Chapter 1 – Awakening Dream
Kane finished with his operations, he stretched immensely. Then he turned to Canal, who was standing behind him.
“Phase drive has been implemented, do we still have some time?”
Phase drive——a device which allows space ships to go faster than the speed of light.
“Yes. According to our present rate, and taking in standard time calculations, we’ve got eight hours to go.”
Standard time refers to the flow of time relevant to that of Earths, since mankind’s home world became a backwater planet, people commonly use it as a reference.
“Okay. Easy as she goes. During this time, we should gather information relevant to our mission……what was that organisation called again?”
“The Dugole Connection.”
“Alright, let’s get that relevant information.”
“Prior to proceeding, I recommend you get yourself some coffee. And don’t spill it this time.”
Kane got up from the operator seat, and moved to a small bench behind him.
A mini table appeared out of a hole in front of the seat, it was filled with steaming cups of coffee.
Naturally, they were filled with sugar, Kane loves sugar and super-hot coffee.
He rested for a while, he then suddenly found himself alone, Canal had disappeared somewhere.
“……I really hope we don’t get dragged into something.”
Kane whispered while holding a mug in one hand.
(Hopefully we’ll be able to bring that smelly kid back without much trouble……and get paid.)
By the time he had finished half of his cup of coffee, Canal appeared again.
“For more information on the Dugole Connection, I’ll need access to a police computer. It’ll take a while.”
It seemed his causal tone offended her, mostly because she detected that he didn’t care.
“Done. Would you like to hear the relevant information?”
“Understood. The Dugole Connection was founded on the solar systems fourth planet, Mars is used as their base of operations, and their influence spreads throughout the solar system. The founder of the organization Duras Dugole died twelve years ago, it’s now ruled by his son Derleth. And——”
Reading, Canal began to frown.
“——Now, they are considered ready to enter the criminal organization Nightmare——”
Kane unconsciously said out loud.
There are few people in the Milky way Galaxy that don’t know the name, some say they don’t exist. But nevertheless, they are: the galaxy’s largest criminal organization.
On the surface, they used a organization called Gazer Concern as a front.
It seems to be a fairly common business, dating back forty or fifty years. The head of the company is a man by the name of Albert von Stargazer.
“……Nightmare……could they be behind this?”
“Although they are a force to be reckoned with, they are still afraid of the interstellar police”
“We best keep out wits about us then.”
A moment of silence filled the room.
Kane then sipped the rest of his coffee, and spoke:
“Please give me a printed copy of all the relevant information.”
Having said that, Kane got up.
“Where are you going?”
“Back to my room. I’ll wash then get some sleep. Yesterday, I didn’t sleep too well in detention. Wake me up when we gone out of phase shift.”
“Understood. Sweet dreams.”
Kane then left for the residential zone of the ship.
Canal opened up a communications channel.
“Rail, there’s an interstellar communication for you.”
He received the phone call in his hotel room.
It wasn’t an ordinary business hotel, it was without a doubt, a first class hotel.
“……An interstellar communication?”
The front desk attendant on the phone said to him, he frowned slightly.
“Okay. I’ll accept the call.”
“Incoming transmission from Sword Breaker accepted.”
The front desk attendant’s voice soon faded.
The video phone on the wall started ringing, he looked at the screen and saw a static image of Kane’s face.
Seeing who it was, he unconsciously moaned.
A smile appeared on his face.
“Long time no see. Canal of Sword Breaker.”
As he envisioned the contrary, a picture of an adorable smiling girl appeared.
In the past he usually met her face to face with her, he always found it more difficult talking through a phone.
Rail quietly mumbled.
“Well, Kane is indisposed at the moment……anyway, about our commission fee, there’s something we need to talk about.”
“Didn’t Kane tell you?”
“He did say something, but he wasn’t entirely clear. He said he got caught up in a bar fight and you helped him out, and he accepted a job, right?”
“That’s the gist of it.”
“……Is there enough to charge him for a crime?”
“Well, he did send some people to the hospital.”
