Seikai no Senki:Volume4 Chapter2(jp)
Chapter 2: Line-of-Battle ship “Kaisof”
The other branch of the Twin Thorn is also currently advancing at a smooth pace.
With the 11th fleet Twin Thorns in the lead they gradually force their way to the center (of the galaxy). Their main enemy on this side is the United Mankind.
If this operation were to be successfully completed, then the United Mankind’s sphere of influence will also diminish by more than half as well. At the same time, communications between their ally the Greater Alkont Republic will also be severed.
In other words, the main goal of the Twin Thorns operation is to cut off all channels of communications between the three allied nations; making each of the three nations sink into a state of isolation.
The heart of the Operation Twin Thorns is the 13th fleet. Their flag ship, the patrol ship Shaikau, is currently anchored within Elcon star system, nearby the port facilities.
Two SecDaghs (2000 kilometers) away stood the attack division, Guderusu, patrolling around the orbit of the Shaikau. One of those ships was the Line-of-Battle ship Kaisof.
A Line-of-Battle ship is a type of ship that is loaded a large amount of time-space mines. Their only mission on the battlefield is to launch these mines. These Line-of-Battle ships are basically the motherships of mines. Although Line-of-Battle vessels are equipped with an enormous amount of defensive weapons, they are in essence transport vessels.
The Empire’s mines may be considered small in size compared to the ones People's Sovereign Stellar Union uses, but what they lack in size they make up with tremendous volume. Despite thousands of years of improvements, the time-space generator machine still occupies a considerable amount of space. Also, the amount of anti-matter fuel it needs cannot be overlooked.
Therefore, the ship of the line, which carries a large amount of mines, is just monstrous in size. It has nearly the equivalent of three patrol ships in mass.
The Line-of-Battle ship is not only famous for its enormity but also the amount of personnel needed. Normally, most of the people that are onboard a ship of the empire are engineers, and they all have their individual duties to maintain the ship. However, among the crew of the ship-of-the-line, other than the engineers responsible for maintaining ship operation, there are many specialist mine engineers that take care of the mines.
Under these conditions, the scale of the residential area of the Line-of-Battle ship is not as expanse as a city, but can be considered at least the size of a village. In addition, the Abhs consider Line-of-Battle ship and transport ships to be a “children’s vessel”.
The significance of that name is recognized as an old age star force tradition. Long ago, regardless of the size of the ship, peace or war; warships are where the Abhs raise their children. To the Abh who consider space as home, raising their children this way is only natural.
However, when the Abh became aware of the enemy’s negative view of “bringing children into battle”, they reassessed their policies and quickly abolished the tradition. Because the Abh worried the enemy would misunderstand — or to say accidently discover — that the Abhs would go into battle half-heartily. The Abhs consider this as respectful to the enemies who are willing to meet on the battlefield and fight to the death.
Even though during times of peace, the Star Force permits soldiers to take their children to the bridge while carrying out their duty. However, because the benefits outweigh the costs; these days, the Star Force would not place flyers raising children on small scale vessels.
However, on large scale vessels such as the ship-of-the-line, the military still allows soldiers to bring their children on duty. Of course, this is only allowed during peace time. Except special circumstances, personnel other than soldiers are strictly prohibited from boarding a military vessel.
The Kaisof’s residential area is also originally allocated space to setup a nursery. Because this warship was built after the breakout of war, therefore there has not been one child that has played in that area. Instead, during the early phases of outfitting sections of the warship, this space was already outfitted to something that has nothing to do with a nursery at all.
Right now it is a mess hall for flyers. The thought among the crew of the fleet is that, converting the nursery to the flyer mess hall is relatively convenient to achieve. If the Kaisof were able to smoothly come out of this war in one piece, then maybe this area will be reconverted into a nursery.
However, Deputy Signal Officer Line Wing Flyer Duhir of the Kaisof does not like this place.
“Deputy Signal Officer Line Wing Flyer!”
“Yes, Captain”, responded Line-of-Battle ship Kaisof’s Deputy Signal Officer Line Wing Flyer Ablïarsec Néïc Dubleuscr Wemdaisal Duhir as he puts down his bowl.
