Me, Her, and the Ballistic Weapon
“Yes, then I will send the contract papers to BISHOP. Aah, no, of course, I do understand. After the next stocking, I will bring it close. Yes, yes. Ah, yes, the everyday commodities? Ahh, we don’t have a transport ship, so it will be an issue in terms of space… ah, no. Of course, we will do as much as we can.”
At Plum II’s display room, Tarou was talking and continuously kept bowing his head. In the monitor, the client company’s boss was projected and he had a satisfied expression. After awhile, when the two talking over the monitor put two of their fingers on their foreheads, and the connection was cut.
“Whew. Well, that was kinda anticlimactic. I didn’t think we would be able to sell everything at the first station we dropped by. Just as the empire’s announcement, it’s quite something here.”
Said Tarou while changing the monitor display to the network map. Two months after making use of Plum II, the maps hue changed completely from before.
“It’s been a whole 800 years since the state of emergency two was announced. But even the empire, which I thought was indifferent towards it, does what it needs to, huh? I didn’t think they would reduce the damage like that.”
Maar said while looking at the monitor, putting a finger on her lips. Tarou replied, ‘right?’ to that and thought back on the empire’s actions. Information was cut off due to the severance of the fractal network, which was supposed to be all around the empire. It was primitive but they dealt with the situation really fast and effectively.
“Even if they think up a plan like sending a ton of relay ships to places where the signal does not reach, normally one wouldn’t go through with that plan. What was it, 3 million communication warships scattered around the milky way? What happened to that?”
“It is 2,885,232 ships to be exact, Mr. Teirow. It seems all the ships, even the ones preparing and the ones on the verge of destruction, were ordered forward by the emperor.”
“That was a brave decision. I learned in a lesson, and didn’t experience it first hand, but the imperial government is really strong in crisis management, aren’t they? If it was a parliament, at most they would now be opening a countermeasure meeting.”
On the network map the three were looking at, the center part of the empire was blue. The communication ships the empire deployed were acting like utility poles, connecting about 5% of the entire Milky Way. Even the remaining areas were changing to get tinted at one place, rather than on various different places like before.
“But I was the most surprised about that. That thing about calling the Solar System Net–Neural Net. This means that the empire does not plan on restoring the previous neural network, right? I wonder what happened.”
In response to Tarou’s question, Maar folded hands and groaned.
“Yep, it does make me curious but I don’t think they will make an official announcement. After all, this crisis could be said to be the largest one since the empire was established. If there is an announcement, then it will probably be when the new neural network rises to the previous one’s level, I think?”
“The chances of that are pretty high but I do think it is somewhat impossible too, Miss Maar. Even if the communication ships are connected by relay, they would not be covering as much area as the Adera star system. Moreover, the data which can be stored is also one fraction of a several hundred compared to before.”
“They could probably do something about that with new techniques or discoveries.”
Tarou was thinking about the technical aspects of the faster-than-light speed but as he wouldn’t understand it either way, he shaked off the thought.
“Let’s leave the difficult part to the specialists…. By the way, Maar-tan, what do we do about that thing behind us? Shall we use some jamming?”
Maar said ‘Let it be.’ to Tarou who had been annoyed.
“And besides, jammer isn’t even loaded. It’s not like it’s bothering us or violating any rules… How about requesting the Mafian Cope?”
The two were talking about the various transport ships floating about a few kilometers behind Plum II. It seemed like they were counting on Plum II’s fighting strength. They have been maintaining a distance ever since departing from delta.
“But it sure is annoying. What are you guys, stalkers? They are probably thinking something like ‘Ah, I can’t help but be entranced by the Plum II’s Quadra Pulse Engine’. Such perverts.”
“Oh but Plum’s engine is actually very irresistibly pretty, you know? If possible, I want to lick it all over. I will die from poisoning if I actually do it, though.”
“Uwaah, there was a pervert here too… By the way, what is this Mafian Cope you were talking about earlier? Something like the yakuza where scary people gather?”
“So rude. Umm, I don’t quite understand what you mean by yakuza but you are right about scary people gathering there. They are the people doing business at every station’s grey zones.”
“…..Wow. They are as one would say temporary business personnel who would have tattoos all over their body, aren’t they? At a time like this, what would those people do?”
