436 – Data Analysis and Interesting Fellows
“Usually, we do not perform direct data exchanges, however–”
When the Guild staff oneesan heard the words of her equally oneesan-type superior, she sighed lightly and placed a small data chip on the counter. It was a data storage medium compatible with portable info terminals.
“It’s another story if a Platinum ranker like you is the one requesting it. Please take it. However, it’s mostly raw data and data in the middle of being analyzed. These will prove difficult to be useful in their current state you know?”
“We can go and analyze them on our end, so it’s fine. Our operator is pretty skilled.”
While responding, I inserted the data chip into my portable data terminal and gave the contents a quick scan.
Mimi, who had become a fully-fledged operator, had also acquired enough skills to analyze this sort of information to identify the areas the pirates are active in, as well as the location of their lair. In case it was needed, I could also have Mei help out. We should be able to manage. Well, I’m also relatively good at analyzing, or rather, picking things up from this particular kind of data though.
“Mmhmm…… I see? From the looks of it, their lair seems to be located in the Xyram system that’s right next to this one.”
After stating my findings that resulted from giving the data a quick look, the Guild staff oneesan and her oneesan manager’s eyes widened as they directed surprised looks at me. What’s up with those reactions? I’d flinch if you kept staring at me like that, okay?
“Are you particularly skilled at data analysis, Captain Hiro?”
“Uh, no. I mean data analysis isn’t really that particularly difficult, I think. You can chalk it up to my experience and intuition, I suppose. Look. Raids occurred here, here, and here. And some merchant ships that were taking this route went missing, right? Then, these raids were unsuccessful due to the arrival of the star system forces. Those failed raids happened at the same time the merchant ships went missing, so they were most likely diversions. They lured the star system forces there while another team went after the real targets. The star system forces were originally set to guard the hyperlane entrance into the Xyram system around this time. However, due to the raids, their posting was significantly delayed. There was a similar raid that happened on the other side of the hyperlane entrance, and it also resulted in the deployment of the star system forces over there. And so, for a small window of time, the security level on both sides of that particular hyperlane entrance was weakened. However, there were no merchant ships that ended up going missing on the Xyram system’s side. Therefore, it’s clear that there’s a connection between this series of attempted raids and the merchant ships going missing. Also, the real raid was perpetrated in the Volks system, so there’s a hint that these guys who were skilled enough to pull that off had actually escaped into the Xyram system after the fact.”
I projected a small holo-screen from the terminal and explained the pirates’ movements.
“Similar incidents of decoy raids and merchant ships going missing occurred a couple more times. Here’s one, that’s the second, and that’s the third. In other words, they’ve already established an effective system and have been repeatedly carrying it out. So, what we can tell from this is that the pirates are at least familiar with the patrol routes and schedules of the Volks and Xyram star system forces and that they have a method of determining the position of merchant ships taking this particular route. I’m not sure if the information is being leaked by an insider, or if they are somehow intercepting that information through some means, but there’s no doubt that info has been compromised. Well, the method doesn’t really matter much. It’s not something we need to be fixated on. What’s crucial is that we can use this knowledge to our advantage in order to strike back at them.”
After concluding my explanation, I turned back toward the two Guild staff members and saw that both of them were staring at me with their mouths half-open while sporting blank expressions. Oi. I thought you guys were interested, so I went out of my way to explain it all to you, but were you guys actually listening properly? Or rather, ain’t it unbecoming for two young ladies to freeze together with half-open mouths? You guys are both quite pretty, so don’t waste your looks.
“Wow, that sure was impressive. Could you possibly have the talent to be a scientific researcher like me, Hiro-kun?”
“There’s no way. I’m not that good at using my noggin y’know. Those were just conclusions I came up with as a man of the trade based on a simple rule of thumb. I don’t have any scientific, statistical, or numerical basis for my conjectures at all. I’m probably right on the money though.”
“Hiro does sometimes display some weird and unexpected talents.”
“It’s not that weird though???”
As I retorted to Dr. Shouko and Elma’s quips, the manager oneesan raised her hand and began speaking.
“Um, excuse me. Can I ask you to repeat your analysis one more time? Or rather, would you mind if I recorded it for future reference?”
“Eh……? I don’t want to spend too much time here though.”
I couldn’t help but draw back when I faced the somewhat overwhelming passion of the manager oneesan. Please spare me from anything troublesome.
“Just for a bit. Just a little bit, okay? I mean, we did provide you with the data you wanted, so think of it as giving us something in return. Please.”
