Volume 8, Chapter 32: Side Story: Ship upon the Stars, Part 1
By the time I was aware, I was in a strange place.
A white floor that felt like stone but looked like non-slip plastic.
Although the walls and the floor were all of the same texture, the ceiling shone faintly, its gentle glow lighting the surroundings.
…… why was I here?
Well…… I had found a way back to Atra from the other world, Tess, and I was crossing dimensional space with my abilities, but……… did I hit something?
Well, it seems like I’ve gone into a space I don’t quite know, but for now, I’m unhurt, and my clothes are intact, down to my usual black and silver dress, but I can’t see anything else, and I don’t know why I ended up popping out of my dimensional travel.
“…… is that all you have to say, Yurushia?”
As I looked down towards the source of the grumpy voice, I saw a beautiful dark-skinned twenty-something glaring at me from under me as I sat on top of him.
“Oh, Rinne. What a pleasant surprise.”
“…… You didn’t notice at all, did you?”
No, no, I realized about halfway through. It’s just that it’s much more comfortable sitting on those strong muscles than it is on the cold floor.
“Speaking of which, Rinne, doesn’t your voice seem younger?”
It’d gone from that moody old voice that I’d liked, to something that was a bit younger and calmer. This might be a good thing……
“When I look older, it’ll return. For now, please get off me.”
Rinne pulled himself up with only his abs, and then as he got up, he lifted me by the scruff of my neck, picking me up gently and then putting me back on my feet softly.
…… Rinne had been my cushion and protected me from my fall, so I wanted to soak in the atmosphere a little more.
“So. what do you think we’re in?”
“Let me see……”
No such luck for now. With Rinne, who has thousands of years of knowledge, not knowing, I feel somewhat in charge.
According to my attendants, there should have been no other [World] between where we were and Atra. Looking at the material, it seems to be a bit more advanced than that of Terra. The floors are quite narrow, too. Windowless space. And I could feel it moving slightly. So, if I had bumped into something, then……
Suddenly, I heard something that sounded like a stringed instrument, and then the door slid open, and several “humanoid” people rushed in.
They wore loose clothing that looked to be made of artificial fibers. The expressionless men, hidden by their goggles, pointed their toy-like guns at me, while I heard the voice of a young woman behind them.
“We mean you no harm. Would you please comply?”
She looked to be in her mid-twenties, and was quite the beauty, but looked completely like a cosplayer, with her bright blue hair and orange eyes that weren’t quite possible even with color contacts.
“Do they understand what I’m saying……? It’s a psychic translator, so if they can communicate, I should be able to talk to them……”
“Yes, I hear you.”
Is that why it sounded like noise at first? Well, maybe my own [Spiritual Language] translator interfered with it and mixed it up.
“Ah, that’s good. Even so, a girl and a cat?”
When I turned around to look, Rinne was no longer in his [Human Form] but had turned into his [Black Cat mode], and had climbed on top of my shoulder, whispering quietly in my ear.[(This form will be less suspicious. Play along.)]
“…… Is something wrong?”
“No. Just asking, but how did I get here?”
She had a slightly suspicious look on her face, and then smiled, mumbling.
“Would you like to move first? Welcome to our world. I am Sebra. I welcome contact with any aliens.”
The woman — Sebra led the way down the white corridors. There was a large window along the way, and I saw a river of stars and a city of pure white.
It’s not the sky. There was a city built upside-down in the sky, and I suppose it’s as expected.
I could see the river outside of the enormous window.
This was a colony spaceship and, apparently, I seem to have caused an accidental contact with this ship that was sailing in a different dimension.
* * *
The colony ship 00302 encountered a sapient intelligence for the first time 506 years after leaving the home star.
The ship housed 80 million humans and was travelling in search of a planet to settle.
Up until now, they had discovered multiple planets with life on them, but all of them had been abandoned as they’d determined that it would take thousands of years to terraform, thanks to their atmospheres and their environments.
Amongst them, there had been natives with their own cultures and languages, but they had not been recognized as sapient since their appearances and thought processes were too different from theirs.
One day, while they were in their bi-yearly long-distance jump, a dimensional quake happened aboard the ship.
Such accidents were rare, but not impossible. There had been cases where the ship had collided with foreign objects in the past, but this time, the guard had been mobilized for the first time in decades because they’d detected “life” in one of the warehouses of the ship.
Sebra, the security chief in charge of that block, was nervous.
Lifeforms that had gotten lost while navigating the dimensions…… Although it was unfair to them, they couldn’t help but imagine that the creatures were some sort of grotesque alien that would lay their eggs in humans, like in those classic movies.
But the ship’s main system, [Mother], had given Sebra an astounding command through psychic communication.
From the magnitude of the dimensional quake, the damage that had been done to the ship, and the magnitude of the mental waves it had observed, it had judged that these were sapient beings capable of dimensional navigation on their own, and had ordered her to “capture” them.
And furthermore, it seems that one of them was also likely to be humanoid, given its mental waves.
First contact with an intelligent alien lifeform.
And if they had come alone instead of on a ship, it was entirely possible that they were far beyond this civilization.
“…… It’ll be unpleasant if it was some sort of creature with long limbs, pale skin, and no hair.”
Her subordinates didn’t answer her attempt at a joke. They hadn’t been made to do so in the first place.
Sebra knew that, but made the joke anyway to calm her nerves, and then saw something completely astounding when she entered the warehouse.
