061 – Sleeping Princess
Editor: Thor’s Stone
The Sierra Prime colony looked to be the same torus-type colony as the Termaine Prime colony where I, Mimi, and Elma met each other…… but it was a bona fide tire-shaped supercolony with high-performance mobile elevators and a large-scale low-gravity port block.
It was considerably larger compared to Termaine Prime, and the number of ‘tire spokes’ as well as the tire-shaped ring section’s thickness were at least two times that of Termaine Prime. Just how many tens of thousands of people can this thing accommodate?
“It resembles Termaine Prime colony a lot.”
“They’re the same colony type after all. But the interior facilities are worlds apart.”
Mimi and Elna were talking with each other, but Mimi’s voice lacked its usual liveliness. She may have been hit by a wave of nostalgia after seeing a colony that resembled the one she was from.
“Mimi, send out a docking request.”
Mimi followed my instructions and sent out a docking request to the port administration of the Sierra Prime colony. After a short while, a reply from the port administration was sent back. We were allowed to dock inside hangar number thirty-two.
“Yosh, let’s go. And we should pay attention to driving safely.”
“I guess. Drive safely huh.”
Elma’s gaze seemed like it was aimed at something far away. I guess it’s because she was reminded of the debt she incurred when she caused an accident a while back. Well, it’s not like all fault lies with her… Nah, as a matter of fact, it kinda does huh. Yeah, it definitely does. Come to think of it, just what kind of treatment does that type of spaceship with a fatal defect receive in this dimension? If it were a car, then every unit would definitely have to be recalled. I’ll look it up later.
Now then, even though there was a lot of traffic in this port, we were able to successfully dock without causing any type of accident. Well, I guess this was just a piece of cake for someone experienced like me. Most of the newbies in Stella Online couldn’t really dock their spaceships all that well at first and spend their time flitting precariously here and there, scrape their bottoms on the walls, mistakenly going in reverse and hitting something or other, among all sorts of clumsy blunders.
Once you’re a bit more experienced, docking safely inside a hangar becomes second nature. Just like me. Well, in other words, you finally discover the wonders of automatic docking.
“The use of auto-docking is utterly evil……”
“What did the auto-docking function ever do to you anyway? Did it kill your parents or something?”
“Now, now, isn’t it fine since it’s convenient?”
Mimi comforted Elma, who was totally against auto-docking for some reason. Just why does Elma hate the auto-docking function to this extent anyway? Maybe something traumatic happened to her in the past.
“Where should we contact to take care of the cold sleep pod?”
“You can just inform the port administration about it. They also hold jurisdiction over the enforcement of space travel laws after all.”
“I see. Please take care of our temporary residence application, Mimi. I’ll take care of informing the port administration about the cold sleep pod. Please offer support as you see fit, Elma.”
“Yes, yes. I got it.”
Saying yes one time is enough you know. I didn’t voice that opinion in the end though and gave the port administration office a call. The call connected immediately. It was a woman’s voice on the other line.
『This is the port administration office.』
“This is Captain Hiro, a mercenary affiliated with the Mercenary Guild. My ship’s name is Krishna. We are currently docked at hangar number thirty-two.”
『Please wait while I verify…… Verification complete. Do you have any inquiries for us, Captain Hiro?』
“Well, I guess you can call it an inquiry. We were attacked by pirates when we arrived at this system and we managed to defeat them, but we found an unopened cold sleep pod among the wreckages.”
『Understood. So you rescued the survivor, correct? So you need a witness before opening the pod. Are you already familiar with your responsibilities as the rescuer?』
“Yeah. We’re required to shelter the survivor for one week, right? But what happens when the rescued person ends up with no idea about where they’re from?”
『We will be confirming the person’s identity within the one week period, so you don’t have to worry. If the person is an imperial citizen, we will have almost 100% certainty of determining their identity.』
“……And what happens if the person’s not an imperial citizen?”
『In that case, the empire will take over custody of the subject. But we are not able to divulge their future treatment if that happens.』
The lady from the port administration office continued to talk with a cheery tone. It was kinda scary imagining what will happen if they take over custody, so I didn’t ask. I’ll just pray that the person inside the cold sleep pod is an imperial citizen.
