With the Delta Station as an origin point, at times goods, at times people, and most of the time adult toys. Today once more, the Rising Sun Corporation hectically carried out its deliveries. Purchasing two new small-scale combat frigates, Tarou now had a total of five space-faring vessels under his command. Standing before Destroyer Plum- which remained the greatest source of income- President Tarou drew his mouth close to the ear of a female employee.
“Hm~? I can’t hear you. Can you speak up a bit?”
Tarou used his hands to cover his own ears. In the galactic empire that had no minimum age when it came to work, the young female worker in her early teens was a relatively natural sight. She timidly answered with a reddened face.
“Yes, um …………… ks.”
On the female employee’s whispering voice, Tarou leaned his body forwards.
“I’m only confirmin’ our precious cargo here. So how about it? What’s written down on the list? Can you say it a bit louder?”
“Um… ad… ad…ult… a…”
“Hmmmm? What was that? This old man can’t hear you.”
“Erk… a… adult… ai… urgh…”
“Hahaa, s-see, your almost there. Just take a deep breaRMFANBOSS!!?”
Letting out a strange cry, Tarou crumbled onto the ground. Behind him stood Maar, the leg that delivered a fatal blow to his nether regions still raised.
“Why the hell are you boldly conduction sexual harassment in the middle of the day? Imperial law doesn’t have any provisions for harassment, but Station Ordinance is different, you know?”
As Tarou pleaded for god, Maar looked down on him with eyes that seemed to be directed at trash. “You’re good, get on with your duties,” she told the female employee and shooed her away.
“Just what is this… ‘How to Use an Air Duster for Adults’… yeah? An air duster’s just an air duster, right? Really. Seriously, what’s with this? How exactly are you supposed to use it in a way that falls under the adult category… I’m actually curious. Is that what they were aiming for?”
Maar gave an unladylike frown as she gazed at the list display, before swiftly confirming the stock was correct. Each package loaded on the ship was furnished with its own exclusive electronic tag, so even if everything was mixed together, it was possible to obtain an accurate count. At first, they were half-installed by hand, but at present, the entire process had been automated. Maar had modified a cheap ship maintenance arm into a machine to attach the tags.
“Next is the Adela System, right? When I’d finally gotten back to Delta, we’re already off the next day. Delivery work’s no easy job… now then, what are you dilly dallying for, Teirow? Get up. You’ll be left behind.”
“N-no… it’s… you’re fault… my…”
“Yeah, yeah, you’ll be fine. You haven’t used them for close to twenty years, and I doubt you’ll get an opportunity to use them anytime soon. Now let’s go.”
Maar grabbed Tarou’s arm, half-dragging him towards the entrance of the Plum. Tarou let his body drag along as he continued raising words of objection at Maar’s manner of speech.
“Goddammit, one day you’re gonna be eatin’ those worddbgah!!”
Maar pinched his nose, and this time he chose to keep quiet.
“The jump drive count has begun, Mister Teirow.”
Koume’s inorganic voice resounded through the central control room. Tarou gave an, “Okay,” as he gazed at the decreasing digits on his BISHOP.
“Teirow, I’ll just confirm it again, but we really are going. You good?”
Raising her body from the seat she had grown quite accustomed to, Maar stared at Tarou. “From the of to the course,” he replied, sticking up his thumb.
“Of all else, I’m the guardian of the virgin world. There are people out there I have to protect. Then we’ve got to get ourselves out there. Right, Koume-san?”
As Tarou replied with as manly a face he could possibly muster, Koume raised her head from the operating panel.
“Mister Teirow. I do not quite understand, but have you discovered some sense of purpose from protecting the chastity of others? That is quite honestly repulsing.”
“Hmhmm, say what you will. Ah, but you’ll heart my poor heart, so could you wrap it in some niceties, Koume-chan… by the way, these future-age adult contents are really somethin’. With these around, no one would need a girlfriend or wife, right? They’re crazy enough to make me seriously think about it. Especially the holographs. If you ignore the fact you can’t touch them, it’s no different then bein’ right in front of the real thing. With all the angles you can watch from, it moves my heart to no ends.”
“Hah… even if you call it the future, it’s the present to us. By the way, I think I’m seeing your goal here. You’re dragging everyone down with you.”
At Maar’s voice, Tarou raised the corners of his mouth in a grin. He slowly stood, spreading his arms out wide.
“Precisely!! The other day, Allan and I decided to found the Cosmic Virgin Alliance… fufu, pitiful empire. Our blessings shall lower birthrates across the galaxies, leaving nothing but a slow death as gentle as a strangling with silk floss.”
“Did you have some sort of grudge against the empire?”
“None. To be blunt, I’m just takin’ out my anger on them.”
To Tarou’s immediate response, Maar sent a face fed up from the depths of her heart, then a look of sympathy.
