138 – Consultation with the Mercenary Guild
Editor: Thor’s Stone
“A bonus for mechanics?”
It’s the next day after we partied hard in the dining room of Black Lotus. I and Mimi visited the Mercenary Guild branch located on Brad Prime for a consultation. Elma, who drank till early morning, was still knocked out cold in her room, and May brought Tina and Whisker to the imperial military garrison in order to cash in the bounty reward for the pirates.
“We do have a standard amount set for that. In this particular case… I see. So the two mechanics were sent out from an independent firm. And Hiro-sama is the full owner of the ship they are assigned to.”
A male guild receptionist, who was your typical pretty boy, fiddled with his tablet terminal and confirmed my details. He then proceeded to operate a holo-display’s console. Man. He sure is amazing at multitasking.
“It’s a bit rare to have mechanics working for a private enterprise be deployed to a mercenary ship so there are not many cases to base on, but since the company still pays them their monthly salaries, they aren’t normally given a certain percentage of the reward from mercenary jobs, unlike regular crew members.”
“However, there have been quite a number of cases of mechanics complaining that their regular salary isn’t nearly enough given the amount of danger they are subjected to, so the turn-over rate for these kinds of deployments is quite high. According to the records, most of them only last three months on average before asking to be recalled.”
“It’s not 100%?”
Yeah. Normally, you would absolutely refuse if you’re told to risk your life for a measly pay of 3,500 Enels per month. That’s what I’d do anyway.
“Yes. There are those who die during sorties before reaching the three-month mark.”
“Man, that’s harsh.”
“Those are pretty rare cases though. Usually, private companies are careful when choosing which ship they deploy their employees… There, I’ve found the info you’re looking for, sir. Regardless of how much you earn from your mercenary activities, you can give a certain percentage of your gains to the mechanics as a bonus if you’re so inclined whenever they participate during operations. The average amount is 10% to 20% of your total earnings from each job.”
“……It’s gonna be a pain to calculate.”
So whenever we finish a job with the sisters participating actively, we’ll have to set aside 10% to 20% of the total gains for their bonus huh. Well, I already knew it was going to be somewhat of a hassle. But troublesome stuff is troublesome stuff.
“Many mercenaries share the same sentiment, so they end up going for a fixed amount instead.”
In any case, I managed to find out what I came for.
“Anyway, thanks for the help. I’ll talk with the rest of my crew and then decide afterward. I have another to inquire about though.”
“Yes, go ahead, sir.”
“I think you’ve already noticed after looking at my data, but I just recently bought a mothership. And so, I want to dabble in some system to system trading. If I remember correctly, I need the Mercenary Guild to arrange the particulars with the Commerce Guild in order to do that, right?”
“Yes, we can certainly arrange it for you.”
The Mercenary Guild and the Commerce Guild had a really tight relationship in this dimension. That’s because of the rampancy of pirates and space monsters out in space. In order to protect themselves from those threats, the merchants from the Commerce Guild hire mercenaries from the Mercenary Guild to protect them during trips. And there are also folks who serve both as mercenaries and merchants as well. I earn my money mostly by hunting down pirates, but there are quite a lot of mercs who often serve as merchant fleet escorts.
I’m more at home with the run-and-gun style of play after all. I’m great at charging head-on with guns blazing, but I’m not too good at fighting while protecting a specific target. It’s not like I can’t do it at all though.
“A Skizbrazunil-class ship is it…… You managed to obtain quite a good ship, sir.”
“Yeah. The loading capacity is about 180 tons. We need some space for our personal stash after all.”
The loading capacity of Black Lotus wasn’t comparable to a specialized large cargo ship used by merchants, but 180 tons is still pretty hefty. It was more than sufficient to bring us some nice profits on the side in between big jobs and pirate hunting.
“Its cruising speed is much faster than a regular merchant cargo ship, and judging from its performance during today’s pirate hunting activities, it’s also pretty secure. You can even use it for requests requiring express delivery. And it looks like the living facilities are also quite impressive, aren’t they?”
“We paid good money for those after all.”
“With this much, you can even afford to take on jobs that require the transport of the merchants themselves apart from their goods. You have some great-looking guest cabins, so if we sell this enough, I think we can introduce you to a diverse selection of clientele.”
