288 – Planetary Descent Once More

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Translator: SFBaka

Editor: Thor’s Stone


『We will be entering Refill IV’s satellite orbit soon.』

“We will land in the integrated port facility at the Minfa Clan’s territory. Please watch out for a possible enemy ambush within the planet’s satellite orbit and beyond as we descend.”

『Aye, aye, sir.』

I gave instructions to Mei, who was piloting the Black Lotus, while I waited with Mimi and Elma inside Krishna’s cockpit so we would be able to sortie any time in case of an emergency. I kept my eye on the data collected by Black Lotus’ various sensors as well.

“There really is something out there huh.”

“Yeah, there sure is.”

“Uhuh.”

Elma and Mimi, who were paying attention to the sensor readings as well, raised their voices in agreement. Black Lotus’ sensors picked up readings of a small ship moving at high speed within the planet’s satellite orbit. It belonged to a mercenary unit and wasn’t affiliated with the Star System Garrison. When I looked it up, I found that it really was a scout ship belonging to the Crimson Lance mercenaries.

Of course, since we managed to detect it, Mei should have detected it as well. There wasn’t any place to hide out in satellite orbit, so it wasn’t even trying to hide its presence and just brazenly followed after us.

“Maybe it’s a high-speed scout ship specializing in electronic warfare?”

“It does look the part.”

“Can you really tell that just from its appearance?”

“To a certain extent. Although the ship seems to be small and light, it has two main engines. The number of its attitude control thrusters is also quite smaller than usual. So we can tell that it isn’t a ship built for dogfights from those details. Rather, it’s a configuration that allows the ship to rush to a target coordinate at really high speeds and escape immediately once something disadvantageous happens. There are also various unnatural protrusions across the body of the ship, right? Those are probably additional sensor arrays.”

“The shapes of radomes are almost the same, so they’re quite easy to spot.”

All starships basically have protective energy shields, but even so, if delicate sensors were left exposed, there was a high possibility of problems occurring. That’s why radomes that offered additional protection to those sensors were indispensable. And when you install a lot of additional sensor arrays, you’d have to install radomes together with them as well. The surface of the ship would become peppered with bulging radomes, and inevitably look a bit clunky as a result.

“I thought it was a decoy that would make us let our guards down before they swoop in for an ambush, but it looks like there isn’t any indication of them launching any attacks at us, at least for now.”

“Right. Well, if they launched an obvious attack in a place like this, the System Garrison forces patrolling geosynchronous orbit would get alerted immediately and rush here.”

“But this is a good spot to launch an attack if they’re aiming to shoot us down regardless of the consequences, right?”

“That’s if they’re prepared to throw everything away and go down with us. But I wonder what sort of pretext they used to send out a ship like that to Refill IV’s satellite orbit.”

“I wonder? Maybe they took on an official security assistance mission from the System Garrison.”

“Ah, right. There’s that method huh.”

Maybe that’s what Marie went to the guild for yesterday. She might have offered the services of their convenient high-speed recon spacecraft that had electronic warfare capabilities to support Refill IV’s defense forces through the Mercenary Guild. If she set the price low from the get-go, the System Garrison was more likely to accept her offer. This is especially true now that they’ve been on the receiving end of space pirate raids twice in a row. So they were probably more than willing to do anything in order to improve their efficiency.

“They didn’t seem to have followed after us when we left the Refill Prime colony, so that really might be the case.”

“Right. Well, in any case, they can’t pull anything against us. At least, not yet.”

“It looks like we have no choice but to ignore them huh.”

I’m not sure how good the information gathering capability of that ship really was, but it can’t be helped. Neither Black Lotus nor Krishna had the ability to enter stealth while entering a planet’s atmosphere, after all, so they should have a clear idea about where we’re going already. Maybe they’ve even found out the fact that we plan to head to the Rose Clan’s territory with Krishna. But we really don’t have any methods to resolve this situation right now. We’d be treated as the instigators if we took the initiative to attack them after all.

『Master, we’ve successfully entered satellite orbit. We’ll be entering the planet’s atmosphere in two minutes.』

“Roger that. We’ll probably be okay for the time being, but stay alert.”

『Yes. Please leave it to me.』

Shortly after Mei’s reply, Black Lotus began entering the atmosphere. The heat generated by adiabatic compression caused plasma to form on the outer side of Black Lotus’ energy shield, emitting a bright glow.

“It’s really beautiful, isn’t it?”

“I guess……?”

I’ve seen a lot of creative works portraying stuff blowing up in a blaze of glory during atmospheric entry due to various reasons, so instead of finding the current sight beautiful, I was feeling a bit anxious instead. But if one looked at it from a pure perspective, then it certainly was beautiful, so I didn’t want to put a damper on Mimi’s innocent impression.

