The Mech Touch Chapter 1081
1079 Spoils Of Gluttony
If Lucky thought that Ves would forgive him after meowing a few times, then the cat had another thing coming.
"Do you know how much all of that CFA gear is worth? Even if they're three-hundred years out of date, the materials I could have gained from recycling them would have been enough to repay the LMC's debt at least a hundred times over! All of that is gone now, digested in your belly to satisfy your gluttony!"
Even though Lucky often took liberties with what he was permitted to do, this time he truly went beyond the pale. Ves felt as if he was an exasperated parent trying to rein his hyperactive son. He knew he needed to stay firm in setting boundaries.
This time, Lucky's cuteness wouldn't be able to save him from Ves' ire!
Lucky turned intangible and phased through the wall of the lab. The cat returned shortly afterwards with a very shiny red gem between its teeth. Lucky turned tangible just long enough to drop the gem in his mouth.
It was bigger than any of Lucky's gems that Ves had ever seen. It even shined on its own.
"How can that be?!"
Curious, studied it with his System sight after making sure his Privacy Shield was still active.
[Furnace of Regret]
The anguish of a forgotten terror is encapsulated in this gem. Increases the efficiency of the power reactor of a mech by 30 percent.
"What? Thirty percent?"
Ves rubbed his eyes, but the same figure remained within his sight. Thirty percent! What concept was that?! All the other gems that Lucky's excreted before never managed to achieve such a major boost on a core function of a mech!
"Forget about thirty percent, even a three percent increase in efficiency is enough to propel a well-crafted mech into a masterpiece!"
A thirty percent increase meant that any mech that carried the so-called Furnace of Regret gained a massive boost in endurance! Not only would it be able to remain deployed for longer stretches of time, it was also able to sustain itself in intensive battles for longer without compromising its energy reserves!
"This is the perfect gem for an energy-intensive mech such as a Crystal Lord!"
A gem that boosted a core parameter of a mech so drastically could never be exposed. If Ves guessed correctly, this little red gem could be applied to any machine that fell under the definition of mech!
"No matter if it's a cheap third-class bargain bin mech or a priceless first-class cutting-edge mech developed by the best mech designers in the galactic center, the power of the Furnace of Regret probably works equally well on both!"
What if a gem like this got attached to Ghanso Larkinson's expert mech?
"If I recall, Ghanso specializes in piloting spaceborn rifleman mechs."
With the Furnace of Regret, his cousin would definitely be able to dominate in space now that his mech became thirty percent more capable of persisting in battle! Ghanso would have less scruples about conserving his energy and allow him to last longer in duels against other expert pilots!
This was where Ves saw the true value in this gem and any gems comparable in power. Rather than empowering other people's mechs for a profit, Ves would rather reserve them for the Avatars of Myth, giving them an undeniable edge in battle!
Ves turned his attention back to his willful pet. "Do you have more gems like this, Lucky?"
Lucky darted through the wall and returned with a small sack of gems. When Lucky opened the sack and studied the handful of gems, he became increasingly impressed by their boosts! They were unlike any gems that Lucky had ever produced before!
[Horned Devil's Visage]
The echo of an extinct alien race is captured within this gem. Increases the sensor range of a mech by 40 percent.
The remnants of a supernova that wiped out an entire alien race is contained within this gem. Increases the damage inflicted by directed energy weapons by 25 percent.
[Fist of the Faithful]
The memory of a punch that changed the course of the galaxy resides in this gem. Increases the impact damage inflicted by a mech by 30 percent.
[Sin of Altruism]
The valor of a great sacrifice by an alien warrior is housed within this gem. Increases the damage resistance of external armor plating by 20 percent.
The determination of a great human mech pilot is caught within this gem. Increased the spiritual feedback of a mech by 40 percent.
"What is it with these descriptions?!"
Although the System designated Lucky as a gem cat, Ves never paid too much attention to the gem aspect. Small boosts in performance such as a 5 percent higher heat capacity was so marginal that no one would actually notice any difference. Their only use so far to Ves was to implant them into his gold label mechs to partially justify their exorbitant price premium.
Yet to jump straight from five percent to thirty percent was so huge that Ves puzzled why Lucky's Gem Excretion V differed so massively from Gem Excretion III. Did his cat acquire the ability to drop these amazing gems after gorging himself with high-grade exotics and assimilating the Squalon's minifab system?
"Are you able to produce more gems like this, Lucky?"
"Me-ow." Lucky partially shook his head.
"So you're only able to do so when you consume high-grade exotics."
Ves expected something like this. Nothing came for free. These supernatural gems might come with fantastic effects, but that performance emerged after Lucky ate a whole bunch of priceless materials!
Even so, as long as Ves fed Lucky with something mildly valuable, he guessed that the high-ranked ability would still be able to pump out gems of significant strength such as increasing a major parameter by fifteen percent.
The gift of the gems and the possibility of obtaining more treasures like this assuaged Ves' ire towards his pet. To be frank, the potential of his gem cat's primary function vastly outweighed the benefits of retaining his old CFA gear.
The former directly improved the capabilities of some of his mechs. The latter only helped him out a bit during crises and expeditions.
