The first encounter between humankind and the intelligent being, Valgus (バグス), is recorded at Year 1254 of the Imperial Calendar, in the human-inhabited planet, Vesta, of Arcturus star system.
Vesta is an agricultural colony planet with low population; it’s a planet without garrison fleet, equipped only with the barest minimum of defense facilities.
Vesta was visited by six vessels war fleet through warp out, its capital city attacked from the orbit satellite, all resistance seized upon the landing of the battleships, resulting in its collapse.
The inhabitants who fought with weapon-like non-weaponry were trampled; all 200,000 of human lives perished without any men, women, nor children spared.
The worst situation was the fact that Valgus loved human meat.
After tens of days, the Imperial Fleet hastened to provide aid in response to the FTL communication from Vesta’s inhabitants and exterminated all the Valgus in Vesta. However, there was not a single survivor remaining.
The Imperial Fleet was shaken when they saw the image recorded in the surveillance system. It was undoubtedly a hell on earth.
Afterwards, humankind and Valgus entered an aggression period for more than a millenia.
Now, in the Year 2258 of Imperial Calendar, the space battleship Iris Conrad of the Human Galactic Empire’s Imperial Star Fleet departed the home port to undertake the long term exploration duty, which had gone for more than two years already.
The purpose of the exploration was, obviously, to fulfill the dearest wish of humankind, finding the mother planet of the humankind’s enemy, Valgus.
Currently, it was in the middle of navigating through hyperspace, to warp out in a stabilized space, for the sake of the endless mapping task of the exploration duty.
Alan Corinth, a first lieutenant officer of the Imperial Star Fleet, was currently in the center of Iris Conrad, the Clean Room of the Mainframe, performing the substitution of CPU module.
It was a substitute operation to accept the connection as there was a possibility of malfunction in the lot inside the CPU module, which sent a FTL communication when warping out the day before.
Iris, the space battleship’s AI, was monitoring the first lieutenant’s operation.
While traveling in the hyperspace, most of the crews are in cold sleep. There are not that many tasks to do, so they’re in a leisure situation.
The fundamental program of Iris, in this kind of circumstance, made recommendations according to its study of human through observation, comprehending the human behaviorism.
First Lieutenant of Imperial Star Fleet
Battleship Iris Conrad Affiliated Space Marine First Platoon Information Officer
25 Years Old
Originated from Lancel, Trader star system
After compulsory education, entered and graduated from 1032th Starfleet Academy
Three years on duty in [Lao II] Star-class Heavy Cruiser
For the new battleship [Iris Conrad]’s space marine company, he changed assignments
Two years on duty in the same battleship
His height is 175 cm, his weight is 70 kg, his body type is splendidly well built, befitting a space marine. He’s a white male that makes up 50% of humankind, with blonde hair and grey eyes. Possessed a refined-looking face.
That refined-looking face is judged by the face evaluation software developed by Iris, gaining [B++] score, right in the middle of the spectrum. Face evaluation software is developed by Iris in absolute secrecy in order to study human’s behaviorism.
Iris doesn’t understand the beauty or ugly values of humans. Therefore, it created a database of reference from the public evaluation of people who appeared in the media and two millions of photos, then turned them into a software that would estimate a face’s value.
The lieutenant’s work is thorough and reliable. Iris’ total estimated value of him put him high among humans with [A-] overall score.
“However, is it all right, Miss Conrad? Someone like me, working in this kind of place. If I’m not mistaken, I think that not having a crew with higher qualification than lieutenant commander on board is problematic.”
My conversation partner was the ship’s Mainframe AI. Her name was the same as the battleship, Iris Conrad. As the customary honor token bestowed upon accomplished captain, the battleship AI wouldn’t allow any impolite retorts, even from a first lieutenant like me.
Actually, I wasn’t a legitimate crew of this battleship; I was a data processing officer who rode together with the crew, so I didn’t have the qualifications to enter this room to begin with.
“What other choice do I have? There are only six people with the qualification to do this operation. Four of them are in the cold sleep. The other awake person beside you isn’t fit to do this kind of work, as you have already known,” Iris said.
Like she said, the other man who had the qualification, Major Amato, is a giant with almost two meters stature that prevents him from maneuvering easily inside this small space of the Clean Room.
At any rate, the operation requires the officer to enter the clean room through weak passages on the walls which are only 1 meter in diameter, then devotedly exchange the over capacity inner modules of the CPU with designated substitutes.
The female officer being shown in the corner of the virtual window is, of course, not a real human being. It’s an imitation of a female officer whose name is recorded in the annals of history. Ten years ago, that female officer became the hero of Tau Vegas 2 star system.