“It may be true that having the Mercenary Guild provide all this data is a little out of the ordinary, but it’s still within the scope of the Mercenary Guild’s services, right? Don’t you think asking for something in return for that is a bit brazen……?”
“Though lacking, I am willing to spend a night with you. I will also include this girl as an extra.”
“An extra!? And what about my opinion!?”
“Uh, well, you guys are both really pretty, so I would be lying if I said I’m not tempted at all, but I already have my hands full as it is, so no thank you.”
“And I was even rejected!? Um, senpai, it kinda feels like my pride has been trampled on despite my wishes though!?”
The Guild staff oneesan, whose chastity was offered as a mere extra benefit by her manager, was appalled and indignant. This person sure was interesting.
“Uh, offering to spend a night with a client is no good, isn’t it? It’s a breach of professional ethics.”
“Senpai, a guy who has three pretty ladies accompanying him is actually lecturing us about professional ethics. But even so, I’m also of the same opinion, senpai.”
“I do admit that I tried to resort to rather unethical means, professionally speaking. But to think that a guy who has three women waiting on him would actually say something so reasonable. I can’t believe it.”
“Err, by the way, there are three…… no, four more women onboard his ship.”
“And why is a person like you acting like you have the moral high ground? Don’t you think that’s strange?”
Dammit. Don’t say unnecessary things, Doc. But it’s great that you consider Mei as a proper person. Also, don’t just blurt out stuff like that with a straight face, manager oneesan. If that’s how you’re gonna play, then I have some ideas of my own.
“Alright. You wanna pick a fight? Challenge accepted.”
“I’m sorry, please forgive me, I don’t know what came over me so please let me off.”
When I shook my fist in front of her while sporting a smile, the manager oneesan quickly apologized profusely. Well, I wasn’t really gonna hit her for real though.
“It’s not like I was really all that angry…… But why are you acting so desperate anyway?”
“To put it bluntly, it’s because the analysis you gave earlier was so innovative and unlike anything I’ve heard before. Methods to predict potential raid sites based on trends from previous raids do exist, but their accuracy remains lacking. However, if we can establish the feasibility and standardize the analysis method you just presented, it might herald an important step in the efforts to reduce damages incurred from future pirate raids.”
“I see……? Err, but I don’t think it’s all that special though……?”
Since science and tech are so advanced in this dimension, I thought there should be lots of ways to more efficiently analyze the frequency and probability of space pirate raids. Or rather, I feel like what I’ve presented could be taught easily anywhere one could learn about military tactics. Well, come to think of it, Captain Serena didn’t know any methods to effectively deal with pirates at first. Are there actually no institutions that teach these kinds of things? After all, there must be people who specialize in researching space pirates out there, and they’d probably buy anything related to space pirates at high prices.
“Well, fine, I guess. Since your back and forth earlier was quite amusing, I suppose I can let you guys listen to my explanation again. However, if the Guild is gonna be making use of my methods, it’s important to indicate that those are originally mine, and I also expect suitable compensation once you do get results with them.”
“I’m not sure about the latter, but I can guarantee the former.”
“I’m more concerned about the latter though…… Well, I suppose that’s fine. I’m gonna start explaining things one more time, so listen up.”
So, I repeated my previous explanations once more, and I also briefly analyzed and solved previous cases of space pirate raids that the Guild staff oneesan brought up. As a result, I was able to confirm once more that my predictions regarding the pirate raid and base sites were quite accurate.
“But these repeated attacks on merchant ships took us nearly two months to finally resolve……”
“So this is a Platinum ranker……”
“Uh, I don’t think being a Platinum ranker has anything to do with it though.”
My experience playing SOL really comes in handy when up against stuff like this. Rather than me being some amazing guy, it’s more of the space pirates’ behavioral patterns greatly matching the ones in SOL. But it’s beyond my ability to discern exactly why this was the case.
We left the manager oneesan, who was showing an unusual level of motivation, to her own devices. Perhaps comprehending and establishing my analysis method would help her get promoted within the Guild. Anyway, we bid the pair goodbye and finally got out of the Mercenary Guild. Those two sure were an interesting pair. But it’s unlikely that we’ll have any more encounters in the future.
Well, anyway, we did manage to get the info we came for. The Volks star system was likely just a hunting ground, and the Xyram system may also just be a place for storing loot rather than their main lair, but I suppose it’s best to leave the details to Captain Serena. The one leading this hunt was Captain Serena, so I’ll just leave the decisions to her.