Ves knew quite well which one he should appreciate the most!
"These five gems alone can empower the personal mechs of Melkor, Chette, Jannzi and Rhode to new heights!"
The most remarkable curiosity about the new gems was that despite the melodramatic descriptions provided by the System, Ves did not feel any spirituality around them. Did the gems actually capture the souls or spiritual remnants of long-dead entities in a form that Ves couldn't perceive, or was the System talking out of its butt in order to hype up their value?
Ves pursed his lips. "Just because I can't sense anything doesn't mean it's absent. Perhaps the gems are so good at containment that none of their potency is allowed to leak out!"
Right now, Ves didn't have the means to decipher the secrets of Lucky's gems. All he really cared about at the moment was taking advantage of his gem cat's massive improvement in this area.
He turned his attention back to Lucky, who waited for his reaction. "Alright, Lucky. You know me too well. You succeeded in bribing me. As long as you keep pumping out gems that are at least close to the quality of these gifts, you'll remain in my good books. I'll be sure to arrange a shipment of exotics for you to munch on sometime later."
Only until now did Lucky feel reassured enough to turn tangible and land down on Ves' shoulder.
For his part, Ves stroked Lucky's back. He needed to treat this treasure-generating machine well! That he came in the form of a cute artificial cat was just an added bonus!
"Hehe, keep up the good work Lucky." He said as he stuffed the small sack of gems into the pocket of his business attire.
Now that the two made up, Ves locked himself inside the isolated chamber within the lab without any further concerns. He regained the reassurance that Lucky would look out for his safety while the System dragged his mind back to the past.
As Ves was about to embark on his third Mastery experience, he centered his mind in order to enter his peak condition.
"This time will be different." He stated, more to himself than to Lucky floating above his head.
The previous times, the System just randomly threw his consciousness into the mind of someone who piloted a specific type of mech. The situation the mech pilots fell in was always dangerous and precarious. The pressure subjected to the mech pilot also affected Ves as well, giving him very little opportunity to do anything else but observe and guide his host.
Now that Ves thought back on his previous two Mastery experiences, he regretted that he hadn't been able to test whether he could leave his own mark behind. What if he was able to exert more control over the mech pilot?
"My Spirituality is stronger than ever. I shouldn't be at the mercy of the mech pilot this time if I apply my strength."
At the heart of it, the Mastery experience was about experiencing the perspective of a mech pilot first-hand! It didn't say anything about baring their souls to each other. The two minds didn't even need to treat each other fairly in the first place, as demonstrated by his second Mastery experience.
"If the first tier of Mastery puts me in the mind of a regular mech pilot, then their mental and spiritual strength will always pale compared to my own. Let's see how I can make use of this difference."
After setting a plan, Ves activated his comm and entered the System's Skill Tree. He sought out the relevant Mastery and paused for a moment.
[Space Knight Mastery I]: 40,000 DP
Compared to many other Skills and Sub-Skills, 40,000 DP sounded like an exorbitant price. Yet that was only on the surface. The benefits gained from this experience remained relevant for the rest of his career.
To be honest, he actually found the price of the first tier of Mastery to be rather cheap for all the improvements it brought to his design perspective.
Not that Ves would ever tell the System that!
"Here goes nothing."
Ves pressed the option to redeem the Mastery for a whopping 40,000 DP. Just as Ves already started to feel the pain at spending so much DP in one go, the System abruptly hooked his consciousness with an invisible hook and forcefully pulled it out of his body and entered an invisible tunnel it conjured out of nowhere!
An indeterminate amount of time passed as Ves failed to maintain his lucidity throughout the mental transit. The System's grip on his consciousness was tighter than ever.
Ves faintly believed that if he tried to influence the System with his Spirituality, he would absolutely get crushed by the crushing strength at the System's disposal!
Before he knew it, Ves regained wits when the trip abruptly ended.
The first thing he did was to minimize his presence! He did not wish to repeat his second Mastery experience where his host mistook Ves for a devil and actively resisted his help!
Only until Ves became assured that he hadn't made an impact on the mind of his host did Ves slowly extend his mental feelers.
He carefully traced the mind of the mech pilot until he found a way to patch into the senses of his host.
Vision came to Ves at first. He studied the view of the mech pilot and saw that his host sat in the middle of a grungy conference room that looked as if cleaning bots hadn't visited it for at least fifty years.
A mech company's worth of mercenaries sat in the conference room, each directing their attention to the mercenary commander presenting some sort of plan to the audience.
Ves' host happened to be one of the mech pilots sitting at the front.
"Alright, boys and girls. I know it's been a tough time this last decade while we've been trapped in this pocket of space." The grizzled mercenary commander said as he gestured at the projection of a local plot in space. "While we still don't know what the Silent Nomad and the Pure Wheel Star Sectors are fighting over in this spatial anomaly, we finally found a way out!"
"Uhm, commander?" Ves' host raised her arm. He found to his alarm that he occupied the mind of a female mech pilot this time! "How in the hell did you manage to do that?"
The mercenary commander grinned. "It's due to the new friends we found along the way! Let me introduce you to a very special guest. Please welcome Moren Drenad of the Angel's Wing Foundation!"