369 – Whining and Assault
Editor: Thor’s Stone
369 – Whining and Assault
“Why…… Just why……?”
『Please stop whining already.』
It was now about 30 minutes after I was released from the heavy responsibility of being the exclusive interpreter of Mr. Tetrahedron. I was currently wallowing in despair inside Krishna’s cargo hold. Right next to me was Capt. Serena, who was wearing her knight-like power armor. Imperial marines in power armors also filled up the cargo hold along with us. It was packed like a can of sardines. 100% occupancy. What is this, commuter rush hour or something, you ask? Well, in a way, that might be an apt description.
『Your Krishna was the most suitable fast-moving ship that was also capable of transporting soldiers.』
「Ain’t it fine to just destroy those guys with a laser bombardment from orbit? Just any old laser attack wouldn’t work on them anyway.」
『That would just make their entire hideout collapse and crush everything within it. That’s no good. You really don’t know when to give up, do you?』
We were currently riding Krishna and rushing straight for the pirate base on Planet Riche III.
The fastest carrier-based space fighters of the Independent Mobile Anti-pirate Fleet were serving as our wingmen. They couldn’t transport soldiers though because they had next to no cargo space.
『We’ll be reaching our objective soon. We will land immediately after suppressing their anti-air weapons and laser turrets.』
『Roger that. Please fly safely.』
『I’ll try my best.』
Elma and Capt. Serena were having a disturbingly normal-sounding exchange in spite of my complaints. Why did things turn out like this?
【We are making a request again since mutual communication has been achieved. We demand our immediate release.】
After many sacrifices (though they didn’t actually die), Mr. Tetrahedron began to make such demands after we established communication. Hmm?
「Those should be all of the spheres we captured and brought over, right?」
『That should be the case.』
【There is a structure on the planet that seems to have been built by you. We are imprisoned within that structure.】
『On the planet? The only structure we built is our command outpost located 3 kilometers away from here. There is actually another structure built on this planet’s surface?』
The Riche system was located outside of the Edge World. It was a so-called unexplored area. Hence, such a place – especially one that sounds like a planetary base – had a high chance of being something certain shady elements who couldn’t freely access stations normally would build.
In other words, there was an extremely high probability that it was a pirate base. Oh, right. Come to think of it, the pirate base in space also had spheres stored inside it.
『Do you know the exact location? The coordinates? How far is it from your position?』
Capt. Serena anxiously asked Mr. Tetrahedron about the location of the aforementioned structure. Hmm. It’s a little far from our current location huh? Well, it’s not too far, I guess. That kind of distance can be easily covered by a starship.
【We have a question.】
「What is it?」
【Why does a structure that you are not familiar with exist?】
Capt. Serena and I both tilted our heads to the side after hearing Mr. Tetrahedron’s question. Well, it’s naturally because it was probably made by pirates. Rather, why did this guy ask such a question in the first place? Is it really that weird if we’re not familiar with that structure?
『That’s because, unlike you, we’re not parts that make up a collective consciousness. Just as how you and we are different, there are also those among us that are of a different group.』
【……In other words, you mean to say that you are not one with your compatriots, correct? Does that mean the possibility of conflicts arising between you exists?】
『When you talk about the history of humanity, conflicts between brethren have always been present.』
Mr. Tetrahedron fell silent. Hm. Maybe it was dumbfounded. It kinda seems like it’s conveying a bitter or negative feeling.
“You’re probably thinking we’re surprisingly quite barbaric, aren’t you?”
“Don’t worry. The empire’s, well, a relatively decent partner. In any case, associating with it isn’t a bad choice.”
At the very least, them not being your typical empire that liberally uses tyranny and violence to quell the populace and antagonize other countries is worthy of praise. Judging from Capt. Serena’s actions so far, the empire seems to be quite cautious and reserved when it comes to dealing with primitive civilizations and unknown lifeforms.
『Send out some scouts. As for the landing force…… It can’t be helped. Captain Hiro.』
『Your Krishna has a rather decent amount of cargo space, correct?』
“Huh? Well, yeah. I suppose. We have the Black Lotus now, so its cargo hold is practically empty…… Wait. Are you planning to stuff a landing force inside Krishna?”
『Exactly. It’s feasible, right?』
“Well, it is. But…… you’re actually planning on bringing me along, aren’t you?”
Capt. Serena silently turned away from me. Yeah, how obvious. It’s so obvious even if you’re wearing that full-body knight-like power armor. And somehow, I could imagine Capt. Serena’s teasing grin under that visor. Dammit.
