Independent Mobile Anti-Pirate Fleet is to subjugate these so-called pirates making a mess at the rear, and they seem to have nothing to do with the skirmishes occurring between the Empire and the Federation on the front lines. Or rather, they aren’t even considered part of the main force.”

There’s no doubt about this because I heard it directly from Captain Serena’s mouth as she ranted during our brief chat after the meeting. When they reached the front lines, the only mission they were given was to deal with some stupid pirates conducting harassment tactics at the rear, and when they greeted their comrades who were fighting on the front lines, they said stuff like Captain Serena’s fleet only being good for publicity stunts and whatnot. That’s probably the reason for the good captain’s stormy mood.

“Honestly, I still have no idea if this matter is connected to the suspicious stuff regarding House Ixamal. I still suspect that House Ixamal will stage a betrayal, but both Elma and Captain Serena said it’s highly unlikely.”

“Of course, it is. No matter how cornered and in decline they are, there are practically no benefits to gain for House Ixamal if they betray the empire.”

“That’s what she said. Well, we do have some unpleasant history with them, so they may harass us in some way. However, Captain Serena permitted me to mention her name if that does happen.”

“We’re mercenaries, but we’ll be under Captain Serena’s command for a while from here on out. In other words, we technically have a higher standing. So, if members of House Ixamal try to pick a fight with us, that will also mean they are picking a fight with Captain Serena. That’s why I don’t think there’s that high a chance of them doing anything to us.”

Elma was really reliable when it came to knowledge regarding nobility and how to deal with them. Well, she was also pretty reliable in other areas as well.

“My Lord, will we also capture space pirates this time around?”

“Oh, well, if some manage to survive combat, then it wouldn’t hurt to go and capture them. The more sources of information we have, the better. Why do you ask?”

“Well, if you are going to conduct an interrogation, I believe I might be able to help you. I might need to get a bit rough, but I will be able to quickly extract the information you want to obtain the most from them.”

“Oh, I see…… I’ll leave it to you then.”


Kugi’s fox ears pricked up excitedly as she responded with enthusiasm. Making use of Kugi’s psionic abilities to conduct interrogation would indeed be much quicker and more efficient compared to using torture, truth serum, or a machine to directly extract the contents of a prisoner’s brain.

I was also often subjected to that technique of hers to build up a mental barrier that would allow me to shield myself from those sorts of mental attacks…… Thanks to that, I was forced to confess various embarrassing stuff, and the other crew members found it hilarious. I’m definitely gonna do the same to them once I master that technique as well. Ora! Hypnosis, activate! Or something like that.

However, it was apparently a rather advanced technique, and I didn’t know if I’d ever get to actually master it. It seemed that my psionic abilities were particularly predisposed to techniques exerting tangible power such as space-time manipulation and telekinesis, and even though I also did have a talent for mental manipulation just like Kugi, it was apparently not as strong as the former two.

Well, it’s not like I had abilities that I could fully use right now though! The fact that time slows down whenever I held my breath wasn’t something I was in full control of, and my propensity to attract troublesome fate was apparently something I was doing unconsciously. I’m able to put up a mental barrier as long as I concentrate, and I was also able to use just a bit of telekinesis as well. Apparently, if one truly mastered telekinesis, one could easily blow away soldiers wearing power armor, tear them apart, or compress them into the size of a fist without even touching them. Just what kind of monster was that? I mean really.

“For the time being, we’ll stay on standby until Captain Serena finishes her preparations. It seems that it will take some time to organize and analyze the available information.”

Everyone expressed their understanding after I stated my conclusion. Mei, who was standing behind me the entire time, didn’t say anything in particular throughout the meeting. But the fact that she kept silent probably meant that she didn’t have any particular criticisms or suggestions.

If that’s the case, then that’s fine. Now then, I suppose we should go and reenergize ourselves in preparation for the sortie.

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 (5)

  1. Citizen27

    This will definitely devolve into a crazy major event with the noble there and the pirate subterfuge situation…

  2. Maverun

    Lmao, I wonder what type of embarrassing thing he were forced to reveal

  3. Philips

    Thanks for the double release! Awesome translation! May God bless you!

  4. Hikikomori

    Thanks for the treat.

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