192 – Giant Killing
Editor: Thor’s Stone
“The wait is over everyone! It’s time for the much-awaited entrance of Captain Hiro for today’s semi-final match! His opponent is a fellow mercenary, Captain Schneider! His personal machine is a ship that’s highly regarded even by the military, the Corvette model, Cavalry VII!
“Captain Schneider has managed to tear through all his matches until now with the overwhelming firepower and unflinching defense of Cavalry VII. Just how will Captain Hiro overcome Captain Schneider? Or will overwhelming firepower and defense actually prove too much for skills and technique? I am looking forward to knowing the answer soon.”
Before the match began, the commentary from the announcer and the female officer serving as the guest commentator rang out from the public channel.
“Hiro-sama, our match opponent is trying to contact us.”
“Hm? What’s he up to? Patch him through.”
Mimi operated her console and patched the call of Captain Schneider through.
“This is Krishna’s Captain Hiro. The match is gonna start soon. What do you want?”
『The name’s Schneider. It’s nothing much. I just wanted to give you a pre-match greeting of sorts.』
After saying so, Captain Schneider stared intently at my face. What’s up with this guy? Why’s he staring at me like this anyway?
The man called Captain Schneider looked pretty young in appearance. He’s probably older than me, but he hasn’t reached middle age yet. He had a full head of light-brown hair similar in color to Mimi’s and looked quite attractive for a guy. His eyes were quite sharp though.
『Hm. I thought you’d be nothing but a brat, but that doesn’t seem to be the case huh. You seem quite capable, lad.』
“Thanks for the praise. But I’m just an upstart with a bit of good…… err, I mean, bad luck y’know? It’s fine to underestimate me a bit more.”
『If you truly are just a lucky small fry, you would have been desperate to appear more threatening than you really are.』
The corner of Captain Schneider’s mouth raised slightly and displayed a combative smirk.
『It seems I’ll truly enjoy finding out if your fangs can get past my Dominator. Schneider out.』
He cut the call, and the window displaying Captain Schneider’s face on the cockpit monitor disappeared.
“He seems quite skilled, doesn’t he?”
“Yeah, that seems to be the case. I guess we really can’t let our guards down.”
During that earlier exchange, Mimi’s eyes ended up sparkling in excitement for some reason. What’s up with her?
“That exchange just now was super cool! It was just like what happened on the holo-novel I borrowed from Princess Luciada!”
Just what the heck are you making our Mimi read, Princess!? Please don’t corrupt our innocent Mimi. It’s probably not something rotten¹, but it looks like I have to watch out for that possibility later.
“I’m really counting on you, okay, Elma.”
“Are you counting on me for the match or for watching out for Mimi?”
“I’m not Mimi’s mother you know.”
“Well, in terms of age, you more than qua– Ooow, ooow! I’m sorry!”
Elma strongly pinched my thigh so I immediately raised the flag of surrender. The fact that we can have a laid back exchange like this right before an important match is probably one of our team’s strengths.
“Both contestants have now moved into position. Match countdown start!”
A large countdown timer appeared on the monitor.
“What’s our strategy?”
“Let’s go aggressively from the get-go. Well, we basically need to aim for blind spots. Mimi, do a full scan of the enemy ship as soon as the match starts and mark the spots where its main modules are located.”
As soon as the countdown finished, I gunned the thrusters to maximum output and shrunk my distance to the Dominator. The Dominator aimed its artillery-filled top deck at us and unleashed a porcupine-like dense anti-air (It sounds a bit weird to call it ‘anti-air’ when we’re out in space though.) barrage.
“Release the chaff and ECM.”
The chaff and ECM deployed by Elma were effective, and the accuracy of the anti-air barrage flying toward Krishna was greatly reduced. By the way, the chaff used here was completely different from those employed on Earth. The chaff used on Earth deceives radar readings by sprinkling metal foil and other similar stuff, but what’s employed by Krishna and other starships is of a more high-tech variety. They somehow trick the FCS of enemy ships by making them detect readings that are practically identical to the readings given off by the actual ship that released them.
The effect of interference was limited, but they could confuse the FCS of enemy ships for a short instance and greatly reduce their hit rate. Their working principles were different but their intended effect was mostly the same. That’s why they were still called chaff here.
“The barrage is as heavy as we expected.”
Even though we reduced the hit rate using jamming devices, the shield will still get gradually saturated at this rate. The Dominator kept its bow trained firmly toward us while continuously retreating backward to keep distance and prevent us from getting in close. It looks like the pilot really intends to grind us down using firepower huh.