He looks towards where the voice came from. Right now Duhir is sitting at the very end of a long dining table. Every flyer on the Kaisof dines on this table. The voice came from a person sitting at the center; a male with blue hair and the captain of the Kaisof, Hecto-Commander Berusot.
However, Duhir’s eyes were drawn not to the captain, but to the wall behind him.
Although this place has been converted into a mess hall, the walls are still that of a nursery. Since everyone staying in this room are all children; during the initial design of this room, they must take into consideration shrapnel ricocheting off the walls in zero gravity. Therefore, the walls are fitted with a high-grade impact absorption material. Also, the wall is covered with pictures of winged cats and smiling stars. In short, it’s all filled with pictures only a child would enjoy.
When Duhir thought about his childhood, he was similar to most Abh children. They all like to collide into the wall and enjoy the sensation of being absorbed by it. It was a nostalgic feeling.
“Your face looks so boring.” Said Berusot bluntly.
These words pull Duhir out of his thoughts and back to reality.
The reason that Duhir does not like the flyer’s mess hall is because of the custom that all the flyers aboard the Kaisof go to the hall at the same time. However, saying that is not totally correct, he actually is annoyed at the fact that the tradition was set in the first place. Moreover, all flyers are forced to respect each other, which include Berusot.
“I don't feel at all bored, if my expression made you feel that I was bored, then that is because ...”
Isn’t it because you felt bored that you would feel that others are bored as well? Duhir thought to himself. Although he will never say this out loud and felt that giving any excuse would do.
“Am I being prejudice?” said Berusot, disrupting Duhir’s train of thought.
Duhir slightly bowed and said, “I do not know of any prejudices the captain may have.”
“This... to royalty, can’t be fulfilling to serve on a ship-of-the-line, always far away from the frontlines... this type of prejudice.”
“No matter what the post, an Ablïarsec is ready for death.” Duhir said firmly. At the same time, Duhir begin to think, perhaps this captain is the one not satisfied in his position. If this is true, then Duhir should even severely denounce this thought.
“Well said.” Says Berusot as he nodded. However his eyes were not upon Duhir but were rather concentrating on a dinner place that just rose slowly from under the table.
“Thank you for your praise.” Says Duhir as he once again picked up his bowl from the table. Only, his long craved crane egg soup has already gotten cold.
“I was not praising you.” Berusot said as he picked up another entrée.
“Is that so?” Asks Duhir as he also puts his bowl aside, and set in front of him a new entrée he just picked up. The new dish is roasted pork.
This is ok too, actually being praised by this captain is not something to be happy about.
Just as he had this thought, Berusot already started to bite into his roast as he said, “I, of course, have no intention of dying in this type of place.”
“You say you don't have any intent to die, then why did you come to the battlefield?” Line Wing Flyer Duhir asks without even time to put down his chopsticks. However, he immediately worried that his tone may have sounded like he was interrogating a senior officer.
“You can’t really be just seeking for a place to die when you enter the battlefield?” at least based on his expressions, Berusot does not seem to be mad. However, the captain starts to gaze at the dining table. “In my opinion, there are no thoughts more unfortunate than this.”
“I haven't yet given it much thought,” says Duhir strongly to defend himself, “However, if we are just talking about the end, then I cannot rule out the possibility. To me, a so-called ‘death place’ is one where I carve my name into the ‘monument of no regret’ without shame. Also, I do not feel this vessel is something I feel ashamed of.”
“My intention was not to deny your opinion. It is true that there is nothing to be ashamed of dying on this ship, but it’s nothing to be proud of either.”
“I feel the captain’s chair is the best place to die.” Duhir says bluntly.
“Listen up, you may become the emperor in the future and that may be well. After you do ascend to the throne I hope you may reminisce of me once in a while. But even if that day does come, you cannot causally allow your own worth to be imposed by someone else. Much less now since you are only a Line Wing Flyer, the lowest ranked officer in the bridge. If my cat were still here, at your rank, you would be responsible for feeding him!”
