“… so where are we now?” Ner asked. It’s been several days since they had departed from the planet and they had spent most of their times channeling mana into the energy reserves of the ship. With their lack of sustenance, it was tedious besides doing this they had spent their time sleeping to conserve their energy.
The standard rations that have been long used up. All Luon had are energy pills in case of an emergency such as Inzektors or raiders that were ever present. The world outside the ship was like an endless journey in the darkness, but today things had changed.
“I’m not sure, but maybe this is better than nothing. We might be able to get out of the situation like this,” Luon replied. They discovered the scattered remnants of what seems to be broken ship remains. It wasn’t just one ship. It was a graveyard full of them. One could see the traces of harsh battle that had taken place ages ago, by estimate, Luon suspected that at least 20 or so ships had fallen here.
Luon didn’t like the idea of disrespecting the dead, but they needed resources more than ever. He eyed a floating corpse as they passed by, floating in the endless space was probably the worse way to lay down the dead. Unlike being buried to the ground floating in space was less private.
Ner looked at what Luon had seen, and after pondering for a second, he asked, “Are we… resorting to cannibalism?”
Luon gave Ner a stern look as he said, “Help me look for something useful. Intraspatial bags or containers, energy sources, maybe even a map.”
“Okay, I was asking based on what I know, most beings would resort to such an act in desperation. Goblins do it all the time as do other races.” Ner pointed out.
“I’d rather not lose my humanity now, and I don’t want to consider the option. Let’s begin the search. I got only one suit for one of us to explore with. The other will have to stay on the ship and command the robots to help out after I find some energy cores to charge them with.”
“Great, so I’ll be stuck here to observe you do work until you find something useful. Don’t mind me. I’ll wait here for you.” Ner nodded as he shooed Luon away.
With that being said Luon got to work away. He pulled out a suit attached with an oxygen source and left to scavenge some goods.
One ship, two ships, three ships, four, it wasn’t until he found a body did he find everything he needed.
On the body of a random person who didn’t appear to be outfitted for space, Luon found an intraspatial ring containing a few weeks worth of food and some energy cores.
Looking at the profile of the body Luon suspected this person was the engineer for the ship, and he unfortunately died as he worked to repair the ship, that is until the ship fell to the hands of their attacker.
Luon headed back to the ship, and what awaited him there was Ner who was sleeping while he was out. Luon felt the urge to kick him awake but held his composure as he started to make a meal of what he had just scavenged.
When the aroma filled the ship, Ner woke up and just before the two could scarf down some soup that Luon had made, Ner asked, “So did you resort to cannibalism? What kind of meat is this?”
“It’s beef, hurry up and eat. We’ll be staying around here for a day or two to see if there is anything more useful.”
“Minotaurs and pig men count as humanoids as well from I last recalled.”
“Even Minotaurs treat cows the same way as other humans do, only they do it with more respect and treat them religiously.”
Ner nodded with understanding, and the conversation died there. For the next few days, they found a few more sources of food and energy, enough to arrive at an allied planet if they headed in the right direction that is. They also had found the affiliation of the ships. It appears to Luon that these were old relics back when intraspatial travel had only appeared for a few centuries. Even then it would only be a few hundred years back.
One of the thing’s Luon was looking forward to finding was a map or a travel log. It was probably the most valuable thing if he could find it.
Despite their short moment of happiness, their situation didn’t change one bit. That is if they were the only ones in the area.
“We got movement. Looks like some scavengers looking into the remains of the ship,” Ner told Luon as he observed through the display that one of their deployed robots.
“What’s the likelihood that they are from the Alliance?” Luon asked.
“What’s the likelihood that they aren’t? Of course, they are from the Alliance, but laws and regulations have no meaning in a zone like this. They could kill us off or sell us to become slaves. Unlike you who looks like a regular person, I’m blue, very unique, and probably sell a lot more than what you would. So what’s the plan?”
“… recall the robots without them knowing and cut off the ships energy supply. We’ll pretend to be dead for now and let them easily invade the ship to subdue and question them.”
“That is if they find us and not decide to go back…” Ner added on to Luon’s remark.
“In that case, we’ll just follow them until I get a good connection on my BMPU.”
The ship went dead just as planned, as expected a few of the raiders had found the intact ship and carelessly let themselves inside.
“Wow to think we’ll find a ship like this in a dead field like this, heck there’s even oxygen inside.” A raspy voice echoed inside of the ship. From his way of speech Luon suspected this person to be a beastmen of some kind, the unfortunate part would be when he starts sniffing them out.
“I don’t think this is normal, rather I feel like this a trap,” one of the men pointed out.
“No one’s here, don’t worry about it. Hahaha, what a scared brat this newcomer is.”
As the intruders begun to removed their helmets, Ner and Luon made their move. Within seconds most of the raiders had fallen unconscious while one was taken in for questioning.
Their opponents were weak, unlike the deadly fight with Inzektors these men were as strong as a regular soldier. To Luon and Ner who can handle level 80 combatants, level 40 ones were no match at all.
The last remaining person pleaded for his safety and spilled as much information as possible. His timid personality made Luon second think about killing his intruders as well as their background.
“A scavenging superpower. Back then they weren’t known as such.” Ner commented.
“Really? But I heard that they had joined the Alliance ages ago.”
Ner shook his head, “It was probably after the planet we were on fell to the hands of the Inzektors. Back then they were just a bunch of misfits. I’m pretty sure their leader made a popular phrase amongst their kind.”
