065 – Planning and Equipment Check
Editor: Thor’s Stone
I checked out the resort planet e-pamphlet on Mimi’s tablet terminal for a while. After some time, Mimi and Chris came back to the dining room. It looks like Mimi’s just finished giving Chris a tour of the ship.
“Welcome back. I checked out the e-pamphlet for a bit.”
“Ah, yes… but now’s not the time for something like a resort vacation, right?”
“No, that might not be the case.”
Mimi looked dispirited, but I countered her statement while sporting a grin.
“Is that so?”
“Well, I still can’t say for sure though. I’ll tell you all about it once Elma comes back.”
“Understood! By the way, I discussed things with Chris-chan earlier, and we thought instead of waiting for her uncle to make a move on her, why don’t we strike first? Um, but are we too naïve for thinking that?”
Mimi declared and tilted her head to the side as Chris stared straight at my face with a tense expression.
“Mm, I’ve also thought about that too, but it seemed too reckless, so I decided against it in the end. Well, it’s not like I thought about it in much detail, so let’s at least run through that option later.”
After answering, I handed the tablet terminal back to Mimi.
“Please pull up the galactic map. Your family’s based on the Dexer system, right?”
“Yes, the Dexer star system.”
“Bruno’s already talked about it. If we want to get a hold of someone from the Dexer star system, we’ll have to utilize not only hyperspace comms but gateways as well, and it would take at least five days before we establish contact. I’m sure you have some recollection of this, Chris. Didn’t you use a gateway when you first came to the Sierra system?”
“What is it?”
“Well, as long as you look at the galactic map, you’ll understand. Mimi, try looking up the most direct route between the Sierra system and the Dexer system.”
“……? Understood. I’ll pull it up.”
Mimi fiddled with her tablet and pulled up the most direct route between the two star systems. When she did so, her expression turned to one of astonishment.
“U-Uhm, Hiro-sama. It actually says that it’ll take forty two days to travel to the Dexer star system from here.”
“Oh, it’s even farther than I expected huh.”
“But why would it take so long? Messages we send from here to there would only take five days to arrive, and you said the people who’ll pick Chris-chan up will arrive within two weeks at most. So why does it say forty two days here?”
“Y’see Mimi, the projected travel time largely depends on whether or not you can make use of gateways.”
Mimi hit her palm with her fist when she heard my answer. Yep, the problem is whether or not we can use gateways for travel.
In order to use the gateways, we’ll need permission from Imperial authorities. Warships affiliated with the Imperial military, private ships owned by nobles, trade ships of businessmen who have managed to secure the appropriate authorization, and high-class tourism cruise ships are among those that can freely use gateways. But it’s a different story for mere mercenaries like us.
Well, we did have Chris-chan with us, so there was a chance of securing a one-time travel approval, but if we did that, there’s a good chance of Chris’ uncle, Balthazar, getting wind of it. He would probably set up some blockades or traps on the route toward the gateway facility. We can still forcefully break through, but it’ll be quite risky.
Depending on the enemy’s reaction, there was still a possibility of nothing of the sort happening, but I still think heading to the Dexer star system via hyperlanes is preferable, even if it’ll take quite a bit of time. The hyperlanes are spread out all across the galaxy just like a huge net, so there exists multiple routes toward the Dexer star system.
The victory conditions for Chris’ uncle, Balthazar Daleinwald’s plot, was to finish Chris off before her grandfather, Abraham Daleinwald, got wind of Chris’ parents’ deaths.
But, in truth, his ambitions would still be fairly difficult to achieve. Even if he does successfully kill Chris, once Earl Abraham Daleinwald finds out about his scheme, it would still result in Balthazar’s ruin.
I’m sure he’s already in quite a panic right now. He should be thinking of killing Chris by any means necessary and prevent her from contacting Earl Abraham at all costs. If so, then we really can’t be taking it easy. There’s a good chance he’ll do even the unthinkable once he’s cornered after all.
“Yes! What is it?”
“Please make a reservation for a tour of the resort planets. I believe this star system has three resort planets available?”
“Yes, that’s right. Which planet should we book? Or rather, is it okay to not consult Elma-san about this?”
“I’ve thought about our current situation, and I concluded that we’ll have to make a move as soon as possible. Anyway, book them all for now.”
Mimi’s expression froze up after hearing my instructions.
“Make a reservation request to all planets. Be sure to make an application to as many tour agencies as you can. And it would be even better if you can manage to reserve tours to lots of different places. The more, the better.”
“E-Eh…… It’ll cost a lot of money you know? Just why should we make that many reservations?”
