“Sorry to keep you waiting!”

“Thank you for coming so soon, My Lord.”

“I just happen to be in Krishna’s vicinity. How about Elma?”

[Right now! Dashing to Antlion!]

The Antlion was usually docked in the Black Lotus and was used for navigation, but when we entered the colony we couldn’t let it stay docked, so we sent it to dock at the colony separately. That was why, in order for Elma to board the Antlion, she had to leave the Black Lotus and return to the colony to retrieve it.

“Good luck with that.”

I verified the information on Krishna’s auto-check screen, which had already started, while I was listening to Elma’s rather frantic voice. No problems with ammunition, no abnormalities in armor or hull, no problems with weapon systems, no problems with life support systems, generators, or sensors! Thrusters operating range checked! I couldn’t do the test firing now, because it would cause a terrible mess in the hangar, and the mechanic sisters would do terrible things to Krishna with their wrenches in retaliation. Krishna would be dented all over.

“Anyway, we’re leaving port. I’m sure Hartmut is already dealing with the Port Authority to handle our situation.”


At my direction, Mimi quickly operated the console on the operator’s seat and started the departure sequence.

“My Lord, you seem to have made a very quick decision on this sortie.”

“Ah, normally I would accept a request through the mercenary guild and after having a clear discussion on the reward and other terms and conditions. But in a case like this, it’s a bit different.”

“What do you mean by a case like this?”

“One of the reasons is that I’m sure I would have missed the target if I had waited that long, and since I know Hartmut well, I don’t have to worry about him scamming me. The other reason is that I’ve been anticipating this turn of events to some extent.”

There weren’t many options available to the cornered Bradys. They had about three choices: escape, hide, or get crushed, so they probably took the escape route. In the end, it was impossible to escape by trying to completely fool Hartmut’s eyes, though.

“I see…you are actually suited to be a general strategist, aren’t you?”

“No way. I’m more suited to be a mercenary, a man who does as he pleases and is less than a soldier.”

I lack the kind of visionary eye and brain that would be called a tactical or strategic eye, and besides, I lack the ability to learn well. That would be the job of a well-educated intellectual.

“Hiro-sama, we are ready to launch!”

“Okay, let’s go. Open the hatch.”

“Hatch open. Electromagnetic catapult at minimum power.”

The thrusters were at full throttle in the hangar, which would cause a lot of trouble inside, and if the electromagnetic catapult was launched at maximum output, the Krishna would crash into the colony’s inner wall, so the output was minimal. The Krishna was launched out of the hangar of the Black Lotus at an ever-so-slow acceleration, and I immediately sent it flying toward the airtight shield separating the inside and outside the colony. Thanks to the port of entry and exit restrictions, there’s very little traffic, so it was very easy.

“Elma is still going to take some time to rendezvous, I have the data sent from Hartmut, can you verify it?”

“Yes! I’m on it!”

Mimi was trained by Mei on how to process this kind of information, so she was second only to Mei in speed of processing. I was not a hacker, but I think Mimi could be a full-fledged hacker or cracker. Maybe I should check with Mimi again…if she had some talent in that area, I should help her to develop it. The only thing that comes to mind right now would be bionics or cybernetics enhancement surgery, but maybe I should discuss that with Dr. Shoko, who should be a professional in that area.