HEAVY OBJECT:Volume8 Chapter 1
- 1 Chapter 1: A Resource Which Cannot Be Made Plentiful >> Landing on the Island Nation’s Ame-no-Darin
Chapter 1: A Resource Which Cannot Be Made Plentiful >> Landing on the Island Nation’s Ame-no-Darin
From the moment I woke up, I had a bad feeling about the day to come.
The ship’s log of the luxury cruise ship Scarlet Princess contained that statement in the Legitimacy Kingdom’s official language.
It was 380 meters long, its top speed was 40 knots, and it could hold up to 2500 people. It was on such a grand scale that it was much like tilting a safe country resort on its side and taking it out to sea. Incidentally, the cost of the ship could purchase a resort and an 18-hole golf course with money to spare. All three layers of its deck contained a pool and the rear of the ship even contained a heliport.
Around twenty crew members were packed into the control room.
Electronics and automation had taken great strides forward, so the number of people needed to run the large ship had been drastically cut down. They had three shifts making three times that many crew in total, but that was still less than one hundred. Surprisingly, the number of “waitresses” outnumbered the crew who held the lives of everyone else aboard in their hands.
An elderly man let out a small sigh.
His name was Alfonso Zoom and he was the captain of the luxury cruise ship.
“Captain, we will be entering the Strait of Malacca soon.”
Alfonso gave a brief reply to the young (even if he was in his thirties) navigation officer.
Just like the Panama Canal, the Strait of Gibraltar, and the Suez Canal, the Strait of Malacca was a gate of the sea. In its case, it connected the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. It was a narrow passageway and many world powers insisted it was their territory, but it was still the shortest course. Unless it was packed full of military resources or part of a transport fleet protected by an Object, a luxury cruise ship circumnavigating the world had no choice but to use the Strait of Malacca. Simply calculating the ship’s fuel expenses made that painfully clear.
Alfonso poured coffee from a thermos and into a mug as he spoke to the young navigation officer.
“Do you know what I’m worried about?”
“It wouldn’t be reefs. Is it wreckage of fishing ships that were caught in a storm? I’ve heard the sea around here isn’t very clean.”
“My daughters. Joining the military is fine. After all, this is the age of clean wars. But why did both my twin daughters have to choose to be Black Uniforms in charge of barrier duty? They are both young unmarried women and they chose to throw themselves into the part of the military with the most bullets flying around.”
“I bet it was a reaction to the extreme education their mother gave them. That came from a complex brought on by newfound riches. She surrounded those two in piano, violin, and ballroom dancing from a young age, so they eventually rejected high society. If you want your daughters to be brought up as proper ladies, why would you show them how oppressive it all is? Don’t you agree?”
“Um… Where are you going with this?”
“As captain, I have a lot of spare time to think about a distant safe country. Our course is simple and this isn’t all that dangerous an area. You can relax a little.”
Alfonso Zoom turned toward the large radio equipment. A few lights were flashing which showed that quite a few radio signals were being sent back and forth in this area of sea. He could tell at a glance that the situation here was complex.
“This is Ship ID PL_055 registered with the Legitimacy Kingdom’s Amazon region. Do you have our location? I want to check before heading into the crowded intersection. Over.”
“We have you perfectly. GPS, beacon, and radar are all functioning normally. Luxury cruise ship Scarlet Princess, please enter on the path given on the screen. Welcome to the Southeast Asia’s main entrance. Over.”
“Understood, harbor control. Today is another good day. Out.”
As he finished the transmission with the standard greeting, wrinkles of suspicion gradually appeared on the captain’s face.
The young navigation officer also looked doubtful.
“Captain, about that transmission…”
“Yes.” Alfonso Zoom let out a heavy sigh. “Just as famous people do not refer to themselves as famous, a professional does not normally refer to a luxury cruise ship as ‘luxury’.”
Then what had that transmission been?
The captain spoke the answer anyone could reach with a little bit of thought.
A ten-man fishing boat raced toward the luxury cruise ship while jumping from stormy wave to stormy wave. Yes, it was racing. The entire engine had been swapped out, so it was moving “above” the ocean while practically popping a wheelie. It was moving at about 80 kph. As hydrofoils made quite evident, boats could move at three digit speeds if the water resistance was lessened. And the fastest way to do that was to lift the boat itself above the water.