Rail answered calmly, Canal looked slightly worried.
Just then, Canal’s attitude changed. With a cheerful voice, she said:
“To put it bluntly, you used your relationship with the local police to get a criminal off scot-free.”
“Where are you going with this?”
“This is the truth! You intimidated and belittled a criminal to benefit yourself, this is unbecoming of an office of the interstellar police. These charges should be enough to get your dismissed, right?”
“You have no evidence!”
Rail’s face was full of panic, Canal smiled.
“But I’ll be willing to let this slide if you do be a favour.”
He knew he wouldn’t get out of this situation easily.
“What about our original commission fee and some hush money, that should be around 10,000 credits.” (Currency in space, the author stated that the ratio is 1:1000 when compared to Japanese Yen.)
“Alright, I’ll admit that Kane messed up, but you could us 5000 credits now.”
“That’s far too much!”
“I’ll give you 2000.”
Canal smiled, both of them nodded in agreement.
“Understood. 2000 credits it is. I’ll send you my account number, thank you for your patronage.”
A smiling blur was left on the screen, as the picture disappeared.
“——2000 credits……that’s nearly double the market rate……”
Rail said, while staring at the screen.
“We’re almost there.”
Kane returned to the control room just in time.
“5 minutes until arrival.”
Canal said in a cheerful voice.
Naturally, she mentioned the conversation she had with Rail.
“Route setting and system check is complete. Awaiting orders.”
“Alright, let’s get this part started! Onward, to Galactic coordinate 1-3-A, the solar system!”
“Aye aye, phase transfer system is starting up!”
The control was filled with a low-frequency vibration, the main display emitted a blue light. And then, the stars began to shine, and space started to distort.
For a moment, all the stars that were reflected on the screen started to fade away, this moment made Kane feel wonderful.
A dark blue picture reflected in his mind.
“We care currently in FTL. Proceeding without error. We’ll reach the target in 30 standard time.”
She spoke in a directing like voice.
Kane left his seat, and headed towards the door leading to the residential zone.
“Later, I’m off to have something to eat and then sleep.”
Canal said in surprise.
Kane’s face then went serious.
“Sleeping during the day is nothing but a man’s dream!”
“A man needs to keep his mind fresh!”
“If that’s the case then why don’t we play chess, I think level 2 should be enough.”
“Don’t do that……”
Kane openly frowned.
“I’m always concerned when I play chess, I know I’ll probably lose, do you secretly raise the difficulty be chance? Sometimes it suddenly gets harder.”
If she was a human, then surely cold sweat would be flowing down her forehead, but she was very calm.
“I don’t do that. The second half of a level 2 game is slightly harder than the first half.”
“……Really? Anyway, I’m off to have some food before getting some sleep.”
Canal watched him disappear behind the door, Meanwhile Kane thought——
(Wonderful……looks like she doesn’t think I know that she’s a cheat.”
Along with a low-frequency vibration, the main display went dark.
Then, the stars slowly started to appear.
“We’ve successfully entered normal space, the whole system is operating normally. Interstellar coordinates, we’ve arrived at the outer solar system.”
“This is……the birthplace of humanity.”
Canal interrupted him.
“The radar has picked something up. There’s two spacecraft at eleven o clock, they’re heading right for us.”
“Just give them the standard greeting.”
Kane said calmly, but Canal shook her head.
“……This seems strange, based on its registration and license it’s a transport vessel. However, there’s an unusually high energy reaction.”
“What’s going on?”
Said Kane, as he straightened his posture.
“Maybe it’s just transporting energy……”
“Highly unlikely, it’s most likely a combat ship.”
“Can you put it on the screen?”
“Putting it on screen.”
Canal said right away, as a two space ships side by side appeared on the screen.
“The first one looks like a frigate.”
It was obviously very far away, but the picture was very clear.
“A two hundred meter class frigate manufactured by Leclerc Corporation. Armament, very strong.”
The screen switched to the second ship. It was a four-hundred meter transport of the same class, but they couldn’t find this model in the database.
