The Mech Touch Chapter 615
614 Tecev City
"Mr. Larkinson, what now?"
"We can't put the Water Wraiths back together out in the open." Ves sighed in an exasperated manner. "It's a good thing I've done some research. I've identified a shuttle workshop in the vicinity that reluctantly meets our needs. Go take a Water Wraith and kick out the occupants! I don't care how you manage to do so, just make sure you don't damage the production equipment!"
After spending so much time among the Vandals, Ves inevitably picked up some of their inclinations. Before, Ves would have never thought to outright plunder the possessions of others.
Before the Mech Corps called him up, Ves mainly adopted a commercial mindset. Everything desirable became something of value. Every person and every group provided different goods and services to others for a price. A transaction occurred when two different parties agreed on an exchange of different goods or services.
As a businessman who made his way up from scratch, his perspective became more and more tinged with lenses that only saw society in terms of transactions. A balance of demand and supply dictated his own responses.
The Vandals obviously didn't think that way. Certainly, they made transactions when it suited them. They relied on them to acquire their own funding. Outside of that, their default state was a little lawless. If anything could be taken for free, then they would certainly make a grab at it! Power dictated how far they could go!
"This isn't a normal way of looking at things, but it has its uses."
It allowed them to skip a lot of troublesome matters. As long as they possessed enough strength, they could take what they wanted without much repercussions. The Vandals didn't particularly care about pissing people off. As long as they were small fry, they didn't lose any sleep over their morally bankrupt behavior.
During times of peace, this pattern of thinking was problematic. In times of turmoil like now, the Vandals adapted to its rules like fish in water.
Upon his suggestion, the Vandals moved out with a single intact mech and a bunch of armored Vandals. Upon approaching the workshop, its occupants had already scrambled out of the structure. They did not wish to be present when the intimidating mech pointed its guns at them!
"Well, that was fast."
This saved the Vandals a lot of trouble. With a quick command, the aircar fleet returned to the air and made a short hop over to the workshop. Container after container entered the workshop premises. Scores of mech technicians guided lifter bots to open them up and place them at an assembly point. After adjusting the workshop's assembly system, the Vandals puzzled the Water Wraiths back together with rapid tempo.
"Too slow!" Chief Vasar exhorted his mech technicians. "Split up the work! I don't need five mech technicians to install the engine! Three will do! As for you two, go help out the fitting process of the legs!"
Assembling the mechs back together required lots of precision but little thought. Aside from some thorny issues arising from improper handling, Ves and the other mech designers did not need to intervene too much.
In truth, with the sheer amount of mech designers and mech technicians among them, working on only a single pair of mechs was overkill. They had more than enough manpower at their disposal to restore WW-3 and WW-4.
As soon as the mech pilots of both mechs successfully booted them up, everyone celebrated their success!
Ves did not look as happy as the others. Due to the haste involved with this operation, disassembly and reassembly processes proceeded sloppier than normal. Some of the parts sustained minute amounts of damage, and the lack of proper tools meant that some of the parts hadn't been solidly fixed in place.
Considering that WW-3 and WW-4 already came in a very poor state, the extra damage compounded their performance hit.
"I wouldn't trust WW-3 and WW-4 to last in a fight." Ves said to the two chief technicians as they watched the celebration.
Both of the chiefs would have never let the mechs deploy at their current state. They looked tough on the outside but were brittle from within. Their cannons also exhibited a number of problems.
Chief Vasar crossed his hands. "We've got no choice. They're ugly, but we can't always marry the pretty ones."
Ves turned to Vedette and Mercator. "What do you two think? Do you believe it's proper to send these two mechs out for battle?"
"Our needs rank higher than some safety rules, sir." Mercator answered. "During a crisis, sometimes the best way to solve a problem is if you ignore the problem instead. As long as it's not too big, it won't affect you that much."
Vedette murmured some generic words of no import. For someone who Ves kept his eye out, Vedette's continued timidness became increasingly more intolerable. Still, Ves couldn't do anything about it. The low-ranking mech designer needed to grow his confidence on his own, and the only way for him to do that was to accumulate his strength over time.
Maybe a few years would ripen him up. Ves looked forward to the day he obtained a capable assistant that could assist him in his design work.
After making sure the two mechs wouldn't fall apart in the next couple of days, Ves met with Captain Orfan in private. She recently returned from an important meeting with the organizers of The Big Breakout.
"So what's the news?"
"We're in!" She grinned at Ves. "It's a good thing you fixed up those two mechs. Now that we've brought four intact mechs to the table, our right to speak has become stronger. We're part of the groups that have first dibs to any vessels parked in the spaceport."
"That's good news!"
Tecev City's spaceport saw a lot of traffic, and therefore offered parking space to a lot of vessels capable of reaching orbit. However, there was a division between the space worthiness of different vehicles.