Thick metal panels were bolted to the sides of the fishing boat and heavily suntanned men were crammed inside. They held old rifles and submachine guns with an extra coat of paint to hide the scrapes and to stop them from rusting. Those tools were clearly not needed for fishing.
They were pirates who had butted into the transmission to put the ship where they wanted. A suntanned man returned a small microphone to the radio hook and whistled at the feast before him.
“Okay! Our prey is extra special today!! It’s got a giant antenna on top. That’s a satellite connection. They use it to check the black cards used in the casino. There must be tons of rich people on there!”
As the first man gave them some motivation, the other pirates started to grow rowdy.
“Eh? I thought it was for Wall Street which is so popular lately. They need to mess with their stocks and exchanges while on their cruise.”
“This is the Legitimacy Kingdom, so it would be the London Stock Exchange.”
“Who cares as long as they’re a bunch of rich ladies and gentlemen? More importantly, how are we on anti-ship missiles? We need at least two. The first acts as a demonstration. We need to make sure they know we’ll sink them if they don’t do what we say.”
“Leave it to me. There are four of them hanging on the sides of the ship.”
“You idiot!! Now I know why our fuel consumption’s been so bad!!”
An amateur pirate group could never mass produce missiles that were a collection of cutting-edge military secrets.
But nothing said they had to be “cutting-edge”.
What if they added modern technology to weapons produced fifty years prior?
Just as a hard disk sold in a home electronics store’s clearance sale would have been highly classified government technology fifty years ago, amateur groups could manufacture weapons.
In the festivals of Southeast Asia, rockets measuring three to five meters long were created to launch exciting fireworks 5000 to 10,000 meters into the air. If they were laid on their side, they made a decent starting point for a rocket motor.
Meanwhile, the other pirate ships gathered.
The suntanned man grabbed the radio again.
“Okay. A through F, go in front of the luxury cruise ship! Scatter some mines to stop them. G through I, take the starboard side. J through L, use anti-ship missiles to surround them from behind.”
“Shut up! You aren’t the leader!!”
“Don’t try to board the ship and earn some extra money just because it’s full of rich people. The plan is to make them lower their rescue boats. You don’t want to be killed by the peashooters they have for self-defense, do you?”
He heard a light noise.
One of his allies on the same boat was tapping the large radio.
And he whispered a question.
“Where do we fire the missile?”
“Don’t use it like you’re supposed to. If we sink the ship right off the bat, we can’t take any hostages. Don’t hit it on the waterline. Aim higher.”
He pointed into the distance while still holding the radio’s microphone.
As his finger jabbed toward the Scarlet Princess, it scooped upwards.
“For example, the control room.”
A seven meter tube shot from the side of the fishing boat. The anti-ship missile used solid fuel (aka gunpowder) to fly diagonally up from the ocean surface. In this “improper” usage, it was directly targeting the ship’s crew.
They all thought it was a success.
Blowing up the control room at the top of the luxury cruise ship would not immediately sink the ship. As previously stated, a ship’s weak point was the waterline where the seawater could surge in. However, the refined ladies and gentlemen would not realize that. If all of the professional crew was taken out at once and there was a fire on the ship, they would try to escape on the rescue boats no matter what. Afterwards, the pirates could surround the boats drifting powerlessly and carefully take hostages.
The next thing the pirates knew, composite material shutters lowered over all of the luxury cruise ship’s 1000 or more windows.
The shutters covered both the outside and inside of the bulletproof glass which was already over thirty centimeters thick. This was obviously out of place on a civilian ship.
For an instant, a complete blank filled the suntanned man’s mind.
The homemade anti-ship missile struck the control room, but its explosive flames and black smoke looked terribly unreliable. Once it all cleared away, only a slight dent remained in the shutters.
And then the ship began to fight back.
Strange metallic noises rang out again and again. From the bow to the stern, 20 mm Gatling guns of a close-in weapon system rose up along either side of the deck. They looked a bit like trees lining a road. The pools on the three layers of the deck split apart and 21 cm rapid-fire cannons rose high above them. The pirates could not see it, but a portion of the roof split into small sections like a chocolate bar or a honeycomb and countless vertical missile hatches opened in order.