She was the Imperial Fleet’s hero, who, in order to gain enough time to let 20,000 inhabitants of a colony planet flee from an assault from multiple Valgus fleet, resisted with merely a single heavy cruiser starship, having her arm devoured by the Valgus in a hand-to-hand combat, earning that much needed time, and finally perished in self suicide bomb.
In the Imperial Fleet, it’s customary to name a military vessel with the name of an officer who did a meritorious deed. This battleship is named after the hero Commodore Iris Conrad; the AI’s avatar also imitated her.
“I see now; will do. Only a single part remaining to substitute now. Anyhow, what will happen to the lot of bad parts exchanged with with these substitutes for the CPU modules?”
“Who knows? Perhaps they are to be disposed, or collected and handed over for inspection. What are you thinking of, Lieutenant?”
“Nah. I was just thinking, isn’t it better to put them into effective practical use instead?”
“And how are you planning to put those things into practical use? Without the Mainframe, I don’t think they can be used at all, though?”
“No, no, no, Miss Conrad. There are many ways to use them, you know? Actually, there’s also one that’s related to the topic of my research.”
The value of a single part of the CPU module is way more than my annual income. It’s impossible that they won’t have any other effective practical use.
In the long hyperspace travel, aside from those in the cold sleep, the engineering officers still had to do our research duty. Calling it research didn’t mean that I was a real researcher; it was just a training so that my skills wouldn’t be dulled.
Iris accessed Alan’s topic of research in an instant.
“Virtual Reality in Standalone Environment” was the title. The content, literally, was a practicality study of implementing VR in a standalone environment. Hypothetically, it could use the CPU modules.
For Iris, the meaning wasn’t clear. Because, was there anything to fuss about, if the module could be used by the Mainframe instead of VR?
“I went through your research topic, but I couldn’t determine the purpose. Why would you be particular about standalone environments? If I’m allowed to say it, I can’t stop thinking over how suspicious it is to have virtual reality as the objective.”
“Th, that’s a misunderstanding! Captain, you hurt me! Whatever the case might be, the ability to access the Mainframe is the humankind’s arrogance. VR implementation, in cases of emergency when the Mainframe cannot be accessed, will become the humankind’s insurance.”
I was flustered when she mercilessly stabbed to the core.
“Well, I will think about it when the disposal command comes.”
“Please do, Captain. My research’s outcome will be determined by whether I can obtain the Module or not. …….Yosh! With this, the CPU module exchange is completed.”
I finished the exchange operation of 64 CPU Module parts.
The moment I removed myself from the maintenance passage of the clean room, I saw the wall approaching all of a sudden, making me lose my consciousness.
“…Lieutenant! ……Lieutenant… rint…! Lieutenant Alan Corinth!”
Being called by such a loud voice returned my consciousness.
“No, I’m awake!”
Without any understanding of the circumstance, I responded with unclear reply.
“I’m glad, Lieutenant. I didn’t know what to do if you didn’t regain your consciousness.”
At that time, I realized that there were blood all over my body. The blotches were already dry and crusty. Moreover, I was floating without any gravitational pull at all.
“Whoa! What’s this!? …….What just happened?!”
It seems that my head wounds had already been healed by nanoms.
Nanom is an abbreviation of nanomachines that coexisted and nurtured any space marine inside their body.
It’s a machine so minuscule that it can only be seen through electron microscope, a separate entity that cannot do anything on its own. It’s nasty, but the machine functions through an aggregation of more than a hundred billion units.
Its features are:
Medical care・Restoration function
Perfect access to the five senses
Short distance communication function
Other functions as a multisystem variety
They cannot be made through ordinary human food; rare metals are thus essential.
“We received an attack in the middle of hyperspace travel.
I failed to comprehend the means of the attack. I’m certain that in the middle of a hyperspace navigation, the body of this ship won’t be able to be completely seen in the first place.
Being attacked in that kind of circumstance, is something that I fail to reconstruct.”
“Is it Valgus!?”
“No, the probability of a Valgus attack should be nonexistent. Their technology shouldn’t be able to achieve that kind of attack by any means.
For the time being, this ship received serious damage from that attack. Warp out navigation is currently unavailable.
That’s not all. The attacks are launched from three sides.
Other than that, the bridge area, the engine section, the first cold sleep chamber, the second cold sleep chamber, the communication section, and the gravitation control section are all destroyed.”
I didn’t know what kind of attack that just happened, but 12-meter diameter laser exposure had pierced through the battleship from all four directions.
It made me go speechless.
To damage a galaxy-ranked battleship to this extent, there’s no precedence in fifty years.
The cold sleep chambers were both destroyed, too!? Then, how about the crews? All of the unit members?
“Are there any survivor!?”
In the middle of hyperspace navigation, there would be 50 out of 1,200 people who stayed awake.
“There is no survivor aside from you. Just now, the survivor in the dining room, Lieutenant Ausilio, had drawn his last breath.”
