“The enemy fleet consisted of two battleships and four mid-sized cruisers ma’am.”
Said the operator while pointing at the crimson space battleships projected on a large screen.
This place is the general headquarters of the local planetary defense unit located deep underground.
Inside, dozens of operators and officers are busily working while being illuminated by the dark red emergency lights.
“At the moment, enemy battleships still continue their surface bombardment from the orbit.
We’ve also confirmed the descent of their Striker Unit, Ma’am.”
“Kuh……they hit us right where it hurt.
Even though I went out of my way to hold this meeting on a remote planet like this……..”
“Maybe, they’ve been tracking the new model.”
Kisei groaned while recalling the appearance of the white humanoid mobile weapon on the tarmac.
Unfortunately, the new model was lost forever before Kisei could try piloting it due to the
enemy’s orbital bombardment.
If our monitoring network couldn’t pick them up then it means that the enemy crafts has quite a stealth system………and the timing of their attack is too good.
The enemy commander must be very sharp.”
‘This is bad’, said Schleer as she folded her arms while gritting her teeth.
They waited for the regular passenger ship to land and launched their attack at the timing where their target would surely be inside the base.
If they were unlucky, both of them could have been killed immediately with the first strike.
The defense unit of this planet can’t possibly repel a fleet of this size! Can we expect any reinforcement?”
A female officer who seems to be one of the commanding officers of this base asked Schleer.
“I had the Third Fleet remain on standby in the Visla system so that they can launch a rescue in the unlikely event but…….”
“Visla!? Isn’t that half a day away even for the fastest cruiser!? We do not have that much time!”
In response to the hysterical officer, Schleer put her hand on her forehead.
She is exactly right.
Schleer had deliberately stationed her troops far away from this planet so that she could trick the enemy’s eyes but it completely backfired now.
“Well, it’s no use crying over spilled milk now, Commander.”
With his hand tucked inside the pockets of his flight jacket, Kisei fearlessly said that to the commander with a smile.
“For the time being, I will do something about this situation so please lend me a Striker.”
“A Striker? We have already sent out all the available Strikers.
We don’t have any reserv–……”
“Colonel, we still have the ‘Gradius-Kai’!”
One of the operators stood up and shouted.
Her words were addressing the Colonel but her eyes were fixed on Kisei.
“That’s a makeshift machine forcibly remodeled from an outdated training craft! What good can it possibly do!”
“No, that is enough for me.
It’s still better than nothing.
Now, please guide me to this machine.”
“Yes, sir! This Elka Laderson will guide you!”
The operator glided to Kisei with a bright smile.
Why she could not find any shred of urgency in this operator, the commander thought to herself as she held her head.
10 minutes after that, Kisei, who changed into his own pilot suit, was heading to the hangar.
It really was haphazardly put together huh.”
A blue metal giant stood in front of Kisei.
Its height is about 12 meters.
Calling this machine slim would be putting it nicely.
After all, a clunky armor plate was forcibly welded into this unreliable-looking shabby machine.
“Nn, I guess that’s fine.
I don’t really hate something like this anyway.”
He smiled and nodded at the operator who had been guiding his way here.
Seeing that, her face turned bright red and she shook her head up and down.
“So, Why are you in a pilot suit too, Your Highness? If I remember correctly, this unit should be the only one left here right.”
Said Kisei as he looked toward Schleer who is now wearing an outfit made of a rubber-like material that snugly fits her body.
This is a widely used suit for Striker Pilots and Kisei himself also wears a white one with a similar design.
“Of course, I’m going with you.”
“Going with me!?”
Kisei replied with a frown.
“If it’s designed for training then this machine should have a double seat.
If you are as good as the rumor says then the safest place to be would be inside that cockpit with you, no? I can’t afford to die out here after all.”
The operator tried to protest but Schleer ignored her.
Besides, that was just an excuse.
Schleer has never seen or heard of a male pilot before.