“Yosh, let’s go! Be prepared to activate the shield cells at a moment’s notice.”
I raised the bow of Krishna and rushed upward to get above the Dominator. The Dominator naturally raised her bow to follow Krishna’s movements as well since the pilot wanted to avoid Krishna jumping behind her and taking her blind spot. In other words, the Dominator started rolling vertically.
“Here you go.”
I made the ship roll, aimed my four laser cannons at the top part of the Dominator and unleashed suppression shots to restrain its movements. My ship’s firepower is also really high for its size, but it’s still disadvantageous for us to engage the enemy in a frontal shootout. Krishna has relatively strong shields and armor, but it’s still a small-class ship in the end. A Corvette, which is classified as a large-class ship, far exceeded it in the durability department.
“Isn’t it about time?”
“Just a bit more…… Now!”
When I judged that the Dominator had built up enough rotational momentum, I pulled the flight stick once more and made Krishna drop downward like lightning from on high toward the enemy ship. My aim was to clip the enemy ship’s bow.
The Dominator was still rotating vertically upward in accordance to Krishna’s earlier trajectory. Due to its huge size and mass, it was impossible to suddenly reverse the rotation or change direction on short notice.
“We broke through!”
Krishna managed to break through the hellish anti-air barrage, slipped through the bow of the Dominator, and got below it. Of course, there were still turrets present below the enemy ship’s deck, but their firepower was modest compared to the guns on top of the ship. I hammered the turrets from close range with the shot-cannons and silenced them immediately.
“Let’s keep going.”
I also targeted some of the critical modules Mimi marked earlier – an energy pipe supplying power to the attitude control and main thrusters as well as the ammunition depot. Furthermore, I relentlessly fired the four heavy-caliber laser cannons to saturate the shield and hit the section where the power generator was located with pinpoint accuracy. After doing so, the buzzer signifying the end of the match rang out. It looks like the generator getting hit counts as the ship getting shot down.
“Match over! Captain Hiro has splendidly accomplished Giant Killing! Though at first, it seemed that Captain Schneider had a one-sided advantage.”
“The key was that lightning-quick maneuver performed by Captain Hiro near the end of the match. It is certainly impossible for ships as large as the Corvette to keep up with that sort of maneuver. But you’d need a lot of skill and guts in order to perform that in a one-on-one ship battle. You’d face a dense anti-air barrage, so you’ll need to be courageous enough to wade through all that while facing the risk of being shot down if you made even one mistake.”
We headed back to the military maintenance dock while listening to the play-by-play of the announcer and female guest commentator.
“Well, that takes care of that.”
“I was nervous the whole time though, Hiro-sama.”
“That’s right. We even used up three shield cells in the exchange…… Hey, why didn’t you use an anti-ship torpedo this time?”
Elma asked a valid question.
“It’s not like I held back. I just fought as I usually do. There’s no need to use an anti-ship reactive torpedo against a single large-class ship y’know.”
If there were other ships around and I wasn’t facing the Dominator by itself, I would have quickly finished it off with a torpedo so I wouldn’t get tied down. But since it was alone, there was no need to.
“I mean c’mon. Anti-ship reactive torpedoes are really expensive, right?”
“We’re using training rounds in matches so it won’t cost us a thing.”
“It’s exactly because we’re participating in competition matches. Since there’s no danger of dying, it’s no fun to take the easy way out. I also wanted to test out that Dominator’s module placement and how it held up compared to a stock Cavalry VII.”
“……You sometimes act unusually stoic, don’t you, Hiro?”
For some reason, Elma was staring at me in exasperation. I didn’t really do anything bad so it’s fine, isn’t it? I didn’t maliciously look down on the opponent or anything.
“A-Anyway, the next match will be the finals, right? Let’s do our best!”
“Yeah. Let’s get this hassle of a tournament out of the way quickly. I have a lot of stuff planned while we’re in the Imperial Capital, but we’re stuck in the Imperial Palace.”
I have to pay a visit to the Dareinwald family villa where Chris currently was and also purchase a couple high-performance combat bots through Commander Serena’s connections here. Also, I bet I’d have to take interviews from the media as well. It’s thanks to that f**cking Emperor that our schedule is all messed up. Dammit!
Anyway, I’ll have to get the ship maintained and resupplied before the final match first.
 TL Note: Becoming ‘rotten’ is a euphemism for people turning into fujoshi or fudanshi – people enamored with Boy’s Love (BL) or Yaoi.