A gorgeous dress that was made of silver thread embroidered upon black, the likes of which she had only seen in classics that were over a thousand years old.
A beautiful girl that caused Sebra, who had been genetically modified and had only ever seen beauties, to be stunned at her grace.
Beauty standards changed with culture and even age. And yet, why did she feel that this alien girl was so beautiful……?
Designer children had been banned hundreds of years ago, since the pursuit of beauty drained the person’s vitality. And yet, there was none of the unnaturalness that surrounded designer children, and Sebra, who had been stunned by her fascinating natural beauty, only managed to contact her after [Mother] helped to suppress her emotions.
A golden-haired girl and a black cat.
She was incredibly intelligent and responded with a smile as they quizzed and questioned her.
…… But even though smiling meant the same to the girl and herself, Sebra could not help but feel a chill on her back when she saw that smile.
* * *
I was finally released after they questioned us for an hour and did tests on me.
As I listened to Sebra’s story, it really felt like an SF novel, with this place being a spaceship.
I don’t think this was the future of Terra…… but I hadn’t been able to confirm anything since I hadn’t been allowed near an information terminal.
This ship was a colony ship with a population of about 80 million…… incredible. I didn’t know what their units of measurement were, but it felt as big as the UK.
“…… Yurushia, you sure are calm.”
Somehow, Sebra’s gaze hurt a little…… I’m too calm?! But, everyone on this ship was no different from normal people, and nobody seemed to feel threatened…… I wonder, was she suspicious because of my strange deceptive smile?
As I turned my eyes to Rinne in my lap, he curled up into a ball.
…… This rascally cat. Leaving me to deal with all the trouble.
For now, even though they were like space people, in their appearances, their ways of thought, and their expressions of emotion, they were no different from the “humans” I knew.
…… Well, now that I thought about it, humans weren’t much different on Terra, Atra, or even Tess, so if these other worlds were on another star, it might have been the same as aliens.
“Maybe, it’s because I’m a “Demon”?”
As I answered cheekily towards her, Sebra looked angry for an instant, but then broke out laughing.
“Ahahaha, Yuru, you sure are interesting. Gods and Demons and “religions” were things that were from a thousand years ago, Yuru sure must have studied them.”
Ah, I see now. I don’t know if Demons had been translated correctly, but it seems that here, religions were a thing of the past, like something you’d learn of in history class.
But without religion, what did they rely on when their hearts wavered?
Sebra, who was in front of me, looked normal…… but her men, who were watching me from a distance, didn’t seem to have any emotions I could sense at all.
…… Anyway, I’m being called “Yuru” here too, huh.
All of the meals on this ship, even after several days, was incredibly tasteless. But at least I finally got permission to go down into the city.
Far from being an object of worship, rice here was being made by machines, so it didn’t suit my palate. And Rinne has disappeared somewhere else today. …… If you’re going to get snacks, you should have invited me.
Although I had borrowed some casual clothing to blend in with them, when I went into the city, everyone’s attention was on me for some reason. I wonder if it’s my hair that’s conspicuous after all.
Oh? As the people watching me all turned expressionless for an instant, they all returned to work as if nothing had happened.
Is there some system in place to protect their spirits so that they didn’t need religion? I guess it’s okay unless it’s some sort of strange drug.
“What’s wrong, Yuru?”
Sebra noticed that I had found something strange.
“That child…… I think I’ve seen him before? But that hair color……”
“Ah, it’s a model 0247. It’s a cloned fertilizer body that’s been popular these past few years, so there are a lot of them in this regard.”
Clones…… But what did they mean fertilizer? Was it a normal human born of a cloned egg with similar appearance? And his soul was rather weak …… somewhat weaker than a normal human’s. But if I examined them closely, some of their spirits were clearly very thin.
For example, the shop vendors and the people like Sebra’s subordinates. …… It seems like something irreversible if I decide to interfere.
“Ah, but I’m not a copy clone like them. I was made from the biological data of the [Mother] of this ship.”
“I, I see.”
Don’t tell me. …… Sebra’s soul didn’t quite feel stable.
“Eh, what’s that?”
“Oh, it’s something like breaking news.”
As I stood surprised by the sudden sound, the river that flowed with stars turned into a screen, and the breaking news began to scroll.[When we launched our probe during our dimensional navigation, we found a planet that had an 87% chance of being a successful colony, and it will be our destination next.]
I heard the loud cheering from the city. I’m not sure, but is 87% very high? Does it represent a planet that resembles Terra? But……
“Yuru, it’s amazing! We can finally get to a planet where we can colonize by dimensional travel!”
Sebra was excited too.
“Hey, Sebra. …… What happens if there are natives there?”
“……what? Ah, right. If they are like us, a [Human type], then we’ll be able to collect their genes and life nucleus, and save ourselves a lot of trouble.”
“That’s right, it’ll be nice if we can harvest more than a hundred million of them, since they would die when we collect their life nucleus. Ah, it’s alright, because the collection is easy. The number is only because there’s only about a 0.0000419% chance. But we can increase it.”
“……oh. Are these genes so important?”
“They are. Because there are only 1291 sets of genes left over from our mother star.”
…… Isn’t the closest dimension from here…… [Atra]?
We will continue this with the next part.
Oh wow, this is a bit more suspenseful than I expected. I’m on the edge of my seat.
Doop de doo, yuru in space!