Duhir feels in his heart that he is lucky that his seat is one that is relatively far away from the captain’s chair. If Berusot’s hands were long enough, when he is passing on his experiences, he would definitely pat Duhir’s head firmly. Maybe this is his way showing friendliness, but Duhir really cannot bear to be treated like this.
“I am very sorry.”
“Those who are Princes should not apologize so casually.”
“Then what kind of manner does the Captain want from me?” Duhir snapped back. “Do I behave as deputy communication officer or should I act as a member of the Imperial family?”
“I guess it all depends on my mood.”
Duhir is speechless.
“Of course I’m not asking you to read my mind.”
“I’m grateful for the captain’s empathy.” Duhir said with caution.
“I want you to feel with intuition.”
“Are there any difference between the two?”
“Of course there are differences!” said Berusot as he starts to disregard his etiquette, waving the chopsticks in the air without restraint, “For a person that has a chance to sit in the jade seat, how would you not be clear of the distinctions, you don't have any questions right?”
“Could you please point it out for your subordinate?” Duhir said word by word.
“The so-called ‘reading my mind’ requires you to use your brain, but intuition and feelings does not require your brain.” Berusot finally calms his chopsticks. “If you do not begin to think, then it is natural that thoughts from deep within your head to pop out.”
“I believe that intuition and feelings are rather difficult.”
“Even if it is difficult, you have to do it. Though, you still do not need to get your brain to do that kind of complex task. You are but only a flyer that does miscellaneous tasks, so just stick with your intuition and feelings.”
“I feel you have already brought your subordinate a very unreasonable impression.” Duhir said unhappily.
“You are full of it, your Prince Majesty.”
Duhir was unable to speak since the other person has already called him the prince, then he cannot go and apologize to him. Duhir believes that he should not apologize, but he has already given up on seriously responding to this captain. If any casual apology can allow Duhir to escape from this conversation, then he would do that.
“Captain, please stop bullying your subordinates.” At this time, the female sitting next to Duhir extends her hand in aid. She is Duhir’s direct superior, Senior Signal Officer Vanguard Flyer Vonyu.
Although Duhir doesn't hate her, he nevertheless can’t stand her either. The way that Vonyu treats Duhir is that of a client in a business deal: an outsider.
It is the same, even now. Although she calls Duhir as ‘my subordinate’, but from the tone of her voice it is very obvious that those words were more of a joke. Duhir thinks to himself, Vonyu doesn't actually think Duhir as her subordinate but more like partners on the same ship.
“These words have two points that requires correction.” Berusot said.
“Please speak.” Vonyu said as if she was facing bitter tea.
“First, I am just having a conversation with my subordinate, not bickering with your subordinate. Your opinion may be a bit excessive.”
“What you said is not wrong, however...” begins the retort by this Senior Signal Officer Vanguard Flyer with a head full of elegant grass colored hair.
But Berusot forcefully cuts her words short, “The other point is, I did not mean to bully him.”
“Then we have a difference of opinions.” Said Vonyu, “Since it’s like this, why is the captain being so forceful? It can’t be that you are really teaching him a lesson out of love?”
“I am merely following family tradition.”
Duhir was very surprised, unable to contain his mouth he asks, “Is the Captain related to the Spaurh clan?”
This doesn't seem likely, because many side families in that clan use the name Spaurh. This is different from the Imperial family, where only direct descendants may use the family name Ablïarsec.
“Something like that.” Berusot said vaguely.
Duhir waits patiently for the captain to continue.
“Because the family clans were decided before the establishment of the empire, so strictly speaking we are not of the same clan.” Explains Berusot.
“Even using the broadest sense, you are still not of their clan!” Vonyu responded sharply.
In short, the captain’s ancestors should be working in the engine department of the Ablïarsec’s city ship, Duhir speculates.
The Spaurh clan is actually descendants of engine department when the empire was established. At that time, inside that large spaceship that held the entire civilization of the Abh people, every department had its own perspective clan to manage it. Therefore if Berusot’s family is really descendants of someone formerly working in the engine department, then more or less they may have traditions of the Spaurh family. According to Abh knowledge, this situation could be said as a blood connection. But even by Abh logic, saying that you have blood connection to people thousands of years ago is really a stretch.
