437 – More Details Regarding Space Pirates
Mimi and I scrutinized the huge amount of data we managed to obtain from the Mercenary Guild for half a day. Afterward, Captain Serena and the adjutant lady paid the Black Lotus a visit.
“Greetings. Welcome to my vaunted ship. Forgive it for being…… Well, it’s not really all that filthy, is it? And calling it humble wouldn’t fly either. Anyway, just go ahead and take your seats. I’ll tidy the place up a bit.”
Instead of being filthy, since I was the only man in the crew, the ambiance inside the ship had a floral feel to it. Also, the interior of the Lotus was too luxurious to be described as humble. Honestly, it was even more luxurious compared to the interior of Captain Serena’s ship, the Restalias.
“You ended up sounding clumsy and awkward because you tried speaking in a flowery manner even if you’re not used to it. By the way, what’s that?”
“It’s info I obtained from the Mercenary Guild regarding the recorded appearances of the space pirates and the missing merchant ship incidents. The military also has something similar to this, right?”
I answered Captain Serena who posed an inquiry while looking at the star system map projected on the holo-screen that was littered with various marking indicators.
Data regarding the locations of the encounters between mercenaries and pirates should have already been shared with the military by the Guild through the star system forces. Data regarding the battles between the star system forces and the pirates as well as info on the missing ships were also probably being jointly shared between the two parties.
“These color-coded lines are……? Oh, is this supposed to signify that the pirate raid incidents connected by these lines are actually parts of a bigger joint operation? If so, then this one is a decoy, and the real raid was where a ship had gone missing…… Eh? Do space pirates really create such detailed plans before they make their move?”
“Well, even though they’re called space pirates, it’s not like all of them simply just attack any ship they happen to spot while stupidly shouting ‘Hyahha!’ from the top of their lungs. This might sound shocking, but those guys are also capable of using their brains to some extent, so some among their ranks specialize in making detailed plans before launching raids. There are only a handful of those types though.”
“S-So, what about the space pirates we regularly deal with……?”
“I’m sure most of them were of the Hyahha type. Elite space pirates are a pretty cautious bunch, so encountering them is pretty rare. Also, if they catch even a whiff of things turning for the worse, they will immediately turn tail and escape.”
A while back, we also went up against these elite types of space pirates who were attacking the ship Dr. Shouko was on during our first encounter with her. As soon as things started turning bad for them, they immediately ran away. We do have the Antlion’s Gravity Jammers now though, so we can already prevent targets from escaping.
“Well, even though a majority of the ones causing mayhem are Hyahha types, it’s not like there’s no merit to taking down elite space pirates. These elite space pirates have higher bounties placed on their heads, and the overall quality of their ships and equipment is also decent, so they are prime targets for salvaging spoils. Mercenaries like encountering them because they often hold info regarding their respective groups’ lairs, places where they stash all their loot, and main pirate bases. Oh, but from the perspective of maintaining public order and security, it might be better to actively hunt them down. They don’t make moves frequently, but if they do, they can be quite destructive and…… Huh? Why are you all stiff?”
I found it strangely quiet, and when I took a quick glance, I saw a frozen Captain Serena with a shocked expression on her face. What the heck is with that gaze? I don’t get it.
“What are you going on about? Elite space pirates? What in blazes are those?”
“Eh? Uh, basically, rare and cunning space pirates with better equipment? Well, they’re ultimately still pirates though.”
“That may be so, but this is the first time I’ve heard of this concept of elite space pirates. I’ve never heard of the term from anyone else but you. Could this be something similar to that time? Just like with the Mother Crystal, you somehow got your hands on critical information from some mysterious source?”
“Uh, that shouldn’t be the case…… I think?”
It’s true that the concept of elite space pirates was something I got from my time playing SOL, but it’s not like I was the one who brought about their existence, so I believe it’s all good. I think. No, that’s not what’s important. The problem was that the anti-pirate tactics and concepts I learned in SOL could be directly applied to this dimension’s real-life space pirates, and that would make me appear to have critical information pertaining to pirates that wasn’t widely recognized in this dimension.
“You don’t sound very confident. Are you sure you aren’t hiding something? If you’re gonna confess anything, you better do it now, okay?”
While I was deep in thought, Captain Serena drew closer, placed a hand on my cheek, and gave me a smile. The fact that the smile wasn’t reaching her eyes was quite scary.
“Nothing. I got nothing to confess. Honest.”
