002 – Battle’s Aftermath
“Well, this sure is troublesome.”
Alright, I’ll admit it. This isn’t a dream. But it’ll be really troublesome moving forward. As for why it’s troublesome, that’s because I have absolutely no clue what to do from now on.
Before I had a handle on what was going on, I found myself all alone inside a spaceship smack dab in the middle of space. I don’t know how I got here. I don’t even know if there was any method to go back home.
“Maybe there was a cutting-edge VR device capable of full immersion being developed in secret and I somehow got involved and am now in full-dive or something?”
I tried messing around with the console and pulled up the menu. “Log out!” I screamed, but there was nothing resembling a logout menu that came up. There was nothing that could take me away from this present version of reality. How heartless.
In this situation which I can only describe as annoying, I can do little else apart from trying to adapt as much as possible. Humans are adaptable creatures. I’m sure it’ll work out somehow.
“If I change my line of thinking, things may not be so bad after all.”
I have my personal machine with me, and my piloting skills don’t seem to be half bad as well. Most of all, I’ve personally confirmed that this ship has enough firepower to crush any random space pirate ship which comes my way. If so, then living as a mercenary, like in the game Stella Online was quite doable.
Fortunately, I have enough supplies inside the cargo hold, so I should be able to earn some money hunting down pirates with this ship and my piloting skills.
Furthermore, the total bounty for the pirates I managed to scan and destroy earlier amounts to 19,000 Enel. I don’t have a grasp of the general market prices in this world yet, but the bounty for fully armed pirate ships shouldn’t be too bad.
Considering the market prices in the Stella Online game, 19,000 Enel wasn’t nearly enough to purchase a spaceship. But replenishing this ship’s energy, ammo, supplies and paying for maintenance should all be within budget, with some room to spare.
“Oh yeah. I gotta retrieve some data and supplies first.”
In Stella Online, you could plunder the wreckage of the pirate ships you destroyed for supplies and data caches. You usually won’t get a lot of money, but there were surprising finds sometimes.
By analyzing the data caches, it’s possible to obtain info about the surrounding space sector. If you’re lucky, you might even get to obtain the coordinates of the pirate’s main base.
Once you obtain the coordinates of the pirate base, you could initiate an attack and destroy them in order to plunder all the treasures they’ve managed to save up. Alternatively, you can sell the info to the military stationed in the system in exchange for a hefty reward. Both are quite profitable prospects.
I piloted Krishna and stripped away all supplies, data caches and relatively undamaged weaponry from the pirate ship wreckages. Stella Online spacecraft came standard with drones for collecting materials. Naturally, my Krishna also came equipped with them.
“There’s nothing particularly valuable, huh.”
The pirate’s supplies mainly consisted of low-quality junk food and brewed liquor. Although brewed liquor sells at a reasonable value, depending on the local space empire governing the star system, there were times when they were deemed illegal goods. This item was quite the hot-potato.
Well, even if they’re illegal goods, the worst that could happen if I get caught with them was the liquor getting confiscated and me getting an earful from the local authorities. It would have been quite dangerous if they had illegally captured slaves or drugs on-board instead. On top of them getting confiscated, you’d get slapped with hefty fines, get banished from the star system or worse, get attacked by the system military on sight.
The data cache was a hit. In addition to the coordinates of the main space stations in this star system, I also got the location of the pirate base. Even if I just decided to sell this info, it’ll net me a considerable amount more than the total bounty of those three pirate ships I shot down earlier.
Apparently, there were no habitable planets in this particular star system based on the data I’ve obtained. There seem to be a lot of asteroid belts rich in mineral resources, and it looks like mining bases and space prisons (where they force prisoners to mine in a harsh environment) and trading colonies were scattered throughout the system instead.
“There’s no data for the other neighboring star systems, huh…”
Unfortunately, only the data for this particular star system was available, and I couldn’t find any map data for the ones surrounding it.
I still don’t know where exactly in the galaxy this star system was located. In order to find that out, I’d have to connect to an information network on a station or colony nearby.