They had stepped on a figurative landmine.
A horrible, horrible landmine.
Once they finally realized that, the captain of the luxury cruise ship spoke over the radio.
“Disguised Cruiser Scarlet Princess has confirmed an attack from the target.”
He essentially gave a death sentence.
That order opened the gates of hell.
“Begin Operation Codename ‘Blood-Soaked Princess’. Engaging target now. Pirates, this is your last chance to write your wills.”
With those words, the wolf in sheep’s clothing exposed its hidden claws and fangs.
After conceitedly thinking they could surround it with only about 15 boats, the pirates’ luck had run out.
The foxhunt had begun.
The two idiots named Quenser Barbotage and Heivia Winchell were groaning in the landing unit hold at the bottom level of the disguised cruiser named Scarlet Princess.
The exterior was made to look like a luxury cruise ship, but the inside was completely different. Of its 380 meter length, over half of the bottom was a single large space. And that space was crammed full of military hovercrafts. Quenser and the others were packed like sardines into those hovercrafts.
The hovercrafts were pitched as “small but able to hold a tank☆”, but they were far from comfortable for people to use. They reeked of machine oil.
“This is tyranny!! We were only riding along! Can you really throw us out in front of the pirate’s guns? This isn’t even the 37th Mobile Maintenance Battalion’s job! Who’s going to pay us!?”
“This is probably how we’re buying our ticket to ride the ship. I don’t feel like doing any real work either, though.”
“And how is this a ‘disguised cruiser’? It’s almost 400 meters long! They didn’t make battleships this big even back when they were relevant. That’s 100 meters more than the Island Nation’s Yamato! Are they insane!?”
“The category of battleship has vanished, so what can you do? And it’s a disguised ship, remember? Bringing escort ships along for protection would blow its cover, so it has to handle everything as a lone wolf. And it had to be heavily armored to safely draw in the pirates. It has to be tough enough to take a few rockets or torpedoes without issue.”
History had proven that aircraft would overtake the battleship in usefulness, but battleships could be useful once more now that aircraft could not be sent out. They were perfect for luring out and slaughtering pirates.
“…Why are you breathing so heavily?”
“Eh? Doesn’t seeing giant machines get you all excited? It’s human nature.”
Heivia shoved the perverted creep away with both hands as an ear-splitting buzzer rang and the lights switched to red.
Someone they could not see gave a high-spirited shout.
“Our brave ‘waitresses’, it’s time you risked your life fishing for sharks! Let’s make this an exciting enough battle to get a movie made! Rock & roll!!”
“Shut up! We’ve been ready!! And if you want to be the lead that badly, go do it on your own! Be a one-man army! Don’t drag us into it!!”
Heivia demonstrated his grace as a noble by elegantly raising his middle finger as she shouted at the man, but that changed nothing.
With a heavy rumble, the wall in front of them opened to either side. The bow of the disguised cruiser opened like a castle gate. One after another, amphibious hovercraft slid out and into the gunfire-filled battlefield of the Strait of Malacca.
Whether by coincidence or design, a rocket suddenly flew into the hold.
As Heivia frantically held down Quenser’s head and got on the ground himself, a tremendous shock wave spread through the enclosed space.
A dull pain exploded more in his chest than his eardrums.
“Gbh!? Cough!! H-how the hell is this a safe and simple mop up mission!!”
“Anytime they call the mission ‘simple’, you should be suspicious.”
“Wait… Wait a second!! Did this hovercraft just start sliding? Wait!! We’ve got a bunch of injured soldiers already! You can’t just throw us out on the front liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine!!”
But his protests came too late.
The hovercraft slid down the slope and shot out the bow of the “Blood-Soaked Princess”. They were suddenly forced to clash with the small fishing boats (which had been modified into high-speed boats) sitting in front.
They were about sixty centimeters away from the closest boat.
They were close enough to jump from one boat to the other.
Heivia’s gaze met that of a suntanned man.
