The Mech Touch Chapter 1007
1005 Another Visi
The experiences that Ves went through recently severely eroded his confidence in trusting others.
When people like Leland who smiled in his face but ordered a member of the strike team to ruthlessly shoot him in the heart, how could Ves ever retain his innocence?
Hanging around a ruthless intelligence agency like Flashlight harshly taught him to never let down his guard. Trusting others completely was sheer folly.
Therefore, Ves already saw that he would have some issues when he returned to his business at the end of the war. How could he be comfortable with delegating responsibilities when there were so few people he could trust?
In a way, relying on family members instead of complete strangers served as a convenient solution. Even though most Larkinsons would only work for him and his company due to the desires of the Larkinson Family, they could still be helpful to Ves in holding down the fort.
Yet Ves did not wish to see his company turn into a family business. When family blood instead of competent and qualifications determined someone's position in the company, the LMC would eventually decline.
While family businesses brought some merits, Ves did not feel relieved at the thought of involving the Larkinsons even further.
Could he trust the Larkinsons enough to represent his interests?
Ves shook his head. If he answered that question right now, he would definitely answer no. As long as his answer remained the same, he would never be willing to hire more Larkinsons and allow them to extend their influence in his company.
The LMC was his property! Why should he work so hard to grow his company if he didn't feel a sense of belonging for it? Ves believed he obtained sufficient leverage and achievements to stand on his own. He had never relied on the Larkinson name to help him grow his business.
After Melinda left, Ves continued to spend his time in recovery. After multiple rounds of surgery, his body finally regained its stability. Although cloned tissue wouldn't immediately work as flawlessly as original tissue right at the start, time healed most of the differences. Ves wouldn't notice any discomfort after a few months, especially with his augmented physique.
The doctors who treated him constantly expressed their astonishment at his unique body state. The most troubling issue was that Ves couldn't prevent them from taking blood samples. He could only hope that a high-ranking member of the Five Scrolls Compact didn't break into the military hospital and seek out his blood samples and test them in person.
He snorted. "The odds of that happening is as large as the bright president coming here to cook dinner for me. There's no way that someone so important will personally do such a thing."
As far as he knew, the Flagrant Vandals and various hospitals already stored some samples of his blood. All of them formed potential risk factors, but Ves had no way to get them to destroy the samples without arousing suspicion.
Ves would probably have to advance to Senior or Master to be able to gain enough clout to get those institutions to destroy his blood. Even then, he couldn't guarantee that they would secretly fudge the request and sneak a couple of drops away for later study.
All in all, Ves did not feel very reassured about these loopholes.
As Ves continued to hold complex thoughts over various issues, he received another visitor at the tail end of his stay at the hospital. He already received word some days ago that he would soon be discharged and sent back to New Foundation V to report for his next assignment.
Surprisingly, of all the visitors he received so far, he never expected Raella to arrive.
"Why are you here?"
"What's that supposed to mean?!" Raella replied indignantly while pressing her fists against her waist. The bundle of flowers in her hand swayed in the air. "You let Melinda visit you every three days, but you're surprised that I'm paying a visit as well?"
"I'm sorry, Raella. I shouldn't have said something like that." Ves sighed. "I'm genuinely glad you dropped by. I'm just surprised security let you in considering your… association."
She smirked at him. "Heh. You know nothing, Ves. The Blood Claws may not be friends with the government, but we're quite friendly with the military. Part of the reason why we're tolerated is because we have pledged to defend Bentheim against the BLM and the Vesians. We've cooperated many times, you know? The Glowing Planet campaign is just one instance where we fought alongside each other."
That made a lot of sense. Ves nodded. "Okay. In that light, I guess the military doesn't have anything to fear from you. Besides, we're family."
As Raella settled down in his hospital room, they filled each other in on their recent experiences. Ves couldn't say too much except to express some overall feelings.
Raella on the other hand experienced a bit more excitement since the last time they met. "I've received the three Crystal Lords from your company. They've been very helpful for me. I've gifted all of them to three senior Blood Claws."
"Did you succeed in raising your status?"
"Yup!" She nodded with satisfaction. "I'm on the up-and-up. While I'm not a long-standing member of the organization, there's already talk of putting me in charge of something. I'm kind of borrowing your reputation to boost my importance. I hope you don't mind."
Ves knew he couldn't stop her from doing that. Besides, connecting Raella to him in the eyes of the Blood Claws benefited him a lot. "Go ahead as you don't implicate me to any of your shady business. Just remember that I'm primarily running a legitimate business. Make sure the LMC's mechs isn't involved in any massacres or something."
"Hey, the Blood Claws aren't that bad! We hardly ever fight for real. We've got enough rep on Bentheim that practically no one has enough guts to challenge us!"
It turned out that Raella hadn't come for business. She just wanted to get in touch again before the Mech Corps whisked him away. Ves felt touched by her concern. Despite her irritable exterior and her separation from the Larkinson Family, she still cared about family.
