The Mech Touch Chapter 310
Chapter 310: Vault
The devourer king suffered the same fate as its lesser brothers, but the price hadn't been worth it. The creature managed to wound the Gregarious Wrath severely. Over twenty percent of her systems and crew had been lost, stranding the giant tunneling machine near the inner core of the Glowing Planet.Who knew if more devourer kings rested deeper inside. What if an even larger devourer emperor rested in the exact center? The Gregarious Wrath couldn't take on another devourer king even if she wanted to, so the entire deep mining expedition stopped advancing deeper.While the smaller tunneling and mining machines started excavating the Rorach's Bone buried in the vicinity, everyone aboard the Wrath began to help with the repairs.They only had a few days to get the Wrath functional again. The end of the seventy-day period loomed closer and the Mech Corps started to plan for a comprehensive evacuation. The Wrath needed at least a couple more days to climb back up to the surface.Meanwhile Ves or rather Lucky became the star of the show. No one expected the small and cute mechanical pet that always hung around Ves to hide such potent capabilities. Even Ves himself didn't know that Lucky could harm energy beings!"Lucky!" Ves held his dim cat in front of his face. "Why didn't you help me fend off my mother? You could have chased her away at the very least!""Meow."Ever since he repelled the huge devourer king, Lucky turned almost lifeless, as if he expended all of the energy he accumulated ever since he stepped on the Glowing Planet."Next time my mother comes, don't sit around like a helpless kitten. Just swipe her face with your claws!""Meow"Ves sighed. He couldn't stay angry at his cat, especially since he saved his life yet again. Right now, he wanted to make sure that Lucky got rewarded for his services.The entire crew aboard the Gregarious Wrath looked at Lucky with a new light. Some wanted to pick him up and hug him, while others gripped their holstered pistols tighter. Pretty much everyone took for granted that Lucky was an extravagant bodyguard pet from a first-rate superstate. Many people envied Ves for owning such an exclusive gift."We've almost reached the vault." Chief Petrisc told Ves as their lifter platform almost reached the center of the Wrath. "Now, don't misunderstand. You aren't there to take anything away. You're only tasked with inspecting the security systems for any damage accrued from the last attack. Return as soon as you've run over the systems.""Understood.""One more thing. The devourer king's attack has wiped out a lot of archival data, including the logs pertaining to the vault. Please take stock of the inventory while you are there. Of course, you're not allowed to take anything away. We will conduct a strict search when you enter and exit the vault, so don't think you can sneak anything past our guards.""No problem, chief. I'll make sure not a hair is out of place."They reached the highly-fortified vault doors. Two mechs stood at the sides, one of which pointed its laser rifle at Ves."Don't be alarmed, Ves. Any guest we bring to the vault receives the same treatment."Though it unnerved Ves to be pointed at by a mech-sized weapon, he could tell that the rifle's safeties hadn't been disengaged. He nodded to show his understanding and let the chief bring him up to the checkpoint where a squad of exoskeleton-suited guards awaited their arrival.After Ves and Lucky underwent a thorough search, the vault doors slowly retracted, revealing a clean metallic chamber filled with small, head-sized storage compartments."There are over ten-thousand different safes inside this vault, of which more than a third are filled with samples of Rorach's Bone or something else of extreme value. Due to the recent attack, we aren't quite sure how much are left. What if the devourer king ate them all? Here's a pass to open the safes. It will only work for the next four hours, so you better move quickly."Once Ves received the pass that enabled him to open the safes, he entered the vault with Lucky, upon which the doors slowly closed again.He was finally left alone. "Okay buddy, this is your Lucky day."The first thing he did was to disable the sensors and monitoring systems. Ordinarily, such an act couldn't be done by himself, but the crew of the ship had already disabled various systems related to the vault's security throughout the Wrath. Ves only had to expose some control panels and unplug some wires he memorized beforehand.Every monitoring and security system inside the vault turned off. Ves grinned once he confirmed that nothing stood in his way from robbing, ahem, inspecting the vault."Alright Lucky, let's take stock of the inventory and see how much the devourer king swallowed its contents.""Meow!"Ves approached a random row of safes and swiped his pass over one of them. The safe box opened up to reveal a floating, eyeball-sized exotic mineral of unknown properties. It wasn't Rorach's Bone, but it must be valuable if the Mech Corps stored it inside the vault.After a few seconds of consideration, Ves drew his card and swiped it in front of the safe before flipping it over his shoulder. The antigrav modules holding the ore aloft in the center of the safe pushed the ore out of the safe, upon which Lucky jumped up and caught it between his paws.While Lucky enthusiastically devoured the highly valuable exotic like he'd been starved for months, Ves swiped his card downwards, prompting the emptied safe to lock itself up."Alright, this safe is empty. Let me note that in my log. Done. Let's move on to the next one."Ves casually walked down the rows, opening up each and every safe to see whether they held anything of value. Sometimes the safes contained