Aircars and shuttles stood out as small, fragile craft that would not last a single second on the battlefield.
Aircars as a rule hadn't been designed with vacuum in mind. They also lacked the power to climb all the way out of the gravity well of a planet.
Shuttles on the other hand possessed a little more robustness, and they possessed enough propulsion to climb up to orbit on most terrestrial planets. They came in many shapes and sizes, but the general definition of a shuttle meant it was unlikely that they could lift more than a single container at a time.
The larger issue with shuttles was that they were lacking in speed and endurance when it came to deep space travel. They were sufficient enough to bring someone from the surface of a planet to its moon and back. Any further than that, people usually transferred to other vessels.
The truly valuable ships at the spaceport possessed genuine in-system travel capabilities. Transports and passenger ships both formed the staple ship classes in conveying people and goods from one planet to another.
Some even came installed with FTL drives, but in general their limited capacity made it uneconomical to turn them into ships capable of reaching other star systems.
Only true starships possessed the qualifications to enter interstellar space. Many of the larger starships were so big and heavy that they lost the capability to descend onto the surface of a planet. They couldn't handle the stress involved with fighting against the gravity of a planet.
According to some of the information circulating on the galactic net, a number of true starships was currently parked in the spaceport right now! If the Vandals managed to obtain a ship with a decent amount of cargo of passenger space, they would be set for life, even if they technically committed piracy.
"I know what you're thinking, Mr. Larkinson. I hate to spoil your hopes, but the other groups already divvied out the starships. We're left with taking a couple of transports. Enough to bring four-thousand Vandals into space with enough room to spare, but not enough to bring along our mechs."
"At least we've got something." Ves sighed. "A handful of transports is good. However, they're not meant to carry thousands of Vandals. Their life support systems will break before we can escape the atmosphere. We'll have to obtain some vacsuits or bring in additional oxygen and water."
"I know you can handle it. Just work that clever brain of yours." Orfan patted his shoulder. "I gotta go and brief the other officers. We'll be making our move at dawn. For that, we need to send the Water Wraiths ahead."
The Vandals promised to send the Water Wraiths in advance in order to fit them into the main group of mechs. Nobody was stupid. They only had one shot at The Big Breakout, and in order to maximize their chances of success, the different mechs needed some time to figure out how they could work together and coordinate their actions.
Keeping them separate and under the command of individual outfits was not the way to go. They needed to move as one and act as one.
In truth, this couldn't be done in a couple of hours. However, like anything about this operation, they never had enough time to do things properly. They just had to make do with a hasty effort. It was already good enough if every mech pilot understood the same commands.
Four mech pilots entered the Water Wraiths and disappeared into the streets. The Vandals all felt much less safe now that they lost their most effective protective talisman.
"I hope we don't have to wait long."
Right now, night had fallen, and the Vandals caught up with their sleep whenever possible. The Vandals never loosened up on their vigilance. Tecev City was not their home turf, and even if they possessed four working mechs, other factions and groups might possess more!
"We're not the only ones who have salvaged some mechs."
According to Captain Orfan, four mechs gave them some speaking rights, but not enough to gain the right to appropriate a starship. Ves deduced that other groups must be in the possession of even more mechs.
"The terrorists allocated most of their strengths in attacking the major cities. Tecev City is certainly their highest priority."
All of their strengths gathered together turned them into a force to be reckoned with. Though they would still fall short of contending against the Reinaldans, their goal had never been to come into conflict with them. If the Reinaldans hadn't issued a blockade, the tourists would have never been in opposition to the local authorities.
Everyone sharpened their swords and tidied up their possessions in preparation for The Big Breakout. The main organizers of this operation kept their cards close to their chest. The last thing everyone wanted to see was the Reinaldans receiving advance warning of what they intended to do. Secrecy became paramount at this time.
Ves received a comm call all of a sudden. He frowned at that. "Who's calling me at this hour?"
He normally received messages when someone wanted to get in touch with him. At this hour, most Vandals should be at sleep. He looked around and entered a quiet area in the workshop.
Once he accepted the call, an unexpected face showed up.
"Miss Calibast!" Ves hissed with alarm. "How in hell did you obtain my contact details?"
"That's not important, Ves." The woman smirked at him. "I haven't called you on a whim. Time is short, so let me get to the point. We require your assistance."
Ves looked at Calibast as if she was a dullard. "Why would I ever want to do that? Whoever you are, Vesian, Reinaldan, Roppongan, Lisvian or whatever, you're certainly involved with the initial attacks!"
Her smirk grew wider. "Can't you just take my word that I'm a Vesian?"
"Who would believe you?"
She shook her head. "Whatever floats your boat."
"If that's all, I'll hang up now."
"Don't be too hasty, Ves. If you do, you'll never find out how you can save The Big Breakout from disaster."
That attracted his attention. "You know about that?"