“This is the ZX-X100, [Caliburn-Revive].”
After they left Kisei’s room, the two headed to the hangar and Schleer introduced the striker with a proud expression as though her earlier shameful behaviors never happened.
“Originally, it was an unarmed prototype of the [Excalibur] but I assigned the spare parts from the [Excalibur] to it and had it modified for active combat use.”
“If it’s a modified unit then it’s kind of similar to the [Gradius-kai] isn’t it?”
While looking at the place Schleer is pointing at, Kisei gave a few nods.
Much like the [Excalibur], there stands a pure white striker.
It featured a twin-eye-type main camera and two large blade antennas on its head, giving an impression of a pair of rabbit ears.
“It is a medium-weight, general-purpose type striker with no distinctive features but it has high mobility and more than enough payload so it should be able to handle various kinds of missions! Even though we’ve assembled it on the fly here, its specs should be enough to qualify it as a Zenith-type, sir!”
A young mechanic in work clothes excitedly explained.
She looked tired.
It appears that she went through a lot of work refurbishing this striker but strangely, her eyes are still gleaming from excitement.
“So it’s technically a Zenith-type.”
“Yes! The higher up at Kawashima said that it is an affordable low-priced model but it has been remodeled by the best mechanics of our Engineering Department! The Nored’s Zenith can’t hold a candle to it!”
“What the heck is an affordable Zenith…….”
A Zenith-type striker is supposed to be the one-off flagship model that went all in for high-specs while disregarding the costs.
You can’t possibly describe such a thing as affordable even by mistake.
“P, Please don’t mind that!”
In fact, it should be extremely difficult for a small to medium-sized country to afford a Zenith-type.
Still, such countries would indeed acquire one or two Zenith-type units for appearance’s sake.
That being said, it’s not something that you should share with your pilots so Schleer forcibly interrupted the conversation.
“What about the weapons?”
“It has a 12.7mm twin machine gun installed on the head, two photon sabers sheathed inside the chest compartments, and two wire guns on its waist, sir”
“Installing a machine gun on the head is a good idea.
What about the external loads?”
“The main armament is a blaster rifle.
It’s a new model with 8.5Mw (Megawatts) output.
A PM-A4 particle magazine should give you 20 rounds.
You can also use the old PW-3C magazine with it but it should give you only about 12 shots before it runs out of power.”
“An anti-ship grenade launcher and a pile bunker mounted on the left arm as per your request, sir.
That should be it but there is still room in the payload so we can add more if you want.”
“No excess or deficiency, a balanced machine.
This is good.”
Except for the pile bunker, it only has the basic equipment of a frontline striker.
Although it doesn’t possess any specialized high-powered armament, it is plenty enough for Kisei to work with.
“You can take it out for a test drive right now, you know.
If you’d like that is.”
“Of course, I planned to do that from the start.”
The [Radiant] is currently orbiting the high orbit of Besaria Prime.
There is no civilian facility nearby.
After Schleer told him that it is okay to test drive the [Caliburn-Revive] around the ship, he immediately changed into his pilot suit.
After riding a cargo lift up to the cockpit, he found that the cockpit is a single-seat type which is a little wider than that of the [Gradius-kai].
After seating himself on the viscoelastic seat, Kisei then operates the console to boot up the striker.
The OS of the [Caliburn-Revive] is quite different from [Gradius-kai]’s but after piloting so many kinds of strikers as a mercenary, Kisei can operate it without any problem.
Now initiating boot sequence.]]
“Oh, this is unusual.”
The voice of the AI this time was a calming voice of a woman.
The default voices for most strikers’ AI are usually male so Kisei was surprised.
“I heard that this one is quite popular inside the Terran Army so I used my own money to buy that voice pack for you, sir.”
“Th, Thank you very much.”
The voice of the earlier mechanic came from the communication device he put on his ear.
Actually, Kisei doesn’t mind whether it’s a male or female voice but since she has gone an extra mile for him, his only logical response was to express his gratitude.
While he was doing that, the [Caliburn-Revive] undergoes its booting sequence.
The engine went through its ignition process and the monitors lit up.
The system check also shows no sign of problems.
Then, he detached the striker from the maintenance bay and took a step forward after confirming that there’s no one underneath.
“How is it, sir?”
“No problem so far.
The I-con(TLN: The Bidirectional Brain-Machine Interface) matching also felt good.”
“Everything seems to be going alright, correct? Then please proceed to the launch deck.
Since it is only nearby, I think that there is no need to use the catapult.”
Following Schleer’s instructions, Kisei heads through the airlock to the launch deck.
The launch deck here is a semi-open-air deck with Linear Catapult installed.
It is now mostly empty as the crews are currently at their stations.
So, without having to worry about his surroundings, Kisei started the thrusters and flew into space.
(TLN: A Linear Catapult is an electromagnetic aircraft launch system.)
Using the foot pedal, Kisei accelerates the striker.
Turning, somersaulting, emergency braking, he tried out all kinds of movements one by one.
Naturally, both its mobility and motility are much superior to the [Gradius-kai].
“This is an excellent work.
The weight balance feels really good, it’s so perfect that I can’t even tell that this was originally an unarmed prototype you know.”
ALRIGHT!! It was worth staying up all night for three days straight! Hey, he said that it’s perfect! It’s time to celebrate, guys!”
Rather than Kisei, the second part of her words was probably directed at her staff.
Still, she did say something scary.
Apparently, the mechanics of the maintenance crew had been working nonstop to complete this striker.
With cold sweat starting to accumulate on his back, Kisei began to think about how to thank them later.
“Now then, let’s perform the combat test.
You wouldn’t be able to get the real feel of it until you try it out in an actual battle after all.”
“Ahh, so that’s why the weapons were all set to training specs.”
The muzzle of the blaster rifle had an attachment for training-use on it.
Even if he fires it now, the only thing that will come out would be a harmless laser for registering hits on his training partner.
It appears that the machine gun and grenade launcher are loaded with training ammunition as well.
“Please allow this Schleer to be your partner today.”
“Come to think of it, you did have a personalized pilot suit huh…….”
Kisei remembers seeing her wearing it the other day.
However, in the end, she never had a chance to grab the control stick so he doesn’t know how capable she is.
“Hmm……this might sound presumptuous to a pilot of Kisei-san’s caliber but I am actually quite confident in my skills.
If I had my personal striker with me that day, I’d take down that shameless woman from Nored myself……!”
I will be taking off shortly.
Please wait a—…..”
While she was saying that, someone suddenly interrupted their conversation.
At the same time, a striker flies out from the launch deck of the [Radiant].
The striker was a familiar yellow one, it’s Makishima Saki’s [Dainsleif].
With her face projected on the small communication monitor, Saki declares with a confident smile on her face.
“I will make it clear here who’s the best pilot on this ship.”
Makishima! What are you doing!”
Schleer raised her voice in protest but Kisei only smiled at Saki.
“There’s no problem right.
You can take turns.
Let’s do this.”
“The Engineering Department wants more combat data as well.
Please do this! Your Highness!”
Schleer could do nothing but let out a frustrated sigh.
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