“But you know, man. If ‘ya keep pursuing convenience, you end up losin’ some of the flavor.”
The sale already finished, in a mere ten days, Maar’s workplace would be being used by some unknown stranger. Looking over the display with Maar, Tarou muttered.
“I agree with the contents of your words, words, but what are you talking about?”
Maar stopped her hand that had been scrolling down the screen.
“No, when you’re selecting these sorts of missions, you know. ‘Hey, haven’t seen yer face ‘round these parts. All the jobs we ‘ave ‘ere are E-Rank requests for newbies. Do yer best out there,’ I thought I’d be able to have that sort of conversation with a brawny old man.”
On Tarou’s words, Koume spoke from the belt that have become her primary position.
“It is not good to play too many games, Mister Teirow. And imposing the billions of requests scattered across the galactic empire onto the memory of an old man is a somewhat cruel methodology. If you want to look at it realistically, you would need several hundred million old men stacked up behind the counter.”
“Gross!! An’ wait, those old men should just go resolve the problems themselves!!”
“Oh, you’re talking about video games. I panicked a bit when I wondered if that’s how things went on earth… ah, how about this one? Transport chips from the Alba Station to the Aedes Station. It’s in the direction of the outer reaches, and chips won’t take up too much space.”
Tarou turned his eyes to the entry Maar pointed out. Just like the other missions, it listed destination, reward, time period and order time. It also listed things to take note of with the contract. They were missions irrelevant to the obligations of a company, but they let one earn travel expenses on a journey. Meaning in order to secure funds for their earth hunt, they were requests Tarou’s group should start assertively taking on.
“By stargate, Aedes Station is… umm, two stops up. The distance is around three lightyears? The distance to the outer reaches is around thirty thousand light years… wow, really makes you think.”
“Fufu, that’s right. But I don’t think it’s bad for the first step. And gathering info is our top priority, so there’s no real need to circle aimlessly around the outer reaches. For now, let’s set visiting the extra-large-class stations as our goal.”
As Maar brought the matter to a close, she pushed the accept button on the display. A contract was immediately sent to her PC from the neural network, and she downloaded it as a pulse chip.
“Alright, here. It’s the first job of the Rising Sun Corp, President.”
With a broad grin, she presented the chip to Tarou. After he took it, Tarou raised his arms in an expression of intoxication.
“Fufu, very well… as the first step towards our glorious company’s name roaring out all throughout the cosmos, let us complete this lowly request.”
“What we’re carrying is a large quantity of holograph porno chips geared towards men.”
“So it’s porn!!? Dammit, ‘tis an irreplaceable duty of granting dreams to the masses, but I’m feelin’ real conflicted here… ah, you think I could test them out a bit? See, to bear the full responsibility of their transport, little old Teirow believes we must have a good understandin’ of their contents. I’m not thinking anything indecent. Nothing indecent, okay? On top of pure work-related morals…”
“I’m sure they’ll be too stimulating for a virgin like you.”
“I-I… I ain’t no virgin!! I throw my own weight around!!”
“Yeah, yeah, that’s right, Mister H. Teirow. By the way, it seems the ship your purchased has just docked. The preparations for the handover are complete.”
On Koume’s voice, the two looked at one another. They stood with good momentum, running off towards the station’s high-speed lane.
“Whoah, this is bad. I’m heatin’ up here. How’s the ship gonna look? Did they properly attack the drill?”
“No, you already looked all over the 3D diagram, didn’t you? And what’s this about drills? Waid a second, you just said properly, didn’t you? Eh? You really installed one?”
“Drills are a man’s romance!! I won’t let you talk smack about them!!”
“Do you have some sort of trauma about drills, Mister Teirow? In psychology, they are sometimes seen as a symbol of the male genitalia, but… ah, I see. So that is how it is.”
“Are you really an AI!!?”
As Tarou reached the zero gravity space, he joined Maar in grabbing the high-speed wire he had gotten quite used to, accelerating himself towards the bridge.
“But like, do you really think we’ll be alright? Even from an amateur’s eyes, those were some absurd blueprints.”
“You think? They were a bit irregular, but the designer was a professional, so I think it’ll be alright. And it’s quite common that the ship’s core is brought in from an outside source. It seems the ship you were riding had considerably high specs, so I don’t think you need to worry.”
“In regards to that, Koume shall also press down a seal of approval, Mister Teirow. That ship’s BISHOP-based operating system was quite something. Rather, is that not the reason you restrained yourself from selling it all?”
A silence came down. “O-of course,” said Tarou.
“… I’m shocked. Hey Koume, you can’t take your eyes off of this idiot. There’s no telling what he’s going to do.”
“Don’t be unreasonable!! It was the first ship I e’er touched, so I ‘ad nothing to compare it to!!”
Passing through the residential area, and crossing the gate, the two humans and one robot. Following a gentle curve, they headed for the bridge, reaching the dock their BISHOP displays directed them to.
Looking at the newly-made destroyer moored at the dock, Tarou let out a breath of admiration. Spanning 320 meters, that ocher mass of metal had familiar Black Metal IN armored plating installed on the important parts, giving it a two-toned overall impression. Two giant nuclear fusion engine thrusters extended in the rear, and on both sides, 4 turret bays were marked out with circular patterns. It seems the battery was already operational, and its windows and signals that existed in various places let off pale-lit patters to signify the major hand-over preparations were complete.
“It’s amazing… and what it’ll be transporting is porno movies.”
“You’re right, but could you quit putting a damper on my mood!!?”
“It was originally a Thunderbolt-type destroyer, but it has completely become something else. The core, gun turrets and armor have been changed out, so perhaps that goes without saying.”
