277 – Empty Shell



Translator: SFBaka

Editor: Thor’s Stone

After the sortie order was issued, the combined Fleet split into the Star System Blockade Fleet and Assault Fleet and immediately commenced the operation afterward. After arriving at the Shinoskia system, which was right next to the Refill system, we headed straight for the space pirate base together with the Assault Fleet.

“How do you think things are gonna go down this time?”

“I wonder. We probably won’t encounter much resistance, I think.”

“Is that so? They should have gotten some info regarding our movements in the Refill system, so shouldn’t they have made some preparations?”

“I think we’ll probably encounter a near-empty shell of a base though. What about you, Elma?”

I answered Mimi who cocked her head to the side in puzzlement and turned to Elma. She mulled over the question for a bit and opened her mouth to answer.

“I don’t think it’ll be completely abandoned, but I do agree that we’ll probably encounter little resistance.”

“So Elma-san and Hiro-sama both think it would be like that huh.”

“No matter how many people and ships the Red Flag pirates have at their disposal, they won’t be enough to deal with a well-equipped military fleet. If I were them and knew an attack was coming, I’d hurry up and gather all the supplies I can before making my escape.”

“I see. So that means we’ll be in for an easier time today, right?”

“That would still depend. Again, if I were in place of the pirates, I wouldn’t escape before leaving some nasty stuff to harass the enemies first.”

“Harassing us?”

“For example, once the military rushes inside the base, I’d set it so a self-destruct sequence would get triggered, or scatter some proximity mines in spots where the enemy fleet would likely stop to organize its formation. Well, I think it’s more likely for us to encounter stuff like those in the subsequent target star systems though.”

“Right. Even if they decide to do those, they’ll have to prepare the manpower and materials needed. They’re probably gonna use some ready-to-use harassment methods this time around.”

“Ready-to-use harassment methods?”

“Mimi, there’s a ton of illegal stuff inside a pirate base. Some of them are of the extremely dangerous kind.”

“Uh, I have a bad feeling about this.”

“Singing Crystals are pretty damn rare so I don’t think they’ll have some in stock, but you never know……”

I pity the vanguard ships that are gonna rush right in. Normal BC weapons are cute, but some among them are more than dangerous enough. There are a lot of those types of weapons even in SOL, and I’m sure there are far more dangerous things in this dimension too.

What kind of dangerous stuff exactly, you ask? Well, things like energy creatures that parasitize the corpses of humans and other lifeforms with intelligence, remodel their bodies and turn them into grotesque monstrosities for one. Those pale blue things can replicate the feats of movie zombies since they multiply by killing lifeforms and parasitizing their bodies. Perhaps they were implemented in SOL as a homage to a certain older game of that particular genre, but due to the shitty difficulty, the players completely gave up on taking them on in melee combat and instead chose to blow up the infested large-class mining ship that served as the stage for that particular event.

There are more examples like highly lethal space spiders, murderous aliens with body fluids corrosive enough to melt starship armor and hulls, etcetera…… Oh, and regular zombies were present too. But as one would expect, the players dealt with those by using laser weapons and power armor with high physical and biochemical defense capabilities.

“They’ll most likely use biological weapons. The worst thing they can use are victims who are loaded with booby traps.”


“They’ll set up bombs, poisonous gas, and even more dangerous stuff inside people who have been turned into their ‘products’ after getting abducted. Then when those guys get rescued, the pirates will trigger the traps and kill the victims along with whoever was near them.”

After saying so, Elma shrugged.

“That’s nasty…… But they’re pirates after all.”

Anything goes for those guys. They aren’t gonna get held back by things like reason or ethics.

“The marines are going to have a hard time, aren’t they?”

“Yeah. That’s why no matter what Commander Serena says, I ain’t participating in a melee operation again.”

Aside from their ships, you never know what sort of surprises would pop up in your face once you’re inside the pirate base. No matter what, I’m not gonna join the raiding team. Well, most of the time, things end with only some biological weapons being unleashed though.

–Approximately two hours later–

“There goes some dirty fireworks again……”

“It’s really like what we thought earlier.”


The main cockpit screen displayed footage of the pirate base being destroyed by intense explosions and flames.

Yep, it was exactly like we expected.

The space battle was swiftly wrapped up with our forces overwhelming the enemy. Most of the pirate ships have already escaped, and only the anti-spacecraft cannons installed around the base gave us a bit of trouble. There was no need for small and medium-class ships to participate since the bombardment from the large-class ships was enough to get rid of all resistance.

The problems began when the Marines rushed inside the base. They really seemed to have administered a drug or virus that turned their ‘products’ into irrational monsters.

The Imperial Space Marine Corps quickly encountered mutated biological weapons made out of humans and other sentient species when they rushed inside the base. After about an hour of fighting, Commander Serena chose to make all troops withdraw and completely destroyed the base through long-range artillery bombardment. It looks like she came to such a decision since she didn’t want to meaninglessly expend troops in a battle with little to nothing to gain.

Well, since they could afford to set up such traps, I’m sure they would have thoroughly destroyed the equipment which stores critical data along the way as well. And that’s why Commander Serena had the Marines pull back. I also think it was the right call.

As a result, the current impromptu stationary target practice session was conducted. The sight of a large asteroid remodeled into a pirate base exploding flashily while emitting dazzling brilliance under the intense barrage of large-caliber laser cannon fire was quite spectacular.

“That’s one flashy explosion. Did they manage to hit the oxygen tanks or ammo depot?”

“Is that actually alright? The nasty stuff inside would get scattered all over the place.”

