297 – The Anticipated Trap



Translator: SFBaka

Editor: Thor’s Stone

“Confirmed the arrival of all ships. Black Lotus is sending the synchronization request…… Synch complete.”

“Roger. Maintain Krishna’s generator output to combat level.”

“Aye, aye, sir. But will they really launch an attack?”

“I wonder. They wouldn’t have a lot of leeway in the event that they do, so they’ll probably come at us one after another aggressively.”

The Eineolus system where the nearest gateway was located was five systems away. Generally, systems near a gateway had really good public order and security. That’s because the gateways that are capable of transporting ships to distances equivalent to dozens of lane nodes in practically an instant served as extremely important economic and military assets to the Empire, so they wouldn’t allow any threats to exist in the systems surrounding them.

It was also a matter of maintaining the Empire’s honor and prestige. After all, if they fail to maintain the order and security in the areas around the gateway, chances are they’d become the subject of ridicule in the international scene. So that’s why the areas around the gateways were very safe. If a battle were to occur within the star systems close to a gateway, the elite forces of the Imperial Military will almost certainly arrive within minutes to quell the trouble.

That’s why the Crimson Lance guys can only launch an attack either while we were still in the Refill system and have yet to depart, or in the neighboring Mirabreeze and Holmie systems. In any system beyond those three, the Imperial Military elites will respond within minutes the moment they detect an incident, and the assailants would probably get detained and punished soon after.

“Starting countdown. Commencing FTL Drive activation sequence.”

“Gotcha. Well, try not to stress yourselves out too much guys. Let’s just see how it goes from here.”

3, 2, 1– The countdown number displayed on Krishna’s main monitor quickly wound down, and once it reached zero, the stars that appeared as points of light began to flow backward and transformed into light streaks in the wake of a loud boom. The outside scenery while navigating via FTL Drive was as beautiful as always. In contrast, the scenery you’d see while inside a hyperlane was too chaotic and headache-inducing.

“Are there any reactions detected by the hyperspace sensor?”

“Mm…… I’m looking at the sensor readings of Black Lotus, but there are no reactions so far.”

“Has that recon ship rejoined their main force?”

“I wonder. Well, they’ve probably been acting on their own for at least three to four hours already, so them moving out of this system isn’t that surprising.”

Well, even if they did join back up with their comrades, they probably won’t be participating in the event of an attack, so I suppose it doesn’t matter. In any case, we’ve made our move, so there was no point to continue surveillance on us. But if they’ve decided there’s no point to continue observing, what would their next move be? Will they really launch an attack? Or perhaps the info brought back by that recon ship will convince them to abort their plans.

『We’ll be arriving at the entrance to the hyperlane node soon. Commencing hyperdrive activation procedures.』

Mei sent a notice while we were in the middle of our discussion. And shortly after, we finally rushed inside the hyperlane.

“But you know, even if we come to systems with lower Imperial Military presence, they’d probably still respond to any sign of trouble eventually, so is it really possible to mount an attack on us at all? There certainly are devices that can interfere with communication, but using them is still risky, isn’t it? I mean, it would still stand out one way or another.”

“You do have a point, Mimi.”

As far as I know, the jamming devices in SOL simply emitted high-output waves that canceled out the frequency band used by comm devices for transmissions. Of course, using such a device would definitely leave traces that the Military would eventually detect, so the assailants would have to finish off their targets quickly before the Garrison forces or Imperial patrols arrive. That’s basically the reason why I hired mercenaries to serve as decoys and buy as much time as possible, but……

“If their aim wasn’t like what we thought in the first place… This is bad.”

“Isn’t like what we thought?”

“If they actually don’t have any intention of capturing us or our ships at all and only want to kill us in the most miserable and cruel way possible without leaving any evidence of their involvement, then it’s gonna be really bad. I have a bad feeling about this. Maybe I really misread their intention right from the start……?”

“That’s certainly an unpleasant possibility, but is there really any way to do that apart from launching an attack on us with their own ships?”

“Yeah, there is. There’s a way to ruthlessly kill us all off without them making a move personally.”

Dammit. That bad feeling is just getting stronger and stronger.

“Is there any way to turn back in the middle of hyperlane navigation……?”

“There’s none…… Or rather, just what are you exactly worried about, Hiro-sama? I’m getting really scared here you know.”

“You and me both, Mimi. So, just what exactly did you think of this time?”

“I don’t have any hard evidence, but the two of you are already familiar with it yourselves…… Mimi, contact Mei for me.”


