209 – Laser Bombardment
Editor: Thor’s Stone
Boom! The light of the stars streaming around us like arrows returned to being stationary after a thunderous boom.
“FTL Drive deactivated. Calculating the atmospheric entry coordinates to the target location!”
“Ok. Everyone, make sure to drink plenty of fluids before we proceed with atmospheric entry. Do you have any info about the target location for me, Mimi?”
“Yes. Um…… Found it. I’ll put it up on the screen.”
Mimi operated her console and displayed the info regarding the dangerous lifeforms attacking the colonists of Comatt III on the cockpit screen.
“Those are some mean-looking creatures. They’re plenty intimidating. Or rather, they look plain evil. They seem like masses of evil will that have taken physical form.”
“Well, they certainly don’t look like decent creatures, that’s for sure.”
What was displayed on the screen was something I could only describe as terrifying. The creatures were mostly yellowish-brown in color and the surface of their bodies was covered in hides that somehow eerily resembled human skin, making them seem even more creepy.
Their appearance can roughly be divided into three types. One was about 5 meters tall. It had more than twenty legs that resembled human ones, and it uses those multiple legs to move at high speeds to capture its victims. It would then badly maul its victim with two arms, and then chew them up with what seems to be its mouth. Its mouth was lined up with human-like teeth and looked utterly revolting. The tips of both its arms were covered in a sort of rocky epidermis that also seemed quite sharp. They really looked like they could kill a human in one blow.
The other type also had multiple legs, but they resembled the legs of elephants. Its body was quite streamlined and resembled an upside-down seafaring ship. The front end of its upper body was covered in rocky armor like the arms of the first type, and it seems capable of performing high-speed frontal charges. It was about 15 meters in length and 7 meters in height. It was considerably larger than the first type. Its frontal rocky armor looked pretty tough and solid, and it seems that handheld laser guns and rifles were completely useless against it.
And of all three forms, the last one looked the most troublesome. It stood 2 meters tall and was quite smaller than the other types. It had multiple legs as well – six to be exact. It didn’t seem to be that fast and also didn’t possess rocky armor, but it was sporting a kind of biological laser cannon on its body that seemed on par with standard laser launchers. Its power and range far outdid the weapons the colonists were armed with, and they were even capable of taking down unshielded aircraft, seeker missiles, and attack drones.
“That’s a full line-up huh. They have vanguards and rearguards accounted for. Are there really naturally occurring lifeforms that shoot energy beams from their bodies like these?”
“Well, there are the crystal lifeforms for example.”
“Uh, yeah, those are incomprehensible creatures as well huh……”
It’s certainly true that crystal lifeforms were one of the weirdest creatures in the galaxy. They were extremely aggressive against all carbon-based lifeforms, were capable of interstellar navigation, and spat out not only lasers but mysterious energy bullets from their bodies as well. What I’m trying to ask is whether or not there were really naturally-occurring creatures that were so specialized in waging combat on terrestrial planets. Spitting out a stream of powerful venom or acids is one thing, but these things were even spitting out laser fire as destructive as laser launcher projectiles y’know. That’s a bit too over the top no matter how you slice it.
“Well…… Like I said earlier, they really don’t seem like decent creatures.”
“Yeah. Oh well. Let’s just go ahead and get rid of em.”
“You sure are nonchalant about all this. Or rather, you don’t seem to be feeling any danger at all.”
Zuia quipped as he sat on the sub-seat. I merely shrugged my shoulders without glancing back.
“Whether there are ten thousand or ten million of these guys, they pose absolutely no threat to Krishna after all.”
“If their output is only on par with laser launchers, they won’t have much range within a planet’s atmosphere. Krishna’s laser cannons have much higher output and range, so we can just unilaterally pick them off from beyond their range of attack.”
“And there’s the Black Lotus as well. It can make use of the observation data Krishna is constantly sending its way to bombard the surface with multi-cannon and EML fire from the stratosphere.”
Speaking of multi-cannons, they’re sometimes unfairly labeled as mere peashooters, but they’re actually pretty deadly against unshielded enemies. Their rate of fire is like that of submachine guns, but they’re ship artillery after all. I’m not familiar with their exact caliber, but I can roughly hold on to just one ammo round with both arms. If a human were to get hit directly with something like that, they’d be turned into minced meat in an instant. Of course, those creatures rampaging on the surface of the planet will meet similar gruesome ends as well.
