The military knowledge gained at the imperial military academy.
While it was information open to the general public over the neuralnet, whether you could grasp it or not was a separate issue.
For example, the optical weapon entry. In order to understand its essence, you would need a basis in other fields, and the required knowledge covered a shockingly wide ground. The knowledge those aiming to be military elites spent long years to learn weren’t particularly useful in daily life, so there were few who cared enough to learn.
But as Koume had flooded all the relevant information into Tarou, all that miscellaneous information definitely did exist in the boy’s head.
“If it’s munitions, I definitely do have the knowledge, but commerce… sounds like it’ll increase our level of self-responnsibility, but it’ll probably have just as high rewards.”
Tarou nodded a few times. Carefully holding her cup, “Right,” Maa went on.
“The money you get from transport is only a portion of what you can obtain through trade. It’s fine if you want to keep at transport, but as long as we fly a warship, our cargo capacity has its limits. There’s a high probability we’ll eventually cap out our earnings.”
“Sure enough,” said Tarou. There, Koume quietly spoke.
“Miss Maar’s concerns are sound. The ratio of Rising Sun Corp’s proceeds and sundry expenses worsens with the addition of new vessels. It is self-evident that our investment efficiency will decrease with greater numbers.”
“Thank you for the tedious stuff as always, Koume-chan. But, well, you’re right. This is how far we’ve gotten on the advantages of delivering to dangerous regions, but it’s right about time the large companies will start sticking their hands in.”
“Oh? That’s the first I’m hearing of it,” said Maar. “Look,” Tarou forwarded a mail through BISHOP.
“Umm, I see. An invitation to take part in a transport fleet… wait, what? What’s this? Their side barely has any battleships setting out. Are they trying to make inadvertent guards of us?”
“I thought so to. Being how it is, I refused the job, but there are quite a few of these talks going down. Perhaps danger zone transport is even more appealing than we had imagined.”
“In that case, it is certain the profits will diminish, Mister Teirow. Ah, speaking of diminishing, Mister Teirow, your sm–”
“Ah~, yeah, yeah!! You’re sure draggin’ that out, Koume-saan!! What’s wrong with you? Did you learn something strange? Hah… we’ve been transporting too many peculiar things.”
As Tarou recalled the adult toys that constituted the bulk of his transports, he let out a powerless sigh.
“But since it’s come to it, our prospects are looking bleak. We’ll need to take some measures… You don’t need to make a decision on that commerce talk here and now, but just think over it as a single option.”
“Got it… yes, Koume-san, you didn’t have to react to the words, ‘prospects looking bleak,’ you know? In the distant past, and even now, I’ve never got the chance to test its bleakness. Though saying it does make me want to die… ah, right, Maar. While we’re at it, let’s get Allan in on this conversation, and work out some details.”
In regards to Teirow, Maar sent a voice of approval as she concentrated on the display atop the table. After calling Allan through BISHOP, it took mere seconds before his face was projected.
“Uwah!! So that table was a holo-display? That’s a surprise… but why is it just the head? Isn’t it usually the whole body?”
A special mist was sprayed out of the display. Colored onto that with lasers, Allan’s head appeared above the table with such realness you might mistake it for the genuine article.
“Oy, oy, I don’t know what’s going on, but it seems I’m in quite a state on your side. More importantly, what did you need? I was just about to go to the masa… er, I mean I was off to the park.”
On the question from the severed head, “Yeah, hear me out, brother,” Tarou explained with heartfelt conviction.
“I see, trade… That doesn’t sound bad.”
With the display still cut at his neck, Allan rubbed his chin with his hand as he spoke. Outside of its scope, his wrist was cut at a cross-section making it look as if it were floating in thin air.
“With a hundred million credit to start out, is there any promising merchandise we can stock?”
“Hmm. It’s not like there’s nothing, but if you’re using that money, you’d better limit it to half. In the case an accident causes you to lose your cargo, we’ll go bankrupt before you know it.”
“Yeah~, sure enough. Then fifty million?”
“Why are you at full throttle form the start, Admiral… just because you’re proficient in military affairs, that doesn’t mean you’ll be any good at trade. Try running it as an offshoot of the transport, and see how things go. Why not use around ten million to test the waters?”
