299 – I Barely Escaped Death
Editor: Thor’s Stone
“……This certainly doesn’t feel so good.”
My target managed to evade yet another sniping attempt. That makes it eight times now. Eight damn times. They managed to avoid getting sniped a total of eight times even though I’ve cornered them into a kill zone by trapping them in the middle of a crystal lifeform swarm and having their movements restricted.
“It’s not as simple as me missing my shots.”
No, on the contrary, I was right on the mark each time. The moment before I fired each shot, I was sure I’d be able to score a direct hit. However, strangely, that man seemed to see the attacks coming and managed to evade them every single time.
The Rainbow equipped on my ship, the Andal, was a unique weapon – the only one of its kind. Its range is pretty long, and its power is equally great. Naturally, its projectiles weren’t as fast as those of a laser cannon’s that travel at lightspeed, but in exchange, it has a higher rate of fire and excellent penetrating power. The laser cannon was a weapon that rapidly evaporates the surface of an object in order to generate an explosion in order to destroy it. However, my Rainbow just melts right through a target without causing any explosion.
Although it was inferior in raw destructive power, it had high penetrating power instead, so it was possible to aim for one-hit kills as long as you can hit vital areas like the engine, cockpit, main thrusters, and ammunition depot.
“It’s like the guy has the ability to sense killing intent…… Don’t tell me he’s like those espers in that old mecha anime.”
I remembered scenes of those espers sensing danger through some sort of electric flash on their foreheads and laughed bitterly. I didn’t really want to believe that who I’m up against was a monster who had the ability to preemptively take evasive action even before getting shot like in that mecha anime.
“I don’t want to believe that’s true, but…… Tsk.”
That was my ninth shot. I missed again. No, rather, the target evaded again. Was the man piloting that ship – Krishna, was it – really an esper? That was the only explanation I could come up with.
If I merely missed a shot or two, then I could still chalk it up to me not being able to aim at the target as accurately as possible due to the situation, and the overall distance not being that ideal for manual sniping.
I can even concede that I was having a streak of bad luck after missing a third or fourth shot. I’m not perfect after all. I do miss and experience rotten luck sometimes.
But missing the fifth and sixth as well? Of course, I’d start feeling something was wrong. It can be said that I made a name for myself in the business as an excellent sharpshooter and sniper.
I suddenly found myself in this world without knowing left from right and managed to survive this far by putting the knowledge and skills I gained playing Stella Pirates Online to good use. I prided myself in my skills quite a bit.
Then the seventh, eighth, and now, ninth shot all missed. Of course, I’d have misgivings.
“Is he using some sort of cheat engine or something……?”
『We’re running out of time, Young Miss.』
“Aw geez…… Can’t be helped. I suppose we’ll play the part of well-meaning collaborator for now.”
At my age, being called ‘Young Miss’ just didn’t seem applicable anymore. Gives me the shivers each time. But these guys just didn’t want to stop calling me that. Well, it’s not like I was old enough to be called ‘Big Sis’ by these guys either anyway. Being called Leader was just too on-the-nose, so I just settled for ‘Young Miss’ in the end.
『Aye, aye, ma’am.』
Since I wasn’t able to finish them off after going this far, then it can’t be helped. I’ll give up this time. I’m gonna make sure to get some payback later though. Since I couldn’t finish them off using this method, then I’d have to go back to the drawing board again and consider things from a fresh perspective. After all, it was too dangerous to face off unprepared against an opponent who was able to avoid my shots nine times in this situation. Worse comes to worse, I might not be able to win if I went up against him head-on, and even if I did, I imagine I’d need to pay a huge price. If I suffered too much damage while bringing down the target, then it wasn’t worth the trouble.
“He’s strangely sharp…… It might be better if I didn’t get involved with him from now on, actually.”
Come to think of it, he was already strangely wary of me from the time we first met. I’m pretty sure we haven’t encountered him before that, but it seemed like he already saw through our true identity the moment he laid eyes on us. I don’t know what’ll happen if I continued poking my nose in this matter. I might even end up grabbing the proverbial tiger’s tail.
As I inwardly mulled things over, the system garrison fleet finally arrived. The sight of a large number of military warships warping out while making flashy noises was really bad for the heart, but we’ve made sure that no trace of our involvement in this incident would be found. So there was nothing to be afraid of.
“So they’re here huh…… Oh well. Alright, boys. Let’s work with the military and clear out the crystals.”
『『『Aye, aye, ma’am!』』』
I punched the side and attitude control thrusters to full throttle and changed the ship’s direction while getting battered by powerful Gs due to performing an unreasonable maneuver in order to avoid another one of that f*cking Marie’s shots by a hair’s breadth. Krishna’s inertial control system was a very high-performance one, but even it had its limits. If it wasn’t for the thing, all of us would have long blacked out. We would have even gotten our internal organs damaged if we were unlucky.