“What procedures should we go through with, exactly? Are you going to open the pod inside our ship’s cargo hold?”
『No, we have a specialized space for that, so please send the pod here. I’ll send you the cargo transfer application, so please fill it out and send it back to us. The transfer code is……』
I entered the cargo transfer code dictated by the port administration staff on the cockpit’s main console and started the transfer procedures for the cold sleep pod. With this, the pod will be delivered to the designated area inside the colony using the cargo transfer system. I do feel a bit awkward about treating the cold sleep pod with a living(?) person still inside as cargo though.
『I’ve confirmed the required documents. Please come over as soon as you can. We would like to start the opening procedures for the cold sleep pod right away after all.』
They’re not even considering our circumstances! Well, the longer a person stays inside a cold sleep pod, the worse the memory lapses become after all. So I guess it was only proper to open the pod as soon as possible.
“You guys heard that, right? I’ll have to head to the port administration office now. One of you should come with me as well.”
“Wouldn’t Elma-san be better? I do not have much experience when it comes to these sorts of situations after all, so I think Elma-san, who can cope with unexpected situations better than me, would be more suited.”
“That may be the case, but…… Oh, alright. Let’s go then.”
Elma thought for a bit and then nodded in assent. I don’t know what exactly she thought about earlier, but it didn’t seem she was reluctant because she thought it would be troublesome.
“We’ll be going then. Go ahead and dispose of our cargo and the loot while we’re out. I’ll leave it to you.”
“Yes, please don’t worry!”
After being entrusted with taking care of the cargo and the loot, Mimi displayed a cute smile. The cargo I was referring to was the goods we brought over from the Alein star system. I didn’t know the functions of most of the stuff they brought over, but Mimi and Elma seem to have chosen them with the Sierra star system, which is classified as a resort system, in mind.
Although it wasn’t really that big, the cargo hold of the Krishna still had lots of unused space, so Mimi and Elma thought it was a waste not to put that space to good use. So they actually came up with the idea of trading goods between systems to take advantage of the free space. I, as the captain of the ship, will have a fifty percent cut of the profits, while Mimi and Elma will share the other fifty.
I would have been okay even if my share was a bit smaller, but since trading goods between systems wouldn’t be possible without Krishna in the first place, I guess that profit allocation can be considered as justified. In any case, I did bring up the idea of reducing my share, but I lost the argument in the end.
I and Elma exited the cockpit and got down from Krishna. We then headed to the port administration office inside the colony.
“Why’d you hesitate earlier anyway?”
“I was thinking that we would probably be encountering more situations like this in the future, so I wanted Mimi to gain some experience. But I also considered that letting you gain some experience first, and then letting Mimi tag along with you the next time will be more efficient. So in the end, I agreed to go with you instead.”
“I see. Well then, I will be in your care once again, Elma-senpai.”
“It’s been a long time since you last addressed me like that.”
We walked while making small talk like that and finally reached the port administration office.
“The buildings all look the same.”
“It’s because they prioritized efficiency. All the units are prefabricated after all, so all they had to do was simply assemble them. On the other hand, having something ‘unique’ is looked upon as an unneeded luxury. We have to make efficient use of the limited living space and resources out here after all.”
“I see. So that’s it.”
I actually thought this type of style was just simply copied and pasted from the game since this world resembled Stella Online so much, but there was actually a logical reason for the monotonous buildings.
When we entered the port administration building, I saw a wide counter with several staff members manning it, as well as lots of visitors with different appearances. There were people who were dressed in the typical mercenary style like us, and there were also people who wore suits just like the staff at the counter. Of course, there weren’t any weirdos wearing power armor here.
“I’m Captain Hiro, the one who called about the cold sleep pod earlier.”
“Cold sleep pod…… Yes, I’ve confirmed it. It has already arrived here as well. Please head to the first pod opening room. It’s the first room along that hallway.”
“First pod opening room. Okay.”
We walked toward the hallway the staff pointed toward and reached the first pod opening room. A number of port administration staff were already in the pod opening room when we arrived. There were also people who stuck cords onto the cold sleep pod and connected it to a console.
