Tarou spoke curtly in the central control room.
“All systems green, Mister Teirow. That was a swift startup. As expected of a brand new product.”
Koume turned her brand-new face to Tarou, giving a small nod. Was the heartless, yet proud tone he heard just his imagination? To Tarou’s question of, “Any contact from the station?” Maar replied, “No problem.”
“We’ve received permission for our departure, and we’ve already reserved a space in front of the stargate. I’ve properly coupled the Rocky as well.”
Tarou confirmed the forms of Koume and Maar, leaning back in their seats, and gave both of them a thumbs up.
“So you have to get permission for that. I really am glad I’m not alone ‘here… now then, let’s be off!!”
Tarou started up his bishop, and deployed the function to activate the ship. There was already an automated takeoff function, but if he relied on such things, he would never fully learn how to handle the ship.
… Battery heat regulating. Set at half output…
… Propulsion control program set to stable operation mode…
… Run cruising program…
Once he had all the ship’s control functions in order, the ship let off a light tremor with its breath of electricity.
“Destroyer Plum. Takeoff!!”
Alongside Tarou’s call, Maar carried out the final takeoff procedures., and the ship slowly began parting from the station.
“Rotate hull 90 degrees, activate overdrive. Destination: Stargate SG-3835.”
The ship quickly responded to his stream of orders. In a mere four seconds, the destroyer completed its rotation, the energy from the hydrogen plasma sustained in the fusion core spewed from the two main thrusters, pushing the large mass of metal forwards.
… Run overdrive…
A piercing high sound.
A breath of relief within the silence.
Tarou asked as he raised his body from the seat designed to always keep the body sprawled in regards to the direction of movement.
“No abnormalities, Mister Teirow. Rather, if a problem came out in just the takeoff and warp, we would have to sue the manufacturer.”
On Koume’s voice, “Sure enough,” said Tarou. He took a big stretch, pulled a drink from the side board, and poured it into his mouth.
“Wait, what are you doing? We’re already there?”
At Maar’s chiped voice, Tarou gave an, “Eh?” after which a tremor instantly came down.
“Wait a- oh right, we were right next to ittttttt!!”
A coffee-like liquid spilled from the cup, dying tarou’s clothes a shade of brown.
… Overdrive terminating…
“… I went and dirtied my new ship within two minutes of its departure… looks like I live on the wild side.”
“If I have to say, the proper term is child, Mister Teirow. I shall stream in exterior footage to the screen. This is the first time you are seeing a star gate, right, Mister Teirow?”
Tarou raised his face. The screen showed a large, cylindrical structure, , with countless ships of all shapes and sizes floating around it.
“So this is the stargate… that’s quite a simple design. I was expecting somethin’ cooler. When it comes to size, once more, it’s a hundred times bigger than I thought it’d be.”
Tarou’s BISHOP notified him that his velocity relative to the stargate had exceeded 200km, but no matter how he waited, he didn’t feel he was getting closer at all. Its size was simply so great that he understood it was something close to an optical illusion.
“A beacon program was sent from the stargate’s control tower. I’ll start it up.”
Tarou gave Maar a nod, gazing over the self-executing beacon program. It seemed to be a program to lead them to a designated space in the stargate. Nothing more than a simple movement control and collision prevention program spread across his display.
“Whooah, this is an amazin’ number of ships… they’re all gonna warp at once?”
As they approached the gate, the flock game into sight; the countless ships lining the cylinder’s interior. There were so many he didn’t have the mind to count, but there were surely over a few hundred.
“Are they lined up on a plane so they don’t collide… w-wow, wait. What the hell’s that!!? That goes beyond bein’ big!”
A large shadow appeared over the screen. Tarou rubbed his eyes to make sure he wasn’t just seeing things.
“That’s a transport ship of the Gigantech Company. They’re a rare sight in these parts. As I recall, they have an overall span close to 4km? They have to be real careful regulating their gravity.”
Tarou opened his mouth blankly. The point the beacon program directed him was right below that large transport ship, and he got the feeling he had become nothing more than a remora.
“Think we’ll ever be pilotin’ a ship like that someday…”
As Tarou quietly muttered, the surrounding space began to fill with a pale blue light. His BISHOP displayed the increasing operating ratio of the ship’s overdrive equipment, and even after that value had crossed 100%, it still continued to increase.
“Umm, Koume-san. The overdrive operating ration just reached some crazy number like 40,000%. Are we gonna be alright?”
“There is no need to worry, Mister Teirow. Calculating back from the distance to the next stargate, it will likely rise to roughly 150,000%. That would be a distance you could reach if you performed a normal overdrive 1500 times.”
