With the artillery support, Kisei and the others managed to get away from the Imperial Guards and rejoined the Calencian fleets.
The fleets are currently conducting a deceleration maneuver in preparation to descend to the surface of Galea-E.
They couldn’t afford to have the enemy at their tail at the moment.
“The enemy made their move earlier than we expected huh.”
Said Solana with a sigh.
After they reported the result of their recon mission but given the position of the enemy and their fleets, it appears that they do not have much time left.
If nothing is done, the enemy might catch up to them even before the fleets can land back on the surface.
“Our battleships have nowhere near enough ammunition to fight right now, we do have some AP rounds left though……….”
Unlike particle bullets which can travel at almost light speed, AP rounds are too slow for them to use effectively in space.
To put it simply, they won’t hit anything at such a speed unless the enemy is close enough.
“Fighting the Empress’s fleets with only those things is a suicide.
We will get outranged and they will shoot us down even before we can get anywhere near them.”
“That would be the case.”
Solana growls at Diaroze’s advice.
The enemy is overwhelmingly superior in terms of number and ship performance.
Challenging such an enemy in an unfavorable condition like that would not do them any good.
“In the worst case, we will have to fight them in the middle of our reentry huh.”
In front of Schleer, the surface of Galea-E is gradually getting closer.
The planet which looks like a snowball floating in the jet-black sky was covered with a whitish veil of its thin atmosphere.
“The fleets will concentrate on withdrawing to the surface while our surface-based defense and strikers will stall the enemy.
Do you think ‘that’ weapon can be used in low orbit?”
“You are planning to use that thing while our allies are out fighting in the field, Your Highness……….?”
Just what exactly is ‘that’ though? Kisei cocked his head.
He was not told the full details of this operation as a precaution against the Noredian intelligence.
That said, Schleer did not say anything to Solana and remained silent…..
“Well, there’s no other way.
I will tell Miss Liren to warn us before she fires.”
Schleer replied in a slightly tired voice.
Almost half a day has passed since the battle began.
Although they did have their occasional breaks, they’ve mostly been fighting all the time.
No matter how resilient the Vulds are, it seems this battle is wearing them down.
“……..so, can I talk with you about the future plan?”
And it was not just Schleer that was worn out.
They have a Terran here who is far less physically fit than the Vulds.
So, Diaroze nervously talked to Kisei who’s obviously exhausted.
“What do you mean?”
While biting the dried fruits energy bar, Kisei asked back.
If possible, he wants a warm meal right now but with the enemy so close by, he can’t afford to leisurely take his time to eat here.
“Can I take control for the time being?”
The cockpit of [Ex-Caliburn] was one modified from a trainer unit so the back seat also came with the equipment required for maneuvering the striker.
And right now, Diaroze wants to make full use of that.
“This again, why?”
“We are only about halfway through the operation.
It would be very bad for us if Master collapses here right?”
Honestly, Kisei wants to argue back but he understands well how poor his physical ability is so he reluctantly agreed and groans to himself.
Certainly, if the battle continues at this pace, he will reach his limit soon.
This he knows from his many years of mercenary work.
The enemies are powerful but now we can fight with the support of our allies.
[Ex-Caliburn] itself is a fairly high-performance striker…….even with Diaroze as the pilot, it should be able to put up a decent fight, no?”
“Umu, it’s impossible for me to be as good as Master but I can fight well enough as a soldier.”
With a grin, Diaroze taps the control stick in her hand.
“Is this going to be okay? If she betrays us then…….”
Valentina, who still doesn’t fully trust Diaroze frowned at the suggestion with her arms crossed.
As a pilot, Kisei is extremely powerful and nigh unrivaled but his physical ability is extremely low.
With the control of [Ex-Caliburn], it would be simple for Diaroze to just fly away with Kisei unable to defend himself.
“It will be fine.
As long as we have that footage, Diaroze can not return to the Noredian army.”
“That line sounds like it came straight out of an erotic doujin you know………”
Kisei muttered with his eyes narrowed.
On the other hand, Diaroze snickered.
“Besides, Kisei has the detonator of her collar.
If she tries anything then it will be ‘Bang’ and it’s all over.”
“Ohh, how scary.
I will behave so spare me from that okay?”
Valentina’s frown deepened at Diaroze’s joking tone but the matter about her collar does bring some credibility to her argument.
“……are you really okay with this, My Love?”
Her voice was void of her usual confidence.
“Well, I certainly need a break.
I will be relying on Diaroze for a while.”
“I see…….then it can’t be helped.”
Valentina let out a small sigh.
Kisei felt that something was slightly off from her attitude but a voice from the radio interrupted his thoughts.
“Enemy strikers approaching! They appear to be from the Empress’s personal fleet, ma’am.”
“Kuh, I knew that they are close but they’ve already caught up huh!”
The enemy is attacking.
Diaroze bitterly said before turning her eyes to Kisei.
“Then I will take the control for the time being.
I have to show Master my cool side once in a while after all.”
With a bitter smile, Kisei touched the panel on the console and transferred control to the back seat.
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