“Hello there. You’re Captain Hiro, I take it?”
The one who called out to me was a middle-aged guy. He was most likely either in his mid-thirties or early forties. His way of speaking was relaxed, but his body was well built, and he didn’t look like your typical government employee. He was an uncle with a bit of a badass look.
“Yeah, that’s right. And you are?”
“Just a port administration office staff member. The name’s Bruno.”
He held his hand out for a handshake, so I went ahead and obliged. He seems to have quite a grip.
“And this pretty lady is?”
“She’s Elma. My crew member.”
“……Hee. How enviable.”
Bruno looked at Elma and said so with a voice that sounded like he was truly jealous. Well, since she was a crew member of a merc like me, he took us to be in ‘that’ kind of relationship. Well, he did get it right though. I wonder how this guy would react if he found out that there was a beautiful big breasted loli crew member as well?
“Well, let’s get to business then… The one inside the pod seems to be alright for the most part. We’re in the middle of the thawing and revival process right now. And it looks like the one inside is a girl.”
“A girl huh… Well, I have Mimi and Elma with me, so I guess taking care of her wouldn’t be too hard.”
“Yeah. It’s also more convenient for us if it’s a girl.”
We would have had some trouble if it turned out to be a brawny uncle instead. Well, I guess we could still deal with him somehow. Mimi and Elma could have rented out accommodations inside the colony while I stayed together with the uncle inside Krishna. The reverse was also an option.
“Any other info?”
“Let’s see. This cold sleep pod was ejected from a luxury passenger cruiser three months back. It was a luxury cruise ship, so the passengers were basically all well-to-do individuals or imperial nobles. There’s a good chance this girl is the daughter of one of those passengers.”
“……This is going to turn out to be quite troublesome huh?”
“You have my sympathies. But since you rescued their daughter, you can probably expect a possible lavish reward. so it’s not so bad.”
Bruno shrugged as he said so. It would be fine if the young lady in this pod was the meek and obedient type, but if she were the selfish, entitled brat type, then we’re going to have a problem.
“Well, she’s a girl, so I’ll just leave her to Mimi and you, Elma.”
“I’m counting on you.”
“Oh come on.”
“I’m counting on you!”
Elma rolled her eyes at me as I forcefully shoved all responsibility to her. But it can’t be helped, right? Regardless of whether she was an obedient kid or not, a young lady of high standing like her really shouldn’t be in contact with a classless guy like me.
“Vitals are stable. Ready for opening.”
“Yosh. Here we go. Are you ready, Captain?”
“I’m always ready. There’s no point in delaying things, so let’s just get this over with.”
“That sounds promising. Begin the unlocking process.”
“Yes. Starting process.”
The hatch of the cold sleep pod slowly opened, releasing cold, white vapor inside the room. I approached the pod and took a look inside. I found a cute young girl with shiny, black hair in a princess-style bob cut lying inside the pod.
Thinking it would be pretty unfortunate if the first thing she saw upon waking up was the face of a rough guy like me, I started taking distance.
Suddenly, the delicate arms of the young girl inside the pod stretched out and grabbed the hem of my clothes. She looked confused and started shaking.
“Please don’t leave me, father……”
The eyes of the young girl grabbing the hem of my clothes started moistening up. It looked like she would burst into tears at any time. I turned to Elma, Bruno, and the rest of the port administration staff for help, but they all just shrugged their shoulders and smiled wryly at me. It looks like no one’s planning to come to my rescue.
“……Haa. Okay, I understand.”
I put my hand over the young girl’s delicate hand that was tightly grabbing onto my clothes. She grasped my hand back, smiled sweetly, and proceeded to lose consciousness once more. It looks like she fell asleep. She was still grasping my hand.
“……So what should I do about this?”
“I guess you should stay like that until she wakes up again, right, Bruno? I’ll go ahead and fill up the forms for you in the meantime.”
“That’s right. It’s a good thing that the relationship between the rescuer and the survivor seems to have started out quite favorably.”
I brought my gaze up to the ceiling as my hand continued to be grasped by the peacefully sleeping raven haired princess in front of me.
Just how did this happen?