Chapter 29 – Hercules Star System Battle
July 3741 A.D.
After 987 years of human settlement in the Hercules system, a third power has emerged in succession, one that is neither the Herculeans who settled the system, nor the Coalition of Humanity that brought them into the system.
The calm lake of magic elements within the system surges violently, as if the surface of the water had been hit by torrential rain. Each of the Warships of the Monarchy of Diete becomes a huge drop of water, which is densely poured into three locations on the outer rim of the star system.
Tens of thousands of brilliant stars were born in the system, and they began to race through space like meteors.
[Attention, to the 8 fleets of the Central Command. All ships, immediately adopt fleet formation. Deploy an octagram in the sector 50 million km ahead of the flagship Raguel. Commence reconnaissance, consolidate information with friendly forces, and prepare to launch missile swarms.]
After receiving the signal from General Command to assemble the fleet, each ship used the powerful energy converted by the magic element engine as propulsion to push its huge body forward into the designated space.
Right-wing and left-wing forces also began to move at about the same time, and tens of thousands of lights gathered at three locations on the outer edge moved to an effective position to generate the maximum fire line while following the optimal course.
And then, a super massive fortress appeared like a shimmering flame, emitting a flash of blue-white light that could have been mistaken for a blue giant star, while producing almost no waves of magic elements…
“Fortress Kerviel, Warp Out complete. No abnormalities in any section. We will begin searching for enemies within a 320-million-kilometer radius of this fortress.”
The general staff reported to Hart, who nodded lightly before issuing an order.
“Commander Amakawa notifying all hands. Be on type 3 alert. If any enemy enters a radius of 320 million kilometers from this fortress, attack immediately. Report warp-out to the central, left and right forces. Send the coordinates of Fortress Kerviel and consolidate information with ally reconnaissance.”
“Copy that. Will send coordinates immediately and consolidate information.”
Philine muttered in a small voice beside Hart, as he was looking at the command center which had begun to move solemnly.
“I’ve been thinking about this for a while, but what’s going on with this fortress?”
When Hart heard the voice, he wondered if it was the difference between warps.
Other Monarchy ships emerge with a wave of magic elements appropriate to their hull.
In contrast, Fortress Kerviel can descend silently and not affect the magic elements of the cosmos, as if an apparition had materialized on the spot.
“I guess it’s the difference between the spirits. Seraphina is really good at what she does.”
When Hart praised his spirit, the praised Seraphina slightly narrowed her light purple eyes and raised the corners of her mouth with a satisfied smile.
Fortress Kerviel is an over-technology that combines Dr. Kerman’s technology to operate a huge magic element engine at maximum efficiency with Hart’s magic power, which has an inordinate level of output, and Seraphina’s insane support.
When the Fortress Kerviel goes into warp, the strong shield generated by Dr. Kerman’s technology and Hart’s magic will grant the fortress generous protection, enabling ultra-long distance leaps at once with high power output.
Then there was Seraphina’s support, as she usually leads the way through the spirit world with the ease of a guide when one would normally wander through the forest with a map and compass. When traversing the Spirit Forest under Seraphina’s guidance, it is possible to descend very quietly, without knocking down or trampling on the plants and trees.
Not only does she warp, but when she spies on the enemy, she will detect the reaction of both enemy and friendly magic engines in detail, as if detecting a foreign substance that has invaded the spirit world.
If compared to Hart’s maiden game “The Galactic Prince”, it would be similar to the magic power of Digitalis, who was the last boss, and the spirit crystal of Dr. Kerman who led it to the True End, teaming up.
This is the reason why Fortress Kerviel was able to break through 10 fleets in the Diros Defense, despite having a military evaluation of two or more fleets and less than three.
Fortress Kerviel, which descended into the system under the guidance of Seraphina, began to drift quietly through the sector 500 million kilometers from the Central Forces.
“We have received footage of the Hercules system from the advanced reconnaissance fleet. Projecting onto main screen.”
After the staff reported, the main screen of the fortress command center showed the red dwarf, the galaxy’s most common star.
Illuminated by a glowing red star, the giant planet Alcaeus emerges from the darkness.