“If I have to go to one, then it’ll definitely have to be a trading colony.”
For the time being, I inputted a course for the largest trading colony nearby. According to the info I just obtained, there was a military base located there too. It would be convenient if I managed to claim the bounty money and sell off the info regarding the pirate headquarters there.
I set the main generator output to cruise mode and pointed the bow towards the direction of the trading colony. The throttle gradually increased, and after sufficient acceleration was reached, the Hyperspeed Drive was activated.
The scenery before my eyes suddenly stretched out, and the stars, which looked like spots of light earlier, turned into shining lines that flowed backward. I wasn’t knowledgeable about the technical details regarding the Hyperspeed Drive, and Stella Online also didn’t elaborate on it much, but this function was mainly used for traveling between distant coordinates within star systems.
I confirmed that the scenery I was gazing at from inside the cockpit was actually moving, so I think it simply was something like moving at extremely tremendous speeds. Since the ship didn’t crash into space debris or asteroid fields along the way, I’m guessing it also makes use of a special evasion program or technology as well.
By the way, this Krishna is also equipped with the function to navigate between different star systems themselves. It’s called Hyperdrive, and it makes use of a subspace corridor as a shortcut to travel at speeds much faster than light in order to reach other star systems. Of course, I have no idea about the theories involved either.
It’s important for both the game and the players to have a method to travel between different star systems, so don’t ask about how it works ’cause it just does dude! It was that kind of thing. I don’t really care either way since I’m not a Sci-fi otaku or anything…
There’s also an ultra long-distance traveling method which makes use of wormhole gates. These are usually managed by NPC-run space empires, and its use was oftentimes severely restricted. Some players seemed to have gained access by increasing their contributions to the local space empires in their respective spheres of activity, but a solo-play mercenary like me didn’t have access to that particular method.
I passed by a gas giant while thinking about the wonders of space travel. I suddenly had the urge to stop the Hyperspeed drive to take in the magnificent cosmic sights, but I managed to hold myself back and continued to rush towards the trading colony. If I dicked around like that, there was a good chance I’d be attacked by space pirates again.
What needs to be prioritized right now was not satisfying my intellectual curiosity, but reaching the trading colony within a safe zone as soon as possible and obtaining more information. Afterward, I’ll have plenty of time to observe giant gas planets, asteroid fields and any other mysterious cosmic sight I’d never had the opportunity to see in person before. Yeah, that’ll be the case. At least, I hope it would be.
I didn’t have any particular fixation towards things involving sci-fi or space, but even I would feel like sightseeing when presented with such magnificent sceneries. Space is actually quite a lonely place. I should treasure this newfound sense of curiosity from now on.
While I was busy mulling over my feelings towards the greater universe, Krishna’s support AI informed me that we were nearing the trading colony. I tried to brace myself for the moment when the Hyperspeed Drive gets deactivated, but it went smoother than expected. What about the effects of inertia? Perhaps the ship is equipped with a system that effectively nullifies it or something.
I operated the cockpit’s side display like usual and sent a docking request to the hangar bay of the trading colony.
[This is the Port Administration Department of Colony – Termaine Prime. We’ve received your docking request. Um, Captain…? I’m sorry, but the data about your identification seems to be corrupted.]
“Eh? Ah… this ship’s official designation is the Krishna. My name is—”
Name. Name, huh? My real name’s something so common you’d find a hundred others named like me if you bothered to look so…
…I’ll just use the in-game name I confirmed earlier instead.
“It’s Hiro. I’m Captain Hiro¹.”
Thus, a mercenary named Captain Hiro was born in this galaxy. It was August 10, 2397 of the Graccan Imperial Calendar.
- Regarding Hiro’s name choice: The raws have his in-game name in katakana, which is usually used to write loan words from English and other foreign languages. So, it may seem that Hiro is just your typical Japanese name, but the context is that he’s using a foreign-sounding name and not your normal Japanese one. Still confused? Don’t worry and just roll with it lol