“It’ll serve to confuse the pursuers. My plan goes like this: We’ll make plenty of reservations at all three resort planets, and that would give us access to multiple temporary hideouts. And then, we’ll purposely make ourselves stand out as we go for the tours in order to bait the enemy into attacking us. We probably won’t lose against them as long as we board Krishna and launch back into space. Once we clean up all the pursuing enemies, we’ll return back to one of the temporary hideouts on a resort planet. The enemies would have to search every hideout we prepared in order to find us, so that’ll buy us some time. We’ll make use of that interval to make sure Elma successfully sends Chris’ message to the Earl.”
How about it? I spread both arms wide as if to ask for the girl’s opinions. Both Mimi and Chris tilted their head cutely as they mulled over my proposed plan. Their gestures are quite in sync. That’s actually really cute, man.
“It sounds good. But only if we can ensure that we can bring down all the pursuing enemies.”
“But it would still cost a lot of money, right?”
“Don’t worry. We have a total of 17 million in assets, remember?”
Chris got surprised after hearing my words. It looks like even a genuine lady from a noble family would find 17 million Enels to be quite a hefty sum huh.
“The hotel reservations for a week’s stay at the resort planets ranges from ten thousand to thirty thousand Enels per head. We should still be able to afford it even if we make lots of reservations at different places. And I plan to charge these expenses along with the escort fees to Earl Daleinwald once we’ve pulled everything off.”
Well, if we do go ahead with this, the resulting hotel fees would surely be nothing to sneeze at after all.
“But wouldn’t booking just one place still be fine? The other pursuers would still have trouble finding out which resort planet we’re staying at if we manage to get rid of the ones that come after us first, right?”
“Normally, that would be the case. But what if the enemies are willing to do whatever it takes to find us? There’s a good chance of them obtaining our location from the travel agencies through illegal means. In that case, preparing lots of decoys by booking at multiple locations would still be the safer bet.”
“Is that so? The enemies also wouldn’t be able to get to us if we’re inside the hyperlane, so wouldn’t it be better to constantly use the hyperdrive in order to stay at the hyperlanes for an extended period of time?”
Mimi made her suggestion. Well, staying inside the hyperlane is also a valid move. I didn’t manage to think of that. It looks like I’m actually hampered by my knowledge playing Stella Online this time.
In Stella Online, traveling using the hyperdrive ends in practically an instant, but in this dimension, it’s pretty common to spend time inside the hyperlane for dozens of hours or even weeks. The enemies will also not be able to use the interdictor to force us out of the hyperlane, unlike with the FTL drive. It should be an effective strategy for stalling for time.
“That would definitely be an effective way to stall, but there’s an issue regarding resupplying if we go with that option. We didn’t really manage to restock our supplies and equipment all that much at the Alein star system before coming to the Sierra system, remember?”
We didn’t expect to encounter this sort of situation after all, and we were all in a vacation-y mood, so we went straight to the Sierra system without stopping over at any stations or colonies for resupplying along the way.
“Muu…… It will certainly be difficult for our current stockpile to last for two weeks. So why don’t we go ahead and resupply first before entering the hyperlane?”
“It’s risky to procure supplies from this colony after all. But there’s also the option of going to the neighboring star system in order to resupply. Also, the enemies certainly wouldn’t be able to attack us if we’re inside the hyperlane, but they could still set up an ambush once we come out of it, just like what happened when we first came to this star system.”
“Uu, that certainly seems to be the case.”
It looks like Mimi finally remembered how pirates attacked us immediately after we came to the Sierra system by hitting us with an interdictor, and her face clouded over. And afterward, we were able to rescue Chris. Whether or not that’s a good or bad thing however… Well, if we didn’t manage to rescue Chris, she would have met a really tragic end, so I guess it’s a good thing after all.
“Mumuu…… I can’t seem to enter the conversation.”
Chris displayed a frustrated expression as she complained. Well, she’s different from Mimi, who has piled up experience on board the Krishna as a mercenary, and is a bona fide noble lady. So it goes without saying that she would be left out in our current conversation.
“It would be better to discuss the particulars more once Elma returns. But I think it would be best to consider the possibility of getting caught up in a melee shootout while we’re not on board the Krishna. I’ll check out our equipment for a bit then.”
“I’ll help too!”
“U-Um, I’ll also help as well!”
The two girls raised their hands and volunteered. Uh, well, there’s a lot of dangerous stuff laying around the armory, especially when handled incorrectly, so I’d like to dissuade them from tagging along… but Mimi would have to get used to it sooner or later, so I guess this is as good of a time as any. I’ll have to gradually teach her the ropes then.
“I guess Mimi’s fine, but you also want to join us, Chris?”
“I am prepared to take up arms should the situation require it!”
Chris clenched both her hands into cute little fists and pumped herself up. Uh, we’ll be labeled as incompetent bodyguards if we actually let that happen though…… Oh well. I guess there’s no harm in teaching her a little bit of self defense. Though I’m not sure if it’ll be of any use in the end.