As she spoke, a foreboding feeling came over her.
“Should we investigate?”
Kane’s answer was a little ambiguous.
“The Leclerc Corporation is affiliated with Dugole Connection, I don’t think this is just a coincidence.”
Kane folded his arms.
“——Wait a minute, we’ve got a voice communication, patching it through.”
After a moment’s delay, a voice could be heard, it sounded cold.
“This is the frigate Uranus of the Leclerc Corporation. We wish you a safe voyage.”
The voice echoed throughout the room, Kane then opened a communications channel.
“——This is trouble-Contractor Kane Blueriver of Sword Breaker, I wish your vessel a safe journey.”
After the transmission had been sent, he closed communications.
“……What are you doing, Kane? We only have sixty seconds until they reach us……”
“……I’m not afraid of them.”
Kane whispered to himself.
“……Anyway, we both know this isn’t a casual greeting. Prepare to expand the barrier. Continuously monitor the frigate and the transport ship, put them on the screen too.”
“Understood. Preparing to expand the electromagnetic barrier——“
Kane interrupted Canal.
“Expand spirit (PSI) barrier.”
She was surprised for a moment, she could tell by looking at his face that he was thinking of something.
“——Understood. Ready to expand spirit barrier. Range of distance from the frigate is five seconds——“
Kane had been watching the screen. The frigate kept moving.
“We’ve entered within range of the frigate. It’s taken no action.”
Canal said, then sighed.
“This seems suspicious……”
“——We’re not done yet.”
Kane said suddenly.
“Maintain current status. From the very start I’ve had a bad feeling.”
“Understood. Ten seconds until the transport ship arrives.”
Kane kept staring at the screen.
At his point. The transport ship started to change.
Looking a flowing in full bloom, boom, the exterior of the transport was blown away.
Kane thought to himself, but he was wrong.
From the insides of the ship emerged ten large combat ships!
All of their guns swung around to target their ship.
(Damn it, they hid combat ships inside a transport ship.)
“Understood. Expanding barrier!”
As soon as Canal finished speaking ——
The ship shook as it was impacted by full gun salvo. Everyone monitors were full of bright white light.
“Target have been eliminated.”
After hearing the crews report, Captain of the Uranus smacked his lips and smiled.
Particle Cannons, missiles and rail guns. All of them hit the target at such a close distance. Regardless of how powerful their magnetic barriers are, they cannot resist.
“Hmm. Excellent work, though I didn’t expect it to be over so quick.”
He said with a sneer on his face.
“The enemy is still alive!”
Upon hearing the report, his smile disappeared.
On the screen, the light faded to the background of stars, Swordbreaker could clearly be seen.
“What! This can’t be!”
According to his understanding, nothing should have been able to withstand that attack.
“What……What do we do? Captain……?”
There was no way he could prevent the crew from panicking.
“Did we sustain any damage?”
Canal answered the question almost instantly.
“——We’re intact, no abnormalities……but ……]
“That attack was stronger than my shock absorbers could handle, a lot of the cutlery may have been smashed.”
“……Those bastards……what the hell! Have they no mercy!”
“Who knows……anyway, what next? Should we retaliate?”
Kane thought for a moment. He then saw the hostile ships preparing to run away.
“——They mustn’t be allowed to escape.”
“Understood. Lifting barriers! Increasing engine output!”
“Looks like they don’t want to get caught by the police!”
“Enemy fleet is turning, ready to give chase!”
Kane thought to himself for a moment, he had completely neglected the presence of the frigate!
“Shut off the engine! Expand spirit barrier!”
At the same time she said that, they could hear the ship being hit. It wasn’t just projectiles, but a spacecraft too, the electromagnetic barrier didn’t stop it, it was sinking through it.
This powerful defence force known as a spirit barrier also has its weaknesses.
When expanding the barrier to meet an oncoming attack, the engine cannot be used. Though the energy from the barrier can be used to move the ship a little.