Tarou asked out of pure curiosity. To that, Koume cut into the conversation, ‘Please wait a moment.’
“I found some similar cases in the past, Mr. Teirow. First, they will intentionally decrease the scan resolution and will bring forth a disorder in the communication device’s output control so that long distance warnings do not reach. After emitting the unreachable warnings multiple times, they will go towards the debris near the enemy and practice fire. That’s the usual method. If the precision is low, there is plenty of chance for accidental shooting to hit the enemy and if they don’t find out using the scanning tactics, it does not go against any of the empire’s rules. Was that helpful?”
Koume finished saying and smiled. Even though Tarou and Maar were happy, Koume was now able to have expressions, they could not help but stiffly smile back.
——”Emergency Signal Alan”——
There on the monitor, a communication signal popped up suddenly. After signalling the others to be silent with his hand, Tarou connected the communication circuit.
“This is Plum. I got your emergency signal. Alan, go ahead.”
“Yoo, general. I have good news. I ended up opening an emergency circuit but forgive me for it. Is now a good time?”
Hearing Alan’s cheerful voice, Tarou calmed his heart down. Then he switched the sound source from only him to the room speaker and Alan’s voice resounded within the room.
“Mankind’s sole planet origin theory. Do you remember it? We found out the location of the great scholar who proposed it. He’s a big one.”
Upon hearing the news, Tarou ended up standing on his seat reflexively.
“Re-really?! Where is it?! I will go anywhere! Right now! Can I go right now?!”
“Calm down, general. It seems the professor is in a research station in the Alpha star system. I got the info from a man helping there. I think we can trust him. The man started working there about a year ago but it seems that the professor has been there for several decades already. He probably won’t move somewhere else at this point.”
“Where was the Alpha station again?…… Uwah, not only is it really far, it’s also outside the communication range…. Are we really going there?”
Displaying the empire’s map on the monitor, asked Maar. She probably searched with BISHOP. To that, Tarou instantly replied, ‘Of course we will.’
“We have just ran out of cargo, so let’s go back to delta and fill up before we head there. Uwaah, now I am getting excited. Since he’s a professor, I wonder if he has a big nose and shaggy hair,”
“Like I said before, you read too much manga, Mister Teirow. Or is it the case that Earth’s professors’ appearances were generally like that?”
“Hahaha, you’re right about the shaggy hair part but his nose is pretty normal. I have a picture, let me send it to you.”
After awhile, a color picture was delivered to us through BISHOP. It was a time when the professor had attended a ceremony or something, holding a trophy with a smile.
“Dr. Isaac Aldimof, 72 years old, eh? Is the fact that he looks like 40 because of the anti-aging thing or something?”
The picture of the professor smiling looked like a man still in his prime.
“Probably that. The medical cosmetics company do say that they can hold back 50% of the aging effects of the body. But I wonder what it feels like being old but looking young…”
“Let’s hear it from Koume-san, who will not lose to anyone in terms of that.”
“Yes, Mr. Teirow. Miss Maar, men are often weak to this difference. I am sure Mr. Teirow is no exception either.”
“I did not ask you that and I am not even interested.”
After a little stretching, Maar stood up and continued,
“But, with this, we have a destination, so all that’s left is shopping. Let’s undertake some transportation with the free space we have and fill it all in. It’s time to earn!”
In response to Maar’s lively announcement, Tarou also replied with enthusiasm, ‘Yess!’.
“Let’s say we let the executive manager handle the company while we are away, what will we be loading? Since it’s a research station, how about a new generation of calculating computer?”
“No, they are weak to shockwaves so unless we get a direct order, we should avoid that. Better than that, we should get a lot of small size warp stabilizers. We know for sure that they will certainly sell.”
“Koume also agrees with Miss Maar. I think getting definite profit is better than risking it.”
“Hey, general. Don’t forget to stock up on some adult goods too. It is still the biggest earner in our company still. And also, if you are planning to do business at the Alpha station, you should make a base there as well. You would definitely need on-site staff.”
Thinking about the new land, the 4 talked of every necessities. The top-level conference on Plum II for the Rising Sun Corp continued till Tarou ended up collapsing there.