The Mech Touch Chapter 721
719 Princely Offering
Venerable Rixt O'Callahan, the Flagrant Vandals' nominal expert pilot, last exhibited a resonance strength of 30 laveres. In his prime, his resonance strength peaked at 44 laveres.
The resonance strength of expert pilots ranged from 1 to 67 laveres.
Though the scale wasn't quite linear, you could roughly say that three Venerable Karol Xie's wouldn't be able to defeat a single Venerable O'Callahan, even if the latter was on his deathbed.
Resonance strength directly amplified several piloting parameters of a mech pilot and their mech. It strengthened their reaction speed and thinking speed. It increased their ability to resonate with the exotics incorporated in their custom mechs, thereby achieving stronger reality-bending feats. It strengthened the resonance shield that most mechs were able to emit from their frame. It added substance to their skills, so that they were far more than fancy-sounding names.
The higher they measured on the lavere scale, the stronger they performed on the battlefield!
If a mech regiment had to choose between a highly specialised but powerful expert pilot to a versatile but weaker expert pilot, they always went for the former.
Who cared about versatility when one single fist hit hard enough to overcome almost all obstacles? A mech regiment mainly fielded a rigid lineup of mechs, all geared towards a small set of strategies. A strong expert pilot who just happened to be a good fit to their strategy practically multiplied their strength by two or three times!
This could only happen with an expert pilot of Venerable O'Callahan's caliber. As for Venerable Xie with his piddling little resonance strength, the best he could hope for was to employ him as a butcher of cheap enemy mechs. While Xie could still call himself a powerhouse by himself, his lacking top strength meant he wouldn't be able to serve as a sufficient obstacle against enemy expert pilots.
What was the point of employing expert pilots if they couldn't even prevent enemy experts from making mince meat out of your rank-and-file?
Still, it wasn't as if the Flagrant Vandals or Lydia's Swordmaidens had a better choice. The latter never had the opportunity to hire an expert pilot at all, since virtually all experts could find more than adequate employment in civilized space.
As for the Flagrant Vandals, their poor and destitute status in the Mech Corps left them with an old and dying mummy who had already made his last gasp in an earlier battle against a detachment of the Frosty Meteors. The Vandals might be able to pull out the living corpse for one last hurrah, but that was it. The man would certainly die at the end or even midway into the battle!
"What do you think about Venerable Xie?" He asked Ketis.
The girl studied the profile of the man and made the same verdict as him. "He's spread himself too thin. Whoever trained him never thought in a million years that Xie could break through as an expert pilot!"
Ves found it amusing that Ketis judged someone else with the sin of spreading their attention thin while she was guilty of the same crime. Still, she had already been spending less and less in daily sword practice, so she was slowly correcting her course.
Ketis had to thank his constant indoctrination effort for that.
"An expert pilot is still an expert pilot. In our current situation, we don't have any effective response against enemy experts except to throw as many of our mech pilots at them as possible. Like mice biting an elephant to death, even if the expert is finally brought down, we will almost certainly be wiped out in the process. Venerable Xie can help us shore up our strategies against an enemy expert."
"You don't sound very confident, though."
"It's the best we can hope for." He shrugged. "Besides, I'm not sure whether Venerable Xie is willing to throw his lot with us. His record states that he's loyal to Prince Hixt-Klaaster to a fault, to the point of sticking with this hopeless fellow even when his siblings exiled him from civilized space. That kind of loyalty is admirable as well as troublesome. With the sensitive mission that we are on right now, an expert's assistance practically doubles our chances of survival, but if he's not trustworthy, it could doom us even faster."
Both Commander Lydia and Major Verle knew the stakes, so they carefully discussed this very issue with Prince Hixt-Klaaster within the private confines of their privacy screens. Ves and the rest could no longer eavesdrop on their conversation. He imagined they were trading many promises and assurances right now.
In the meantime, Ves and various other mech officers quietly passed on their analyses. Ves didn't have much to say about Venerable Xie as a mech pilot. The other Vandal mech officers likely provided a much more detailed dissection of the man's quality as an expert pilot.
What Ves did excel at was analyzing mechs. As Xie flaunted a dual specialty on both landbound and spaceborn mechs, he actually possessed two expert mechs!
"That must be an enormous drain on the prince's resources." He muttered.
The Flagrant Vandals already spent an unhealthy amount of money on maintaining the Parallax Star and its many, many spare parts. Yet that wasn't as exaggerated as building two fully functional expert mechs for a single mech pilot!
Unfortunately for the Shining Stars, Venerable Xie had fought and failed to defend the colonization fleet against the aggression of the Fire Treaders. The pirates aligned to Ravienne overwhelmed his customized spaceborn rifleman mech, the Meridian Echo, with sheer weight of numbers.
The Fire Treaders stomped the Meridian Echo into pieces by now, and its parts littered the expanding debris field flinging through space.
Fortunately, Venerable Xie managed to eject in time and steer his escaping cockpit back to the Rovista Splendor.
The expert pilot even continued to deploy into battle in a spare standard-issue rifleman mech. Predictably, his influence in the battle dropped to a fraction of his previous strength as his cheaper mech couldn't resonate with his rare ability.