“We’re already familiar with it……?”

Elma tilted her head with a confused look on her face, but I’m sure she’ll figure it out soon. Yeah. There’s definitely a way to get rid of a target without getting your own hands dirty.

After navigating through the hyperlane, our fleet finally returned to normal space with the huge form of the Black Lotus at the head. The moment we did, something exploded right ahead of us. Goddammit! They really went through with it!



“Oh, geez!”

An eerie wail echoed inside our heads. The sound went through a completely airless vacuum, our ship’s energy shields, and thick armor plating. They definitely used a Singing Crystal. It was probably not normal sound. It was more akin to a psionic phenomenon.

“Can we make it?”

“It’s difficult to say…… No, it’s probably impossible already, Hiro-sama.”

I ignored the painful throbbing of my head and turned to Mimi, but her answer wasn’t encouraging. I also checked the sensor readings Mimi was looking at and saw that there were already huge tears in space, with crystal lifeforms starting to appear one after another. Their numbers were pretty huge. Defeating all those crystal lifeforms with our strength alone was a very daunting prospect.

“Can’t be helped…… Mei, we’re going for Plan B. Order all other ships to continue guarding the Lotus.”

『Understood. 30 minutes to finish recharging the FTL Drive.』

“Got it.”

The charging time of the FTL Drive increases in proportion to a ship’s total mass. Black Lotus was a huge ship with mass dwarfing that of Krishna’s, and now it’s even being accompanied by other escort ships, so the charging time got heavily extended. If its shields and armor get breached and it suffers damage direct through its hull within that time, the charging of the FTL Drive might even get canceled.

The original plan was to jump via FTL Drive as soon as we can after warping out to normal space in order to escape immediately, but it wasn’t feasible as expected. So, as Plan B, it was decided that Krishna will hold back the threat while the rest continue preparing to escape. We held a meeting with the rest of the mercenaries and told them of the plan while we were still within the hyperlane. The mercenaries agreed to continue escorting Black Lotus in the end.

“Let’s do this thing.”

I activated the weapon systems and canceled the FTL Drive synch with the Lotus. Let’s make the opening move super flashy. We need to attract the attention of the enemies after all.

“Understood. Locking on to the crystal lifeforms directly barring the fleet’s navigation route.”

“Subsystems are A-OK, as always. But it really is crystal lifeforms again huh…… I would have liked not to get involved with them anymore though.”

“It’s like we have some sort of fate with them.”

I set the detonation range of the anti-ship reactive torpedoes while accelerating Krishna. If we fired all we’ve got in one salvo, we wouldn’t be able to deal with the larger ones anymore. But we’ll just have to leave those to the System Garrison forces that will come later. Their numbers weren’t that overwhelming, so there was no problem as long as we got rid of all the small and medium-types in the way of the fleet’s escape route.

“Eat this!”

Two anti-ship reactive torpedoes were fired off from Krishna. And after accelerating further, another two were launched. Their detonation point was the route directly in front of the Lotus and the rest of the fleet. First, let’s open up the escape route for Black Lotus and the mercenaries.

“The crystal lifeforms have started mobilizing!”

“We’ll prioritize getting rid of the enemies that are more likely to bar the escape route. Let’s deal with them steadily and get their attention.”

“Yes, yes, understood! I’ll handle the heavy laser cannons!”

“I’ll leave them to you.”

I was in charge of ship maneuvers and the two shot-cannons on the bow while Elma took control of the four heavy-caliber laser cannons. Krishna’s laser cannons have a wide range of fire, so it was possible to lock onto four targets simultaneously. In standard battles, it was more advantageous to concentrate firepower, so that function wasn’t used much. But it was pretty useful in battles like this where you want to attract as much attention as possible.

“Reactive warheads, detonating!”

The first anti-ship reactive torpedo exploded and obliterated a large swathe of crystal lifeforms, and the remaining torpedoes exploded in succession soon after, causing the surrounding space to light up. The crystalline remains of the enemies reflected the light of the stars and formed a strangely beautiful spectacle.

“Now that’s how you start an awesome party!”

“Nothing’s awesome about this at all, you idiot!”

Haha, it’ll be your loss if you don’t try to enjoy these kinds of things, Elma.



Novel Schedule

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

Schedule will be reduced when the goal is reached

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Comment (1)

  1. Citizen27

    Singing crystals eh? Honestly i would be fuckin pissed if hiro doesnt report this to serana or any other military after. Hes an honourary noble and has many backings including the imperial family. This REALLY shouldnt be an issue.

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