After the two and one observed the ship’s perimeter a while, they finally boarded. The sparkle of brand new iron, and the blinding light of the lanterns. His BISHOP screen notified him that the modernized facilities were all completely operational, and Tarou felt a sense of satisfaction at the ship he had poured a majority of his own fortune into.
“So this is the central control room. It’s quite comfy, isn’t it?”
The two stepped into a room lined with various control panels necessary to drive. The place had been constructed at the center of the ship Tarou was once stranded on, and it was made for the situation where control through BISHOP was impossible. So that each motion could also be controlled manually, the control panels were linked directly to the control systems. But the most important point was the fact this room was the center of the ship’s rotation. If the ship conducted any intense turns, at the very least, this space would be safe.
“Right. If you ignore the fact I can’t see a drill, it’s perfect… but when we have ten seats, only having two drivers feels a bit lonely. Should we hire someone?
Maar poured a damper on Tarou’s words.
“Money goes away if you use it, Teirow. You should consider hiring someone once you have a steady income. As one of your shareholders, I can’t permit any wasted expendetures.”
“Well, you have a point,” said Tarou. Maar had used a portion of her own savings, alongside the funds she obtained from dealing with the salvaged parts remaining in the junk yard to acquire around 10% of Rising Sun Corp’s stocks. So she had ample authority to stick her mouth into the company’s finances, but even without any of that, Tarou intended to hear out her opinion.
“When’re we going to set off?”
Taroun brushed his finger against the control panel as he asked.
Maar gave an immediate response. Tarou looked at her surprise on his face, “You don’t have to say goodbye or anything?”
“I don’t have a family, and I’ve already settled things with my close friends. If you access the neural network, you can communicate with other star systems, so it won’t be much different from how we are now. It’s not like I was seeing them frequently to begin with.”
“Hmm… I see. By the way, what are you going to so about moving? Did you sell off your personal property or something?”
“Moving? What are you talking about? I already did your share too.”
“Heh?” said Tarou. And there, Koume put in her voice.
“Mister Teirow, the station’s residential district completely consists of module units the ship shares the same construction, so if you detach the room from the station and install it on the ship, then moving is complete. You do not have to carry just the fixtures like you would on the surface.”
“Thet sow… the future really is somethin’. An’ wait, come to think of it, it’s not like we’re settlin’ anywhere, so it’s obvious. Meanin’ this ship itself is…”
“Yes, it’s our house.”
Continuing on from Tarou, Maar gave a grin. Wrapped in an indescribable sense of exaltation, “Hehe, I see,” Tarou returned the smile. Within that gentle flow of air, a call notice popped up on Tarou’s BISHOP.
“Mister Teirow, a communication line had opened from the bridge. It seems to be from a mail-order delivery. Did you make some sort of purchase?”
On those words, “Oh, it’s here!!” said Tarou.
“I’ll be off a tic to get it. Lil Teirow’s heart’s going pitter patter on whether it was worst the large sum I paid.”
Strangely cheery, Tarou disappeared through the door. Maar’s expression shifted in doubt as, “What could it be?” she looked at Koume.
“Your guess is as good as mine, Miss Maar. He was acting quite secretive, so I purposely left him to his own devices.”
“That secrecy is bothering me… could it be some cargo for this ship? If he bought something stupid with company money, he’s not getting off lightly.”
“No, I doubt that is the case, Miss Maar. I keep track of the company ledger, so if he bought something, it would have to be from his personal earnings.”
“Teirow’s earnings? Ah, right, his wages for helping me out. If he used it, I don’t really mind… but I feel somewhat conflicted. I’d have preferred he use it on something decent.”
“Miss Maar. He is a virgin.”
“Yeah, that’s right. Not that I’m one to talk.”
A talk between women… it was dubious to call it such… as they carried on a talk that would make Tarou fly into a rage if he heard, the man himself returned to the control room with a large box in his hands.
“Fwehehe, it’s as good as the catalogue said it’d be. Hey, Maar. I don’t know how to use this sorta thing, see, so could you and Koume help me out?”
“H-help? No, wait. Stop right there! You should do that sort of thing by yourself!!”
“That’s right, Mister Teirow. Rather, what do you plan to have this here Koume help out with? Is it that? Are you going to rub it in because our shapes are similar? You pervert.”
“… Um, beg your pardon. Why am I being criticized like this?”
On the woman and another’s words, Tarou didn’t seem to understand what was going on. After thinking to himself a bit, he began opening the box without any undue worry.
“No, hold it right there!! No matter how p… wait, this is…”
Peering into the box, Maar made a surprised expression as she gazed at its contents. Koume swayed as she tried to look up with her expressionless camera.
“Umm, well. I’m sorry, Teirow. Hey, Koume, looks like it’s for you.”
The fist-sized Koume couldn’t look into the box. “For me?” she asked, and “Yeah,” Tarou replied, pulling out a mechanical doll around a meter in height.
“You’re always lookin’ after me, so I bought it as thanks. The latest model was a bit beyond my reach, so you’ll ‘ave to make do with this for now.”
What Tarou took out was an old humanoid AI body, and one made to imitate a human child. Even if it was supposed to be a young girl, it boasted mechanical looks, with a dolly molded face, and a lightly curving body. It was, at the very least, wonderful enough for Tarou to feel satisfied.
“Mister Teirow… I am ashamed of myself.”
Koume flashed her green light. Perhaps it isn’t to her liking, the thought clouded Tarou’s expression.
“Thank you, Mister Teirow. Until the day my quantum circuits burn out, I shall never forget this debt. Now hurry and transfer me to that body. I’m sure it will move much better than any of the newer models.”