And since they’ve just met, she honestly is still skeptical about his skills.
She knows how to pilot a Striker.
If push comes to shove, she will be in a position where she can take control of the machine.
Kisei has his qualms about this as well but as she is his employer, it’s hard for him to protest strongly about it.
He can also understand her distrust.
That’s why Kisei nodded albeit reluctantly while the operator looked at them with an intense expression.
“Well, since we have no time to idling around, let’s head off.”
With that said, they hopped on a cargo attached to the maintenance gantry crane.
After they operated the control panel, they moved the cargo to the front of the cockpit hatch on the chest and the two climbed inside the cockpit.
“Damn, it’s tight in here…..”
The 12 meters Striker may seem to be large from the outside but for a mobile weapon where a person is supposed to get inside to pilot, it could be said to be quite compact.
Naturally, the usable space in the cockpit is limited.
With it being a two-seater, it felt like being trapped inside an octopus trap here.
The inside was divided into two parts, upper and lower.
Schleer seated herself on the upper co-pilot seat while Kisei sat down on the main pilot seat below.
Due to the small space, Kisei’s head is located between Schleer’s legs.
There’s no more awkward position than this.
“It’s, it’s been a while since I piloted a double-seat machine so I forgot.”
Said Schleer with a flushed face.
“I’m, I’m sorry but……th, this is truly unavoidable! I am not trying to sexually harass you at all! There’s no helping it, it’s really inevitable!”
“Is this the time to be saying that!”
Kisei operated the console in front of him with a sigh.
The cockpit hatch closed and the instrument lights inside the cockpit lit up at the same time.
Now initiating boot sequence]]
Said an AI voice that sounded like a boy.
Then, the LCD panels mounted on the inside of the cockpit glow, displaying the image of their surroundings.
Activating Phase Transition Turbine.]]
The high-pitched rotating sound can faintly be heard inside the cockpit.
It seems that the main engine has started up.
[[…….Zero Point Gate Established.
Phase Transition Turbine has reached criticality.
Ready for mobilization.]]
With a grin, Kisei puts his hands on the left and right control sticks.
I-con connection established.
Now transferring control to the pilot.]]
It’s all checked out here, ready when you are.”
Operating the control, I connect the communication channel to the command room.
The one who replied was the same operator that guided their way here who had already returned to command since who knows when.
“Multiple enemy Strikers are approaching the base.
They have also suspended their orbital bombardment of this area.
We are going to send you to the surface using a lift, please intercept them, Kisei-san.”
“Ah, come to think of it………”
Schleer tapped on Kisei’s shoulder.
“The armament you requested is being kept in that container.
Do you want to use it?”
There was a red container placed at the area Schleer pointed at.
“Ah, don’t mind me then.”
Nodding to her question, Kisei approached the container and opened it.
Inside, there was a rugged machine with a thin and pointy stake installed inside.
“Pile Bunker…….this is the armament that is synonymous with the [Wicked Star] right.”
“I think that it is a fairly rational weapon though.
I’ve always wondered why no one beside me uses it……..”
While whispering that to himself, Kisei attached the Pile bunker on the Striker’s left arm.
“Are you going to use other weapons…….?”
“It seems there’s only an anti-ship grenade launcher left.
Well, I will manage.”
Except for the bazooka-type armament that launches anti-ship missiles, the armory was empty.
You wouldn’t find yourself in a situation like this in a well-supplied unit but unfortunately, this is a military base on a remote planet.
It made sense that the other pilot would grab everything else besides the anti-ship grenade launcher which is difficult to hit an enemy Striker with.
However, Kisei mounted the anti-ship grenade launcher on his Striker’s waist without any complaints.
He also didn’t forget to attach the spare ammunition as well.
“Alright! Shall we.”
Saying so, Kisei slapped his cheeks with both his hands and advanced the ‘Gradius-Kai’ to the lift platform
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