The man tried to raise the rifle carried over his shoulder with a sling belt, but he was too slow. Heivia pulled his handgun from its holster and fired repeatedly.
Quenser finally came to his senses as he watched three dark red holes appear in the man’s chest.
“Stop, Heivia! You can’t kill them!!”
“Ah? What!? I can’t hear you over all the noise!!”
“Don’t kill them!!”
All the 20 mm Gatling guns on the side of the disguised cruiser’s deck began to fire and shot down a homemade anti-ship missile flying over Quenser’s head. In return, several vertical launch missiles were fired at the pirates’ fishing boats. The noisy sound of rotors came from the heliport and a military attack helicopter began to take off.
The pirates had formed a half circle to envelop the Scarlet Princess’s path, but that proved a suicidal formation due to their misjudgment of the ship’s firepower. There had supposedly been around fifteen pirate boats, but half of them had already been sunk.
Everything was in motion and just watching it all made one’s eyes and head hurt.
And on top of that, the environment was so poor that one would be deafened while just sitting there.
After Quenser’s group’s hovercraft moved away, an attack from the air blew away the previous high-speed pirate boat like an empty can.
With his ears still ringing, Quenser shouted toward Heivia who was right next to him.
“If we just had to kill them, the ship’s weaponry could handle it! We were sent out for a reason!! Weren’t you listening during the pre-mission briefing!?”
“Oh? Oh, oh! Did they say something about that!?”
“They’re using fishing boats rather than used patrol boats so they can ditch their weapons in the sea and act like innocent fishermen if they have to! If we just kill them all, we’ll be suspected of slaughtering civilians. That’s why we need to capture a few of them alive and have them admit to being pirates. That’s what we were told!!”
“In other words, they’ve knocked down a hornet’s nest with a stone and now we have to retrieve it barehanded!? Goddamn this is a terrible job!! We’re at least getting paid extra for this, right!?”
Nothing the pirates did could turn the situation around.
Sounds of gunfire and explosions continued without end.
The ship’s rapid-fire cannons and the attack helicopter’s rockets were unilaterally blowing away the pirates’ boats.
“Two more! Our side just took out another two boats. Shit. If we don’t capture a pirate soon, they’ll all be dead!!”
“Shut up!! If you care that badly, jump over to that fishing boat and grab one yourself!!”
Only a few of the 10 meter high-speed pirate boats remained. The Scarlet Princess was fully equipped with the Legitimacy Kingdom navy’s best, so it was a 400 meter mass of giant guns. There was no chance of it being sunk now.
But there was a chance of the pirates fighting back in some way.
The fishing boats were equipped with homemade anti-ship missiles. They would be able to blow away at least one of the hovercrafts that used the power of air to float.
“This is way too scary!! A missile just shot by right above us!! What happened to the close-in weapon system support!?”
“Are these the type that react to magnetism to detonate? This thing’s hull is made of layered plastic and the balloon is made of synthetic fiber, so they might just slip past us.”
“Dammit. Of course the Gatling guns on the side deck wait until now to turn this way. …Hm? This way!?”
“G-get down!! And turn the hovercraft to the side! Our own side’s barrage is gonna fill us with holes!!”
The gunfire sounded like a broken buzzer as the line of CIWS weapons targeted an anti-ship missile flying a few meters above the ocean surface and scattered giant bullets at a rate of 5000 a minute. They were 20mm bullets which were masses of metal the size of a thumb. They were much larger than the standard used with anti-materiel rifles and even a single one grazing you could blow off a limb.
“They have to do all that just to shoot down a single missile. An Object’s laser beams are an entirely different story, but this says a lot about the balance between offense and defense.”
“Why are you starting that creepy breathing again!? Don’t get your design-obsessed blood pumping like it’s some instinct to preserve your genes in a life-threatening situation!!”
“Eh? I don’t mix my love of machines with lust. Making anthropomorphized girls out of weapons is kind of disturbing if you think about it.”
“Just think of it as adding on elements!! Don’t think of it as surgically cutting and pasting things!!”
The hovercraft ridden by the two idiots and 28 others had three engines resembling two meter ventilators on the back. One of them was sending out disconcerting black smoke (due to the barrage from their side’s close-in weapon system).
