The Mech Touch Chapter 1023
1021 Missed Potential
Quickly after the darkness fell, their underlayer vacsuits automatically enveloped their bodies in a thin fabric substance that protected them against the event of explosive decompression. It even came with a small emergency supply of oxygen, but it wouldn't last that long.
Ves felt he entered a very precarious situation right now!
The guards escorting Lord Javier stopped standing at the sides and approached their charge. Their heavy combat armor lit up the surroundings that had turned completely dark and silent.
"You're coming with us, Javier."
The noble shrugged apologetically to Ves. "I guess my babysitters won't allow us to remain together. Stay safe, Ves. You're okay for a Brighter."
Four guards surrounded the Vesian noble and marched him off to else, leaving Ves alone in the dining room. The magboots built into their combat armor kept them stuck to the deck despite the lack of gravity.
However, they barely reached the exit hatch before a barrage of ballistic projectiles impacted against the heads of the two guards at the front!
The loud impacts and torrent of firepower bounced off their helmets for a second before penetrating and killing the two guards!
The remaining two guards hauled Javier away and aside from the open hatch so they wouldn't remain in the line of fire of whoever was in the corridor.
As soon as the shooting started, Ves cursed and held on to the table. Without any functioning artificial gravity, he would have to be careful with his movements as he risked throwing himself in an uncontrolled tumble in the air if he pushed himself off the deck!
In a condition of zero-g, Newton's laws of motion reigned supreme!
As a mech designer well-versed in mechanics, Ves knew that the last thing he should do was to move as if gravity still exerted a downwards force on him! Even walking was impossible under these circumstances!
"Goddamn cheap vacsuit! Why doesn't it come with antigrav modules or magboots?!"
Ves found it ironic that the Tovars splurged on so many luxuries and premium materials when they commissioned the Felicitous Remembrance, but they completely neglected the need to invest in better vacsuits!
"Even if vacsuits aren't as glamorous as fancy chandeliers and sturdy tables, they could have at least spared some attention to their quality!"
He had the impression that some Tovar family member or even Senator Tovar himself picked and chose the features of the Remembrance from an interactive catalog. Such a method of determining the attributes of a new ship was a popular service at many commercial shipyards, but among the millions of decisions a customer could make, they would only specify a couple of hundred choices before they called it a day!
For some reason, the standard underlayer vacsuits provided to every passenger and crew on the ship were basic quality junk that Ves could find on any cheap cargo hauler.
"Senator Tovar and his ilk probably make use of their own vacuum-sealed outfits." Ves surmised. It would explain the discrepancy. "I have to get a better suit before all the air gets sucked out!"
In the meantime, the two remaining guards huddled behind a counter, which bounced off the powerful ballistic rounds as if they consisted of mech armor!
"At least the cover on this ship is good!"
He quickly noticed a very big problem for the guards as they tried to resist the unknown assailants. The dining room had been built into an expansive space designed to impress the guests. While Ves admitted that it did indeed fulfill that role, it came at the expense of defenses!
The alternate explanation was that the dining room did in fact offer some formidable defensive installations, but the lack of power prevented them from deploying!
"What a stupidly vain design!" He cursed.
In fact, the Felicitous Remembrance shouldn't have lost power so suddenly and so completely. Even if pirates jumped right on top of them, it would have taken them a lot of effort to shut down all the different backups and reserves spread across the ship.
At the very least, the backup power sources should have kicked in by now, providing much-needed air circulation and gravity to the impotent ship!
The sudden attack and swiftness and thoroughness of the Remembrance's power affliction caused Ves to develop an awful suspicion.
The only way the Felicitous Remembrance lost power so suddenly and so completely was if their enemy sabotaged her from the start!
"Who the hell is in a position to sabotage a ship of the Tovar Family?!"
A creeping possibility came up to Ves. Could it be another member of the Tovar Family? Someone who disagreed with Camden Tovar's intentions for peace?
"Is this what Javier meant that a lot of people would be opposed to stopping the war?"
If this attack involved someone powerful within Senator Tovar's own family, then the threat the Tovar Peace Delegation faced would be absolutely dire! How much information did the insider pass on and how many tricks did they pull off to render the Felicitous Remembrance impotent?
"This is too awful!"
Another question was how could the Remembrance be boarded so quickly and without warning? Could stealth shuttles have snuck up to the ship as soon as the fleet transitioned into this star system? It would be the only explanation that fit concerning the timing of the various attacks and setbacks.
Ves came to the conclusion that whoever they faced, they planned their assault meticulously. What he just witnessed might just be the tip of the iceberg.
Right now, the firefight happening close to the hatch of the dining room progressed rapidly. Unknown figures garbed in what looked like barbaric pirate armor poured into the dining room with military precision and began to fan out around the bar counter where Lord Javier and his two guards huddled behind.
They threw various grenades over the counter, but some laser interception system mounted on the shoulders of the guards zapped them out of the air before they could get anywhere near.
The excellent equipment of the guards allowed them to push the incoming hostiles back, but their situation became increasingly perilous!
Over a dozen assailants entered the room and made use of the tables to shield them against the heavy laser rifles wielded by the guards!