“You really have a weirdly mysterious taste for stuff sometimes huh, Mimi.”

“Eh!?”

After hearing Elma’s tasteless comment, Mimi became teary-eyed. Well, I guess Elma had a point though. I couldn’t really bring myself to reprimand Elma because I was basically thinking the same thing. I just didn’t voice it out.

『Master, we’ve completed atmospheric entry. I am now proceeding to head to the target destination while decelerating. We will arrive in about 5 minutes.』

“Got it. Thanks for all your hard work piloting the ship, as always, Mei. We’ll remain on stand-by inside Krishna.”

『Understood. I will also notify Tina-sama and Whisker-sama.』

“I leave it to you.”

Mei’s transmission from Black Lotus was cut off. Recently, Mei had begun addressing Tina and Whisker respectfully with ‘sama’ as well. She addressed them with ‘san’ before, right? What was the reason for such a change? Well, uh…… I guess it’s because I finally laid my filthy hands on the two of them too.

“We’re finally heading to Elma-san’s home…… Err, I guess it’s a bit different huh. How should we put it?”

“Isn’t it fine to just say we’re paying a visit to my relatives?”

“Right! We’re paying a visit to Elma-san’s relative’s home! I’m really looking forward to it!”

“It’s really nothing special. Nothing special, okay. There’s actually not much difference between a colony home and one on a planet.”

“Is that rea〜lly the case, Lady Elma?”

“That’s kind of annoying, so stop.”

The Rose Clan was particularly close to the Empire among the three major clans, and the Willrose Clan, a branch of the Rose Clan, was actually recognized as an official Imperial Noble House. Elma insists on downplaying it, but I bet her status was a pretty prestigious one. In the first place, she was a true blue daughter of an Imperial Noble House. She may have lived outside the aristocratic circle for a good number of years while working as a mercenary, and her outlook was closer to that of a commoner than a Noble as a result, but her outstanding lineage and upbringing couldn’t be denied.

As I mulled about such thoughts, I received a request for access to Krishna’s hatch, and I accepted. After a short while, a loud voice echoed out from behind us.

“Heyo! I’m bargin’ in fellas–!”

“If you’re just gonna get in the way, then get out.”

“Why!?”

“Don’t make so much noise, Big Sis.”

A free-spirited older sister, who made a fuss after hearing my sharp retort the moment she entered the cockpit, was admonished by her serious and responsible younger sister. Yep. Just the usual.

“Or rather, why’re ya familiar with a classic downtown dwarf joke [1], Boss?”

“So that’s actually a classic dwarven joke huh……”

“Wow. It’s even more amazin’ if you really didn’t know about it.”

Well, I guess this is some sort of cross-species culture appreciation or something. I’m a little surprised that a common joke back in Japan also existed in dwarven society though.

“Fufufu, it’s finally time ta set fire to the newly modded sub-seat.”

“Um, I know that’s just a figure of speech Big Sis, but doesn’t the cockpit catching fire sound a bit too ominous?”

As they bantered back and forth, the sisters unfolded the modified sub-seat and sat down. A while back, Tina modified it so two people can actually sit on the originally one-seater sub-seat. It’s also been equipped with seat belts, and according to Tina, its durability was also upgraded.

『We will be landing soon. Please be mindful of the impact when we touch down.』

“Roger that. C’mon you two. Go and fasten your seatbelts.”

“Gotcha.”

“Alright.”

Shortly after the two responded to me, the hull of Black Lotus shuddered a bit. Yep, that was a perfect landing, as always.

Now then, I guess we’ll immediately head out after Mei comes over.


TL Notes:

[1] Tina just basically said “Excuse me.”, “Pardon me.”, or “Sorry for imposing.” in a very casual way (Jama sunde-! – 邪魔すんでー!). What Hiro did was retort based on the literal meaning of Tina’s words (which goes something like “I’m gonna be a bother, but you’re cool with that, yeah?”). Here’s the original Japanese tsukkomi: Jama sun’nara kaette (邪魔すんなら帰ってー). It’s a joke based on Japanese wordplay, but I couldn’t think of an appropriate English equivalent. Now, I don’t dare claim to have an exceptional grasp of the English language, so if you guys have any ideas on how to make the joke work, then feel free to drop it in the comments 🙂


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Comments (2)

  1. Citizen27

    Honesrly i want him to use mei to just fucj them over. They wanna play subtle? Use mei the ultra AI maid to corrupt their systems. They cant push the blame onto the party they were spying on in the first place without admitting their guilt

  2. CampFireTails

    I’m not sure. But a person saying, “I’ll make myself at home then.” Is pretty close. Since if a person is going to stay for a while, a host might say Mae yourself at home. So the previous statement implies you already know you are allowed to make yourself at home. However I have seen also in uses of when a host leaves a guest unattended or in awkward situations.

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