“We only have two left!”
“Are the reinforcements still not here–!?”
We scraped against a medium-type crystal lifeform after that last evasive maneuver. And no, I wasn’t speaking in a metaphorical sense. We literally did scrape against the outer shell of one. Well, it wasn’t the hull that made direct contact but our energy shield instead though. However, thanks to that, our shield got greatly depleted, and only one layer was left. It would be bad if we didn’t use a shield cell to replenish it right away. If it completely went down, it would take some time to deploy it again.
“This is the ninth shot! I’ll never forgive that damn b*tch!!”
“Her accuracy is getting better and better with each shot.”
“Her last one managed to graze us, didn’t it…? Or rather, I’m surprised that you managed to cleanly avoid all those shots.”
“As long as I put myself in the enemy’s shoes, I can pretty much imagine when she’ll take her shots.”
But honestly, I wasn’t that confident in avoiding the next one. I still wasn’t sure about the distance, but I managed to sniff out the direction where the shots were coming from after avoiding the second one. As long as I knew the direction where the shots would fly out from, all I had to do was get the timing right and avoid them. So every time a situation perfect for a clean shot presented itself, one would definitely come flying. The pattern was actually pretty simple and straightforward. So all I had to do was perform an emergency evasive maneuver every time that happened.
The problem was that the surroundings were filled with crystal lifeforms, so if we performed unreasonable maneuvers, there was a pretty good chance of coming in contact with them, which was pretty dangerous too. Eh? I’m saying weird stuff again? C’mon. Just roll with it, guys.
“T-They’re here! The system garrison fleet is here!”
“Aw yeah! That’s what I’m talking about!”
Krishna’s sensors picked up the signals of military ships warping out one after another.
『I’ll open up an escape route for you, Master.』
A transmission came from Black Lotus that came together with the star system garrison fleet. Wait, don’t tell me she was going to open up a hole in the swarm by firing the Lotus’ EML? Mei-san? Are you serious, Mei-san?
『Ballistic trajectory calculation complete. I will now send the data to you.』
A bright red firing line indicator from Black Lotus directly to Krishna’s current position was projected on the cockpit’s main monitor. She really was planning on opening fire huh!?
Something flashed in the middle of the blackness of space in the distance. I saw it from a gap between the crystal lifeforms swarming around us. Yeah, that was definitely Black Lotus. No doubt about it.
“We should just be thankful that the trajectory got sent to us beforehand.”
“I know, but still!”
We’re still gonna get messed up if we got hit though! Well, unlike that woman’s sniping, dodging an EML shot was comparably easier. If we took advantage of the gap opened up by the EML shot, there was a good chance we could make our escape.
“Please don’t hit us by mistake, you guys……”
I don’t think the star system forces would commence their bombardment straight away since they pretty much just arrived, but I made sure to rush out of the opening the EML shot just created in the crystal lifeform swarm as fast as I could, just in case. Shortly after, the bombardment by the military finally commenced, and the crystal lifeform numbers began to visibly decline at a rapid pace. Their attention had probably switched to the star system forces, since the number of lifeforms coming after Krishna decreased as well.
“We managed to get through that somehow.”
“Hiro-sama, Marie’s Crimson Lance also seems to be participating in the attack against the crystal lifeforms.”
“That b*tch. Just look at her. Acting all goody-goody after all the crap she put us through……”
“This is the first time I’ve seen you make that kind of face, Hiro-sama……”
I probably had my brows wrinkled in frustration right about now. But unfortunately, we didn’t have any piece of evidence to accuse that damn b*tch of foul play. There was no trace of that hag using a Singing Crystal, nor was there any record of her trying to snipe us and take us out. And since Krishna and that hag’s ship didn’t fight directly, there wasn’t any record of engagement either. We could try to argue that it was too unreasonable for her shots to be judged as attempts to support us if we submitted the sensor logs, but… she’ll probably just get away with a simple warning. In the first place, it wasn’t that uncommon to get hit by stray shots from allies during a chaotic battle.
Back then, I was constantly performing pretty aggressive maneuvers while in the middle of the crystal lifeform swarm, so it was relatively difficult to pick up my exact position with a ship’s sensors. She could just claim she was shooting at areas with the highest concentration of enemies and didn’t have any malicious intent.
And since the star system garrison fleet was here now, I couldn’t take a shot at her in revenge and pretend it was a misfire either.
“He looks like he’s about to lose it.”
“I’ve never seen Hiro-sama get so angry……”
“Look, I understand how you feel, but we can’t do anything about it right now. Just give it up, okay?”
Dammit! I’m definitely gonna make that woman cry miserably one of these days. I swear.