『Enemy laser turrets eliminated.』
『Well, that was easy. I’m gonna land now.』
The anti-aircraft guns and turrets of the mysterious structure built on Riche III (that was actually a secret pirate base) were annihilated by the Krishna and the carrier-based fighters of the Independent Mobile Anti-pirate Fleet. Elma then proceeded to land the Krishna on the ground.
It was quite an easy battle. We basically just crushed the laser cannons and multi-cannon turrets in a one-sided manner. They were basically helpless against my Krishna and the imperial fighters. And there was also a great difference in strength between our energy shields.
“We can just observe from outside once we land, right?”
『Of course, not. I’m gonna cut them down to size, you know?』
“H-Hold on, will you? I mean, don’t we have combat bots and stuff?”
I hurriedly reasoned with Capt. Serena, who had placed her hand on the hilt of her favorite sword, and she shrugged her shoulders in response. Wow. Her power armor sure was flexible. As expected of a high-end custom-made product.
『Unfortunately, we already sent them all out back there.』
“……Isn’t it basic to leave a reserve force during operations?”
『In a situation where we didn’t know the exact strength of our possible opponents, it didn’t make sense to send in our forces in parts. And we also had sufficient air cover, so we ended up going all out. After all, we weren’t expecting something like this in the first place. However, this is ultimately just a pirate base. We’re more than enough to take it down, correct?』
Did she just raise a flag? Well, it’s true that pirates weren’t exactly known for their close-quarters combat ability, but it wouldn’t hurt to take extra precautions.
“Mei, are you able to confirm our current coordinates?”
When I contacted Mei using my power armor’s comm function, I immediately received a reply from her. Since it’s Mei we’re talking about here, she must have been following our movements perfectly.
“You can also monitor the pirate base, right? Please deploy our combat bots. Set them to suppression combat operations mode.”
『Understood. Shall I command them on my end?』
“I’ll leave it to you. Make sure not to damage those spheres.”
『Aye, aye, sir. Please leave it to me. I will accomplish everything and deliver the spheres to you in 180 seconds.』
I cut off the transmission with Mei. I resolved myself to do what I could, however reluctant I was. But when I turned around, I found Capt. Serena staring hard at me for some reason. I couldn’t exactly see her eyes since they were hidden behind her power armor’s visor, but I could tell from her body language that she was staring hard at me.
『Oh, nothing. Nothing at all.』
After saying so, Capt. Serena averted her gaze. What the heck? I couldn’t see her expression because of the power armor she was wearing, so I really had no idea about what was going on. Uh, I could at least tell that she was somewhat dissatisfied. No. Maybe she was actually jealous or something like that.
“Maidroids sure are great huh? Oi, stop that, you idiot! You’re gonna damage my armor!”
For some reason, she was hitting me repeatedly on the stomach. What’s up with her? Sheesh.
Ultra-high heat was generated by adiabatic compression when a drop pod entered the planet’s atmosphere. The pod containing our military combat bots created a flaming trail as it made its descent. ……Wait, hold on. Ain’t that a direct course for the pirate base?
Consecutive impact noises loudly rang out. The drop pod carrying our combat bots pierced through the structure’s outer shell disguised as a rock and rushed right in.
Did Mei calculate it so the pod would land near the entrance and not in the middle of the base? It would be crucial if the spheres were actually stored near their landing zone.
“Mei, is that thing alright? Or rather, is it possible to retrieve the pod later?”
『It’s fine, Master. I will send in a separate drop pod next, and retrieval operations will be performed by that. The one I initially used was an assault drop pod meant for attacking surface facilities. It’s a sample item provided by Eagle Dynamics.』
『It was just takin’ up space anyway. It’s great that it finally came in handy.』
Tina barged into the conversation. Oh, is that so? Well, I did buy the entire package back then, so it wouldn’t be strange if they also bundled in some extra items, I guess. But I didn’t have any idea we had such a thing. Well, I left managing all of that stuff to Tina and the others, so it’s no wonder I was clueless.
“Are there any other surprise machines left?”
『Ya purchased the complete package Boss. Ya really think they only included one extra item?』
“Uh, please tell me all the details later……”
Yeah, I was too irresponsible. Well, it’s really not something bad, but I just didn’t like surprises all that much.
“They’ve already registered our IFF signals, so shall we get going too, Captain?”
『Yes. Yes, of course. But why do things always end up getting too flashy whenever you’re involved?』
“Honestly, I wanna know why too.”
It absolutely wasn’t intentional. I swear. Really.