“How about we say the pirates did that and put in for injury pay? I think we deserve a bonus.”
“If we do that, it’ll mean we were injured by a group of amateurs. That would be a dishonor.”
Meanwhile, the battle was almost over.
The attack helicopter that had been sent out partway through was doing too good a job. It was sending down a storm of rockets which were enveloping the small fishing boats and the surrounding ocean in flames.
“Isn’t this pretty bad?” muttered Quenser as he carelessly looked up into the blue sky. “All of the pirate boats will be sunk soon.”
“What happened to capturing some alive!? If we don’t have one to say he’s a pirate, we’ll be accused of slaughtering civilians!!”
The two idiots looked around, but they saw nothing but eerie black smoke and wreckage starting to sink. It no longer felt like they were fighting. It was more like a treasure hunt.
“There!! There’s another fishing boat behind that smoke. If we miss that one, we’ll have to give up on catching anyone alive!! We’ll be mercilessly accused by a grinning international committee!!”
The attack helicopter flew by over their heads. It was clearly moving toward the same target.
Heivia brought a hand to his forehead.
“Is that pilot a coward!? I don’t think he can relax until he eliminates every threat he sees. And it’s not like those pirates can shoot down a helicopter flying around at high speed!!”
“What do we do? If we don’t take one alive, we’ll have to try our hand at necromancy during the court martial.”
“I’ve had enough of this!!” shouted Heivia in desperation as he shouted at the young soldier in charge of steering the hovercraft. “Head full speed toward the fishing boat! …I can’t believe I have to put my life on the line to protect the enemy!!”
“But what exactly are we going to do!?”
“We only have one choice.”
For some reason, Heivia removed the safety pin from the shoulder-fired missile launcher hanging from his shoulder along with his rifle. He rested one end on his shoulder and aimed the other end. Tanks on land, small patrol boats at sea, and ground attack craft in the air. Save for its ridiculous price tag, that missile was known as a masterpiece.
“We fire on our own helicopter.”
He did not hesitate.
He captured the target with both infrared and ultraviolet at the same and he pulled the trigger.
The long, narrow missile shot out like a spear and shot by right next to the helicopter.
No damage was done.
Except for Quenser who was knocked backwards by the backfire.
He flew two or three meters like an unnamed character in a kung fu movie.
“Hot!! Hot!? Wh-what just happened? Are we under attack!?”
“If you’re that lively, I’m not gonna worry too much.”
The other soldiers on the hovercraft focused on Heivia. Their gazes were asking why he had fired on an ally.
“If I had actually aimed, it wouldn’t be in the air right now! I purposefully missed. But that coward of a pilot won’t notice that!! If you don’t want to die, get ready!!”
The attack helicopter belatedly took evasive actions and then took a tight turn around. It was clearly being wary. If the pilot panicked, there was a chance he would simply attack. It was similar to an extremely sleepy soldier caught in a whirl of gunfire confusing which side was his allies.
Heivia shouted in desperation.
“I bought us some time, but it’s only a dozen or so seconds! Charge straight into the fishing boat!! We just have to take at least one of them alive!!”
The hovercraft moved straight toward the lone remaining fishing boat. Meanwhile, Heivia aimed his assault rifle into the air and fired a long spray of bullets toward their attack helicopter. Orange sparks covered a side of the helicopter.
“With proper equipment, it can deflect rifle bullets.” While firing tons of wasted bullets, Heivia gave a thin smile. “But that coward won’t know that. His desire to survive made him panic and forget the plan. He’ll actually try to avoid this peashooter.”
The hovercraft approached the modified fishing boat from the side.
More accurately, it crashed into it.
Hovercrafts floated above the ocean surface with the power of air. The skirt portion that contained the air was a giant balloon made of bulletproof and knife resistant synthetic fiber.
Rather than a straight collision, the hovercraft climbed on top of the boat.
And the pirate man standing on the boat’s deck was knocked into the ocean.
The fact that the skirt portion was a soft balloon turned out to be a stroke of luck for both sides. As the man flailed his limbs around, he was knocked several meters horizontally like a small stone.
