326 – I Really Can’t Seem to Get Away From Trouble
Editor: Thor’s Stone
“Welcome. ……What’s wrong, sir?”
I kept my guard up and made sure I was in a position to draw my laser gun and sword right away if necessary when we entered the store, and the middle-aged store manager immediately noticed.
“My Lord, it doesn’t seem to be coming from this building.”
Kugi sniffed the air and informed me of her findings in a whisper.
“I see. Uh, there’s a bit of a situation. My companion here says she smelled blood in the air. I was on alert because I thought some kind of trouble happened inside this shop.”
“The smell of blood? How dangerous-sounding. It should be safe inside here, but…… let me call security just in case. Even if it wasn’t really blood, strange smells are still a very important point of concern.”
“Yeah, that would be for the best.”
Needless to say, the interior of a colony was a completely enclosed and airtight environment. Poisonous gasses and infectious diseases are stuff that could lead to the destruction of a colony, so disregarding a possible corpse that could be a carrier of disease was out of the question. Of course, the air conditioning within a colony was quite thorough, and if something did go wrong, the security and decontamination teams would rush to the problematic site right away. The smell of blood Kugi detected was a major problem in colonies like this one public hygiene and health-wise.
“Yes, indeed. A customer smelled something they suspect was blood. Yes. Thank you.”
It seems that the shop clerk immediately contacted security through his data terminal, and a security and decontamination team will be soon dispatched to this area. I don’t think the response would be this quick if the basis was just a report, so there probably was something wrong with the air quality monitoring data after all. Or maybe they caught something on the security cameras.
“There is no longer anything we can do on our end. Let us move on to business, shall we?”
“You really are a true merchant, sir.”
“I am honored by your compliment. We have already prepared the article, so please follow me.”
After saying so, the shop clerk invited us to the back of the shop. When I turned back to Kugi just in case, she still had her brows knitted as her ears fluttered in agitation.
“Are you alright?”
“Yes. It seems that the ominous presence has left for the time being.”
“Ominous presence huh……”
I have no idea what this so-called ominous presence was, which made me uneasy. Well, I guess this wasn’t the place to ask her for more details. I don’t think she’d appreciate the shop clerk hearing about some of the things she would talk about after all.
“I still have no idea what exactly that ominous presence is, but let’s keep our guard up just in case. I’d like it if you explained stuff regarding it to me in detail later.”
“Yes. Please leave it to me. I will alert you immediately if there is danger.”
Kugi nodded while sporting a very serious expression. It would be nice if we were able to avoid getting involved though…… Well, I guess that’s impossible anyway. Yeah, definitely impossible. Judging from all the stuff that’s happened in the past, it was unavoidable. Even if we did try avoiding it, it’ll still find a way to get to us anyway.
“Over here please. We believe we were able to make it exactly according to your design. What do you think, sir?”
“Yeah, it looks great. A perfect recreation.”
The room we were led to was the room where they took Col. Serena and my motion data, and what greeted us within was a power armor that looked exactly the way I designed it. It was a jet-black ninja-like design. Now that I’ve gotten a good look at it, the armor was a good two sizes smaller than the RIKISHI. I think that makes it look pretty stylish.
Its visor was still black as well because it wasn’t turned on yet, but once the power armor starts up, it will glow a nice shade of red. Of course, it can also be turned off when entering stealth mode. As for the color of the armor itself, it was equipped with a chameleon system, so it can actually turn into any color.
Its armor was thinner than the RIKISHI, but it still sports higher defense than regular combat armors and has superb environmental adaptability. Its ranged firepower was low because it wasn’t equipped with fixed weapons, but its capable of wielding power armor-use heavy weaponry and ordinary infantry weapons. Above all, it’s capable of using swords, so it wouldn’t lose out to RIKISHI in terms of attack capabilities regardless of its lack of fixed ranged weapons. And, of course, it also has a power assist function that can improve overall combat ability.
“Kugi, could you hold my laser gun and swords for me.”
“Yes, let me hold on to them for you.”
I removed the multi-purpose belt that doubles as both a sword belt and a gun holster from my waist and handed it to Kugi. I then moved to the back of the power armor and entered it with my jacket still on. It recognized my biometric information and automatically opened up for me.
“It’s very comfortable to wear and feels quite light. It’s like I’m not wearing any armor at all.”
