“They are finally here huh…….”
3 hours after the enemy fleet withdrew.
Schleer was still inside the cockpit of the [Gradius-kai] which is currently floating in the low orbit of Besaria Prime.
Originally, Kisei planned to land them back on the surface but Schleer said that she doesn’t want to risk a reentry inside a tattered striker so they decided to wait for the 3rd Fleet in orbit.
“That is the flagship of my 3rd Fleet, the Radiant.”
“Haa, an Inaba-class battlecruiser is it.
I never thought that there would still be a country that still has one in active service.”
In front of the [Gradius-kai] is a broadside of a space warship.
It has a similar shape to the old navy ship on earth with 3 pairs of large blaster cannons on its deck.
Its pure white paint is also shining brightly due to the reflected light from Besaria Prime.
Its hull seemed to be well maintained but it has clearly aged.
And it is supposed to be.
After all, it has already been 50 years since a name ship of this class was first commissioned.
[TLN: a name ship/ lead ship is the first of its class that was constructed.]
“W, we have been upgrading and refurbishing him.
He should still have plenty enough power you know.”
“Like a veteran soldier, right? I do like this kind of thing actually.”
As Kisei smiled at the battlecruiser, communication came through from the Radiant.
“Your Highness, thank you for your work.
The boarding permission has been granted.
Please enter through the rear deck.”
“This is Schleer, affirmative.”
Originally that communication should have been directed to Kisei as he is the pilot but since he has a superior onboard, it’s natural for them to address her first.
Schleer tapped on Kisei’s shoulder to say that she is sorry about that and urged him to enter the deck.
“You must have been tired after that battle right? They must have already prepared a room for you on board.
Acknowledging so, Kisei ignited the thrusters of the [Gradius-kai].
After going through the landing sequence while receiving the instructions from the Radiant’s operator with fluid motion, they landed on a strong supporting net woven from nanotubes inside the deck.
Just like that, they proceeded to the hangar according to the instructions.
“Hmm, this is quite a nice hangar isn’t it.”
Because it was an old ship, Kisei thought that its hangar would be a cluttered outdated one but the upgrades and refurbishment made it look as modern and spacious as one on a current-generation capital ship.
Looking around, Kisei sees more than ten [Claymores], the main striker model used by the Calencia empire along with a few strikers with which he is not familiar with lined up inside.
After the [Gradius-kai] was fixed on the maintenance hangar.
Several robot arms extend out to restrain it in place and a maintenance crane automatically aligns itself with the cockpit hatch.
Phase Transition Turbine, locked.
Engine misfire detected.
Initiating System Shutdown sequence.
Good work, Pilot.
The AI gave its report and all the instruments and monitors went black.
“Ahh, that was really tiring.
I never thought that I would have to fight a whole fleet as soon as I arrived.”
After leaving the cockpit, Kisei stretched and looked around.
Pilots, mechanics, and various kinds of crew members are gathering around the [Gradius-kai] while whispering something among themselves.
I didn’t expect the enemy to show up as well.”
When they saw Schleer come out of the cockpit with a bitter smile, the whispers intensified.
[A man and a woman alone in that small cockpit!?], [How enviable!?], [The princess is a predator……], such words can be heard from all around us.
After a light cough, Schleer pressed the switch on the crane’s basket’s control panel.
The basket descended accompanied by a dull noise of its motor and reached the floor.
A woman in a high-class officer uniform then rushed to Schleer and whispered something into her ears.
After thinking for a few seconds, Schleer also said something to the woman.
After that secretive conversation continued for around 30 seconds, Schleer finally turned back to Kisei.
“I see, I understand.
Kisei-san, it appears that I have some business to attend to.
My apologies but I am unable to escort you any further than this.”
“I have prepared a room for you.
One of my subordinates will guide you there so please rest up for today.”
Schleer glanced at a young female soldier and she immediately stepped up and saluted him.
Kisei returns the salute in kind and the cheeks of the girl, who was all stiff due to the tension, immediately got dyed in red.
“We will also deliver meals to your room.
Please, PLEASE! Stay in your room and do not walk around outside.
I do not believe that I have vulgar soldiers under my command but we still have to be careful.”
“I do want to take a walk around though.”
“I can’t huh……”
There are more than a hundred starving beasts on board.
Leaving such a good-looking male mercenary to wander around alone in such a place may cause some irreparable damage to said mercenary himself.
Thinking so, Schleer grabbed Kisei’s arms and strongly insisted on her request.
After nodding to him with a smile, Schleer left with the senior officer.
Left behind, the soldier who was assigned to be his guide approached him with a robot-like movement.
“P, P, Please! Allow me to guide your way!”
After Kisei replied with a cheerful voice, the girl repeatedly nodded and tried to lead the way with stiff movements.
However, someone stopped them before he could take another step.
It was a girl with a black ponytail.
She is wearing a yellow pilot suit with a small lieutenant insignia on the chest area.
Her scarlet-colored eyes glare intensely at Kisei.
“It’s you huh? The fool of a man who’s playing at being a pilot.”
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