The Venerable failed to save their light carrier and their colony ship from capture or destruction. To Ves, Venerable Xie's failure to accomplish anything in his standard-issue mech was like watching Venerable Foster's doomed struggle all over again.
The running battle took place in space, far from the vicinity of any planet. A landbound mech wouldn't be useful for anything except when employed as a makeshift turret in a bunker or leaning out of an open hangar bay.Find authorized novels in Webnovel，faster updates, better experience，Please click www.webnovel.com for visiting.
The Pale Dancer, Venerable Xie's only remaining expert mech, consisted of a highly mobile rifleman mech that employed fast-firing kinetic rifles to devastating effects.
For an expert mech, it was light, fast but could withstand a decent amount of unaugmented attacks from non-elite mechs. It fired light to medium-hitting projectiles at a fairly fast rate of fire, making it ideal for mowing down entire mech companies of light mechs within a matter of seconds!
The Pale Dancer's relatively light caliber kinetic rifle didn't possess an overwhelming advantage against heavier opponents. Medium knight mechs and any kind of heavy mech would probably be able to shrug off the Pale Dancer's projectiles for maybe a dozen or more seconds.
Of course, Venerable Xie wasn't helpless against heavily-armored opponents.
The expert pilot developed a homebrow combat style called Deadmark Marksmanship. It featured resonating techniques such as the Deadmark Triple Burst and the Deadmark Continuous Burst, both of which excelled against extremely fast-moving targets at close to medium range.
No matter how fast a mech dodged within Venerable Xie's presence, they all died within seconds when put under his scope!
Against heavier armored opponents, Venerable Xie could employ techniques such as the Deadmark Repose, which drew upon a significant amount of mental energy to unleash a devastating charged projectile that pierced through almost every layer of armor!
"Too bad the Venerable can only employ the Deadmark Repose a single time in any battle."
In general, Xie's style slanted towards taking out fast, lightly-armored targets with maximum efficiency. Ves respected that because the opponents they likely faced in the future would likely field a lot of lighter mechs as well. They were simply much more efficient and cheaper to deploy in the frontier.
"What's your take on the Pale Dancer, Ketis?" Ves asked as he inputted his analysis of the landbound rifleman mech in another mini-report for Major Verle. "Do you think it's useful for us?"
"Hm, not really. Not for the Swordmaidens at least. Xie is a guy, so he doesn't fit with us in the first place. His Pale Dancer is a rifleman mech, which we can tolerate, but don't really respect. I don't think Mayra or I are even capable of maintaining this complicated mech. Looking at the samples of the design schematics makes my head hurt. What is up with that? It's like the designer of the Pale Dancer decided to use magic to make the custom mech as jumpy as possible."
"Don't look too close into the schematics. I should have warned you about that." Ves apologised for his own negligence. He thought that Ketis would be too stupid to understand the profoundness of what the Pale Dancer had achieved in terms of amplifying its mobility, but evidently he didn't give the little devil enough credit. "Instead, take a step back and try to judge its overall purpose. What is its purpose?"
Ketis had to think about her answer. She knew that Ves wouldn't be satisfied with a short and plain answer. She needed to dig deeper.
"I think.. The Pale Dancer kind of looks rather simple for a custom mech. Sure, its internals are really complex, and it is really amazing how the mech designer made this mech so fast and agile without turning it into a fragile stick. But.. there's this feel to it that kind of reminds me of cheaper mechs.."
Ves nodded in satisfaction. "You're on the right track. It's a matter of vision! Whoever designed this mech, probably a Senior considering how sophisticated its put together, didn't really put his full effort into designing the best mech possible for Venerable Xie. I think the Senior heard about Xie's limitations beforehand and therefore didn't think it was worth his effort to do his utmost. Instead, he designed a somewhat cookie-cutter rifleman mech that he probably recycled from another custom project."
"What's so bad about the Pale Dancer?"
"It's limited. Its performance parameters are tailored to Xie's historical limits. The mech performs at its best when the Venerable is exerting a resonance strength of eight laveres. Yet once he goes over that limit for some reason, the Pale Dancer will still exhibit the same strength! That's because its physical specs have already reached its cap!"
"I see!" Ketis jumped up from her chair. "You are saying that the mech has actually held Venerable Xie back! It prevented him from growing stronger because he didn't notice any increase in strength if his resonance strength spiked past his old limit!"
For an expert pilot to improve, they needed to experience a measurable increase in strength. To design a custom mech with deliberately low performance limits might have enabled Venerable Xie to obtain a fitting mech for a cost-effective price, but it did his growth no favors.
Ves could read the story from the vague hints emanating from the Pale Dancer's X-Factor. Custom mechs and especially expert mechs usually represented the best works of a highly-skilled mech designer. A Senior with a strong design philosophy and an intense amount of focus usually poured their heart into designing an expert mech.
Therefore, even if they weren't conscious of the mechanics behind the X-Factor, their custom mechs nonetheless gain a hint of a coherent spiritual identity. Though primitive and rudimentary compared to what Ves had accomplished long ago, it was still an impressive accomplishment that definitely gave the finished products a tiny but impactful advantage.
"This mech is corrupt from the moment of its conception." Ves grimly stated.