Editor: Thor’s Stone
Oh boy. I have a really bad feeling about this. And I strongly believe my bad premonition had actually hit the bull’s eye. That’s the only conclusion I can think of that makes sense after all.
I finally managed to calm myself down a bit. Oh right. I had Cleria and Elna with me as well.
“Uh, sorry about that. She was one of my former subordinates.”
“I’ll tell you all about it later. Have you eaten lunch yet, Selena?”
“Yes. I ate some emergency rations before coming to this city.”
“Well then, let’s go to the inn I’m staying at and talk over there.”
“I’m sorry Ria, but it looks like we’ll have to cancel today’s magic practice.”
The four of us headed back to the inn. Due to the fancy imperial uniform Selena was wearing, we really stood out.
(What exactly is a Warrant Officer? How come I haven’t heard of such a rank before?)
『The Warrant Officer rank isn’t assigned to personnel except during a certain special situation, but it is indeed an official rank. It is basically higher in rank to a Sergeant Major.』
So it’s just under an Ensign huh.
(So what’s this special situation you mentioned?)
『In the absence of a proper appointing officer, and furthermore, in a situation where contact with high command is cut off completely due to pressing circumstances, a ship’s AI has the privilege to enlist potential soldiers and appoint them to this particular rank. A Warrant Officer is a rank that is only appointed by ship AIs.』
Wow. I didn’t know that. Well, that’s to be expected since those special circumstances weren’t exactly all that common until we got ourselves into the current mess we’re in.
(But why a Warrant Officer?)
『An AI isn’t allowed to formally appoint commissioned officers. The Warrant Officer is the highest rank a ship AI is capable of giving.』
I see. So that’s the case.
In order to become a formal imperial military officer, it’s required to attend an imperial military academy first just as I did. The same applies to non-commissioned officers wanting to become formal officers. We even actually had a middle-aged sergeant major as a classmate at the academy I attended back when I was younger. And after you graduate from the academy, you’re all assigned the rank of Ensign automatically.
According to that middle-aged classmate of ours, he was asked to attend the academy if he wanted to get promoted from sergeant major after years of military service. If he answered yes, then he would have to attend the academy and graduate to get promoted. If he answered no, then he would have to spend the rest of his career as a sergeant major until retirement. No wonder I wasn’t familiar with a warrant officer.
While I was mulling such things over in my head, we finally arrived back at the inn. Verse was quite surprised when he saw Selena. Let’s head to my room then.
“Ria, I’m sorry but would it be fine if I and Selena talked privately to ourselves first?”
I entered the room along with Selena.
“Now then, I have several things I want to confirm with you. First, do you have a communicator with you?”
Man, it’s been a while since I’ve talked in Imperial Common. It actually feels a bit weird.
“Of course, sir. I’ve had it on me all this time. It looks like Your Excellency really did deactivate your comm interface as we surmised. Lieutenant Conrad did take that into account when we started the search operations.”
Lieutenant Conrad? Oh, she meant Iris huh.
“Oh, right. Now that you mention it, that really seems to be the case. I didn’t actually notice I’ve deactivated it, but I may have done so out of habit. Now then, Selena, can you please stop addressing me as ‘Your Excellency’. I don’t really deserve to be called something so grand I think.”
“But Captain is effectively an admiral. You have every right to be referred to as such.”
Is that right? So I’m an admiral huh? I did get assigned as a ship captain when that incident happened, but it actually included a military rank promotion as well? When I checked my status, I confirmed that my rank has changed to Commodore. So even someone like me became a commodore huh? The world is probably coming to an end, it seems.
“Anyway, calling me ‘Your Excellency’ or ‘Captain’ is totally out of the question. As long as we’re on this planet, you need to address me as simply ‘Alan’.”
“I need to talk to Iris for a bit. Make yourself comfortable and sit on that chair over there as you wait.”
I activated my comm interface and Nanom automatically connected to the portable communicator Selena brought with her. I then contacted Iris via an encrypted line.
Iris’s face popped up on a virtual window.
『It has been a long time, Captain. I am glad to see you are safe and sound.』
(Yes. It seems I’ve made you worry. I actually thought you failed saving the ship, Iris. You do know that dumping debris on an inhabited planet is in gross violation of imperial military laws, right?)
『Of course, sir. However, the Captain issued a first-class emergency situation. I am obligated to prioritize Captain’s orders over military regulations in this case.』
(Is that so? Oh well. I’m glad you’re doing fine as well, Iris.)
『Oh my. Thank you very much, Captain.』
(Now then, about Selena… What’s up with her?)
『It is as you think. I have produced her on the restored medical bay of the Iris Conrad as a biological clone of the late Commodore Conrad using her biological tissue.』
(But just why are tissue samples of Commodore Conrad stored on the ship?)
『It is actually customary. Tissue samples of the late officers our imperial ships are named after are commonly stored inside the said ships. By doing so, it is widely believed that their souls will always accompany the ships in question during their service.』
(Damn! What the heck? Are we supposed to be the New Imperial Church or something?)
『It seems the case, in a sense.』
(If this was ever found out by the Imperial Ethics Committee…)
『Yes. I believe I will be scheduled for decommissioning immediately if that were to happen.』
The Imperial Ethics Committee is an organization that reports directly to the central Adel government. They’re responsible for defining the conduct that the whole of humanity is to strictly adhere to. No person or organization that has deviated from their specified code of conduct has managed to come out unscathed. They hold a frightening amount of authority, and even the military cannot help but back down obediently.
(If you’ve known of that, then just why did you still make Selena?)
『It’s because of your orders, Captain.』
Eh!? Did I actually give such an order? Let me run the order I gave out that day on playback… Oh. So it’s the ‘preserve the fighting strength of this ship’ part, isn’t it? What a blunder.
(Guess I’ll be getting court-martialled as well huh.)
『There is no reason to worry about it so much, Captain.』
『A commanding officer who declares a first-grade emergency situation is, without exemption, subject to a special court-martial proceeding. It is only when you cannot prove your innocence or justify your actions that you will be subjected to a firing squad.』
(Oh, so that’s how it is.)
Come to think of it, it seems I did learn about something like that at the academy. I really didn’t have any choice during that situation. Well, it’s not like the imperial military or the committee are present on this planet in the first place, so there’s no point in worrying about it anyway.
(But Selena sure looks quite young though?)
『Her physical development should be equivalent to seventeen years old in human age. I have made it so she has grown to the minimum possible physical age without affecting her abilities as an imperial soldier.』
I knew it.
(How does she know how to speak this planet’s language?)
『I have placed recon bits inside the bars and pubs all over this continent.』
(Bits!? You’re using drones?)
『Yes. I have managed to preserve quite a number of them and dropped them planet-side.』
Recon Drone DR-3020 – 82 units
General Purpose Bot BT-122W – 82 units
General Purpose Tractor TR-400G – 2 units
Digging Excavator KS-10G – 3 units
Except for the tractors and excavators, that’s quite the military potential. Oh, so that’s it.
(So the so-called apostles were the drones?)
『That is correct.』
This managed to resolve the doubts I had about that matter.
(Did Selena drop to the surface via those escape pods? Those are defective goods you know.)
『Yes, I am aware. Selena and Sharon used pods I modified and rebuilt using better components.』
(Now hold up… Who is Sharon?)
『She’s the same as Selena. You can say she’s Selena’s twin sister.』