Breaking Through the Atmosphere

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On inhabitable planets with a gravity level of more or less 1G, most Strikers have enough thrust to leave the atmosphere.
However, that’s just for leaving the atmosphere.
Even if you manage to reach the satellite orbit in a striker, you would have already spent most of your fuel and the amount left would very much limit your combat capability.

“Reaching 40,000 meters in altitude.”

State the AI.
The [Gradius-kai] is currently flying at ultra-high altitudes on what seems to be a wheelless motorcycle.
A huge amount of jet stream is being emitted from the two large rocket engines mounted on the rail of said motorcycle, providing tremendous thrust power.

This type of auxiliary propulsion device is called a Ride Booster and such devices are used widely by Strikers to break through the atmosphere.
Kisei and Schleer are currently using one to reach the enemy fleet in orbit.

“But taking on a whole fleet with only a single striker……is it not too unreasonable?”

“It sure is.
But if we don’t hurry up and stop their bombardment, there will be a lot of casualties, you know.”

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No, there are probably a large number of casualties by now.
The orbital bombardments so far have been limited to surface-penetrating ammunition aimed at the area where underground military facilities are likely to be located but the enemy performed a perfect surprise attack where the people here received no warning at all.
With the state of the city after being subjected to the stray bullets alone indicated that, like it or not, this is already a mess.

“Besides, if we keep being passive here……do you think we can win?”

“The Third Fleet……if we can meet up with some reinforcements–.”

Schleer said bitterly.

“……If I have to be honest, even if you manage to join up with your reinforcements, your chance of winning is still slim.
The Third Fleet is just a jumble of outdated ships.
You may have a superior number on your side but in terms of quality, it will be your complete defeat.”

Schleer knew that the enemy battleships were of the Rovan-class, the latest Space Battleship of the Nored empire.
In a head-on battle, the Third Fleet which is just a ragtag fleet would likely get one-sidedly defeated.
It is because they know that the enemy chose such a bold strategy.

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“That’s why I’m doing this.
If I can crush the enemy’s flagship, there’s a good chance that their entire fleet will withdraw.
If not, at least we will be able to stop their orbital bombardment.”

“Is that……really possible? Kisei-san.”

“I don’t see why it would be impossible, you know.
I’m the strongest after all?”

“You are?”

Schleer smiled at what sounded like words from a child.
It’s a grand statement that no one would be at fault to dismiss.
However, since those words came from a man who just casually annihilated multiple of the enemy’s military standard strikers with a remodeled training machine, rather than dismissing him, those words gave her a sense of reliability instead.

“Then…..I have a plan.
Can you hear me out?”

“A plan? You have some kind of secret weapon hidden here?”

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“No, it’s not that big of a deal.
Instead of targeting the enemy’s flagship, can you please aim for their escort cruisers instead?”

“The Cruisers?”

Certainly, they were told that the enemy has 4 medium-sized cruisers in their fleet.
However, the orbital bombing is being carried out by the artillery guns on the battleships.
In other words, the battleships are much more threatening to the surface than the cruisers.
There is also the issue of enemy morale.
That’s why Kisei personally thinks that it would be more effective to just ignore the cruisers and attack the battleships……

“It’s not like we have enough ammunition to completely destroy one of their battleships even if we spend it all.
I think that it is better to take down their cruisers instead.”

Naturally, cruisers are less armored and much smaller than battleships so they are easier to take down.
However, despite having less armor, they are equipped with all kinds of weapons.
As the only thing they can use is this striker, it would be harder to take these cruisers down.

“Do you think the enemy will retreat if we destroy their cruisers?”

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Without their escort, the only things they have to protect those battleships would be some strikers and missile vessels.
That will make their fleet much easier to deal with.
This will give the Third Fleet a good chance of winning.

Schleer put her hand on Kisei’s shoulder.

“The enemy’s objective is the new striker, me,…….and your elimination.
If we show them that you are still alive and are a real threat to their fleet, they will not bother remaining in this system.”

The Nored empire already has advantages in this war.
They wouldn’t want to risk losing their precious advanced battleships in an unfavorable battle.

“I see, I understand.
Let’s do that.”

Kisei has no objection.
He gave her a nod and pulled the control stick up.
The [Gradius-kai] left the blue sky below and flew across the darkness of space like a comet……

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