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Chapter 32

――”Warning the neural system beyond is out of range”――

A red warning sign appeared on the upper display of the BISHOP. “Thanks for the warning,” Tarou said as he closed the display and did the final checks on the overdrive gear.

“Koume, what’s the expected margin of error after jump?”

“Yes, it’s around 34,000 kilometers at max, mister Teirow.”

“Got it. Maar, How’s the overdrive? It looks pretty good to me”

“The engines are warmed up so it’s in perfect condition. I think there’s no way for it to lose its way.”

Tarou squints his eyes at the new monitor that he made himself and checked the number of radioactive rays, the existence of any moving obstacle and such. He then made some slight adjustments after taking note of the effects these would bring to the BISHOP. As the time limit for jumping in the stargate presses, falling out ships who probably miscalculated their jump, can be seen at the huge monitor on the wall behind Tarou.

“In the end, almost half didn’t make it. Though they’ll probably try again at the jump that’ll be happening an hour from now, I still feel a bit sorry for them.”

Maar murmured as she looks up at the huge monitor.

“yeah, since they’ll be paying the fee two times…… No, depending on the situation, it still might not work even after trying for two times.”

The destination of their jump by the stargate in front of them is a place where, as what the warning had started earlier, it’s outside of the communication range of the neural network. Of course, even beacons (radio signals) won’t reach, so the coordinates of the jump destination needs to be done by each ships on their own.

“Thinking of the consequences if we fail; being cautious doesn’t hurt.”

“Yes, indeed you are right, mister Teirow. Because if not, we will end up being lost in space, which is really stupid.”

“Well the pivot of the stargate is a huge acceleration device so-…… wait, for your information, my thing is a juggernaut, got it?!”

Tarou squints his eyes as his field of vision gradually gets dyed in blue. Just what Koume said, if the coordinates are miscalculated, the overdrive will accelerate from hundreds to thousands of times by the stargate and this will result into jumping to a wrong location. Although they have done this without any problem for several times already, this so-called cross-boundary jump has always caused Tarou pain in his stomach.

――”Verifying Jump drive”――

Their field of vision was slowly dyed in white as the capacity utilization of the overdrive device continuously rise.

――”Executing Jump drive”――

“And so we arrived…… Ahhh, how should I say this? There’s a part of me who got used to this nauseous feeling.”

It’s a sensation similar to dizziness. As Tarou slumps down while having himself wrapped in a sheet, Maar throws a pack of drink toward him while saying “Drink this”.

“Thanks. Anyway, how’s the coordinates? How far did we slip from it?”

“There’s not really much of a problem this time as well. We’re 32,000 kilometers on point from the old beacon’s position. Seriously though, the calculating ability of you guys never fail to amaze me”

“Fufu, please don’t praise me that much, miss Maar. It seems like Koume will soon be famous in the Milky Way as a calculating woman.”

“No, that ain’t a praise, you know? Also, that gap between your looks and personality is really disappointing!!”

Based on Tarou’s standards, Koume is definitely a beauty who holds a vulnerable expression. Maar then glanced over Koume and uttered: “How surprising”.

“So you’re the type of person who based on looks huh. If you stay like that, you’re gonna be fooled by some bad woman one day.”

“Ugh……but well, I must say, I don’t mind being fooled by a pretty girl like you”

“Hah?! Wha-…… A-are you an idiot?!”

“Aren’t you the one who’s easy to fool?” is what Tarou thought but he decided to keep silent. He learned an important lesson while being affiliated with her and that is, to not say any unnecessary things.

“Anyway, I won’t do such things to you…… Now then, we’ll be jumping quickly. Where’s the next station again?”

As if trying to here her blush, she puckered her lips and murmured as she began doing the settings of the overdrive.

The Plum that Tarou and the group were riding was still being followed by some several transport ships. While wondering how were those guys able to find them, they continue to advance to the dangerous area where communications with the central are ceased. On the way, the scan radar caught some signs of WIND but the group decided to ignore it. Their ship is currently packed with cargoes and there is a possibility that a slight damage may lead to a major loss.

