223 – Our Next Plans
Editor: Thor’s Stone
“You really didn’t realize it until now?”
“I bet it just completely went over his head.”
“Stop that. You’re hurting my poor little heart.”
At least hear out my excuse first, guys. Even though I did indeed get granted first-class Imperial Citizenship as one of the rewards from winning the tournament, the unrestricted gateway access drew my attention way more, and I ended up forgetting all about the citizenship until now. In fact, I didn’t have much leeway to think about other stuff due to things like Mei’s training from hell and Mimi’s shocking true identity, so I haven’t really dwelled on building a detached house with a garden on a residential planet, even though it’s supposed to be my ultimate goal. And after that tournament, I immediately took this current job too.
“So does this mean you, a Gold Star recipient, will be retiring soon? Isn’t it a bit too early?”
“Well, I wonder……”
What Zuia’s saying is certainly feasible. I can absolutely go ahead and buy some land on some planetary colony after this job is over and build my dream house with a garden there. After retiring, I’d probably have more than enough money to live out a relatively normal and worry-free life. It certainly doesn’t sound bad to live a comfortable life there together with Elma, Mimi, and Mei. Yep. Not bad at all. However…
“It just seems kinda boring though.”
“I heard it is.”
“Yeah. I think it’s a little too early to settle down. I want to explore even more places, and I probably wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I start living a calm and stable life right now.”
These are my true thoughts. It’s certainly not bad to spend most of my time flirting around with the girls, and it would be a happy thing if I had children with Mimi and Elma as a result. But I still think it’s too early to start such a life right after being done with our current job.
“Well, I still have to consult with Mimi, Elma, Mei, Tina, and Whisker about it too. And even if we don’t go for that kind of life right away, it’s not a bad idea to at least settle things like the place where we’ll build our dream home in the meantime.”
Depending on how it goes, it won’t be bad to secure a private lot first. After purchasing the land, we can build our dream home any time we’d like. And since we have the money, it’s better to buy something more spacious. Oh, but the more spacious the lot, the higher the land tax, right? I guess I’ll need consultation regarding the particulars.
“And more importantly–”
“I still haven’t managed to find cola…… Even if I settled down on a planet somewhere right now, it would still feel half-baked.”
“Oh, right. You certainly were quite fixated on that ‘cola’ stuff huh……”
Mimi and Elma were convinced and nodded. Uh, well, I guess you could say they were half-convinced and half-exasperated. You girls just don’t know how much I crave cola so you’re reacting like that…! That stuff is equal to the water of life for someone like me.
“Uh, so, just what is this cola you’re talking about?”
“Ooh! So you’re interested in cola huh!? Let me tell ya–”
When I tried to turn the pilot seat around to face Zuia in order to preach cola gospel, Elma kicked it right back into its previous position. How cruel.
“It’s no good to talk about cola with this guy. He’ll just talk your ears off. Uh, simply put, it seems to be a sweetened ‘carbonated’ drink with a refreshing flavor.”
“It’s a mysterious drink that’s supposed to make you feel all refreshed. However, it has a tendency to blow up whenever you open a bottle of it inside a starship or colony……”
“What the heck? That’s scary.”
“It’s not. Definitely not. It’s actually not something dangerous.”
Kuh. So cola, and carbonated drinks in general, are really just minor types of drinks in this dimension huh.
Aside from that, the ability to personally cook stuff like meat, vegetables, and seafood is also treated as a rare and specialized skill. Overall, the food culture in this dimension is complicated and strange. I think it’s the product of the gradual shift into living in outer space. They focused too much on preparing food with extreme efficiency that they ended up developing things like food cartridges and mostly abandoned things like cooking and carbonated drinks.
When I told him that, Zuia dropped his head and thought for a while before opening his mouth to talk again.
“If that’s the case, then you might be able to find what the captain wants if you go to a system of a race that still retains its ancient culture, or to a remote planet that’s just recently been incorporated to the empire.”
“Tell me more.”
I hurriedly turned my seat around to face Zuia again. Perhaps he expected my reaction this time. Zuia made a toothy grin that showed off his sharp fangs without any surprise evident on his expression.