At the same time, a rocket fell from the heavens and struck the point of intersection between the fishing boat and the hovercraft.
The blast knocked the Legitimacy Kingdom soldiers into the air.
But it did not knock the will to fight from them. Or rather, they could not leave this sea of flames and smoke until they completed this. Several soldiers used strange wrestling moves to jump on the pirate who had fallen into the ocean.
Several dull sounds could be heard.
The pirate struggled as his head was forced under the salty ocean water.
Quenser and Heivia grabbed the pirate by the collar and dragged his head back above the surface.
And they shouted angrily into his ear.
“If you don’t want us to start an interrogation using the water here, then start talking!! Tell everyone that you’re a piece of shit pirate who was causing everyone all sorts of trouble!!”
They were forced to participate in a “detour” to eliminate pirates, but Quenser, Heivia, and the 37th Mobile Maintenance Battalion’s original destination lay elsewhere.
Those idiots had been sent to the Strait of Malacca ahead of the rest of the battalion. Sea mines, fuel oil attacks, nets in the propeller, and pirates were all threats that even civilians could accomplish. To ensure that none of the warships were damaged, all those threats had to be eliminated before the maintenance battalion’s fleet passed through.
In other words, their target this time was dangerous enough to warrant that.
Even in an age where Object vs. Object battles decided everything, they did not want to lose the backing of a single support ship.
“We’re really here.”
Their destination was the birthplace of Objects in the seas of the Far East.
It was currently a portion of the Capitalist Corporations and it was an important point for the Asian naval forces.
“This is the Island Nation. Should we really be here? This supposedly the artisan paradise that sent out the world’s first Object and it’s also known for its healthy food. A ridiculously proportioned macho man isn’t going to attack us with all sorts of strange new weapons, is he?”
Quenser sounded bored as he stood on the deck of a small aircraft carrier. Rather than the takeoff and landing of aircraft, it was primarily used as maintenance space for the Object contained between it and another aircraft carrier.
The princess must have had nothing to do because she was sitting on the edge of the deck and looking blankly in Quenser’s direction.
“Frolaytia said our job isn’t very dangerous this time.”
“She may be skilled, but you can’t trust any verbal promises she makes. Especially when we’re talking about the Island Nation. It may be part of the Capitalist Corporations, but the level of their newly developed technology is ridiculous. In fact, it’s gone so far that it’s created a kind of Galapagos Syndrome. Naturally, the same goes for their Objects.”
“This will not be a direct fight in the first place.”
“Yeah, they are going through some infighting, aren’t they?” Quenser let out a light breath. “The Capitalist Corporations were crazy enough to go fully down the PMC route and make listed companies out of their army, but the intensification of conflicts in recent years means the armies sent around the world by the different major companies aren’t enough. That’s why they created the new framework of half-public self-defense PMCs to quickly strengthen their naval defenses.”
“But one of those self-defense PMCs went out of control and started a civil war in the ocean around the Island Nation.”
“What did they think would happen when they gathered tens of thousands of rotten soldiers given dishonorable discharges in different parts of the world and then handed them cutting-edge weaponry? Yet they let their guard down so much that they surrendered an Object to them. What’s wrong with them? Were they trying to get themselves killed?”
“They had an aging society, so they had no choice. They had no young people.”
“I know they were shorthanded, but how could they possibly think people coming in to earn some money would defend their nation to the bitter end?”
The strategic simulations of the Legitimacy Kingdom military predicted that the civil war would not last long. The self-defense PMC could not be taken lightly, but they were only borrowing the Objects and other weapons and they could not maintain them or produce more on their own. And it was unlikely anyone would provide them with further supplies. The instant they ran out of reserves was the instant they met their end.
The simulations said they would last at most two months and possibly only a few weeks. But during that time, the Island Nation’s defenses would certainly be lacking. It was possible the confusion could be used to attack in otherwise impossible places or ways.
The princess pouted her lips.
“Why do we have to interfere with the Capitalist Corporations’ fight? We should just let them go at it.”
“We don’t want them having a nice fistfight by the river and getting along again. That’s why we need to stab them in the side and make sure they can never join back up. If we kill what enemies we can while we have the chance, we don’t have to worry about carelessly running into them on some other battlefield.”
