The Mech Touch Chapter 567
568 Human Blessing
"So that's an expert pilot."
Later in the day, Ves had been invited by Major Verle to the medical bay. They walked past numerous pods where the bodies of heavily-injured mech pilots bathed in strange solutions that slowly restored their bodies.
These days, machines performed most medical treatments. They worked much more precise and extensively than humans. Though the risk of tampering remained, the medical machines were subjected to strict and frequent inspections. A modern-day doctor was both a medical specialist and a machine operator.
To Ves, doctors were like mech technicians. The only differences were that they possessed better degrees and worked with living bodies instead of cold, mechanical machines.
Doctor Eric Cuscar greeted the two at the end of the medical bay. As the chief medical officer, Cuscar was the most senior and knowledgeable doctor in the entire task force. He was also responsible for keeping tabs on Ves' abnormal body.
"Doctor." Major Verle greeted the old man with a nod. "How's the little girl?"
Cuscar deliberately coughed in his hand. "I suggest you mind your manners, major. The 'little girl' you are referring to is a superhuman mech pilot! She's a genuine marvel of the human potential! I'm gathering bucketloads of data right at this moment!"
"You didn't answer my question, doc. How is she doing?"
"Ah, ahem, Venerable Foster is not in a good state. She broke through under great stress and in less than ideal circumstances. That she advanced to expert when she was several steps away is a testament to her talent. I've treated several expert pilots in my life, and each one is a unique work of art shaped by a combination of nature and human influence. The potential of my latest patient is hands down the best I've ever laid my eyes on!"
The doctor's excitement was palpable from the amount of spittle that escaped his mouth. Both Ves and Major Verle inched away in order to avoid getting hit by friendly fire.
"What makes her special compared to the other expert pilots you've treated?" Ves asked.
"As I've already mentioned, her genes are exquisitely perfect! In addition to that, she contains more activated genes that are known to be beneficial to mech pilots than every other expert pilot that I've laid my eyes on. The simplest way to put it is that her body has a lot of good switches, and most of them are flicked in the right way."
Ves wasn't a complete novice on expert pilots. It was everyone's dream to advance into an expert pilot, so the general population knew what a mech pilot required in order to reach this height.
First, they needed the right genetics! Just as humans could be divided into norms and potentates, the latter group in turn fit into different subcategories.
The most expedient way to categorize potentates was to measure their genetic aptitude. Biomedical experts who specialized in studying the physiology of mech pilots utilized many different measures to classify their strengths. However, laypeople mainly referred to a single summarized grade that ranged from A to F.
Genetic aptitude was a complex concept in itself. All Ves knew about it was that it signified how strong a potentate's gene expressions would facilitate the act of interfacing with a mech.
Ves possessed a genetic aptitude of F. This meant that his brain might as well be a rock when he tried to interface with a mech. No matter how hard he tried, his mind and body firmly rejected any attempts at engaging with the interface. In fact, if Ves tried to force a connection, his brains would likely suffer permanent brain damage.
Potentates with a genetic aptitude of E could barely be called mech pilots at all even when trained. They comprise a fairly small chunk of potentates, so most people who fell into this category resigned themselves into becoming the reserves of the reserves. A state wouldn't put them into a mech unless they started to scrape the bottom of the barrel in terms of manpower.
Ves remembered witnessing one mech pilot with a probable genetic aptitude of E or E-. Only with such a low blessing would Leviticus have trouble making basic movements as he competed against other mech duelists in one of Bentheim's many mech arenas.
Aptitudes ranging from D to B comprise the vast majority of mech pilots.
Mech pilots whose aptitudes fell into the D-range mostly ended up piloting frontline mechs when they served or industrial mechs if they remained civilians. Though they weren't particularly valuable, there was a lot of them, so states rarely let them go to waste.
Potentates with aptitudes in the C-range mainly consisted of the rank and file of every mech force. They possessed enough talent to pilot a humanoid or bestial mech proficiently. However, for every mech pilot with a C-range aptitude, there were at least two mech pilots with a D-range aptitude. Their relative scarcity meant that states cherished them pretty deeply.
Those with aptitudes that reached up to the B-range could be called winners in life. Their piloting careers were bound to be smooth, and they could easily pilot advanced mechs as extensions of their own limbs.
Due to focused genetic breeding and all kinds of other medical voodoo kept out of sight, the offspring of the Larkinsons mainly fell under this enviable category. The Larkinsons wouldn't be much of a military dynasty if their genes weren't so fortuitous, which they inherited from the Larkinson Ancestor.
Ves in fact possessed many of those genes as well, but there was more to genetic aptitude than having the right materials in place. The problem in his case was that his body refused to make use of those materials. Instead, it pretty much left them into the dust, treating them as nothing more than junk.
This was the special part about Venerable Foster. Not only did she possess the right materials, her body also utilized most of them to construct a beautiful palace that allowed her to advance higher than anybody else.
"A genetic aptitude of A is extremely rare." Doctor Cuscar lamented. "It's such a shame that the Mech Corps never assigns their prodigies to the Flagrant Vandals. My understanding of these blessed mech pilots is far too lacking!"
"What about Venerable O'Callahan? Doesn't he have an A-grade genetic aptitude as well?" Ves asked.