Eight times the diameter of Earth, the giant planet has a fixed midpoint between day and night, and a supercontinent about 20 times the land area of the Earth. On the planet, a huge continent and the ocean could be seen.
The diversity of Alcaeus planetary environments will far surpass Earth in terms of scale and specific environment. If the planet Diros boasts a man-made utopia, the giant planet Alcaeus boasts the grandeur of the great universe.
Seeing the huge continent, Hart was suddenly curious about the undisclosed dwarf population.
“If the land area is 20 times that of Earth, the dwarves living underground might number about 100 billion people.”
Yuna tilted her head at Hart’s impressions.
“Diete has 39 billion people, 6 billion people on Earth, the current Coalition has 26 billion people and the Republic of Frodi has 16 billion. The uncalculated population is assumed at a few billion, and the interstellar nation of the Tenka Federation is about 20 billion people. There’s no way a single planet can have enough population to match all of that combined.”
To Yuna, who thinks it is impossible, Hart presents a possibility.
“The Herculeans immigrated nearly 1000 years ago. With 20 times more land than earth, the technology to make the underground of the planet a living space, sufficient air, water and food production technology, and about 1000 years of time. Since they are prolific in terms of race, the population will only increase. If 100 million people increase 1.5 times every 30 years…”
Hart did the math on his terminal, and after 990 years, the result was 28.7627 trillion people.
Then he pretended he hadn’t seen the number.
“We’re not going to conquer the planet, so I think it’ll be alright.”
Yuna gave her seal of approval with a smile, but Hart could not imagine what his fiancée was thinking behind that smile.
“I guess so.”
Hart also understood the dangers of descending to the giant planet Alcaeus and fighting with the dwarves.
The reason why the Coalition of Humanity, which controls the Hercules system, has not completely conquered the Herculeans, who maintain an attitude of extreme disobedience, is that conquest is probably impossible as a practical matter.
However, since the Herculeans have few high-magic power holders and cannot operate warships that use magic engines, they are considered to be a low level threat. Even if the planet is conquered, the battle ends once a celestial body is dropped from space.
One of the reasons Herculeans do not have high-magic power holders is due to humanity’s immigration to the Diete system in rapid succession after immigrating to the Hercules system, so the high-magic power holders who immigrated to the Hercules System moved on to the Diete system instead of staying behind.
The high-gravity planet, where the migration had just taken place, was less attractive to retain those with high magic power. On a planet where everyone was suffering, it was not possible to implement a policy that gives special preferential treatment to high-magic powered people.
At that time, the treatment of the high magic power holders came in three ways.
The Coalition of Humanity treated them differently on a nation by nation basis. Some countries paid them high salaries, others treated them as civil servants, and some left it to other countries to have their own country’s high magic power holders work away from home.
The Diete government considered high magic power holders as indispensable for space advancement, and welcomed them with open arms.
The Hercules government treated them like any other immigrants, and gave high magic power holders a hard time.
The result would have been a one-man victory for the Diete government, which succeeded in gaining independence from Earth. However, the Coalition switched to mandatory state control of their magic power holders after the Diete War of Independence.
For these reasons, Herculeans had few descendants of high-magic power holders from the start, and it is believed that the blood faded and was cut off except for the ancestral revivals. Therefore, as long as the moon Cades is secured and pressure is applied from outer space, the dwarves are not considered a threat.
The Coalition forces, who are currently holding the Dwarves’ leaders in check, launched a fleet from the moon Cades to form a formation in a sector about 4 billion kilometers from the star, and lined up their artillery against the invading Monarchy forces.
Hart’s staff reports the consolidated results of radar observations from each fleet.
“The Coalition forces consist of 16 fleets and 6 fortresses. The difference in strength based on the amount of conversion energy of the magic engine is 100 to 70 in favor of the Monarchy side, excluding this transport convoy. The current enemy formation is in the sector about 4 billion kilometers from the star Hercules. They appear to be using the outer rim of the star system in front of the fleet as a shield.”
“16 fleets and 6 fortresses, that’s more than when they attacked the Diete system.”
Hart thought it was a moderate number, but they had prior information on the invasion so he believed that the number of enemies was small even if they had invaded the country. There are 25 billion people living in the four star systems behind them, and since the foothold for the invasion of each system would be attacked, he thought they would muster more forces.