“I don’t mind giving you more details, but I need you to give me some form of compensation as well.”
“Yeah…… You seemed really close with that lady Commander from the Imperial Military. If you tell me the details about how you came to know her, I won’t mind sharing more info with you.”
If I can get info on cola in exchange for stuff about Commander Serena, then it’s well worth it. I wouldn’t feel guilty at all, so I’ll tell him whatever he wants to know.
Eh? What about my promise with Commander Serena? That’s nothing in the face of cola! Well, I think it’s fine as long as I leave out the stuff about her acting all sloppy. I’ll just tell Zuia about how I met her and what things we’ve been through together.
“Tell me about your info regarding cola first.”
“Ok. In short, there are quite a few traditional dishes and specialty products still being offered in the mother planets of certain races. The personal chefs of Nobles and celebrities basically come from or have studied and practiced cooking on those planets before.”
“I see. Yeah. The item I’m seeking might just be one of those specialty products they’re offering huh.”
“That’s how it is. There are several such star systems in Graccan Imperial territory, and there might yet be many unknown products and delicacies in the most remote sectors that have only been incorporated into the Empire just recently. I’m referring to the so-called ‘Edge World’.”
“Edge World huh……”
The so-called Edge World is different from normal remote sectors like Termaine system. They aren’t just sectors out in the boonies that are located near the borders next to other space empires. Even I have no idea about what’s there. It’s at the very edge of explored space, and the forefront of the ever-expanding Imperial territory.
“I don’t think we’ll have problems finding suitable jobs even if we go all the way to Edge World.”
“The Imperial Military’s presence is thin on Edge World, so there are a lot of pirates over there……”
“But isn’t that kind of bad?”
Mimi tilted her head in response to Elma and my statements.
“There are very few Imperial Military forces deployed on Edge World. That’s why whenever pirates find tough targets, they’d immediately call for reinforcements.”
“Eh, but that’s…… Ah, now I understand. It’s because they aren’t worried that the Imperial Space Navy will get in their way, right?”
“That’s how it is.”
In systems where there are proper Imperial Military and system garrison patrols, if pirates call their comrades for reinforcements, the military would be able to mount a response immediately to go against them. But on Edge World, they already have their hands full defending the colonies and stations, so they wouldn’t be able to do that. Therefore, whenever pirates encounter tough prey over there, they would unreservedly call for reinforcements to subdue said prey with overwhelming numbers.
“It does sound profitable, but it’s also quite risky.”
“There’s a limit no matter how strong Krishna and Hiro are after all.”
But because it was both very profitable and dangerous, merchants were also getting in on the action over there.
Basically, there are a lot of merchants active over there, and they operate exclusively in large fleets. Moreover, those active on Edge World aren’t your normal mercantile fleets but are the so-called armed commercial fleets instead. In order to counter the large-scale assaults of pirates, they arm their ships to the teeth and employ quite a lot of escorts.
“It’s definitely risky to move around there on our own, but there are plenty of escort jobs related to the place, so we might be able to get a job as part of a fleet’s armed convoy. And if we appeal to them using Black Lotus’ armaments and carrying capacity, it might even land a job as a supply ship.”
“That’s right…… We might be able to land a job as part of an armed commercial fleet’s escort ships if we go to a system close to Edge World.”
“That all sounds well and good, but don’t you think it’s better to go around the mother systems of ethnic races in safe Imperial territory first before anything else?”
It might sound interesting to go to Edge World as part of an armed commercial fleet, but it would be better for us to go around imperial territory first. We also need to choose a suitable planet to build our home on as well.
“So it looks like we will still be seeing more of your exploits huh, Captain Hiro?”
“That’s how it is. Well, I’m certainly far too young for retirement.”
I shrugged my shoulders after saying so.
First, we’ll need to finish the last ten days of our current contract here on the Comatt system. Given the current situation, our contract probably won’t get extended, so it’s good to decide on our next course of action early.
First, we’ll search for a suitable planet to build a home on. Then we’ll search for cola that’s akin to the water of life for me. And after that, we’ll continue going all around the empire. Our future activities would be roughly like that, I suppose.