“However, it is said, that intelligence determines whether a person belongs to the navigation crew or engine crew.”
“I have never heard of this saying in my family.” Said Duhir.
“Perhaps, you didn't take note of it.” Berusot asserted.
“Even so, the circumstances here are different.” Vonyu said.
“As if I would neglect family tradition because of circumstances.”
“With all due respect, Captain, in your position the opportunity to show your family tradition should be rare.” Vonyu said coldly.
“So what? Just because there is no opportunity, decay is not a tradition in our family tradition.”
“If this is truly the captain’s house's family tradition, it would be so- splendid.” Vonyu said in a tone full of misgiving.
This delightful argument continues between Berusot and Vonyu. Although Duhir does fully not understand their goal; he feels that if this isn’t to help digestion then it may just have some kind of mysterious usefulness.
The other flyers seems to have already been used to this, already some among them are happily starting conversations that are unrelated to the Captain and the Senior Signal Officer. Others continue to quietly dine on their meal.
Because Duhir cannot find someone to chat with, he also became one of those quietly dining away.
“What are you drinking, Line Wing Flyer?” Berusot’s voice came suddenly.
“Are you asking what drink I am having?” responded Duhir who did not expect the captain to ask this kind of question, “It’s hot til nom.”
“You sure like weird drinks.”
“Is it really?” responded the annoyed Duhir, “My sister sure likes it a lot.”
“Your sister, is it her Majesty Lafiel?” asked Berusot after thinking for a bit.
“I do not have any other siblings.”
“Really? Anyways, will her Majesty Lafiel be annoyed if her favorite drink is denied by someone?”
“No matter what it is, she does not like her indulgences to be teased by others.”
“Really? Never mind, I might as well try some too.”
Duhir is perplexed and does not know how to respond. To invite the captain to try it would likely continue the argument, while asking him to stop would be awkward too.
However, Duhir no longer needs to respond because Berusot’s attention has already shifted onto another topic.
The meal finally comes to an end as tea is being passed out one by one to everyone in the dining table.
“We have but only now for everyone to dine together.” Berusot starts to speak. Usually in this situation, the captain will always use those words to end meal time for bridge crew.
“XO, what is the schedule for today?” Berusot asks.
“Today is the day we need to go pick up supplies.” His XO, Deca-commander Kurobosu, replies.
“Ah, that's right.” Berusot said as he crosses his arms in front of his chest.
In the last battle, the Kaisof already depleted half of its mines. In preparation for the next battle, this Line-of-Battle ship requires resupplying and today is that day.
“Excuse me.” said Duhir suddenly, standing up with determination.
Berusot stares with doubt.
“May I request that you leave the duty of piloting to me?”
In assault ships and cruisers, the direct impact of the pilot’s skill in combat is different. In a ship-of-the-line, as long as you are a bridge officer, anyone can carry out this task. Therefore in a Line-of-Battle ship the person in charge of piloting is not the captain and not the gunnery officer, but the deputy navigator, a person of lowest rank.
Much less today’s task which does not require combat maneuvers. Under these conditions even on assault ships, the task would be forced upon lowest ranking officer.
The so-called ‘forced’ is actually from the point of view from experienced flyers. To them, piloting a Line-of-Battle ship or a transport ship is not fun at all. However, this really is a good experience for new flyers. It is no wonder that Duhir happily asks the captain to give him the opportunity.
“Whoa! I like your expression. Line Wing Flyer, I cannot help but want to order you to do so.”
“Unfortunately, no.” Berusot said.
“Please tell me the reason.” Duhir’s tone became more unyielding.
Although he strictly warns himself not to use his royal status to force others; but to a new flyer this level of request should be still within allowance.
“I do not need to give you a reason.” Berusot also said without any hesitation.
“I understand.” Responded Duhir as he saluted the captain. Any further request would be out of line. “Please forgive me for my rudeness.”
“No, actually you were not rude at all just now.” Berusot said with a malicious laugh. “Naturally, this is to be expected from an ambitious Line Wing Officer.”
Duhir finds himself more and more annoyed at this person.
To replace a ship of the line’s weapons, which are mines, is a difficult task. The reason is because of the large volume.