But if you carelessly fired off an EML round at the surface, it might affect the planetary colony as well. Anyway, we could always adjust the firing angle and velocity of the EML round, and I’m sure Mei would not make any mistakes.
“I see…… In other words, the difference in strength between us and them is just that overwhelming.”
“That’s right. I think this would be a one-sided affair, actually.”
“I’ve finished setting the atmospheric entry angle! I’ll display it on the nav.”
“Roger that. Make sure to have Black Lotus follow closely, Mei.”
『Aye, aye, sir.』
We proceeded with atmospheric entry according to the course Mimi set and descended upon Comatt III.
“Whoaaaah!? A-Are we really gonna be okay!?”
However, when we began our descent, Zuia suddenly wailed in fright. Apparently, this was his first time experiencing atmospheric entry on a planet.
“Yeah. Atmospheric entry sure does have a lot of impact, doesn’t it?”
There’s violent shaking and also unsettling noises. There’s also the atmosphere outside the shield burning bright crimson. I’m aware that objects entering the atmosphere of a planet experience atmospheric drag and aerodynamic heating caused by the compression of the air around the object, but I wonder why energy shields also cause such phenomena. Was it generating plasma due to the super-high temperature or something?
“We’ve arrived right above the target coordinates.”
“Hey now. There they are.”
Combat starship other than us were already flying above the target coordinates and were mowing down the advancing waves of hostile creatures on the ground as if they were parting clouds. High-powered laser rounds were continuously fired off from the combat ship’s laser cannons, landing on the ground and blowing away the hostile creatures along with the soil and rocks.
The process was often misunderstood, but laser cannons weren’t really weapons that would cause targets to explode directly due to their high-powered laser rounds. Actually, the surface of the target fired upon would first evaporate due to the super-high temperature, causing the explosion afterward, and the corresponding heat and impact would cause the target to be destroyed.
In other words, the true nature of the destruction on the ground eliminating the hostile creatures were storms of explosive blasts and heat caused by high-powered laser irradiation.
“Activate weapon systems. Limit the output to the minimum and prioritize rapid-fire capability.”
“Roger. Adjusting the power output.”
“As for Black Lotus, mainly use the laser turrets to attack. Don’t use the multi-cannons unless the planetary colony base gets placed in critical danger.”
『Aye, aye, sir.』
Both the multi-cannon and EML rounds are quite expensive after all. Since the laser turrets are easier on the wallet, we’ll use them instead.
“But there sure are a lot of them.”
“Seeing them squirming around like that makes me feel a bit sick somehow…… ”
It looks like most of the laser spewing creatures have been taken care of, and there were only two types remaining – the vanguard-type and the assault-type. This will be nothing more than a mop-up then. Since the creatures couldn’t fly, they had no ability to attack the combat ships hovering around in the sky. We’ll just need to be careful not to accidentally damage the energy shield covering the planetary colony base.
Out of our four laser cannons, the lower ones targeted the creatures near the base, and the upper ones destroyed those further away from it. Since we lowered the output to the minimum, the laser irradiation period was longer than usual and the firing interval was conversely shorter, so the mop-up work progressed steadily.
“With this, the base won’t have any worries when it comes to food for a good while.”
After hearing Elma’s statement, Mimi and I raised surprised voices.
Eh? Food? You can actually eat these things?
“It’s just a speculation, but they’re biological organisms at the end of the day. They can probably break them down into edible protein sources after a bit of processing.”
“That’s seriously scary.”
“I wonder how they’d taste?”
I did a double-take and turned toward Mimi, who was sitting on the operator seat. Mimi got surprised by our reactions and met gazes with me. Uh, did you really not find their appearances the least bit disgusting? Or did your desire for unknown gourmet food and ingredients win out in the end?
“W-Well, you know… Um, maybe they’d actually taste good when you try them out?”
“Y-Yeah, okay. You have a point.”
Those vanguard-types have multiple human-like legs though. I don’t feel like tasting them at all after seeing those. Well, Mimi’s dream is to eat all the galaxy’s gourmet delicacies after all. I think that sort of brave challenger’s spirit is important in order to achieve it. Yeah.
Me? Nah. I’d rather pass, man.