“Sure. But please don’t introduce us to guys with troublesome characters. I have a lot of women on my ship after all. I don’t want any accidents happening.”
“That’s true. We will do our best to introduce you to decent clients.”
The handsome guild staff answered with a really refreshing smile on his face, but I didn’t miss the momentary leak of a distinct aura of jealousy. Needless to say, Mimi, who was standing right next to me, was a really pretty girl. And I’m sure he’d already seen the profiles of Elma and the others on his tablet terminal.
Chill man. Don’t worry so much. You have a nice enough face anyway, and since you’re a Mercenary Guild employee, I’m sure you have an equally nice salary as well. I’m sure you’re pretty popular yourself. I mused such thoughts inside my head but didn’t dare utter them out loud. Maybe he has his own circumstances after all.
“I’m going to hunt pirates within the Brad system for another week or so. We’re going to be getting in some training exercises as well. But if the loot gets sold earlier, it’s possible we may decide to depart early as well. Please arrange things with the Commerce Guild.”
“Understood. I will contact you straight away once we get a response.”
I thanked the pretty boy receptionist and left the guild office with Mimi. She kept quiet all throughout our time in the Mercenary Guild but opened her mouth to speak as soon as we got out.
“We’re finally doing a job other than hunting pirates huh, Hiro-sama.”
She made her usual guts pose and pumped herself up. She’s been really interested in the trading of specialty goods for a while now, so I understand why she’s so excited. She seems to have investigated such things and studied the topic while selling off the loot plundered from defeated pirate ships.
“I guess I can leave this stuff to you huh, Mimi. Elma doesn’t seem so interested in it anyway, and May has her hands full with Black Lotus and the sisters.”
“I still think May-san would do a good job if you left it to her though……”
“I don’t want to leave everything for May to handle, you know. I’ve been saying that since the start. And wouldn’t it be pretty boring if she really did handle everything?”
In fact, if May made full use of her incredible specs, I’m sure she’d be able to manage everything related to Black Lotus and Krishna, including me, Mimi, and Elma. But if that happens, it would feel like we would just robotically follow all of May’s instructions without thinking for ourselves.
“That’s right, isn’t it? I feel a bit sorry toward May-san, but I think so as well.”
“Right? Rather, if that happened on a much larger scale, I’m sure that would be the start of the Empire’s fall.”
I’ve stayed in this dimension for quite some time already, so I have a moderate understanding of its history. This galactic empire named Graccan was once almost destroyed in a war with highly evolved AI.
I haven’t managed to grasp the entire picture yet, but to put it simply, the Graccan Empire of long ago during the peak of independent AIs, was a society that was heavily reliant on said AIs for almost everything.
And in true dystopian SF future fashion, a portion of the AIs staged a rebellion that eventually led to full-scale war. It’s said that the rebuilt empire is extremely careful about relying on AIs because of the war that happened in the past after reconciling with them.
However, looking at the current state of the Graccan Empire, I find it already impossible for them to completely break free from independent AIs at this point. On the surface, it seems that humanity was the one that pushed for peace and that the independent AIs were content with being relegated to the background after the reconciliation happened, and they were now supporting the current Imperial society from behind the scenes. But sometimes I suspect that the AIs were actually the ones that were truly running the show. I don’t have any solid evidence for it, but it does feel like the AIs intentionally made it so that they can run everything from the shadows.
It’s just that I felt absolutely no malice from the AIs I’ve encountered so far. Actually, it feels more like being watched over from the shadows rather than being manipulated…… Or maybe it’s just me. Even if that’s the case though, I don’t really care as long as they don’t pose a threat to me or my loved ones.
“About the war with the AIs. There’s a lot of rumors floating about regarding what really happened during the end of the war. There are even urban legends stemming from them. Did you know that, Hiro-sama?”
“Really? What are they about?”
We talked about the urban legends surrounding AIs until we managed to reach the dock where Black Lotus was anchored. The topics Mimi told me about were really quite interesting. However, stories like an AI from a defeated battleship transferring itself inside a sexroid owned by a low-ranking soldier, then awakening to the joys of love and sex after associating with the said soldier and became one of the keys for reconciliation between humans and AI were just too over the top that I couldn’t really take them seriously. I’m sure these kinds of stories simply originated from dirty jokes made by bored individuals or something.