The doctor snorted. "That old man's body is only useful for studying how long a human can cling to life in their final moments. Besides, Venerable O'Callahan only works with his own medical team. He's keeping his cards close to himself. I think his actual genetic aptitude is closer to B rather than A, if you ask me."
Both Ves and Major Verle nodded in understanding. Genetic aptitude didn't signify whether a mech pilot halted at advanced pilot or not. There had even been cases where losers with D-grade aptitudes had somehow lucked out and advanced to experts!
Naturally, this almost never happened in reality. There was a direct correlation between the probability of advancing into an expert and genetic aptitude. The higher the grade, the more likely someone would be able to break through. However, even for a blessed potentate with A-grade aptitude, their odds of advancing at all was smaller than a percent!
"I can't help but marvel at the sight of Venerable Foster's aptitude." Doctor Cuscar praised as he approached a control panel that operated the complex medical machinery in the chamber beyond. "If you look at her brain scans, you can see that they are much more divergent than a more average mech pilot. The high plasticity of her brain cells essentially allows her subconsciousness to rewire their brains to better facilitate a neural connection! This is also a benefit of her youth. If she was as old as Venerable O'Callahan, she would never have been able to present such a remarkable nervous system!"
Ves and Major Verle could barely follow Doctor Cuscar's commentary. They simply watched through the transparent viewscreen as Venerable Foster's sedated body covered in a thin wrap received various proddings and injections.
"She isn't getting worse, is she?"
"The Venerable is stronger than she looks. Don't you worry Mr. Larkinson, she'll be as right as rain once I fix her up. Right now, her body needs lots of rest to stabilize her life phase as well as lots of nutrients to allow her body to finish its transformation. The transition from mortal to superhuman is truly a wonder to behold!"
It was obvious that Venerable Foster wouldn't be waking up anytime soon. This disappointed Ves for a bit, but it also provided him with an extra cushion of safety for what he was about to do. He had always wanted to flex his Spirituality with others. He wanted to do more with this Attribute than using it to bestow his works with the X-Factor.
Thus, as Major Verle discussed some matters with Doctor Cuscar, Ves quietly stared at the prone body of the expert pilot while extending out an invisible tendril of thought.
Ves never really managed to accomplish anything when he reached out to a baseline human. Neither norms or mech pilots showed any signs of being affected by his Spirituality. It was as if they consisted of nothing but air!
He theorized that most of the shenanigans that revolved around his Spirituality actually happened in a parallel dimension that Ves loosely referred to as the imaginary realm. Any human being with a deficient Spirituality didn't have the qualifications to enter this realm. This worked both ways, so entities in the imaginary realm wouldn't be able to affect that vast majority of humanity.
His current experiment was important to him, because Ves hypothesized that expert pilots partially derived their special powers from expressing their own brand of spirituality. It was the only variable that Ves could think of that could conceivably explain the magic that they performed.
He tuned out everything else and urged his mind probe to reach the unconscious woman. Just as it reached Venerable Foster's body, Ves faintly felt a small amount of feedback from his tendril!
Half a minute went by as Ves carefully brushed against something that felt like cotton. Whatever spirituality Venerable Foster possessed, it was extremely weak and poreus. If Ves didn't specifically look out for it, he might never have noticed its presence in the first place!
Ves was very glad right now that once of his assumptions had been proven right. Spirituality may be one of the keys that allowed a mech pilot to advance to an expert pilot! Though this was just a preliminary result, if proven to be correct, this insight could change the galaxy forever!
Most humans stumbled blindly in their attempts to find a way for mech pilots to break through the bottleneck. If Ves casually leaked out his findings, he would doubtlessly unleash a storm of epic proportions in human space!
Once he realized the immensity of his experiment, he quickly dissipated the mental probe and kept his mouth firmly pressed together. He walked away from the transparent screen and turned around as if he grew bored from watching an unconscious mech pilot.
Major Verle paused his discussion with Doctor Cuscar and turned to Ves. "Have you taken a good glimpse at her? How does she measure up compared to the expert pilots in your family?"
"We only have three expert pilots in our family. Two of them lost their strength and were forced to retire. Our only active expert is holed up in Citadel Havensworth for much of my life. I hardly ever saw the hero."
"Colonel Ark Larkinson. A good man. He is truly a shining example for the Mech Corps." Major Verle complimented without any sarcasm. "So is Venerable Foster worse than Venerable Larkinson?"
Ves shrugged. "How could I tell? Uncle Ark is strong, but he isn't young anymore. Venerable Foster could potentially reach a greater height than him. What do you think, doctor?"
"Her potentially is frightfully high." Doctor Cuscar slowly said. "I don't think you realize the import of my statement. She's a mech pilot who won the jackpot multiple times she played the slot machine. I would dare say that we're not keeping an expert pilot in our custody. Instead, we're looking at a future ace candidate!"
Ace candidate! Ves widened his eyes, and so did the mech officer standing next to him. An expert pilot that had the potential to advance to the next step in the road to godhood was practically extinct in much of the Komodo Star Sector! The only aces that have ever emerged in this part of space all came from the second-rate states.
For Hafner to have been blessed with an ace candidate was of enormous significance to the balance of power between the Vesia Kingdom and its neighbors!