Actually, this has not been such a problem in the past. Back then they only needed enough mines for one battle. If they emptied their entire cache, they would only need to go back to the capital to resupply.
However, as the battlefront keeps on extending, doing so no longer works. After all, if every Line-of-Battle ship goes back to the capital to resupply after every battle, it would become troublesome tactically. At the same time, making transport ships continuously go back and forth to resupply mines would be too inefficient; knowing that the transport ships hold at best no more than one battle requirement payload of mines for a ship-of-the-line. So the only difference would be that the Line-of-Battle ship themselves would not have to go back and forth. So instead, the Empire brought the mine factories closer to the battlefront.
A mine factory is being developed at Elcon star system. Parts which cannot be manufactured locally, such as the space-time bubble generating engines, are brought in on transport ships with materials from nearby star systems.
The Kaisof also enters the line of vessels near the factory. The ship establishes a data connection with the factory and switches piloting to remote control operation. To express the minimum amount of resistance, Duhir uses the data crystal around his head to obtain a perception of the space outside his ship.
“This is Elcon factory 1-0-2.” The mine factory’s flyer appears on monitor. “Line-of-Battle ship Kaisof, please activate auto-pilot.”
“Understood.” Berusot responded, “Let’s do that then.”
This should have been Duhir’s job, and he turned his controls of the ship over to automatic.
“As you see Your Majesty, the so-called piloting is just something like this. There really isn’t much for you to do, really boring right?”
“Yes sir.” Duhir replied in agreement.
So far, from what Duhir can gather from his spatial sensors, the factory’s guiding lights are clearly visible.
The spatial sensors’ image and Kaisof’s image overlaps completely, Duhir is only pretending to control the ship.
Duhir's left hand which was inserted into the control glove moved unconsciously.
Of course, his control glove did not work now. It was only a formality.
As if responding to Duhir’s control, the Kaisof begins to fire short bursts of thrusters. After that, this Line-of-Battle ship enters into customary navigation.
“Line-of-Battle ship Kaisof, please prepare for mine resupply.” Instructions were sent from the mine factory.
“Very well, everything is according to schedule.” Said Berusot as he stood up. “Senior Gunnery Officer, open all hatches.”
“Understood.” Answered Senior Gunnery Officer Deca-Commander Kazuvu.
“Also, Deputy Signal Officer, take your hand out of the control glove.”
“Yes sir.” Duhir responded as he blushed deeply.
As he was doing that, he felt the captain wouldn't have needed to expose him in front of everyone.
“Are you not going to ask me for a reason?” Berusot asked.
“No sir, I will not.”
“I will tell you even if you don't ask, it is because your movements are so obvious.”
“Yes sir.” Although Duhir wondered for a time whether to apologize or not, but at last he decided to casually apologize, “I apologize for my actions.”
“Don't do it again.” said the captain as adds insult to injury.
During of the conversation between the two, the Kaisof already little by little nears the mine factory.
Numerous transport ships are also near the enormous structure which is the Elcon mine factory 1-0-2’s true appearance. However, the Kaisof’s destination is not here.
Near the mine factory fields of mines stretching the area of several squads of warships, each gives the impression like it was chopped from an axe and all bundled together: floating in space. This is the Elcon mine factory 1-0-2’s storage center.
Because the Kaisof requires a special type of mine, the Kaisof docks beside the man-made structure.
“Initiating resupply.” Came from factory communication.
These mines actually are not filled with anti-matter fuel. As a precaution, the anti-matter fuel is not pumped in until they are ready to be launched. Therefore these mines right now do not have any mobility.
A small transport ship loaded with mines starts to one-by-one resupply the Line-of-Battle ship with mines.
Duhir thinks that maybe the captain won’t even let him pilot a transport ship.
52 hours later, the Kaisof has been outfitted for battle, and it leaves for the Central Circle as part of the 13th Twin Thorns fleet.
Translator's Notes and References
- TL note: or wherever the ‘power’ seat is
- TL note: reference from the prologue, where the jade seat was reserved for the emperor or empress of the current empire on their flagship
- TL note: more like ‘shit’
- peach juice
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