“Is there any biological weapon that can still infect stuff after getting exposed to laser cannon fire and scattered into outer space?”

“Dunno? And even if there is, it would be impossible for that stuff to breach the hulls of ships since it would get blocked out by energy shields. Won’t it get completely wiped out once it hits an energy shield set to cruise output?”

“Now that you mention it, I guess that’s true.”

If you accidentally get in contact with a ship’s energy shield while it’s set to security output when the ship is moored inside a starport or something, you can only get numbed a bit if you’re lucky and suffer burn injuries at worst. But if you get in contact with the energy shield while it’s cruising in outer space, you’d be vaporized. The only exceptions are crystal lifeforms and other creatures that are capable of space navigation. Oh, and Mei can possibly survive getting in contact with it once too. But her clothes, artificial skin, and hair would probably all get burned away.

“But this time’s a bust huh.”

“Since there were only a few pirate ships, we couldn’t earn that much kill rewards and bounties.”

“Well, at least we’ll still get our daily salary. It’s not that bad. We just have to think of it as earning while doing nothing, right?”

“That’s true, but……”

“Are you worried about something?”

“I’m worried about what’s waiting for us in the next star system. Even if the opponents are pirates, those guys aren’t stupid. I’m sure they’ll have something in store for us. They wouldn’t want to just keep getting underestimated and beaten up after all.”

“I see. That’s true.”

The question is what sort of stuff the pirates are gonna use to welcome us. It wouldn’t be strange if they used a method that’s usually not implemented in a battle between regular troops.

“How would you deal with us if you were in the pirate’s shoes, Hiro-sama?”

“I’d immediately escape, but if I only did that, my pirate associates might think I was just a coward who ran with his tail between his legs. Even if that was the best move possible, I’d have to take into account how it would affect my position in a large pirate organization like the Red Flags. And that’s why I have to at least leave a nasty surprise for the military……”

Even so, there’s no chance that the Red Flags can take the military in a head-on clash. So some underhanded means were a must.

“I’d use a Singing Crystal and destroy it in the middle of the enemy forces like what we did against the Vereverem fleet if I were them, but it’s not like those things are easily available.”

“That’s an option, but unless you can destroy it in the middle of an enemy fleet, that thing is practically meaningless. Using something like that is too difficult unless the pirates have a pilot capable of flying straight inside an enemy formation just like you, Hiro.”

“That’s true. How about the mine trap Hiro-sama mentioned earlier?”

“They might use proximity mines equipped with reaction charges to deal damage to the fleet. They might also use seeker missiles equipped with reaction warheads for an all-out saturation attack.”

Reaction warhead tech was already quite mature after all. The manufacturing methods have long since spread everywhere, and as long as you had the proper tech standards, know-how, materials, and tools, it was pretty easy to produce them en masse.

But it seems that as a countermeasure, most of the essential materials used for their production weren’t that easy to obtain due to several sanctions limiting their distribution in the market. But pirates can probably obtain them easier through illegal means anyway. If one really had the mind to do it, it’s very possible to mass-produce reaction warheads akin to the most manufactured assault rifle that’s used in almost all conflict zones on Earth.

Even if that’s the case, space pirates still don’t favor using reaction warheads. That’s because, with their power, they’d blow away the pirate’s prey entirely along with all the loot. It’s also the reason why I don’t usually use reactive torpedoes when taking on pirates.

However, there’s a good chance the pirates would not hesitate to use them once they get cornered by a powerful enemy – like the Imperial Military for example. When it comes to that there’s a real risk of getting showered with missiles sporting powerful reaction warheads. There’s nothing scarier than that.

“Well, I don’t think the Imperial Military will allow the wanton mass production or procurement of reaction warheads under their watch anyway. I don’t think we’ll face an attack of that magnitude.”

Of course, if such a wanton attack was truly employed, the Imperial Military will likely use all means to completely annihilate the Red Flag pirates. And they wouldn’t be just facing a hastily cobbled up combined fleet just like the one employed by Commander Serena here at that point. They’d be going against the full might of the Imperial Military. Once that happens, there’s no way for the Red Flag pirates to escape annihilation. It’s possible that they’d hang the leader’s heads on display as an example to the other space pirate organizations. Of course, that’s only figuratively speaking. On second thought, they might really do something like that. It’s the Graccan Empire after all.

“Anyway, even if we had it easy this time, we’ll have to be on our guard in the next system. Let’s just hope they don’t go up against Commander Serena with a method that would make the Empire get serious. I’m sure she’s also taken that into account and is trying not to provoke the enemy to such an extent.”

“Yeah. And it’s not like all pirates are stupid.”

“Normally, they only seem like dudes with crazy mohawks going all ‘Yahaa!’ and stuff though.”

“Yeah. Those guys are easy marks…… But, well, I’m sure that there are at least some pirates with brains in a large pirate organization. If there are none, then it’s next to impossible to run a large-scale space pirate organization after all.”

“Is that the case?”

“Yeah, that’s how it is. Anyway, just don’t let your guard down later on guys.”

Unlike SOL, the space pirates here were living, breathing, and intelligent…… Uh, I’m not so sure about the ‘intelligent’ part, but they’re living, breathing people anyway. They might have set up some nasty traps for us to fall into, so there’s a need for caution. At least, we should try to personally not get caught up in them and die in the process.



Novel Schedule

I Woke Up Piloting the Strongest Starship, so I Became a Space Mercenary

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Comment (1)

  1. aristocrat

    Don’t forget the FTL ram tactic.

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