393 – Job
Editor: Thor’s Stone
“Wow, this ship sure is rocking a nice interior.”
“It’s just like a luxury passenger cruiser.”
Nicholas and Lattice showed typical reactions while gawking at the interior of the Black Lotus, but Granny Serestia displayed an uninterested expression.
“Hmph. How tacky. You should make the interior more appropriate for a mercenary.”
“I think it’s totally stupid to purposefully make your ship’s interior less convenient to live in for the sake of posturing as a hard-boiled merc even though you have enough money to spend.”
Or rather, was Granny’s opinion regarding an interior more appropriate for mercenaries one of the reasons why imperial mercenaries had sloppy ship interiors? If that’s the case, then she’s quite guilty of making them have such a stupid misconception.
“You just gotta have an answer for everything, don’t you?”
“You’re the one who criticized our ship interior first…… Well, going on about this is pointless, so let’s just talk about business.”
While saying so, I led Granny Serestia and her crew members to the break space.
“I will prepare some refreshments, My Lord.”
“Alright. Thanks, Kugi.”
After looking at Kugi’s departing back, Granny glared at me in suspicion.
“That lass is from the Holy Empire, right? Why is someone like her following after you? She even calls you ‘My Lord’.”
“It would take too long to talk about the exact circumstances, and it’ll also be somewhat personal, so no comment. Actually, it’s hard to say that I have an accurate grasp of Kugi’s circumstances myself.”
“And you had the guts to let her board your ship despite that……? Is it because she’s your type?”
“I won’t deny that such a thing was also a factor, but the main thing was that she told me she might get in trouble with her people if I didn’t accept her……”
“You’re pretty gullible when it comes to women…… It looks like Mimi will have a hard time.”
“Get off my case, granny. Anyway, just sit wherever you like.”
I gestured toward the seats around the table equipped with a built-in holo-display within the break space and took a seat. Aside from me, the only ones who’ll be joining the meeting from our side was Elma and Kugi, who was currently preparing drinks. Mimi, Mei, the mechanic sisters, and Dr. Shouko were currently checking out the ship sections that have been renovated.
“Where’s that maid girl?”
“I left checking the handover procedures to her. We would have been long done if you guys hadn’t come though.”
“My bad. Old people like me are a rather hasty bunch.”
This damn old hag didn’t seem sorry at all. While we were exchanging verbal jabs, Kugi came back with bottled water for each of us. In fact, plain water was a lot more expensive than soft drinks in this dimension.
“Now then, since we have our drinks, let’s go ahead and talk about that job you mentioned.”
“Right. Well, it’s not that complicated, actually. We’ve been staying in this system for quite a while, you see. We had to earn money for our daily expenses, and doing nothing was boring as heck, so we went and periodically hunted down pirates.”
“I see. Or rather, you guys are actually registered with this empire’s Mercenary Guild?”
“Yeah, in a sense. I’m currently posing as the Silver-ranked Granny Farin.”
“……What the heck is the Mercenary Guild doing?”
“If you’ve lived as long as I have, you should already have more than a few backdoors prepared just in case.”
She was saying it so matter-of-fact-ly, but it just made me doubt the Mercenary Guild’s competence. But, well, the Mercenary Guild was essentially an organization that used the lives of mercenaries as merchandize, so it wasn’t exactly a righteous and heroic organization in the first place. So it was only natural that it also had a shady side.
Well, it’s useless to get hung up on something like this, I suppose. No matter how shady the Mercenary Guild actually was, as long as it paid well according to the items stipulated in contracts, it was an indispensable organization for mercenaries like us. As long as we were careful not to poke our heads into the more questionable stuff, we should be fine. For the time being, let’s just assume that everything’s fine as long as they didn’t collude with space pirates.
“Oh well. We’ve gone off-topic. And then?”
“We’d end up recovering stuff while shooting down pirate ships, right? Naturally, that also includes their data storage devices.”
“……I think I know where this talk is going. Are you serious?”
“Oh? What? Are you scared?”
The old hag grinned maliciously.