“Ah! I know what it is! Our Alpha Hideout common phrase is: another man’s trash is another man’s treasure!” said the prisoner.
“No that’s probably what you kids nowadays were coining in the slang and changing the original context. I’m pretty sure it’s: everything is useful.”
“Sounds pretty normal to me. If I had to say something about Alpha Hideout, then I think the phrase: Dumb scums scavenge for crumbs in the slums,” Luon added on.
“You’re just trying to rhyme.”Ner looked down on Luon as did the prisoner.
With a light cough, Luon swiftly changed the topic. “Anyways, your our prisoners now. Tell the other ships to stop targeting us and escort us back to Alpha Hideout.”
When their systems were back online after subduing their opponents their ship had been locked down by several others. The prisoner who didn’t want to die yet opened up the communications channel and the two ships made arrangements to travel back to Alpha Hideout.
Some of the other scavengers displayed their displeasure to the decision as they had yet to explore every ship, but their leader had suspected that their new foes had already cleaned the entire graveyard.
With the guidance of the scavengers, Luon and Ner arrived at Alpha Hideout after a week’s worth of travel.
“Finally back home, I was so tired of meat soup.”
“Meat soup everyday? How can one survive like this?”
“Hurry up and untie us. I can’t believe that I had to ask to be spoon fed and aided by robots.”
“This treatment is discriminatory. How come Bragur’s not tied up?”
The other prisoners had long awoken and spent their days continually complaining. Bragur was the name of the human that they had questioned. For the past week, he opened up to the powerful Ner and Luon and complimented them the entire trip. Both of them felt that the kid was easy to deal with and subdue and found that restricting him was meaningless. That and they didn’t want to a waste a good rope on him.
“Do you think that they would let us in like this?” Ner asked.
“They have to. They are part of the Alliance after all.”
“Yes, yes, yes. Even if we are the bane of the Alliance, we won’t do things like killing aimlessly for goods. Inzektors are more of a problem than other humanoids. We were all taught this in school.”
“How many students are in Alpha Hideout?” Luon grew curious. From Bragur, Luon learned that the entire population of Alpha Hideout are students to their battle academy. In the first place, they didn’t have that much a population. Their numbers were less than a hundred thousands despite claiming a small solar system.
Not only that but their main headquarters was a space colony that was in the center of their solar system.
The scale of the space colony was massive but very disjointed. There was no reasoning to the design of the place. If this were built on the surface of a planet, it wouldn’t be surprising to find it emitting large quantities of carbon emissions.
Luon questioned whether or not the place was built right, according to Bragur, even though there was oxygen inside, it was safer to wear a suit in case of emergencies.
The array of ships safely docked into the station. Waiting outside was a party of civilians with various banners with the words: “Welcome back!” “The first expedition of a newly appointed scavenger captain.” “Awaiting for riches, good pirates always come back with loot.”
However, to the crowd’s disappointment, Luon and Ner came out with the bunch of people from Alpha Hideout in tow. Tied together by a rope they looked like slaves with the warden being Bragur who led them.
“I think we should wait here for a bit and let these guys go now. Don’t worry about whether or not Alpha Hideout will do anything against you guys. There is no point of having prisoners for now.”
Although Luon was suspicious, seeing the disappointed crowd of people with banners Luon couldn’t help but feel a tad guilty. He let the prisoners leave as is, worst-case scenario they could always grab a civilian as a hostage.
An envoy eventually arrived, in the lead was the captain of the expedition and the local embassies from the Alliance.
Luon requested for an escort back to the Nexus solar system, but the ambassador denied the request.
“It’s not that don’t want to help you back. It’s just that we don’t have the resources and manpower here to do so. Alpha Hideout doesn’t have any fleet ships with a warp engine. If you wanted to arrive at the fastest speed possible, you should take one of Alpha Hideout cruisers and head to Dragon City to ask to be warped there.”
“How long does it take to get to Nexus from here?”
“With a cruiser, it should take two months to Dragon City, but to the Nexus solar system you’re looking at a good half a year.”
“Did anything happen to the Nexus solar system recently? I still have no connection on my BMPU.”
“In Alpha Hideout we have net cafes where you can connect to the internet the old fashion way. The BMPU are more reliant on the connection to the Alliance sources. If you travel to Dragon City, you should have it back in a month on a cruiser. As for any news just some normal stuff, idols, war propaganda, if there were anything notable, it would be that a prisoner who killed his comrade in the war died mysteriously in prison. Well, a lot of things could happen.”
“Thanks for the info, how can I get one of those cruisers? Do I use Galaxia coins?”
The ambassador shook his head as he said, “Coins are just digital currency to buy the most common goods here. For ships like that you need something more.”
“Get to the point. What do we need?” Ner who had been quiet the whole time asked.
The ambassador looked at the fully armoured black knight and found nothing special about him. He replied, “You need to obtain respect, odd jobs, quests, missions, and trading resources. Only then would someone be willing to lend a cruiser over, let alone some parts. There isn’t that many of them after all. Production of commodities is rather low amongst thieves you know.”
Luon nodded in understanding. Alpha Hideout wasn’t known for producing products. People would be more reluctant to depart with goods especially to foreigners like him. The man led them outside of embassy building, the inside was a clean interior but when Luon at the cityscape of Alpha Hideout all he saw was madness.
“It’s an awe-inspiring sight. It’s a little late now, but welcome to Alpha Hideout.”
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