I led the two of them to the cargo room. Krishna’s cargo room holds all our food and supply stocks, but it also doubles as an armory. In addition to the power armor and laser launcher I used in the bioterrorism incident at the Alein system, there’s also the laser rifle Elma bought for security use, as well as other weapons and equipment for shootouts and melee combat.
“Waa, this is really amazing. Are all of these weapons?”
“Well, most of them are. Not all of them though. There’s quite a lot of dangerous stuff here, so don’t touch anything carelessly, okay.”
After seeing Chris nod obediently, we started checking the weapons and equipment out. We’ll skip the power armor and laser launcher for now. Let’s check out the laser rifle first. This is a weapon with a higher firepower than a laser gun. It sports a higher rate of fire, power output, and overall range. Its output can be freely adjusted according to the situation, and it also sports a variable sight scope that has night vision as well as infrared modes, so it can serve reliably for long distance sniping.
It’s bulkier than a laser gun, so you really can’t carry this thing while walking around a city or residential area. There are also colonies that prohibit carrying weapons such as these inside them. But even if it wasn’t expressly prohibited, you can’t really escape questioning from the relevant authorities if you lug this thing around freely. Obviously, an excuse like having it for self-defense wouldn’t really fly.
The next item we checked were some ball-shaped objects. These ain’t used for throwing at small aliens in order to capture them, but were a type of grenades. Stun grenades were used to disable one’s sense of sight and balance for a time by emitting a strong flash of light and noise. These didn’t function like that. It would be more appropriate to call them shock grenades. They emit a fairly powerful electric shock within a radius of five meters with these balls at the center. You’ll just need to push the switch and throw it toward your enemies.
These have become standard because setting off an explosion inside colonies or ships can be highly dangerous. It won’t be a laughing matter if the explosion ended up punching a hole in the hull. All the people inside would be goners if that happened, right? And so, in Stella Online, these shock grenades served mostly the same function as frag grenades in other games. That’s how the manual explained it anyway. I’m not really sure if that still holds true in this dimension though.
I explained how to handle the laser rifle and shock grenades to the two girls quickly. I can’t have them test fire this stuff inside the ship, so I just had them run through the firing motions with the safety still on, and had them practice throwing some dummy grenades.
I also taught them how to use an emergency medical nanomachine unit as well.
These came within gun-type syringes, and if you place one on top of skin and pull the trigger, it’ll inject medical nanomachines within the body that will serve to significantly relieve pain as well as provide first aid for those with serious injuries.
Since it was simply a first aid measure, it can’t rescue someone from life-threatening injuries, but as an emergency measure to temporarily preserve one’s life until one can receive more appropriate medical aid, it’ll serve quite well. It won’t hurt to have the girls learn how to use them. Of course, it would be better if we didn’t encounter any situation that required the use of these things, but it’s better to err on the side of caution.
“For now, it’ll be enough for you girls to learn how to handle the emergency medical nanomachine units and shock grenades. You can effectively support us if you learn how to use them well.”
“Understood. I shall work hard in practicing how to properly throw them.”
“I’ll practice hard as well.”
“These are particularly effective for hitting enemies hiding behind obstacles. The method for using them is simple enough, so it would be better to learn using them rather than a laser gun or laser rifle.”
It would be meaningless if the enemies manage to get close enough though, but we would have already lost if we end up allowing enemies to close in on these two anyway.
“Try to remember where these are stored so you can easily take them out once they’re needed. But absolutely don’t take them inside your room. These are still fairly dangerous after all.”
The two of them nodded obediently. Since these two didn’t seem to be the type to mess around, I’m not too worried, but there’s no harm in reminding them.
We continued checking out the other equipment when notification ringtones from portable terminals rang out. Since Mimi’s terminal also rang out, it’s most likely a message coming from Elma. I took out my portable terminal from my jacket pocket and checked the message out.
『They’re on to me.』
Man, that was fast. Guess they’ve already marked us. Well, I guess this was expected. I’m sure they’ve already had guys keeping their eyes on the port admin bureau building.
『How is it? Should we come get you?』
『I’m okay. They won’t make any rash moves in a crowded area. But they were faster than we expected huh. Guess they’re not willing to give us any time to prepare.』
『So resupplying will really pose a risk huh?』
『Yep. Pretty risky. Anyway, I’ll focus on getting back to the ship first. It’ll be troublesome if they decide to spring on me while I’m out and about.』
『Okay. Be careful and return as fast as you can. Turn on the terminal’s locator function and make sure you can send an SOS at any time.』
With that, I finished exchanging messages with Elma.
Now then, they’ve latched on to us fairly quickly. We’ll have to step up as well.