In other words, this granny wanted to work with us in order to raid and destroy the pirate’s main base. And we’re going to do that ourselves, without cooperating with the military. They should have managed to recover data storage devices from most of the pirate ship’s they’d shot down. It wasn’t that difficult to figure out the location of a pirate base once you’ve collected enough data storage devices.
“There’s too little info for me to make a decision. You weren’t expecting me to just nod and say okay, were you?”
“That’s true. Lattice.”
“Okaaay. Can I use the holo-display for a bit?”
After getting permission, Lattice operated her tablet terminal device and used the table’s holo-display to project an image.
“This is the target?”
“That’s right. Of course, we’ve already scouted it out beforehand.”
While listening to Granny boast about her competence, I checked out the image being projected — a pirate base that seemed to have been modified from an asteroid.
It wasn’t that big. Rather, it was actually on the smaller category. It was rather lightly armed compared to the Red Flags base we went up against before. There were more laser batteries than missile pod batteries, but their class seemed to be fairly low, and moreover, there weren’t that many of them in the first place.
“It looks like you really found a pretty good target. We should be able to handle this much.”
“Hee? And how would you take that thing on?”
“It would be easier to take down all the small-fries that would come flying out after getting provoked in one go. This should be the easiest method for mercenaries who are usually lacking sufficient CQC capabilities in enclosed spaces.”
Fortunately, the positions of the defense turrets were unevenly distributed. We would first blast the densely packed defense turrets with anti-ship reactive torpedoes and the Black Lotus’s EML, destroying most of them. After that, we’ll smash the pirate ships that will come rushing out from the front. As a result, fewer people would be remaining in the base, making it easier to take control of it.
Whenever the imperial space navy cleared out pirate bases, they’d first use long-range artillery fire to attack the base’s hangar where the pirate ships were moored. This was a tactic to cut off avenues of escape to ensure that they didn’t miss a single pirate. In front of the well-trained imperial marines, the pirates barricading themselves inside bases were nothing more than moving practice targets.
On the other hand, in order for mercenaries like us with poor CQC capabilities to take over a pirate base, it was important to minimize engaging in on-foot melee combat as much as possible. Even if we won the battle in space, it would be a joke if we were defeated in melee combat inside the base. And so, we would go with not destroying the hangar and reducing the pirate numbers as much as possible through space starship combat instead.
Of course, there would always be some who would run away the moment they sense that they’re no match for us. We would probably still miss some even after using the Antlion’s gravity jammer, but the damage we’d cause to their forces should be enough to take down the base itself.
And, of course, there would be plenty of rewards. The stockpiled pirate loot would all be ours, of course. And we’d also get a huge reward for clearing out a pirate base once we report it to the local star system forces or the imperial military.
“It would be easier to smash them with a frontal assault, huh? You sure are confident.”
“We’re more than capable of pulling it off. What about you guys?”
“I’m thinking of doing the same, of course. It would be the same no matter how many pirates there are. My kids are pretty good at taking on many opponents after all.”
“I see. I’ll be looking forward to seeing your skills then.”
“That’s my line, kid.”
Elma and Kugi gave Granny Serestia and I, who were grinning provocatively against one another, exasperated looks, and didn’t seem to want to bother interjecting. I was actually pretty interested in seeing Granny Serestia strut her stuff, and my wallet was getting a bit too desolate as well. It was surprisingly not that bad a deal for us.
“I take it that you’re in?”
“Yeah. But first, let’s talk about the distribution of loot and rewards. Since we have more ships and ours are probably bigger overall, we’d get more share of the loot, right?”
“Why you greedy bastard. We’re the ones who provided the info about the base in the first place, so, naturally, we’ll get the bigger cut. In the first place, what made you think we have less ships than you guys?”
“I really don’t think you came here with a large fleet. If I’m wrong, then show me your prided fleet then.”
I’m not sure just how fast she rushed over to this place when she heard about what happened to Mimi, but even if she was originally leading a bunch of ships, she shouldn’t have had the leeway to bring all of them here. She should have brought over three ships at most. They were also probably all small-class ships. Since she was rushing, slower-moving medium and large-class ships wouldn’t be suitable.
Kukuku, this should be fun.