"Raella, can I ask you something?"
"What are you after? What are you working towards? Surely you don't want to fight in the underground arenas forever?"
She turned serious in response to his concern. "When I joined the Blood Claws as an underground mech athlete, I just wanted to prove my skills to the galaxy. I've fought a lot of duels and even if I didn't win all of them, I did manage to make it out alive. Still… you're right. I can't envision stepping into the dueling ring forever. I've been working on climbing up the ranks. It won't be easy, but I've got some advantages."
"The Larkinson name doesn't give you any trouble?" Ves questioned.
She shrugged. "Not as much as you think. It's mostly an advantage since they know I'm a good mech pilot due to my name. They aren't very apprehensive towards me. They don't fear any spies in their organization."
Ves didn't understand how the Blood Claws worked so he took her word for it. Raella wanted to live her life in her own way and Ves knew better than to attempt to temper her independent streak. That was how she separated from the Larkinson Family in the first place.
"You're very well informed of what goes on at Bentheim, right?"
"I'm not one of those strategic thinkers, Ves."
"Do you believe that Bentheim is being targeted?"
"Yup. Everyone who lives here can smell it. With all the recent stuff on the news, anyone who thinks otherwise is an idiot."
That caused Ves to frown. Signs of an impending invasion would certainly impact ongoing trade at the port system. Even though the Vesians and the BLM hadn't launched their attack as of yet, the mere threat of it already inflicted incalculable economic damage to Bentheim!
"What are the Blood Claws going to do if an invasion actually happens?"
"We'll fight the good fight. It's what we do. Even if we don't have the best reputation, the Blood Claws considers Bentheim as their home. We'll defend it to our death!"
Raella sounded very sincere in this declaration. Ves looked at her with concern. Had the Blood Claws already worked their indoctrination on her? Hopefully she had better sense than that. Territory could be gained and lost at any time.
After a couple of minutes, she quickly left. They didn't have much in common and this wasn't the place where they could talk with ease.
As Ves watched her leave, he hoped that she would truly be able to survive long enough to be promoted out of the arena battles.
"I'm a decorated mech designer while Melinda is already Planetary Guard captain. Scores of other Larkinsons have distinguished themselves in battle and gained promotions. Raella better not be falling behind."
His current generation not only grew older, but were being baptized by the current war. Some of them thrived and gained greater status while others never distinguished themselves as much as they expected.
However, not every Larkinson would be able to survive. Too many of them returned home in coffins, both filled and empty ones, as a testament to the random vagaries of war.
Although neither Raella nor Melinda joined the Mech Corps, their current positions also exposed them to significant threats. The fact that both of them worked on Bentheim potentially put them right at the frontlines of the big battle between the Bright Republic and the Vesia Kingdom!
A few days after Raella stopped by, the military hospital finally saw fit to discharge him. Once he ended his stay there, an armored shuttle quickly picked him up and brought him straight into the sky and into orbit.
"Where are we going?" He asked one of the guards stationed in the shuttle.
"We can't say, Mr. Larkinson. We only received orders to accompany you to Foundation V." The guard stoically replied.
Ves couldn't figure out why he needed to report to Foundation V in person. Couldn't he have received his new transfer orders via his comm or a messenger?
Perhaps the Mech Corps intended to assign him somewhere closer to the seat of their power. In any case, it was useless for Ves to speculate.
The armored shuttle slowly docked at a military space station, whereupon his guards quickly shuffled him out. After a lengthy walk through the space station, they finally marshalled him onto a military convoy vessel.
Ves didn't pay much attention when the ship separated from the space station and joined a convoy before transitioning into FTL towards the Rittersberg region.
With all the stops on the way, it would take around three weeks at minimum to complete the trip. Along the way, Ves had very little to do aboard the vessel.
Fortunately, nothing of note happened during the entire trip. This far in Republic territory, the Vesians never threatened the local shipping lines.
While it was a little awkward for him to spend his time with guards watching every move he made, he quickly got used to their presence.
Considering the recent attempt on his life, he shouldn't be surprised at the security measure.
It just made things a bit more difficult when he visited the toilet. The stupid guards received strict orders to never leave him out of sight even for a single instant!
Therefore, it was safe to say that he never enjoyed a relaxing bathroom break.
"Goddamnit. Don't you two have any sense of shame?"
The two men remained silent underneath their enclosed helmets.
"I hope you enjoyed the view." Ves muttered spitefully before stomping away from the bathroom.
The pervasive guard presence irritated him even as he acknowledged their necessity. After his actions on Bentheim, the BLM would surely put him back in their crosshairs!
This was also why the Mech Corps pulled him out. Remaining there posed too much of a risk for him, and the power of the BLM drastically weakened the closer he got to Rittersberg.
Ves only wondered what the Mech Corps had in store for him next.