I gently moved the hand that was placed on my cheek away, averted my gaze from Captain Serena, and desperately tried to recall all the information related to space pirates I learned in SOL. Since there were no events pertaining to the eradication of space pirates, I had nothing to share regarding that topic. Similarly, there was no information regarding the origin of space pirates. Was there something like a pirate clone plant somewhere out there? Or maybe there was a large colony of space pirates somewhere in deep space. There were plenty of rumors like that circulating among SOL players and fans, but as far as I knew, nothing was officially confirmed. Also, cases of so-called ordinary civilians turning into space pirates have been confirmed in SOL, and the same was true in this dimension.
“Look at me in the eyes and say that again.”
“Close. You’re too close, Captain. Also, this is making my neck hurt.”
Captain Serena proceeded to hold my face with both hands, forcibly turned my gaze toward her, and then stared back at me from a close distance. Since I still had the leeway to think about stuff like how pretty her red pupils were or what a beauty she actually was, I suppose I wasn’t feeling all that cornered yet. Yeah.
“Are you sure you aren’t hiding anything? If you don’t give me an honest answer, I have my ways to make you speak.”
“None, none. I ain’t hiding anything. I mean, if I really had critical info about pirates in my hands, then I’d use it to make a killing. After all, it feels like I’ll make a lot of money by selling it to you, Captain.”
“Hmm…… If you say so. If something comes to mind, you better inform me right away.”
“Aye aye, ma’am. By the way, isn’t this distance and position bad?”
“I don’t think either of us are the type who’d be bothered by something like this. And besides, I’m a fan of romantic things. I don’t think it’s any fun to forcibly steal your lips in a situation where there’s practically no romantic atmosphere.”
After saying so, Captain Serena finally released me. Her face was a little red, but if I pointed that out, she’d probably draw her sword, so I better just shut up. My crew members and Captain Serena’s adjutant were excitedly looking at us with undisguised interest.
“Y’know, I’m actually concerned that the research on space pirate tactics doesn’t seem to have progressed at all. It’s not that complicated, and even an amateur like me– Uh, well, I’m not exactly an amateur, but you get the picture. Anyway, don’t you find it weird that well-educated elite professional soldiers like you guys have never thought of stuff that even mercenaries who haven’t received any systematic training or education could come up with?”
“I’m sure there have been several studies conducted about the topic in the past, but it seems all of them ended up in vain. There were simply too many impulsive and random attacks, and they weren’t able to come up with any proper patterns. Also, they’ve conducted many past investigations regarding the roots of space pirates, and, in fact, they are still conducting investigations even now. However, apart from those former imperial subjects who turned to piracy, they haven’t found any information regarding the origin of those ‘pure’ space pirates. Judging from their advanced bioengineering technology, it’s highly likely that they not only increase their numbers through pregnancy and childbirth but also through cloning. Traces of this have also been discovered. However, where exactly this process is being carried out currently remains unknown. However, when analyzed, the genetic information of merchant and passenger ship crew members and passengers who went missing in the past have been found within their genetic makeup. Therefore, it’s theorized that a small portion of those that get abducted by the pirates are taken to their place of origin for breeding purposes.”
“Can’t you extract more detailed information from those captured space pirates?”
“It’s useless. They’ve either gone through severe memory manipulation treatment or have no memory of the kind of information we want in the first place. There are practically no space pirates who remember where they were born and how exactly they became pirates. No matter what we do, they can only recall memories from when they were eight to ten years old at most. The exception to that is those who were born between two space pirate parents or a space pirate and one of their victims and grew up in pirate bases.”
“That’s quite thorough…… Hm. Don’t tell me space pirates are actually a type of space monster……?”
Beings of unknown origin who could understand human language, interbreed with humans, and use human tech, but were hostile to humanity in general and had advanced bioengineering technology huh? It was actually quite creepy. Instead of space elves, now we have a race that resembles space goblins. Well, their outward appearance was no different from the human race though.
“Well, I suppose that’s enough about space pirates…… Are we finally heading out?”
“Right. We originally paid you a visit to conduct a short briefing. Well, that’s how it is, so shall we get down to business?”
“Okay. Mimi and Kugi, I’m sorry, but can you get some drinks for everyone? I’ll finish tidying up here.”
“Alright, My Lord.”
I saw Mimi and Kugi off as they ran toward the dining hall, picked up the portable data terminal and data storage medium inside the break space, and then saved and stored the data that was being projected on the holo-screen. I suppose I better call Elma over as well. As I recall, she was helping out the mechanic sisters in the hangar.