“… Well, if that’s what floats your boat. By the way, the Adela System functions around a fixed star, so be prepared for some terrible interference from solar wind. Naturally, there has also been some WIND activity reported, and honestly I’m anxious that it’ll turn out the same as last time.”
“Yeah~, well, I get where you’re coming from. But it’s precisely because there are places no one wants to go that there’s profit to be made, and our Rising Sun is the company that aims for that gap.”
“Pretty much,” said Maar. Rising Sun was a relatively rare transport company that owned a warship, and an enterprise that began its growth with ‘carrying out the small trips big corporations won’t take on’ as its selling point. Tarou thought that if he would have to challenge large corporations head-on, then even if he had to push it a bit, concentrating on the troublesome danger zones where there weren’t many rivals would be the ‘safer’ bet.
“We’re carrying a rare haul of daily necessities this time, and maybe it’s not so bad to transport some useful goods from time to time. Though half’s porn as always.”
“Porn is plenty useful to society!!”
“I cannot deny that, but the jump drive is about to activate, Mister Teirow.”
Alongside Koume’s lines, the entire ship began to shake. Tarou resolved himself for the headache and ringing in his ears he knew would come, deciding to gaze at the outside scenery tinting a light shade of blue. He had stopped spitting up as he had before, but that didn’t change the fact he was no good with jumps.
… Jump Drive terminating. Arrived at destination point…
The fixed BISHOP announcement went by, his pale blue-dyed vision gradually melting into color. Tarou began to observe the shapes of the Plum’s central command room his eyes had grown accustomed to as he disarmed the accident prevention system lock.
“… Alright, confirming coordinates. Any traces of jamming?”
“Positioning relative to fixed stars corresponds with destination coordinates. No obstructions from jamming. All systems green, Mister Teirow.”
“Adela’s stations 1 and 2 are both putting up beacons. No phase shifts. But there’s a ridiculous dosage of radiation flying our way, so it may be best to switch our scan radar over to optical.”
“Good, good, let’s do just that. No problems as usual. Then let’s overdrive over to Adele Station 1.”
It was an exchange they had already carried out a few dozen times. Satisfied at the two reports, Tarou swiftly operated the overdrive, settling in his seat to brace for a leap. The shaking ship sent him a large jolt, sending his body a long ways away. Eventually, the same jolt came again to signal the end. While it was actually the other way around, the display of the ship’s outsides projected the station coming towards them at a high velocity.
“Eh? Wait. Aren’t we a bit close?”
Even if they were decelerating for arrival, the station passed by the ship’s flank at a dreadful rate. Eventually, the ship shook to a fault, settling down in a space you could call the station’s immediate vicinity.
… Warning, danger of collision with large structure…
“Oh my, I never noticed. Well thanks for the warning. But we’ve already passed it… and this is bad!! Engines full throttle!!”
“We’re already doing that!! Control our direction!!”
Tarou’s BISHOP displayed the distance to the station. Its value was headed towards 0 at an alarming rate. The display showed the station grow bigger, carrying with it an ominous sense of oppression.
“Koume-san, why is the station the one that’s moving!?”
In an attempt to slip out of the collision path, Tarou operated the position functions.
“Unknown, Mister Teirow. Not only the Adela Station, a majority of stations are capable of movement, but it is unprecedented for such a thing to occur without prior notice given to the government.
“This is Stardust! Teirow, detach us this instant! We’re on a collision course!!”
On the voice coming in on the communication line, “Got it!” Tarou cried out and detached the Stardust joined in place of the Rockboy.
“Uwooooooah!!!! Koume-san, physical shielddd!!”
Even if he knew it was meaningless, Tarou bent his body back from the display. The station wall projected all over one of the screens. That monotonous pattern of windows and panels streamed towards them faster still.
A strong impact raced through the ship. Maar let out a scream, while Koume fell to the ground.
… Joint mechanism damaged…
… Directional control thrusters 4 and 6 damaged…
… Ship positioning experiencing movement beyond calculations…
A large number of warnings flickered over his BISHOP. In his hazy head, Tarou understood the ship had collided with the station.
“Owow… curses, the ship is spinning… r-right. What about Allan? You alright?”
“This is Stardust. We were able to avoid it by a hair’s breadth, but it took off with some of our armor plating. The main system is safe.”
Tarou let out a breath of relief as he watched the long and narrow speed ship flying immediately to the Plum’s side. Positioned like a falcontaking a fifty meter nosedive, the Stardust carefully altered its course to avoid the metal it had let off itself.
“What’s goin’ on here. For the Plum’s first major damage to be a crash… can’t laugh at that one!!”
Tarou managed to negate the ship’s spin as he glared at the Station gradually drifting away.
“Mister Teirow. We are in a bit of a crisis.”
While Tarou checked the cargo to see if it had suffered any damage, Koume sent a level-headed voice. He exchanged a glance with Maar, waiting for the AI to go on.
“I have made a number of attempts, but I cannot connect to the neuralnet. It does seem we are stranded.”