The Mech Touch Chapter 1006
1004 Family Business
Due to the threats on his life and concerns about his recovery, Calsie and Ketis couldn't stay for long. They said goodbye shortly after and brought Lucky away as well.
Ves had mixed feelings seeing Lucky being brought away. Several times during the meeting, he continually wrestled with the temptation of accessing the System. It truly pained him to see it go out of reach like a drug addicts seeing his next fix taken away from him. In fact, the yearning he felt right now was so strong that he became aware of how unhealthy it was to fixate on the System!
"I'm not addicted!"
He shouldn't have lost his composure like that. Even though the System helped him out a lot, he was also painfully aware of its contentious past. Whether the fabled Metal Scroll truly existed or not, Ves did not want to become a convert to the beliefs of the Five Scrolls Compact and begin to worship the System as a god.
"I feel like I need some perspective."
Spending years without the System opened up his eyes to the life of normal mech designers. It was hard for them to improve themselves, but their experiences during their struggles shaped their design philosophy and strengthened their mentality.
Something obtained from his own efforts was much more rewarding than redeeming something from the System!
Ves predicted if he continued to use the System as his personal shopping mall, he would have eventually grown so dependent on its conveniences that he would have completely lost the heart to struggle.
Without a will to fight and improve against all odds, how could Ves ever hope to make the jump from Senior to Master? As omnipotent as the System appeared, the only knowledge it offered was settled science and insights that already existed.
If Ves advanced to Senior purely by the System's merit, he would have lacked the crucial practice and experience in improving himself and seeking out new innovations. How could such a lame an inauthentic Senior Mech Designer ever hope to develop his design philosophy into completely uncharted territory?
Therefore, Ves shouldn't be so hungry to make use of the System again! At best, he should regard it as a supplement to accelerate his mech design career. The entire way he approached the System previously needed to be completely changed.
His ultimate goal was to enable him to advance to Master on his own strength!
His other goal was to become less dependent on the System!
Therefore, instead of improving himself directly with the use of the System, he would rather gain the foundation that allowed him to improve through his own effort.
"Well, all of this is a consideration for the future. For now, there's no point thinking too far ahead." He muttered.
Now that the System fell firmly out of his reach, he stopped thinking about it and turned his attention to his immediate future. What would happen after the military hospital finished their treatments?
As nurses dropped by to feed him or attend to his needs, he kept asking them, only to receive an empty answer.
"I'm just a nurse, Mr. Larkinson. Someone else will decide on your next assignment."
These nurses truly knew nothing, so Ves stopped bothering them on this question. He actually felt a little discomfited at the lack of information flowing his direction. He could truly use a little clarity right now, but it appeared that the Mech Corps didn't bother with him during his month-long recovery period.
So Ves pretty much treated his stay at the hospital as a safe and uneventful reprieve from the war.
Two weeks after his first admittance, Ves recovered well enough to be able to exit his hospital room. Each day, his guards would lift him onto a hover chair and brought him outside his stuffy hospital room to get some fresh air and interact with the other patients.
He met plenty of recovering servicemen during these daily airing sessions. Some of them looked like important people and would always be accompanied by a pair of guards. Others turned out to be regular people who for some reason or another had been lucky enough to obtain their treatment at this premier facility.
Talking with these injured soldiers spiced up his days, and Ves always enjoyed chatting with them even if neither of them talked too much about their experiences.
To many of them, this recovery period offered them a much-needed vacation from the fighting! Therefore, they would rather talk about the latest matches of the mech games than how the fighting progressed at the frontlines.
It kind of felt like being back at the Larkinson Compound to Ves.
Aside from these idle interactions, the Mech Corps had been generous enough to loosen their visitor policy for him. This simple measure assured Ves somewhat that they still valued him to an extent.
Though her duties kept her very busy, Captain Melinda Larkinson tried to visit as often as she could.
Out at the rooftop courtyard of the main hospital building, Ves idly stared out at Dorum's cityscape. Melinda found him there and walked over to the side of his hover chair.
"Aren't you afraid someone will hack your chair and force it to fly over the ledge?"
"This chair is powerful enough to remain afloat. Even if it fails, I can still make use of an emergency antigrav module to stall or slow down my fall."
Besides, the guards standing behind his back would do their best to catch him in the air as well.
"Still, for someone who recently survived an assassination attempt, it's awfully reckless of you to tempt fate."
"You're right." Ves shrugged. "I'm just a bit too bored here. Let's go inside."
He commanded his hover chair to turn around and return to his hospital room.
Along the way, Melinda told him the reason of her visit today.
"I didn't come here just to check up on you. I'm here on behalf of the Larkinson Family."
"Family business, huh?" Ves muttered. "Did grandpa send you?"
"Yep. First, he told me to inform you that the family has been exerting their influence on your behalf. They managed to have some say in your next assignment. If everything falls into place, you'll probably be pulled out of Bentheim but won't be sent anywhere dangerous. It's not that hard to convince our allies that you've more than done your duty. The scandal at the KNG exposed similar kinds of rot in subsequent investigations in several other companies."