“Canal! On my orders, eject the barrier particles from the YZ axis in any direction, then close the barrier! At the same time start give the engines all you’ve got, and commence Evasive maneuvers!”
“Understood! I hope you know what you’re doing!”
Kane remained silent for a moment.
Kane cried out.
The barrier around Sworbreaker disappeared, at the same time, the engine emitted a dazzling white light.
“The enemy fleet is shooting……”
Canal’s voice was interrupted by the sound of the hull being impacted.
“——We’re hit! Damage report?”
“Upper port side! A particle gun was graved by the attack! Minor damage!”
“Understood. Accelerate progress!”
The light from the universe started to turn into a blur, Swordbreaker continued to accelerate. The distance between them and the enemy fleet started to widen, although the shelling continued.
“The enemy is still in range……the shelling is continuing.”
“Don’t worry about them, onward to Mars.”
Sixteen hours later, they arrived at a port near Phobos, a satellite of Mars.
When they entered the port, the young male control operator on their display screen couldn’t hide his curiosity.
“All your paperwork is in order. ……What’s with all the marks on the hull? It looks like you were in a battle.”
Kane instantly muttered something.
“We were in the neighbour and got caught up in a fleet battle near Pluto! We were lucky.”
After a moment of brief silence, Canal calmly spoke.
“……It really is eye-catching!”
She said with a smile.
“Six months ago, in the Lubasi star field. The interstellar police and some organizations have a little dispute, remember?”
Canal tried to distract the control operator from looking at the screen.
“It was careless of you to get involved……you should contact your insurance company because we might need to do an investigation.”
“……Right……an insurance company!”
“Would you like us to repair the damage? We’ve got some premium plans.”
“Hey, Kane, is that alright?”
“……Also, you’ve only applied for one person heading to the surface of Mars. Mr. Kane Blueriver, is that right?”
“Yeah, I’m not going, I’m ship keeping.”
Canal winked at him.
The control operator’s serious expression disappeared, as he fell backwards.
“I don’t……I……I understand. If there’s anything you need, just contact the control room and ask for Thomas.”
Communications were then closed.
“That control operator……I think he’s interested in you.”
Kane said angrily.
“Obviously, it’s because of my appearance……but in this case, I really feel sorry for the guy.”
“Then why didn’t you do anything? There’s probably going to be an investigation now!”
“It’s alright……I’ll get them to categorize it under a theft report.”
“……It’s not like they stole anything.”
“The investigation will progress much smoother if we just do that.”
“Would you rather say that we were attacked over a personal grudge?”
Kane remained quiet.
“Anyway, be careful when you get planeside. Try not to get into any trouble, and make sure you take the appropriate weaponry with you. Take a communicator and a handkerchief too.”
“……What am I in, primary school?”
“Just hurry up and depart.”
He said as he raised one hand, he then left the control room.
Kane went through the residential area to get to the shuttle hatch.
He softly murmured, as he opened the hatch.
Aruba City, this was the first base built on Mars after it had been terraformed, now it has become a city.
Kane had just docked in the port.
Thud, thud, he heard this a couple of times.
“……Seems a little different.”
The gravity on the Swordbreaker was 1g——basically it was the same gravity as on Earth, in contrast to Mars which is only half of that. Suddenly Kane felt like he had lost half his weight.
The first thing he did was find a cheap hotel.
He locked the door to his room, he was ready for anything. Although he did bring a credit card with him, he thought it was better to bring a little cash. He also got a map from Canal.
His opponent is a dangerous organization, he couldn’t forget to bring a weapon.
Hidden in his hair was a thin strip, and a little box. Inside was a small metal tube about twenty centimetres.
A spirit (PSI) lightsabre.
It saps on the human spirit through the amplifier on his wrist, this results in energy being pushed out of the end of the metal cylinder.
It’s a great anti-personnel weapon but it does have its drawbacks. First of all, if your opponent has a gun it’s obviously a better weapon than a sword.
This is the biggest reason why the lightsabre isn’t a popular weapon——not to mention people don’t like that fact that lit saps on your mental energy.
