289 – To the Rose Clan Territory
Editor: Thor’s Stone
“Apologies for the wait.”
“No worries. You’re the one always working hard piloting the Black Lotus. Now it’s time for you to experience my piloting techniques next.”
“Yes. I’m looking forward to it.”
As she replied, Mei made her way to the sub-operator seat. After safely landing on Refill IV, or Theta, we planned to directly take off from Black Lotus with Krishna and head for the Rose Clan’s territory. We’ve already submitted the flight plan to the relevant authorities when we applied for planetary descent.
“Mimi, please ask for takeoff approval from air traffic control.”
“Aye, aye, sir!”
Mimi applied for takeoff approval from the air traffic control tower of the integrated port facility. It was basically much the same as when applying for entry or departure from colonies, but the timing for takeoff and landing was strictly monitored and guided. Well, the airspace where you can fly freely in a planet’s atmosphere was undoubtedly more constrained compared to the vast reaches of outer space. You also had to take gravity into account. It was very dangerous if you don’t fly according to the ATC’s guidance. Accidents were more likely to occur during takeoff and landing after all.
However, due to the aircraft made with the latest tech being equipped with low-power shields, accidents due to external factors such as bird strikes and icing have been significantly reduced.
Eh? What about that flying train we rode in previously? That wasn’t built with science and technology but magic instead, so I’m not sure. In fact, if I get the opportunity, I’d like to suggest making improvements to passenger safety measures in the event of a crash, especially after that accident we got caught up in previously.
『This is air traffic control. Krishna, you’re clear for takeoff. Please make sure to follow the guide beacon.』
“Roger. Krishna, launching.”
I followed the instructions of the ATC and slowly launched out from the hatch of Black Lotus. I just moved the ship according to the guide beacons displayed on the cockpit’s main screen. It was pretty simple and easy.
“Mimi, activate Black Lotus’ lock and energy shield.”
“Aye, aye, sir. Hatch, locked. Shield is online.”
“I’ll entrust monitoring the ship to you, Mei. Tell us immediately if something happens.”
“Yes. Please leave it to me.”
I don’t think there’s anyone on Theta who would dare to do anything to Black Lotus, but there was always a certain chance. If you plan on leaving your ship for an extended period of time, you need really strong security measures.
“Whoah. Unlike outer space, the scenery on the surface of a planet really is nice and refreshing, ain’t it?”
“Isn’t that because it has a definite top and bottom half, Sis?”
While listening to the mechanic sisters who were sitting side by side on the sub-seat chatting happily, I continued to follow the guide beacon and left the air traffic control area of the integrated port facility. Once you’ve come out to this point, you can already fly freely to a certain extent. Well, there were some speed and altitude limits though. After all, even if it’s just cruising, Krishna can easily reach Mach 2. If you fly near the surface at such a speed, you’d cause quite a ruckus due to the sonic booms.
“How long will it take before we arrive?”
“A little less than two hours at cruising speed. I guess that’s around 5,000 kilometers.”
“5,000 kilometers…… After hearing that, it really gives you a sense of just how big this planet is, doesn’t it?”
“Colonies don’t even come close huh.”
Colony sizes vary, but it’s said that the largest colonies – the so-called mega colonies – can only house around a million people. It seems that if a colony was too large, it would be hard to reliably supply and maintain it, so in the Graccan Empire, colonies with a resident population of around 500,000 or less were the standard.
When traveling through various star systems, we basically stop by trading colonies, but there were other colony types as well, such as resource mining colonies, R&D colonies, food production colonies, and defense stations of the Imperial Military. Since we generally don’t have any business with those other colony types, we simply don’t pay them a visit.
Well, in summary, colonies constructed in outer space couldn’t really accommodate large populations. Therefore, each galactic empire and nation were competing with each other to secure planets suitable for terraforming and colonization and were actively exploring the so-called Edge World, aiming to expand their spheres of control.
That’s why the Graccan Empire paid quite a lot of attention to the terraforming project carried out by Chris, or rather, Earl Dareinwald, and dispatched the Military to assist in securing new habitable planets that would eventually lead to an increase in the national power of the Graccan Empire itself.
So why then do they still continue to construct lots of space colonies and stations if they were incapable of accommodating large populations? It’s because when they procure precious raw material resources from asteroid fields and gas giants, sending them to planets to be processed and sending them back into space again was a very costly and inefficient process.
They opted to collect resources in outer space, secure the energy required to process the resources from efficient solar generators, and move on to the actual processing afterward. This is especially true when manufacturing large starships and the like. A zero-G environment was simply more suitable.
Basically, that’s all I could understand. There were still various contributing factors such as the development of things like hyperdrive tech and the maintenance of gateway networks. And it looks like they were also actively researching the feasibility of eventually building a megastructure to house a large number of people.
There were lots of differing opinions within the upper ranks of the Graccan Empire’s leadership though. Some wanted to focus on transforming the habitable planets under their control to ecumenopolises just like the Imperial Capital, while others proposed the daring idea of building a single huge megastructure using the entire resources available in a star system. Yet another faction insists on focusing on discovering and terraforming new habitable planets instead of engaging in flights of fancy. Anyway, it was quite a mess.
These were all taught to me in detail by Mei when she spotted me reading about the subject while inside the break space of Black Lotus. For some reason, she already knew what I was researching beforehand, appeared at the perfect timing, and was very proactive in teaching me.
Mm, I actually had an idea why she was able to do so but merely chose not to pursue the matter. I don’t intend to poke the bush and lure out the snake, so to speak, so I don’t intend to dig into the matter too much. Yep. She wasn’t monitoring me constantly. She was merely warmly watching over me. If I interpret it that way, my peace of mind would be maintained.
Time flew by as we chatted within the cockpit, and before we knew it, we had already flown for two hours. Krishna had safely reached the central airport of the Rose clan.
“Somehow, the atmosphere here seems to be really different from the Minfa and Grado Clans, right?”
“Yeah. It’s actually full of skyscrapers. It’s not that there isn’t any green, but it’s been fully integrated into the modern cityscape.”
I piloted the ship according to the central airport’s air traffic control tower’s instructions and started bringing Krishna down to the designated landing area. Auto-docking was still really useful even within an atmosphere huh. Once you enter the airport’s control range after requesting approval for landing, the ship will automatically land the moment permission was given.
“What will we do next once we get down at the airport?”
“I’ve already contacted the Willrose house. They told me they’d be sending someone to pick us up.”
“Hee. It kinda feels like we’ve become VIPs huh.”
“It’s not just a feeling. We really are getting treated like VIPs.”
For Thetan elves, we, or rather, I was held in a rather special regard. First, I ended up saving the children of important figures from the Grado and Minfa Clans who were previously kidnapped by space pirates. After that, due to some crazy twist of fate, we found the seed of the Sacred Tree that the elves worshipped, and I was told that I fulfilled the requirements for becoming the legendary hero of the elves. In fact, the Sacred Tree seed was still in my possession right now.
“In any case, let’s remain humble and try not to act rudely toward them. We’ve already been eyed by some shady folks, so I don’t really want any further trouble if I can help it.”
“I don’t think we’d get involved in that sort of trouble here. This turf is completely under the control of the Rose Clan.”
“Calling this place a turf kind of reminds me of the past.”
“It’s a term used by old-timey gangsters after all.”
“Shut it you.”
As we bantered around, the auto-docking function completed its job and performed a perfect landing. Now, all we had to do was get ready to get off the ship. We’re planning on staying here for a few nights, so we need to bring a good number of things.