"Oh?" Ves raised his eyebrows. This was news to him. "They didn't mention any of that in the media."
"The Mech Corps doesn't want the news to spread around. Even the names of the companies involved is a secret. If all of their dirty laundry became exposed all at once, it would severely damage the public's confidence in the Mech Corps and our local mech industry."
"Shouldn't you keep your mouth shut in front of me if that's the case?"
"You're already cleared to know this much. Right now, my superiors at the Planetary Guard are very pleased with you for preventing the BLM from obtaining more military mechs. It's a shame we hadn't been able to stop it earlier. We don't know how many military mechs they got their hands on, but several mech regiments are already being pulled back to Bentheim to reinforce our defensive strength."
"I'm happy to be of service." He replied. "Tell grandpa I appreciate his efforts, though he doesn't have to work too hard on my behalf."
Melinda shook her head. "Even if his influence at the Ministry of Defense is limited, he can still rely on the Larkinson name to move some decision makers. To the Larkinson Family, your existence is vital. We don't want you exposed to any further danger. When you almost got killed, many of the old geezers at the Larkinson Compound practically jumped out of their skin! Without you, the LMC is worthless!"
"So all of their concern for me is about the money I bring in for the family, is that right?" Ves smiled sardonically. He should have known. "Well, you can reassure them that I have no intentions of ever getting shot through the chest again."
"That's good to hear, Ves. I'll be sure to pass on your completely sincere remark to the older Larkinsons." She chuckled. "Seriously, Ves, it's kind of crazy that a mech designer like you is exposed to so much danger. Is the Larkinson name and reputation giving you any trouble?"
He waved away her concern. "Nah. I'm fine. Don't worry."
"Anyway, aside from looking out for your interests at the Mech Corps, the Larkinsons have also discussed about the role the LMC will play to the family in the future. A lot people in our family are beginning to see the benefits of owning shares in such a rich and profitable company. They want to increase their involvement and send more Larkinsons and family retainers to come work for your company."
Ves shook his head. "Tell them I've received enough of their help for now. The company can stand on its own for now."
He already instructed Calsie to prevent such insertions as best as she could. While the Larkinsons probably considered the LMC as their family business, to Ves they didn't deserve that honor. It would have been a different story if they invested in him from the start, but only his father deserved his gratitude.
"The Larkinson elders won't like that answer."
"It's my company, not theirs. I decide how I run my company." Ves declared in a domineering manner. "You can tell the Larkinsons back home exactly who's in charge."
Melinda shrugged. She didn't care so much about the business aspect of the family. She was just a Planetary Guard officer, after all. "Whatever you say, Ves. Aside from that, they also offered to send some of our Larkinson mech pilots to bolster the ranks of your personal mech force."
Ves looked perplexed. "What? They actually want to send family members to make up part of the Avatars of Myth? What kind of Larkinsons are they planning to send me?"
"A mix of young and older mech pilots. For now, they only plan to send their old retired Larkinson mech pilots to bolster the training and elevate the quality of the people you've already hired. Once the war is over, some of the younger Larkinsons will probably want to settle down and leave the Mech Corps once they have the opportunity to resign from military service."
As a Larkinson, Ves knew quite well how much of a benefit it would be to employ a number of Larkinson mech pilots. Their foundation, steadiness, discipline and more all reached a very high standard!
While plenty of military mech pilots surpassed them in skill and experience, the most important fact was that mech pilots of their caliber were extremely hard to entice into joining a private force like the Avatars of Myth.
If Ves could employ just a dozen Larkinson mech pilots, then he could form an elite squad that could be relied upon to fight even under the direst circumstances!
Yet… such strength never came for free. Even if the Larkinson Family only wanted to place more Larkinsons around Ves and the LMC to safeguard their stake in the company, Ves did not know how he should feel about relying on the Larkinsons to form a part of his security.
"Let me think about it." He said, eventually deciding to punt on the decision. "Tell them that no matter who they send to the Avatars of Myth, it's my personal force. I won't allow any Larkinson to usurp control over the force I raised with my own funds. If any of the older Larkinson mech pilots aren't willing to follow my orders, then they shouldn't bother joining."
"Alright, Ves, I'll pass that on as well. Personally, I don't see what the big deal is. Having more family around will do you some good and reassure the Larkinsons that you have all the help you need whenever you or the company encounters trouble."
"I understand their concern, but I started my business away from Rittersberg for a reason."
As someone who joined the Bentheim Planetary Guard instead of the Mech Corps, Melinda understood his underlying reason. Still, she had her own opinion on the matter.
"You don't trust a lot of people, do you, Ves? You really ought to consider letting more family into your circle. Aren't you pleased with Melkor? Think of what you can do with ten more Larkinsons who are just as good if not better than him. There's no way you can run your entire enterprise alone. You need people you can trust to take care of issues on your behalf. Who better can you turn to besides your own family?"
That was a good question. Ves softened up a little.