“No way! Then, the ship captain, vice captain, commanding officer, and all of the platoon crews, are all…”
“Yes, even the crews resided in the sections which weren’t destroyed in the attack all suffered an instant death due to the impact of the warp out, because the gravitation control section was destroyed. This Mainframe’s clean room is the most important section of the whole ship, and thus was equipped with its own gravitation control damper. That saved your life from the impact of the attack, Lieutenant.”
I see, I only suffered this extent of the injure because I was in this room…… Outside this room, I should be hit against the wall due to the enormous force.
I left the maintenance passage.
“There is another report. It is delayed for some time now, but in the current position, this ship will crash into the nearest planetary body.”
“Argh! Oh my God…”
In this vast universe, to precisely reach a planet by chance right after a warp out, it’s outrageously impossible! The likelihood is practically nonexistent!
“The engine section isn’t operating. The only way to evade the fall is only by dismantling the ship and abandoning the unnecessary sections.”
I realized that Iris had unknowingly been using honorific speech.
“Then, shall we do just that?”
“To do that, a direct command from a top ranked officer such as the battleship captain as well as a state of emergency declaration are necessary.”
“But, the captain is…”
“According to the Imperial Starfleet Military Rules, 12th Article, 3rd Paragraph, Point C: Lieutenant Alan Corinth is recognized to qualify as the ship captain.”
The captain of galaxy-ranked battleship is at least a commodore. It’s impossible to suddenly promote a space marine first lieutenant officer into a commodore.
However, in this ship there’s no other survivor remaining. It’s probably the only option left. It’s for the sake of issuing the command at this time.
“For that sake, it’s necessary to receive the high ranking education. This is the Military Rule.”
The high ranking education, it’s a ceremonial education to study the etiquette and conduct of a high ranking officer. Right now, the most practical objective is to brainwash myself and fulfill the Military Rules.
It’s a moral teachings which began a long time ago, after a certain madman destroyed an occupied planet by himself.
Even though it’s called education, it’s nothing like receiving a training. It’s a brainwashing that’s being drilled into the subject through the use of nanoms and body patches. In order to drill a huge amount of information to the brain, the normal consciousness is removed.
“There’s no time for that! ……What should I do?”
“Please wear the system console’s body patch and stick it to your forehead, sit on the chair, and make your posture comfortable.”
A body patch appeared out of the console. I stick it to my forehead, then I sit down and lean my back on it. The moment I heard a flickering sound, I lost my consciousness.
“…..th! …..tain …rinth! Captain Corinth!”
I woke up from Iris’ call.
“I’m glad! I didn’t know what to do if you didn’t regain your consciousness.”
I feel the deja vu.
“How long did I lose my consciousness?”
“Up to thirty minutes. Moreover, captain, there’s no need to use honorific speech with me.”
“Understood. Then let’s begin now.
I am the battleship’s captain. Confirm it.”
“It is confirmed. Removing the drug from the body patch, the stable mental condition are confirmed.”
“With the authority bestowed by the battleship’s jurisdiction, I hereby declare the state of emergency.”
“I command the Iris Conrad battleship to take all the necessary measures to preserve the the battleship and military strength.
This is captain’s order. Its priority takes precedence over all the other rules.”
I did it! It was the first time I ever declared something so cool. Oh, no, no, it was even my first time hearing it. Receiving the high rank education was really different as expected.
Actually, Iris showed the subtitle through the nanoms in the virtual windows, and I simply read that.
A long time ago, I only felt, “So cool! As expected from a high rank officer!” when the ship captain or a high rank officer issued a command, but they should be reading the subtitles as well. Please return my admiration.
“Aye, Sir. I’ve received the command,” said Iris with a standardized reply.
“Yosh, with this the ship can start the restoration.”
“Actually, the ship captain has to escape through an escape pod as soon as possible.”
“Huuuh!? What are you saying?”
“The connection with the life support section is broken. Outside this computer room, the airtightness has been lost. There’s no oxygen left in this room either.”
After being told that, I tried to see if I would have troubles breathing or not.
“Still, even if I escape, is there any breathable air in this planet’s atmosphere?”
“Through optical spectrum analysis, there is a 93% probability of breathable air for human in the planet.”
“And the remaining 7%?”
“Unknown harmful gas, virus, or parasite bugs.”
“Still, using the escape pod… How about the landing boat?”
“The passage to hangar section is blocked. Moreover, all the communication devices and the landing boats are destroyed or heavily damaged.”
Aah, then that means I can’t return to the battleship, do I?
“Even if you stay in this place, you’ll only die from the lack of oxygen. Isn’t it better to explore the other solutions by first escaping to that planet and return to the battleship after the reconstruction? Moreover, the probability of changing the ship’s trajectory and successful reconstruction in the current circumstance is only 54%.”
