Original and most up to date translations are posted at volaretranslations.
Translator’s Note: Man this arc is hot in all the right ways. Many, many thanks to R.V. for sponsoring this AND the next chapter!
Chapter 112: I’ll Go
When he heard the news, Shawton immediately brought up a monitor and had his men communicate the exact situation to him.
The holo screen stayed suspended above the meeting room table as it displayed a small transport with the symbol of a bloody skull on it. At the same time, the transport transmitted a signal that appeared to be a recorded footage after they accepted the transmission.
The holo screen displayed a savage-looking person with blood colored patterns painted on his face. These patterns made up the exact symbol of Poison Fang, and that was a bloody skull. Moreover, this person did not look like the average human since he had a huge mouth and a pair of fangs each protruding from the upper and bottom half of his mouth. He looked incredibly ferocious.
“Dear sirs and mesdames of the Vanguard’s Sixth B Squadron, I, the Skull King Carranio, leader of Poison Fang, hereby greet you all a good day on behalf of my poisonous underlings.” the Skull King Carranio smiled smugly at this point and stretched his fangs outwards as if he would swallow his prey.
In Sector V’s Sector language, ‘Carranio’ meant ‘skull’, so one could guess exactly where Poison Fang’s skull symbol came from. However, neither Shawton nor Cillin had ever heard of this name. Perhaps the name Skull King would be more notable.
The screen switched to display the thirty or so prisoners captured by Poison Fang. Among them were the two Sixth Squad lieutenant commanders, Akayi and Wa Qing. Although they were trapped inside transparent chambers and had lost their consciousness, they could see that they were still breathing. The sight relieved Shawton from his worries quite a bit.
“I heard that your squad has recently lucked upon some small fortune? As you know, Poison Fang aren’t doing too well with the military on our tails and our energy running low these days. So for the sake of my underlings’ welfare, I’ll not beat around the bush with you any longer. These thirty seven lives – oh wait, thirty six, since I accidentally killed one yesterday. Oops.” Carranio spread out his hands innocently, “There are several containers on this transport, and all you need to do is to fill them up completely. With the Vanguard’s reputation, We* trust you that will not use fake energy ores to try and fool us, will you? Ka ka ka ka…”
Carranio’s strange laughter had a shivering quality to it.
“There is also a contract inside the transport. For fairness’ sake, you can send a person to guard the energy ores and sign the contract along the way. Of course, personally, I would very much like to meet commander Shawton himself, ka ka ka ka.”
The footage ended here.
Both Shawton and Lalo fell into silence after watching the footage. Surprisingly, it was Cillin who spoke up with the same cool and indecipherable tone, “I’ll go.”
Shawton and Lalo voiced their objections at the same time. In Shawton’s case, he thought that Cillin might not survive this journey. Cillin was a rare talent after all, and Shawton was unwilling to use him this way. In Lalo’s case, he simply didn’t trust Cillin. Adding these sentiments to Cillin’s age, neither men were willing to let a twenty years old kid bear such a task on his shoulders.
“I’m not proposing to you, I’m informing you what I’m going to do.” Cillin said, “You can’t go, commander. If you go, then the Sixth B Squadron is dead. Lieutenant commander Lalo can’t go either. We’ve already lost four lieutenant commanders worth of combat strength, if we are to lose another one, then the Sixth Squad’s morale will drop to the rock bottom. As for the others outside this room and are combat capable, who do you think can keep cool head?”
Shawton and Lalo were silent.
After a while, Shawton stood up, “Let’s go see the transport first before making a decision.”
The fact that Poison Fang could send a specialised transport to their doorsteps so quickly spoke a lot of problems. Among them one point was certain, and that was Poison Fang should not be far away from them. They should be able to obtain some answers from the transport.
When the trio arrived at the end of the passage, the technician was processing the data.
“How is it?” Shawton asked.
“The transport was probably set up to follow a fixed navigation path. It has about every kind of scanners installed, and there are monitoring devices at every corner. Plus, most of the system’s programming was fixed, and any alterations would result in self-destruction. The power of the explosion is enough to destroy our whole ship. The transport was even fixed with a countdown timer, and judging from the displayed time, it took fifty two hours in total to reach us from its origin point. Right now, there’s only sixty hours left on the clock.”
Even as he listened to the technician’s report, Shawton had to admit that these lunatics were ridiculously intelligent. But just the same, it was a damn pain in the ass to have such intelligence grow inside a lunatic’s head!
These lunatics had given them almost no time to prepare at all. In fact, Shawton even suspected the authenticity of the time displayed on the time board, but it did not matter. What mattered was that they had less than eight hours left before the time of departure!
With just eight hours left on the clock, the A Squadron’s units would not arrive in time to aid them. Without any reinforcements, the only people they could rely upon was themselves.
As he stared at the contract with a blood colored skull symbol on it, Shawton sucked in many deep breaths and did his best to cool down his head. He had not been commander for long, and he had never run into such an incident for as long as he could remember. Such a thing never happened even when Seru was still commander! Just what the hell should he do?
While Shawton was thinking, there was a beep from his communicator. After reading the text message, Shawton frowned and requested the technician to continue with their analysis. Then he turned a corner at the passage entrance and saw Cillin standing right there waiting for him.
Cillin did not go close to the transport. He did not want the monitoring devices on the transport to capture him.
“Go and prepare the energy ores. Give me five hours. Five hours later, I will present you with a complete action plan.” Cillin said.
Shawton was going to reply something, but Cillin waved him off, “Commander, there’s not much time left.” After that, Cillin turned around and left the place.
When Cillin left the passage and returned to the B Squadron’s starship, he took out the key Enji gave him and entered Enji’s workshop. The gray cat also went inside before closing the door behind them.
No one knew what Cillin had done inside. Shawton was still staring at the data analysed by the technicians, and neither LC Asiya or LC Lalo** could give him any useful suggestions.
Dias was still asleep, Lu Suo was still in the ICU, and Eudy and the others were still in critical condition. Xiao Shang, Ba Dao and Cary stood guard outside the sick rooms, and at this moment, they did not know that a transport had entered the main ship’s port, did not know that Shawton was killing himself over the contract, and did not know that the energy ores they mined were being moved up the transport.
Five hours later, Cillin walked out of Enji’s workshop and sent Shawton a message. He spoke with Shawton in the meeting room for a whole hour, and the content of the meeting was not known even to Lalo. Lalo only knew that at the seventh hour after the transport’s arrival, Cillin had gone up the transport.
Coincidentally, Dias had awakened the moment the transport left. Both Eudy and Beaver had also overcome their critical conditions.
When Cary went to Cillin excitedly to notify him of the news, he discovered that Cillin was already gone.
*A way a monarch addresses himself, with capital We.
**LC – Lieutenant Commander