At that point, a radio transmission reached the entire battalion.
It was from Frolaytia, their local commander.
“It’s time for the pre-mission briefing on how we will split the Island Nation. Gather in your ship’s conference room. I will provide the explanation via the monitor. …Also, a special message for the idiots who were playing basketball on the flight deck. The one who dropped the ball in the ocean must take responsibility by jumping from the cliff and retrieving it. That is government property. You aren’t allowed to lose it. That is all.”
“As you can see, the ocean around the Island Nation is in a state of civil war. We will use the confusion to move in deeper than their normal defenses would allow. Our mission is to scout out their forces and destroy what we can.”
Frolaytia spoke from the podium up front while a few arrows were added to the sea chart displayed on the screen.
“The biggest problem for the self-defense PMC is the supply line. According to the strategic simulation performed on our supercomputer, this civil war will run out of gas and reach a quick end. The major corporation controlling the Island Nation will likely carry out a sabotage operation to hurry that along.”
The screen showed a group of islands in the ocean south of the Island Nation. One of those islands had not originally been there. It was a manmade floating island. The industrially manufactured island could move on its own and it was created by combining giant floats.
Its center was a dodecagon and each vertex had a harbor dock extending out from it like a tree branch.
Its overall silhouette looked like the ship’s wheel used to turn the rudder.
“This is the artificial floating island Ame-no-Darin. It is made to extract resources from the ocean floor. It is the cornerstone of the self-defense PMC’s supplies and reserves. It was the discovery of oil and veins of iron ore in the deep Pacific that transformed the Island Nation into a top class resource superpower. Thanks to that, they’ve left behind an environment that’s covered in oil. Anyway, as long as they have this, the self-defense PMC will have plenty of ammunition and fuel. And by exchanging that for foreign currency, they can smuggle in food. This is the central pillar of this war.”
Frolaytia used her penlight laser pointer to indicate different points on the displayed document.
“It originally functioned as the Island Nation’s military reserves base. It was a treasure trove of fuel and ammunition and its security was left to the self-defense PMC in question as far back as the construction phase. Once the civil war began, they took full control of the Ame-no-Darin. With the standard reserves, they can fight for ninety days. With full use of its ocean floor resource extraction and refinement ability, they can create an endless supply of fuel and ammunition. It may be an expensive facility, but that expense paid for some nice features.”
“I have a question.” Quenser raised his hand. “Are we going to destroy that Ame-no-Darin? How does that benefit us?”
“An excellent question, student. But wait until I’m finished.” Frolaytia placed her long, narrow kiseru in her mouth. “Our mission is to sweep for mines in the ocean around the Ame-no-Darin and to physically remove the saboteurs thought to have infiltrated it. We intercepted the schedule for a large-scale sabotage operation and we plan to end it before it starts. Simply put, we will be protecting the Ame-no-Darin despite no one asking us to. After all, that will cause this war to drag on and cause great financial losses for the Island Nation. Any objections?”
It was a cruel plan, but they were at war and had no interest in benevolence or world peace. The Island Nation was categorized as a safe country, so they could not directly attack it or slaughter the non-combatants there, but they had no real reason to bring the civil war to a quick end or to protect the Island Nation’s mobile fleet which included an Object. If they did, the forces remaining at the end of the civil war would turn toward them.
A small hand then rose into the air.
It was the princess’s.
“Then who will I fight?”
“Did you think it would be the Object belonging to the isolated self-defense PMC? Well, it isn’t. You will be fighting the Object belonging to the Island Nation’s major corporation which has the overwhelming advantage. When we have a chance to freely defeat an enemy, it’s always best to choose the strongest one. We will extend this civil war and take the initiative in removing future rivals. Do you all understand now?”
They were fighting to protect their enemy.
They were fighting to help out the isolated underdog.
Phrasing it like that made them sound like a gunman from a Western, but the principles at the core has been twisted by the world which had shattered like stained glass.
“Then let’s begin. We are only here to benefit the Legitimacy Kingdom. Justice for the Capitalist Corporations is not our concern. How about you head out there and see what your precious Island Nation is really like.”