Therefore, due to various reasons, the lightsabre is only use by in close quarters by military and by military enthusiasts.
Kane said as he checked his watch.
“First……I’ll check out the local bar. It’s still early.”
He took a seat at the hotel bar, he got sandwiched between two women, when he went to take a drink of his watered down wink, Kane finally remembered his original purpose.
(——Ah! Now isn’t the time to be drinking!)
“I hope you don’t mind if I ask a silly question, but do you know this guy?”
Kane deliberately spoke in a frivolous tone, he reached for one of his chest pockets, and pulled out a picture.
The guy looked around twenty years old, he had a grim look on his face, and his eyes glared at you from the picture.
“Yeah, this guy owes me 100 dollars.”
He showed the picture to both girls, to his right and to his left.
“He ran away from home after he couldn’t pay the debt.”
“……No, I don’t know him.”
“What a guy! Come on, let’s drink in peace.”
“Yeah, back off.”
Kane had just been triggered.
He left the store with three bottles of wine, two of which were empty.
“……Next……I’ll head to another bar.”
While Kane looked up at the dark sky, before entering into another bar.
“……Do you know this man?”
The fifty year old bartender looked at the picture as he cleaned some glasses.
“——Kid, are you some kind of student?”
His expression didn’t change one bit.
“No, but I’m not a local.”
Kane said, as he handed out some banknotes.
The bartender’s expression didn’t change, even when he took his money.
“That guy does come in here sometimes, where can I contact you if he does come in?”
Kane almost blurted out the name of his hotel.
It wasn’t clear whether the bartender was friend or foe. He couldn’t afford to tell him his place of residence.
“Sorry, I’m just passing through.”
Kane put his drink and a tip down on the table, he then stood up from the bar stool.
“At least tell me your name.”
Kane heard as he went towards the exit, he then stopped and turned around.
“Kane, Kane Blueriver.”
Then, Kane pushed open the bar’s door.
As he left, the door swung open for a moment.
Kane didn’t know this, but one of the bars patrons was watching him the entire time.
After he finished his drink, he ran over and used the phone.
The next night, Kane checked out another bar, it stank of alcohol and cigarettes, and so did its patrons. The music was loud and bombastic.
“I heard you were looking for someone.”
This place didn’t look very friendly, but then again these places were the best places to get information.
The man looked like he was in his mid-thirties. His face was bearded and he wore dark glasses. He was wearing a dirty coat, his hair was unkempt, this guy was anything but clean.
“……And you are?”
“Who I am is not important. But then again, I might be able to help you, if you’re willing to talk to your wallet.”
The man exposed a vulgar smile.
——He was an information broker.
“I’m looking for someone, this is my second day on the search.”
“Well, that’s quite the outfit. It makes you stand out.”
“Stand out? How so?”
Kane looked at the man in amazement.
“……Listen here……every day all kinds of shady characters walk around town, how am I any different?”
Kane said, he had an angry look on his face.
“That goes without saying, your walking around with a freaking cape——but then again, that shows that you have a wild personality.”
“Yeah. I’m a wild cat, okay? ……Come on, let’s head to the bar.”
“His name is Clay Roberts, do you know this man?”
After a moment of silence, the bearded man spoke.
“……Alright, 50 dollars.”
He didn’t want to pay the commission fee, it was too high.
“I’ll find him myself.”
Kane then turned to leave.
“……Hey, don’t do that.”
The man thought for a moment.
“What about forty?”
That’s still expensive.
“……I just can’t afford to spend that much.”
“Wait! We’ll settle at thirty!”
Kane ignored him.
“……That’s still too high……”
Kane said with a tired face.
“What about fifteen? Then we’ve got a deal!”
Kane stood still for a moment.
“I still don’t think it’s worth that much.”
Kane then pulled up his sleeves, and took out ten dollars.
“What! Ten dollars, you’ve got to be fucking kidding me!!”
The information broker cried.
“Fine. You’ve got yourself a deal.”
“Okay, where is he?”