“This area is still pretty crowded…… Even though it’s practically a state of war, merchants are really tough people after all.”

While having a connecting flight on the stargate, which is meant for long-distance jumps, they also have stopped in several stations. Even though the people in it are surrounded by a strict and heavy atmosphere, they still continue their economic activities vigorously. While Tarou and the group were being bombarded with questions in regards to the central, they continued to sell their goods that were loaded in the ship.

And when they’re about halfway to the Alpha star system, Tarou and the group received a communication line when they were about to run the ship.

――”General line TS-3323″――

Short strings of texts were displayed in Tarou’s BISHOP. He knew from the letters TS that it’s a transport ship. In other words, a shipping craft and apparently, its source seems to be from the ship that was following them.

“More like a train stalker to me, rather than a transport ship”

Tarou felt irritated towards them who’s always in the scan results. Koume then responds to his whisper

“Ohh, that was smooth, mister Teirow. Do you need some cushion?”

“You really know some a bunch of useless stuff!!”

After his retort to Koume who’s currently displaying a smug expression, Tarou looked in front if him and turns the communication on while complaining: “Just what is this about?”

“Hello, nice to meet you. This is TS-3323. I’m the representative of the Speed Carrier Corp., Liza Francoise. Can I have a minute? I have something I’d like to discuss.”

Along with the voice, a video signal was also sent to the monitor. It shows a woman who’s in her mid-twenties wearing a headset. The female director has a blond hair tied in a side tail; a hairstyle that Tarou isn’t convinced with (Because for him, it’s a hairstyle for young people). His eyes met a blue ones in the monitor when he responded “Aye”. The lips painted in red then continued

“I’ve heard a couple of rumors about you. A new famous corp., Rising Sun. Well known for its rapid growth and the fact that it transport goods anywhere when asked. Whether is there’s a WIND or a mafia.”

Liza narrowed her eyes at Tarou as if apprising him. ” ‘s that so”, Tarou replied.

“That reputation is somewhat awkward. I’d like to whisper words of love to a beautiful girl like you, but unfortunately, I don’t like being chased.”

Tarou aloofly replied. Maar who was listening couldn’t take it anymore and let out a sigh, lightly hitting Tarou’s head. Surprised by what she had seen, Liza elegantly laugh.

“You guys are really interesting, just like what Dean said.”

Tarou silently turned his gaze from Liza to Koume. For a brief moment, Koume looked up and answer “There is no person that I know of who goes by that name, mister Teirow”

“Do you still remember the empire soldier that you met in the Alba star system?”

“In the Alba star system…… Ahhhh〜, you mean the soldier from that time. By the way, can I discard this communication record? It’s not something you can talk about here anyway.”

“Yes, of course. I do not intend to talk about any more of that. Neither myself nor my brother or you will benefit from it. What I want to talk about is something more important.”

while thinking about this important talk that Liza is talking about, Tarou also whispered in his mind: “A guy with a beautiful sister is my enemy.”. He then came up with a reply afterward.

“For a merchant, there is nothing more important than a talk involving credits. So, what is it? Speed Carrier seems to be a pretty big company, what does such company need from us?”

Tarou asked while looking at Liza’s company records that Koume searched during the time she was silent. It mentioned that the company has 220 employees. If you’re going to scale it, it’s nearly four times of Rising Sun. And in proportion to that, their sales are pretty decent too. Frankly speaking, they are their rival company.

“Though I’m glad for being highly recognized, I wouldn’t say that our company is big with just having employees around 200. Although it’s a different story if you’ll add another zero to that.”

Once Liza momentarily cuts her sentence, she puts her drink in her mouth as if trying to show off. Tarou continues to send Liza a glare while watching her do so.

“there’s no need to be cautious. I apologize for following you around. Also, I have no relation to the army. I just wanted to make sure whether the rumors were true or not.”

Tarou swallowed his urge to ask “for what?” as he waits for her to continue. After staring at Tarou for a while, “I have a proposal to offer” is what she said next.

“what do you think of forming a union with us? We have ships for transports while you have one for defense. I’m sure it will benefit both parties.”