A handful of intruders noticed Ves deeper inside the room. Two of them diverted their attention from the guards and fired their ballistic rifles at what they thought must be a bystander!
"Hey! I'm unarmed! I'm no threat to you guys!" Ves yelped and flipped over the heavy dining table.
The lack of gravity made it a lot easier, but the force he inadvertently exerted also caused him to float from the deck! He fumbled a bit with the table, grabbing on to it and taking advantage of its mass to anchor him somewhat in place.
Ballistic rounds kept impacting against the surface of the table. Ves could practically feel and hear the table heroically withstanding the incoming fire without suffering any substantial damage. The extravagant decision to use compressed alloy to construct the tables at least paid off!
Newton's third law of motion still applied, so all of the kinetic energy transferred by the physical impacts slightly pushed Ves and the table backwards towards the bulkhead.
Even so, the heavy dining table only offered protection in one direction. Its huge flat surface might offer good cover from the front, but the top, sides and rear offered no protection unless Ves oriented the table!
That might work against a single assailant, but the two pirates attacking him split up and began to flank his left and right sides!
Ves would be in imminent danger by then, because even if he shifted the surface of the flipped table towards one attacker, the other enemy could easily shoot him in the back!
"Ah hell, what am I hesitating about?!"
He gave up his hope of a timely rescue. Not a single whiff of reinforcements arrived as of yet and the other ten assailants almost finished cornering the two guards keeping Lord Javier pressed to the deck.
Since no help was on the way, Ves decided to take matters in his own hands.
He stretched out his vacsuit-gloved hand where a resplendent weapon materialized in place. His trusty Amastendira phased out of his invisible and intangible Inventory that the System somehow attached to him and took on a physical form in reality.
As a weapon that saved his life time and time again, Ves always admired this resplendent piece of craftsmanship. Even during his travails aboard the Starlight Megalodon, the Amastendira proved more than equal to many of the wondrous if outdated weapons of the mighty Common Fleet Alliance!
However, the more he made use of the Amastendira, the more he felt regretful at what Melkor once described as a replica.
It didn't even have the full complement of features of the original mastercrafted laser pistol that went missing at some point.
While Ves did not care too much about features as the basic functionality of the Amastendira was already powerful enough, he did care about one particular factor.
A materialized copy did not possess any Spirituality. The System formed his copy of this legendary weapon by building it up from atom to atom, molecule by molecule, thereby achieving a close resemblance of the original.
Yet a copy was still a copy. This lovely custom weapon designed and handcrafted by Pierre Femento, a famed Rubarthan gunsmith from the center of the galaxy, held none of the original craftsman's ascribed emotions.
It lacked even the most rudimentary form of X-Factor that Ves saw in many custom mechs designed by other mech designers.
Therefore, as much as Ves admired his trump card, it didn't change the fact that it was a weapon without life or the capacity to bear life. No matter how much Ves used it, the Amastendira would never be able to receive any effects from his formidable Spirituality.
More than once, Ves considered taking the Amastendira apart and reusing much of its amazing components to build his own personal laser pistol.
Only two reasons held him back from such a bold plan.
First, he lacked the knowledge and expertise to handle much of the Amastendira's advanced components. From its dimensional heatsink to its ultra-advanced energy projection system, Ves simply didn't possess the necessary skills to utilize them properly.
Second, he couldn't guarantee that his rework of the weapon would still retain the Amastendira's remarkable property to dematerialize in his Inventory. Ves had no clue how the Inventory worked in the first place and how it seemed to be present on him despite his separation from the System.
Ves quickly brushed aside his regret for the missed potential of his replica of the original weapon. What he wouldn't give to possess the real deal. The Amastendira in his hand served as a subtle reminder that even the System possessed limits.
"Well, let's take care of trash."
Ves did not feel confident that he could nail a shot on one of the two flanking pirates when he popped out of cover. In fact, he didn't dare stick out his head and arm to aim his weapon! By the time he drew a bead, the pirates would have riddled his flimsy vacsuit helmet with holes!
So he simply opted for the most expedient if wasteful option. He hastily configured the Amastendira in a wide angle scatter firing mode before dialing the power setting above average.
After that, he poked out the lengthy muzzle of the Amastendira over the lip of the flipped table and vaguely aimed it in the direction to the flanking pirate to the left.
As soon as he pulled the trigger, the entire dining room flashed in bright red!
The visor filters of his vacsuit was slow to adjust to the flash. It took a second or so for him to regain his vision.
When Ves carefully poked out his head to the left, he saw that the attacker to the left had been turned into a charred mess!
It appeared that these 'pirates' at least fitted themselves out as pirates, as their heavily-adorned combat armor offered no hindrance at all against any serious firepower.
Ves quickly shot his Amastendira again at the direction of the dead pirate's partner who seemed to be having second thoughts.
After that, he quickly adjusted the settings of the Amastendira and fired it towards the ten other pirates. Cutting them in half at the waist with a powerful continuous cutting beam!
After the bright flashes of light, heat and energy subsided, the entire dining room abruptly fell into silence and darkness.