I see, thought Tarou as he anxiously watched the digits racing up. Putting an overdrive device on overdrive wasn’t a very funny joke.
“We’re about to jump. If you don’t want to spill what’s left in your cup, I think you’d better sit down.”
On Maar’s words, Tarou hurriedly returned to his seat. His clothes sticking down on him felt disgusting, but he was completely paying for his own mistakes.
Eventually, the light grew so strong he could no longer see the ships around, and it all suddenly came down. Every sight that entered Tarou’s eyes looked two-fold, with a glimmer as if it were all letting off a strong light. Tarou closed his eyes from the blinding radiance, but the light had reached the insides of his eyelids.
… Confirming Jumpdrive…
Within that world dyeing pure white, the BISHOP screen alone projected its usual values. The beacon program reaching its end called its final function, changing even the BISHOP to a complete blank space.
… Jumpdrive execute…
“I have certainly received the cargo. Good work. I’ve deposited the payment into your account, so please confirm it.”
At the destination station, the smile of their client was projected across the video chat line. Tarou sent the man a similar simile, confirming the transfer from his BISHOP.
“Lately, any and everything’s being carried by the large freighters, see. It’s a huge help there are still guys like you out there who take up the small jobs. The speeds on another level from waiting for a freighter to unload.”
Not wanting to let any valuable info slip by, Tarou listened attentively to the man’s words. No matter the era, business chances lay in these sorts of casual conversation. And that’s precisely what was happening right now.
“You have anythin’ else we could help you with? We just happen to have an opening right now, so we’ll take up transport or anythin’.”
Tarou emphasized the ‘right now’ part. “Hmm,” went the man across the line, staring as if to evaluate Tarou
“Rising Sun Corp, was it? Never heard of it before. Are you a new start-up?”
“Yes, that’s right. We’re only a small place with just two employees, but both of them are real talented. A mechanic with salvaging experience, and a genius at electronic management. We also have two ships, so there’s quite a bit we’re capable of.”
“Two ships… could you be the owner of the destroyer that came in this morning!? Well now, you’ve become a bit of a rumor in my circle. What would anyone need a destroyer for out here in the sticks, is what they’re asking.”
On the man’s words, “Was that a mistake?” Tarou gave a bitter smile. He put it to heart to do something to disguise the armor plating later.
“I don’t know why you’re using that ship for something like transport, but if you’ll carry it, then I do have a job. Give me a minute.”
As the man said that, he looked in a different direction, and began whispering. In his boredom, Tarou sent a look to Maar beside him, and she sent him a thumbs up. You’re doing great, it seemed to say.
“I’m sending over a list right now. Could you take your cargo space into consideration, and decide what you’ll be able to carry? The destinations four stops towards the outer reaches. Do you need an advance payment?”
Tarou sent another glance at Maar. Seeing her shake her head, he answered, “No.”
“If you’re payin’ the jump fee, then we’re all good. We’ll take all the cargo. Our hold’s just been emptied out, so you’ve come at a good time.”
Tarou showed a friendly smile. “Then that’s negotiations complete,” The man put his index and middle finger together, directing them his way. After hesitating a moment over what the gesture meant, he similarly put his fingers together and raised them. He didn’t know whether that was the right action, but the man smiled all the way through.
“You can bring in the goods whenever you want, but if possible, you should ship them quickly. I want to show those pitiful men some dreams.”
With those lines, the communication line closed. Tarou let out a sigh as he clenched his fist towards Maar in victory.
“We did it!! We’ve got luck on our side. Since we’re not going through station management, we get the station’s middle-man margin added on right as a bonus!!”
At Maar’s delighted figure, Tarou naturally smiled.
“I shee. I hope they’ll be good customers… by the way, four stops means the amount of times we’ll have to go through the stargate, right? Why didn’t we take an advance payment?”
On Tarou’s question, Koume answered in her little girl form.
“You have the right interpretation of four stops, Mister Teirow. An advance payment is still a loan no matter how temporary it is, so naturally it comes with interest. If you have money readily available, there is no harm in avoiding loans.”
Sending a satisfied not to Koume’s answer, Tarou confirmed his balance again. At the very bottom of the list, “RECEIVE 50000crd” was printed, giving him a sense he had undoubtedly completed a job.
“It’s money that’ll disappear if we use the stargate too many times, but… hehe, not bad at all.”
With his account still open, Tarou took a screenshot of his BISHOP, and reserved it under the category, ‘Important Data’.