In the Hercules star system, magic elements swirl within 4 billion kilometers of the star.
Within this range, warping through high-dimensional space using magic elements is impossible, so it is unlikely that they will suddenly appear from behind. In the vortex of magic elements present in the star system, the enemy can only deploy in the front, so it is not a bad position for a defensive battle.
The Coalition forces were in just such a formation.
Hart checked with the staff to confirm the instructions from General Command.
“Are there any orders for us, the convoy?”
“Orders from General Command. The commander-in-chief has ordered us to [Refrain from participating in combat and remain in the safe sector].”
As with the Generals’ meeting, Fortress Kerviel was repeatedly ordered not to participate.
Hart nodded and returned the instructions to the staff.
“Send a message to General Command, the order is accepted.”
“Copy that, replying order acceptance to General Command.”
The Royal Army and Coalition forces have a military evaluation of 75,691 vs. 52,790 units in terms of royal destroyers. This is calculated as 100 to 70. The Monarchy has more than seven fleets in its favor.
In a head-on fight with 10 to 7, a 2 on 1 battle will occur somewhere on the battlefield and it will be settled, and the two free units will join the next battlefield and repeat the process, gaining the upper hand at an accelerated rate.
In this situation, victory is possible even if Fortress Kerviel does not participate.
If Fortress Kerviel does not participate, the sacrifices will increase, but if the Generals informed him by name that politics is the priority, then there is nothing that Major General Hart can do about it.
“Then, in accordance with the orders of General Command, this fortress will refrain from participating in combat, move to the safe sector, and stand by until further notice.”
“Understood. What are the coordinates?”
To confirm, Hart pointed his right index finger to the upper right corner.
“Three mobile fortresses are in play, but the left-wing forces is a regular army, while the right are troops under the conscripted aristocrat, Lord Laurent, Duke of Mauriac. As a precaution, we will standby at the zenith, midway between the central and right-wing forces.”
“Understood. Contacting General Command and Fleet Commander Rendano.”
Eventually, Hart’s fortress began to take a long detour around to the rear.
Meanwhile, the Monarchy Expeditionary Force, which arranged the line of ships, advanced toward the outer rim of the star system, spreading its wings.
A considerable number of conventional weapons that cannot be detected by Multidimensional Magic Conversion Observation Waves are deployed in the star system. But most of the weapons can be blown away with fusion rounds.
Conventional weapons without a magic engine will require a large amount of propellant to return to the battlefield if blown away, and even if they do return, there will be a time lag and the barrage will be thinner.
The Royal Army began with a common sense response, and on the main screen of Fortress Kerviel Command Center, which reflected the front lines, the intense flashes of fusion rounds began to shine in countless numbers.
While the screen’s light level is automatically adjusted, the next group of missiles that crossed thousands of giant photospheres blew away the celestial bodies further ahead.
The uninterrupted missile barrage has finally begun clashing with the Coalition’s counter-missiles.
In the intense flash that exploded at the midpoint of both forces, a single mass-wave agglomeration artillery fire was blended in.
“Irradiation towards enemy fleet detected, Sir.”
The laser bombardment reported by the staff was fired from a fortified ship of the Monarchy’s right-wing army.
The distance between the right-wing forces and the enemy frontline displayed in the fortress command center is about 150 million kilometers. That is eight light minutes away.
At such a distance, whether the objective is destroying enemy missiles or targeting moving enemy ships, it is basically impossible to hit the target. In addition, the magic engine is fully operational and the enemy is informed of the ship’s coordinates and type, so there is a risk of being targeted preferentially from an enemy fortress.
If other reasons than the destruction of missiles and enemies are considered, you can think of observation shoots, intimidation of the enemy, boosting morale of allies, and so on.
The laser bombardment that Hart paid attention to went on to obliterate the celestial bodies, piercing through the cosmos without hitting the enemy, and then disappearing.
“I wouldn’t say it’s completely pointless, but someone among the conscript aristocracy must have fired it without much thought.”
Hart made a harsh assessment that the only saving grace was not having to worry about energy consumption.
The energy lasers employed as the main gun of a warship is used by converting dark energy, which accounts for 68.3% of the total mass of the universe. Because it uses the magic elements that exists in any part of the universe, it does not require replenishment and can be shot semi-permanently unless it is shot too many times.