“That’s because the armor is made to hug your body tightly, sir customer. The feedback system that makes use of your motion data is also functioning well, so it should feel more comfortable wearing it than not.”
“I see…… This sure is amazing. Kugi, hand me back my swords and gun.”
“Yes, My Lord.”
I received my weapons back from Kugi and tried attaching my swords to the waist, shoulder, and back hard points. I repeated the action of pulling the swords out from all hard points so I could check the feel. Fumu. Feels great. Whenever I pulled the swords out, the hard points automatically positioned themselves to make the action as smooth and easy as possible. My laser gun could be attached to the armor’s waist, or rather, thighs.
“Fumu. Considering the use of optical camouflage, it seems better to use the shoulder hard points.”
“Indeed. I also think it is ideal to make use of the shoulder hard points to hold your swords unless there is a need to equip additional heavy weapons.”
Hard points were installed around the position of the shoulder blades. Whenever I pulled my swords out, the mechanical arm-shaped hard points moved and brought the sword hilts to an easily reachable position. They were pretty convenient.
As I continued checking my new power armor out, Kugi’s ears suddenly shot upright.
“My Lord, that ominous presence is approaching this place.”
“Oh, right…… And I was hoping we could avoid trouble this time around. I guess it’s good timing, in a sense.”
I can use that ‘presence’ for the basic operations check and perform additional adjustments afterward. The shop clerk tilted his head when he heard our exchange.
“–What are you two talking about? I have a really bad feeling that something is about to go terribly wrong.”
“I’ll tell you this in advance, man. I’m not at fault here.”
At the same time as my retort, a greenish light flickered in a corner of the room, and the structural material disappeared within moments. I couldn’t feel it because I was wearing power armor, but judging from the states of Kugi and the shop clerk, it seems that jets of hot air were blowing from the direction of the newly-opened hole in the wall.
“It’s either a plasma grenade or a plasma launcher ……It’s dangerous here so hurry and run to the center of the shop, you two.”
The moment I said that something jumped inside through the hole in the wall.
“What the heck is that……?”
It was a black sphere. Judging from its luster, it should be something metallic, but I couldn’t tell what it actually was. Its size was…… quite big. It was a spherical object that stood at a height of about 1.5 meters. According to the power armor’s sensor readings, its temperature was quite hot.
“My Lord, that is the source of the ominous presence.”
“That seems to be the case, but what exactly is it?”
The black sphere continued to stand still– No, it actually moved. The body of the sphere transformed, and many elongated legs similar to a spider’s legs stretched out of it. Nah, they weren’t just similar. The thing actually transformed into a spider. A jet-black giant metallic spider, that is.
“Is it a combat robot from some crazy manufacturer?”
The Windas Tertius colony was the largest shipyard colony in the empire. Naturally, weapon manufacturing companies of various sizes also based themselves on it. Some of them were combat robot manufacturers.
“No, that…… I believe that is actually a living creature.”
“That’s a living creature? You gotta be kidding me!”
“I am detecting mind waves coming from it, so I believe that is truly the case.”
If that’s true, then that was a creature that could easily shrug off direct hits from a plasma grenade or plasma launcher.
“My Lord, it’s coming!”
“Ah, dammit! Get back!”
As the metallic spider creature rushed toward me while making jarring noises, I pulled out my swords and brandished them. It seems to be quite tough though. Were my swords going to be effective? I wasn’t sure, but only an idiot would rush up to something like that right from the front.
The metallic spider raised one of its sharp-looking forelegs up and quickly swung it down toward me.
I aimed a slash at the connecting joint of the forelimb that was swinging down on me. It would be more effective to attack spots like that instead of the rest of the creature’s body that seemed thickly armored.
Even though there was some resistance, I succeeded in cutting off the creature’s forelimb from the joint. Given the sharpness of my sword, it seems the creature’s body was at least as tough or even tougher than the standard armor of a starship. And it seems to be quite difficult to cut its torso which had plenty of large, smooth surfaces.
Perhaps finally regarding me as a dangerous threat, the metallic spider raised its body up and simultaneously swung five of its legs down on me. It’s fast! However, it wasn’t something I couldn’t deal with.
I held my breath, and the world slowed to a crawl. Now then, I’m gonna take this thing apart in an instant!