While Lucas was grinning like a maniac, fighters started to emerge from the asteroid he blew up with the Tachyon cannon. The drone scout turned towards Lucas. “You have targeted an asteroid not highlighted for target usage. The asteroid you targeted was a fighter base to be used in our defense. Due to violation of your previous orders to only use designated targets, your privateer status is revoked.””
Lucas immediately panicked. “What?! You mean, because I blew up the wrong space rock I can’t fight anymore?! What kind of logic is that?”
The robot replied uncaringly with its robotic voice. “Such logic is dictated by military law. Destruction of 7 fighters and damage to the fighter base comes to a total of 7 G’Tik Cores. Because Privateer has not demonstrated he possesses this amount of money, the secondary punishment of immediate expulsion from any militaristic organizations and permanent banning from any and all future attempts at joining such organizations again has been enacted.”
It took him a few seconds to translate all that legal gobbledygook into something understandable. Essentially, he would have been fined for the damages he caused. Unfortunately, the computer thought he didn’t have the money. As a result, he was going to be kicked out of the privateers and never be allowed to join again.
This stunned Lucas, causing him to slump into his seat. He had no idea what to say in response. Luckily, Chu Shen came to his rescue. “It is true that we do not have the amount requested to pay for the damages. However, can we instead trade things of equal value?”
The scout drone paused, communicating with the AI, before responding. “Such a request does have merit. A previous case was settled like this once before. What would you like to trade, privateer?”
Chu Shen pointed at the viewscreen. “I would like to trade a destroyer and carrier. Would this be possible?”
“The estimated value of these unique designs is 12 G’Tik cores or 1 H’Tik core and 2 G’Tik cores. Would you like to trade these items and receive 5 G’Tik cores in return?”
Chu Shen nodded. “Yes. Would you reinstate Lucas’ privateer license?”
“Lucas’ privateer license will be reinstated once control circuits necessary for me to control them remotely have been installed.”
Chu Shen turned to Lucas. “You heard him Lucas. Can the AI control them remotely right now?”
Lucas, who had been eagerly paying attention to the conversation, immediately gave his response. “I believe so. I designed it to be controlled remotely, although the controls are routed through the QE comms rather than the conventional radio. I would have to do some tinkering so that it is compatible with the AI’s systems, but it shouldn’t take more than a day or two.”
The scout drone voiced its agreement. “Such a delay is satisfactory.”
Aslo punched Lucas in the arm. “Seriously? You just had to blow up the wrong thing.”
Lucas punched him back. “Oh, like you could’ve done better? You would have blown up the entire asteroid belt before we could stop you.”
Aslo shrugged. “What can I say? I like a good explosion. Must come with being a fire mage.”
Chrissa shook her head at the boys arguing. They did it so often one would think she would be used to it by now. Chu Shen, on the other hand, wasn’t as passive. He groaned before grabbing Lucas around the shoulder. Hauling Lucas around, he forced Lucas to face the viewscreen. “Come on Lucas. We still have a lot of work to do.”
Lucas threw up his hands. “Fine. I guess we do still need to modify the ships anyway.” The ship disappeared into hyperspace, reappearing above the fifth planet less than four seconds later.
The drone scout spotted the planet and immediately received confirmation from its own telemetry systems. “Privateers, if this ship had the capability to move between this planet and the asteroid belt, why did it not do so before now?”
Lucas was the one that answered. “The reason is that while this ship can move such distances, the other ships in our fleet cannot. Over half of the space on the ship we are currently on is dedicated to hyperspace drives. The other ships’ hyperspace drives have limited ranges. We kept pace with them since we were doing a demonstration of their capabilities. Now that the demonstration is over, they can head back to the planet on their own; we don’t have to keep pace with them anymore.”
The drone scout immediately asked another question. “Why did you give the ships in your fleet limited hyperspace drives? It would seem that having more capable drives would allow for a strategic advantage.”
Lucas nodded. “While that is true, there are other factors to consider. Hyperspace drives require a lot of power to use. The hyperspace drives the ships are using are the best they can use for the power source they have. Right now, all of them have fusion bottles. They don’t have as much power as an anti-matter or fusion generator, but they also doesn’t require as much time to make.
In order to make a ship with an improved power source and hyperspace drive, it would require ten times as long to make, and the attack power of the ship would not see a significant increase. It would be better to pump out more ships with inferior drives then to cut our production speed by that much.”
The scout drone sounded its affirmative. “Such logic is unquestionable. Continue with your current production specifications then, former-privateer Lucas.”
Lucas winced at the robot’s last statement. Aslo chuckled. “Hehe. Who knew a robot could have such dry humor?”
Lucas turned to Aslo. “Shut up, Aslo.”
That did it. Aslo and Chu Shen started laughing so hard that Aslo fell out of his seat. Even Chrissa smiled a bit. Lucas activated his and Chrissa’s harnesses before lowering the inertia dampeners. Activating the engines at full throttle, Lucas flew into the atmosphere of the planet.
Chu Shen and Aslo were thrown backwards from the sudden acceleration. While Chu Shen was merely pressed against his seat, Aslo was flattened against the wall spread eagle style. The entire ship started shaking, throwing Aslo and Chu Shen around the cabin.
When they landed, Aslo and Chu Shen stumbled out of the ship, looking like two drunks and feeling very sore. Lucas grinned as he looked at them. “I wonder, who has the last laugh now?”