However, the range of the energy laser is limited.
This is because while it is irradiated and travels through space, it comes into contact with the dark energy in space, which cancels out and attenuates it.
In the case of a magic engine that powers a light cruiser with a total length of 2,100 meters, the reach is about 21 million kilometers. However, the enemy ship’s shield cannot be brought down because the energy is close to 0 when it reaches the target.
The effective range against enemy destroyers is about 9 million kilometers and 30 light seconds.
At 9 million kilometers, 1200 energy will remain when the attack on the enemy destroyer hits. There is a possibility that the shield’s defense energy of 1200 generated by a destroyer with a total length of 1200 meters can be surpassed.
Up to about 320 million kilometers would be within range if the Coalition’s mobile fortress were redirected for an attack. Therefore, Fortress Kerviel searched within 320 million kilometers when it reached the star system, and prioritized the elimination of enemies within that range.
A mobile fortress main gun can break through a Cruiser’s shield or lower within 250 million kilometers. However, it is extremely difficult to hit a warship that is in combat maneuvers from 14 light minutes away.
The relative distance of the two forces was 150 million kilometers, which was reduced in about two hours of missile exchanges.
Eventually, both warship fleets, which had reached the effective warship range, fired arrows of light from the main gun.
The light arrows that illuminated the darkness of the universe increased at an accelerated rate and pierced the shields of light held up by both warships.
The attack breaks the shield of the enemy ship, pierces through the armor of the ship, shorting out energy transmission circuits, and causing a large explosion. The staff reports the situation verbally to Hart who silently watches the scene.
“The two fleets engaged using the main guns. In the Vanguard units, many ships dropped!”
The burst of the magic elements became a huge shock wave and blew through the sector.
Each ship, swayed up, down, left, and right like a small boat floating in the ocean, immediately realigned and pulled back the bow and arrow of the counterattack.
The two wings of the Monarchy’s forces, outnumbered, and are spreading out side to side, trying to contain the Coalition side in a semicircle. The Coalition forces were also spreading their wings, retreating into the star system.
As long as the Coalition forces continue to fall back at the same pace as the Royal Army’s advance speed, the Monarchy cannot contain the Coalition into a semicircle.
The two forces were advancing inside the system at 100 million kilometers per hour, and the staff told Hart that they would reach the moon Cades in about 37 hours at this rate.
Cades, the moon of the giant planet Alcaeus, is a massive natural celestial body 38 times larger than Fortress Kerviel, and it is estimated that the military base of the Coalition of Humanity there is also considerable.
The Monarchy Army, which wants to reuse the moon Cades, does not plan to completely destroy it by crashing with massive celestial bodies. It was predicted that the final battlefield of the Heracles Battle would be the space around the moon Cades, as it had to be controlled.
“ETA 37 hours. Fortress Kerviel will remain in the current sector, following General Command’s waiting orders. All hands, revert to type3 alert and take breaks in two shifts.”
At Hart’s direction, the staff gave instructions to the fortress personnel. Then Yuna asked.
“Hart, what should we do about our break?”
Only the four in Hart’s group can operate the Magic Element Engine in Fortress Kerviel. It is the same as it was when Dr. Kerman had made adjustments for four people, and they cannot tinker with it easily due to technical problems.
Only Hart can warp the fortress, but Yuna and other Operation Assistants can operate the secondary armament, partial shields, and other fortress operators can search for the enemy.
In situations such as a Capital planet defense, everyone must stay awake while using medication to maintain the power output of the magic engine at all times. However, under the present circumstances, there was no need for everyone to operate the magic engine.
“Let’s have two shifts, too. Group 1 is me, group 2 are Yuna, Philine, and Colette. How about a 12-hour shift from the time of the date change?”
Hart has 97,400 magic power value, including an A-class spirit crystal.
Yuna and her group combined three B-class spirit crystals to make 81,601.
Considering the total amount of magic power, there is no other choice.
As the three agreed, Hart decided to take a break first, judging that the situation would not change for at least 12 hours. He also informs the Staff to assemble an output plan for the magic engine in line with the shift change of Hart and his group.