nothing, but most often they contained small amounts of Rorach's Bone. The Mech Corps must have stored every piece of Rorach's Bone larger than a pinch inside these safes.Right now, all of it happened to be within his grasp.Chief Petrisc hadn't given Ves the opportunity to 'inspect' the vault out of a whim. In truth, high command had been dragging their feet with regards to allowing Ves to take his fair share.He even heard rumors that some in command wanted to keep the largest pieces to themselves. After all, a hand-sized piece of Rorach's Bone was the creme de la creme.Their refusals reminded Ves that the people who ran the Mech Corps prioritized their own benefits over anyone else's. A small figure like Ves didn't register on their radar. Perhaps out of guilt or out of a sense of obligation, the captain turned a blind eye to those directives. Instead, he allowed Chief Petrisc to come up with this convoluted scheme to allow Ves to take what he wanted from the vault.Even though a couple of people knew about the scheme, they all owed their lives to Lucky. Besides showing their gratitude, they also allowed Lucky to munch on the exotics because they needed him to regain his strength.What if another devourer king came? What if Venerable Drake couldn't stop it from submerging into the bedrock again? The Wrath had become even more of a sitting duck to the cripping damage she sustained in the last attack. They couldn't even overload the dimensional smoothers anymore, as additional safeties had set that restricted any further rough treatment.Thus, Lucky became their only hope of buying enough time for Venerable Drake to come to their rescue. Not that high command agreed. They simply didn't believe that Lucky alone repelled a gigantic devourer worm half the size of the Gregarious Wrath.In any case, Ves didn't take their refusal to heart, because he would have received a couple of scraps for a reward. "It's good to be king for a day."As he passed through the vaults, Ves threw out anything that looked promising as long as Lucky finished processing his earlier meals.As soon as Lucky figured out this pattern, he ceased to chew the minerals for enjoyment and began to focus on breaking them down as fast as possible. His energy claws along with his incredibly strong and sharp teeth ensured he never needed to spend more than a minute to break down a chunk.The cat kept inhaling the pieces as long as they fit his gullet. Evidently, Lucky didn't have to worry too much about his digestion. As soon as the ores ended up in his stomach, they ceased to be a concern.After feeding Lucky with more than a dozen chunks of Rorach's Bone and other curiosities, Lucky regained his usual vigor. His eyes sparkled like gemstones and his silvery exterior took on a shiny sheen. The gaps between his exterior plating glowed so brightly that it resembled plasma."Keep eating, Lucky. This is a once-in-a-decade opportunity for you. I'd have to sell countless mechs to afford this much Rorach's Bone."In actuality, exotics of these grades couldn't be found in the open market, especially in the resource-deprived galactic rim.Ves sighed at the thought of all of the riches the Glowing Planet still held. The Mech Corps only retrieved a fraction of its bountiful wealth. The rest would be handed over to the Hegemony and the Coalition once the seventy-day deadline had passed."Even with such a generous window of time, they'll still end up with more than ninety-nine percent of the wealth."It sounded so unfair, but that was the privilege of power. The second-rate states only had to wave a single hand to wipe out the Bright Republic."C'mon Lucky, eat faster!"Lucky underwent a subtle as Ves kept feeding him with medium-grade Rorach's Bone. His entire surface rippled as if his metallic body became pliable. Ves had the sense that Lucky didn't just convert the Rorach's Bone to pure energy.His gem cat somehow incorporated their properties to his body.Ves became happier when he realized that Lucky grew stronger. He especially looked forward to seeing the self-repair properties of Rorach's Bone in action."Keep eating. The stronger you are, the better you'll be able to protect me."When they reached halfway, Ves tossed about five percent of the contents of the safes to Lucky. He didn't dare grab a larger share and prompt the Mech Corps to launch an investigation.A five percent loss should be unremarkable enough for some doddering bureaucrat to dismiss the report as a natural consequence from being attacked by a giant semi-corporeal snake.Once Ves swiped his card for the umpteenth time, a safe opened up to reveal the largest piece of Rorach's Bone to date.It was about half as large as his head."They did find a piece!"The Mech Corps never intimated to Ves that they dug up a piece of high-grade Rorach's Bone. The chunk floating in front of him was the most priceless piece of exotic he had ever come across since he arrived at the Glowing Planet.Ves turned his head to peek at Lucky. His cat eyed the high-grade Rorach's Bone with sparkling, hungry eyes."This is mine!" He told his cat, and quickly opened up an adjacent safe and threw a smaller piece of Rorach's Bone to Lucky.Even if Lucky hungered for the large ball of bone, he still couldn't resist a meal that landed right in front of him. Sometimes he could be simple-minded in this way. Ves let out a deep breath once he saw he successfully diverted Lucky's attention.With heated eyes, Ves retrieved a pair of special gloves from his suit pocket and put them over his hands. He then reached out to grab for the ore. After months of work and avoiding almost-certain death, he finally reached the end of his mission.As his hands almost reached the ore, a third hand reached out and pulled the ore out of his reach.