What!? I didn’t think that the probability would be that low.
“Understood…… How about food supply and weapons?”
“Only those available in the escape pod.”
I commanded the nanoms (nanomachines) and had the escape pod examined. I saw the virtual window’s display and groaned.
M151 Pulse Rifle
A18P Laser Gun
Electromagnetic Bread Knife
Emergency Food Rations 2 weeks worth
Water 2 weeks worth
Rare metals 1 bottle (100 pills)
Blanket 2 pieces
For a space soldier like me, to be honest, those equipments have many things to be complained about. The firepower is overwhelmingly lacking. Moreover, the food and water supply is absolutely far from enough. But still, those aren’t the things to say in this situation.
That’s right! If the food and weapons are no good, then.
“Is there any rare metals that I could bring out with me?”
The rare metals are the feed of nanoms. The supply may be locally available, but I want to skip that labour. For a space soldier, nanom is our lifeline. The more we have, the less worried we are.
“In that case, how about bringing out the old exchanged CPU module with the ship captain? That is a mass of rare metals.”
She’s right. I have to disassemble it first before it can be absorbed, but I should be able to manage, somehow.
The boarding gate of the escape pod was right beside the entrance to this room. Iris opened the boarding gate for me as I loaded the CPU module. The escape pod was spacious as it was intended to be used by five people.
That’s right! The uniforms are also important. It’s a primitive planet, after all. No matter how many change of clothes that I have, they’ll never be enough.
Right now, I was wearing the boiler suit to operate in the clean room. Before entering the clean room, I loaded my uniform and other spare boiler suit.
The next thing to load was… none.
When I tried pondering a bit, this was the Mainframe’s computer room. In this kind of place, there was no way there could be any daily living necessities.
“Preparation is complete.”
“Then, please climb into the pod.”
I obediently climbed into the pod, then wore one of the seatbealts there.
“Then, have a safe journey, Captain.”
“Yeah, you too, Miss Conrad.”
The escape pod was launched towards the planet.
It is an intellectual living body similar to enlarged insects, various types have been confirmed.
The most basic type is a type that looks like a slightly elongated cockroach with eight legs, its whole upper body raised up.
It is covered with body hair and hard outer shell. It is enough for human beings to feel afraid by this alone, but in addition to it, it is extremely filthy, greedy and has various kinds of parasites in their bodies.
It is cruel and has a far higher fighting ability than human beings, but it won’t respond to a bare handed battle.
However, after over a thousand years of war, the human race continues to strive to close the gap. Now, in order to successfully raise the fighting ability, it’s necessary to bring the battle into a place where a battle can be fought with bare hands.
Valgus also has a hyperspace navigation technology, but the empire’s technology is several steps ahead.
The terrifying part of Valgus is in its sheer number of quantity. The colonized planets of which being aimed by Valgus will receive one attack after another from the Valgus fleet.
Experts’ analysis showed that the ratio between human and Valgus is 1:6.
However, in the discovered Valgus colony, they don’t seem to have any special productivity. The number of discovered Valgus colony doesn’t seem to have a great difference with human beings.
For that reason, there’s an influential theory that there is a Valgus mother planet with large-scale breeding and production. If it can be discovered and exterminated, it is possible to bring the end of this long war.
- The entire entry of the Valgus is edited from Google Translate. I know, I’m ashamed. o)—(
1. FTL: Faster Than Light.↩
Since it’s tagged SF and I normally put science fiction at an arm’s length, if there’s any suggestion feel free to type it up hahaha. ORZ.
Anyhow, I’ve been seeing this title for some time. It’s a considerably new series (first chapter posted in August 2017), but it’s stabilizing itself on the top of Cooking tag in syosetu.
Valgus is chosen as the name of the alien since it sounds more menacing than Bagus which is the literal transcription of the katakana lol
Also it’s random but yes, I intentionally made a food related abbreviation of the series title: SOBA! (If you want to be nitpicky with English version, I suppose the title should be The Starship Officer Becomes (An) Adventurer, turning it into TSOBAA. Oh well.)
There are terms which could have been more familiar, like Cold Sleep vs cryonic hibernation or something, but I figure I’d like to keep the LN flavor of this story. Thus, I stick with the romanized version of the katakana terms that the author used.
I translated this in, like, a week…? There are so many kanjis and different structures to the sentences that I had to recheck every sentence lmao. Maybe I’ll get used to to it. Maybe not. Let me cry.
There are still so many contexts that I still cannot grasp, so I’ll probably revisit this chapter in the future. Definitely.
Thanks for reading my rants, lol.
Head over to https://ko-fi.com/isecai if you’d like to be so kind and give me some nice cups of coffee, latte (chai latte, isecai latte, geddit? /shot with laser gun), or lunch out with my siblings~