“He usually wanders around this area, I’ll help you find him.”
The man took the bills from Kane’s hands.
“Come on, let’s get going.”
Kane and the man walked around for ten minutes.
The man then lead Kane down a small street, it seemed that the hustle and bustle of the city’s streets had disappeared. This place was somewhere normal people didn’t go, and even if they did enter, they probably wouldn’t leave alive.
“Ah……there’s another bar, maybe he drinks in there.”
The man didn’t even turn his head back, he just continued walking.
Kane didn’t ask any questions, he quietly followed the man.
“We’ll be there soon.”
They walked for a few more minutes.
In the dirty little road, the man stopped in his tracks.
In the distance, there was one operational street light among darkened buildings.
Kane looked around with a bored expression.
“……Is this it?”
“Yeah. This is it.”
A voice came from somewhere.
Several men came out of the shadows near the buildings.
Three in front of him, and three behind him.
The informant walked towards the three in front of them.
“……I can’t blame him, this is part of the job.”
Kane revealed a fearless smile.
“Oh, is that so?”
One of the three men in front of Kane said in a husky voice. He stood into the light, he was far taller than Kane.
“I was under the assumption that I would be getting the information I paid for.”
“You were foolish to come……you may act confident, but……”
The man tried to pull something out with his right hand.
“In that case——”
Before the man could finish, a bright white light cut into the night.
The blunt sound of a shot rang out.
Something fell onto the ground——it was a shiny black pistol.
Just as Kane saw the pistol fall onto the ground, all the muscles in his arm that was holding the lightsabre tensed up.
(Everyone will understand who I am, Kane!)
One of the men was aware what was happening, so he screamed.
But before the others realize the same, Kane had already sprang into action.
He chopped the second man’s wrist off, he fell onto the ground.
Kane then struck the other man in the gut and the back of his foot.
He fell to his knees, he couldn’t feel a thing anymore. The information broker watched in horror.
“I’ll let the rest of you guys go.”
“Sure…we won’t hold a grudge.”
Kane then carved a V-shape into the man’s chest.
Since Kane was used to heavier gravity, he did this action in a flash.
The three men behind him turned away in a panic.
But one of them turned around with a pistol, he wasn’t that far away.
Kane aligned his lightsabre in the man’s direction, he then thought of a dazzling bright light.
The light which was emitted shot through the man’s wrist.
“That guy has a laser gun!”
One of them shouted, then he ran away from Kane. The other two people followed after him.
“……You’re really unprofessional……leaving your comrade like that……”
Kane wasn’t prepared to run after them.
Kane turned around to the man who had his wrist cut, it wasn’t bleeding, but he was in severe pain.
He pressed down on his wrist, a dying man like him wouldn’t lie.
“I’m begging you……please, call a doctor……an ambulance.”
Kane sighed loudly.
“……Don’t worry. If you don’t want to die, then you’ll answer me question. Then maybe I’ll send you to the hospital.”
The man said, Kane sighed again.
“Answer me, why did you attack me?”
The man shook his head.
“I don’t know……I just do as I’m told, the guy you were with told us to get rid of you.”
“So that guy……”
Kane grabbed the man’s collar.
“Tell me! What else do you know?”
“You don’t know? Then I might as well cut your head off!”
“I’m serious! I just run errands!”
Kane said quietly.
“Why do they want to get rid of me?”
“I don’t know! They tell us to do errands and we do them! If we are ordered to kill a guy, we do it without question. If we ask any questions or refuse to do the job we’d be killed.”
Kane stared into the man’s eyes.
He saw a look of terror in his eyes.
(Even if that guy was selling information, it’s not like this one knows much about the organization he works for.)
No matter how many times Kane questioned him, he would never reveal a name.
Kane gave up.
“What else do you know? Anything about Dugole Connection will do.”
“I don’t know! ……A small fry like me never meets the big man!
“Okay. But one more thing……”
Kane said, as he let go of the information broker.
“That information costed ten dollars, give it back!”
End of Chapter 1