“Erk, you have a point… so what do you recommend using it on? Personally, I think warp stabilizers’ll be nice.”
“Oh? And why’s that? I was sure you’d say gunpowder or turrets.”
“Why? I mean, the WIND, the WIND. There’s nothing bad about taking them out, but most ships would have to run if they encountered them, right? Unlike flesh and blood humans, those things can accelerate as violently as they want, so in that case, there’s no choice but to rely on warp.”
“Hmm,” Allan hummed a note. Maar sent him a sidelong glance before sticking her index finger up towards Tarou.
“In other words, you think the enemy will keep this chaos up for a while longer?”
Tarou gazed at Maar’s finger.
“No, I mean no matter how you look at it, that’s how it’s going down. Rather, won’t things only get worse from here?”
Some inquisitive looks came in from the two humans. “Mister Teirow,” Koume stepped in.
“If possible, could you elaborate on the reason behind your thoughts? At present, Koume cannot see enough information to arrive at such a conclusion.”
“No, no, no, it’s in plain sight. The stargate, think of the stargate. The stargate to Adela was totally sealed off, right? Isn’t that strange? And the empire’s fleet was stationed there immobile.”
On Tarou’s point, Maar swallowed her breath. There, “I see,” Allan said, and continued on.
“At the very least, the imperial navy doesn’t have any intent to take an aggressive stance against the WIND. They looked through our ship’s records, and their detachment definitely had a landing force. If they wanted to, they could’ve gotten the station back long ago.”
“But then why? Even if it was a rural station, if you look at its monetary value, it should at least be worth a small fleet.”
“I can’t really answer the why… but they must have some sort of reason. Reason, reason. What could it be.”
Tarou, Maar, and Allan started in thinking to themselves. After a while of that, Koume quietly spoke.
“Could the cause not be the neural network?”
Three gazes gathered on her spherical, mechanical eyes.
“Umm, doesn’t that make this really, really bad?
“You mean the military’s lines are dead? I won’t say that’s impossible, but that would mean the very foundation of the neuralnet is down.””
“If the neuralnet really is dead… what’ll happen?”
“Mister Teirow. Unlike the neuralnet, the solarnets cannot reach any further than a few lightyears. Therefore, the loss of the neuralnet will create spaces completely cut off from the flow of information. As I recall, there was a network map. Would you like to take a look?”
On Koume’s voice, the three promptly started up BISHOP. Numerous fixed stars on that three dimensional display were connected with white lines, creating what looked like a complex molecular structure. Only their present location Delta, and the surrounding areas were shown, but even so, the stars numbered a few thousand.
“Hey, Koume. Can you calculate back from the solarnet distance or something, and identify which areas will be isolated? If we play it right, won’t this become an exceptionally valuable map?”
Turning to Maar, Koume turned her mechanical head left and right.
“I apologize, Miss Maar. With just a portion, it might be possible given the time, but as a whole there are much too many factors to–”
Tarou interrupted. Thinking she had misheard something, Koume tilted her head. After a while, Allan likely confirmed his BISHOP as he said, “You’re kidding, right?”
“Just how much combination computing would you need for that… I don’t know what it’s in, but you’re a gift holder, aren’t you, Admiral. I haven’t been this surprised in a long while… but this is enough of a surprise to overwrite that.”
“Yes… and a hopeless surprise at that.”
The three looked at the galaxy’s network map on their BISHOPs. As Tarou had painted areas that would remain connected in a different color, it had become a complex, speckled pattern, as if a maddened painter had slammed their art tools against the canvas.
“Koume has also tried recalculating some points, but surprisingly enough, this is a truly accurate map, it seems. Of the 4096 points randomly selected, all of them have calculated to the correct value.”
“I see… hey, Admiral. I think I know what that military detachment was trying to do.”
“Yeah. I’ve got an inkling myself. To put it simply, it’s that.”
Between spaces of blue and yellow, Tarou traced his finger along a black empty space of BISHOP. The Adela System and its stargate were undoubtedly stationed on the very boundary of the transmission zone.
“They were patrolling their new border.”