After the instructions, Hart looked at the battle situation projected on the screen.
In the Hercules system, three walls created by the Monarchy and the Coalition were facing each other and moving in parallel toward the star.
The uneven parts of the wall are shaved off to create a beautiful flat plane.
The two wings of the Monarchy’s army are steadily moving away from each other, perhaps unable to give up on the original semi-encirclement concept. On the other hand, the Coalition forces also extended both wings, and both sides were divided into three battlefields with three armies each.
The command center also has a downed to shot-down ratio between the two forces, and the numbers of dropped ships of both forces are almost the same, and the Monarchy side, which has a larger number, is dominant.
Suppose that the strength is 100 Monarchy vs. 70 Coalitions, and 40 damages are caused to each other.
In that case, the remaining strength is 60 to 30.
For the Monarchy, the number of enemies, which was 70% at first, has been halved. If the fighting continues as is, the final result will be 30 to 0. The fewer their number, the more disadvantageous it will be for the Coalition, so it will be difficult to keep the losses at equal numbers.
Analysis shows that the Coalition forces are currently trying to draw them into the moon Cades, using a number of missile launch facilities deployed in the star system to block the Monarchy’s forces.
The battle situation did not change significantly, and soon the date changed.
“I’ll go ahead and rest first.”
“Good night. Sweet dreams.”
Hart was seen off by a smiling Yuna and retired into his large room inside the fortress.
Having a good dream was unlikely. Before lavishly soaking in the bathtub, taking sleeping pills to fall asleep, Hart thought about the battle.
Hundreds of people die each time a friendly ship within range creates a flash of light.
Two years ago, Hart was maneuvering a destroyer during a space flight drill.
When one destroyer is dropped, 150 humans die. For a light cruiser, the death toll would double to 300, and a cruiser quadruple to 600.
If Fortress Kerviel and the convoy were to join the battle, the strength rating would be 100 to 60. Thousands of friendly ships would not be dropped, and the death toll would be decreased by a million.
This was the second time that Dietes had been sacrificed so the Crown Prince could take credit. The battle of the Capital planet defense, and now this battle. In between, he has been wearing down the fleet in a futile war of attrition between the Solar System and the Loki System. At this rate, there will be a third or a fourth time.
Valfrete’s advice passed through Hart’s mind.
‘When someone is in a critical situation on the battlefield, think about whether saving their life will benefit the Monarchy. If the Monarchy is defeated, you and your fiancée will be in dire straits. Don’t make a mistake about what’s important.’
Hart lay down on the bed, closed his eyes, and called out to the spirit that was magically connected to him.
“Seraphina. Is there more than one fleet of Coalition forces around the Hercules system and around the star system other than the front?”
“Please wait a moment.”
After about 10 minutes of silence, Seraphina eventually appeared beside Hart and said with a smile.
“12 Coalition mobile fortresses. There are a lot of fleets embedded within, and they are jumping a very long distance from behind. There are royal people among them, and they have spirits with them, so they know everything.”
Seraphina transmitted the message by magic, and the scene of the enemy circumvention was projected on Hart’s retina.
The friendly mobile fortresses and large ships with a wide search range have already entered the Hercules system. All of them are swallowed up by a vortex of magic elements, and there is no possibility of noticing the enemies advancing on a detour.
Reconnaissance ships are stationed around the system, but their magic engines are small and the search range is narrow. On the other hand, the only enemies that bypass the system are mobile fortresses with large magic engines that can jump long distances, so unless Fortress Kerviel investigates, they will not be caught by the Monarchy’s search network.
After hesitating for about 30 seconds, Hart asked Seraphina.
“Ask the Spirits of Fortress Kerviel not to report the Coalition forces coming from behind. It is the Crown Prince’s fault that planet Diros, home to Dr. Kerman and the spirit god, was attacked. And the Prince will continue to waste his lives of spirit crystal wearers in vain. So I would like the Prince to leave now. Don’t tell the humans about this.”
When asked, Seraphina did not answer immediately, but tilted her head several times, then smiled and said.
“We have come to a conclusion. The answer is approval.”
Hart nodded, and closed his eyes, letting the effects of the sleeping pills take over.
A good dream was very unlikely.