The Mech Touch Chapter 727
725 The New Star
The arrival of the Rovista Splendor in the bosom of the Flagrant Swordmaidens marked the formal end to Prince Hixt-Klaaster's ambitions to start up an independent colony in the Faris Star Region.
The haunted and traumatized prince had to say goodbye to his final mobile asset as his flagship burnt herself out trying to sprint to rescue.
Transports and shuttles brought men and supplies out of the doomed combat carrier. Even if the Flagrant Swordmaidens weren't able to salvage the valuable ship herself, the Rovista Splendor still carried a bountiful amount of cargo.
The Fourth Prince and his surviving retainers all relocated to the various vessels of their rescuers. The Vandals and the Swordmaidens deliberately split up the prince's crew to minimize any chance of staging a revolt or engage in some other scheme.
Due to the need to secure Venerable Karol Xie's loyalty, it was in the best interest for the Flagrant Swordmaidens to uphold their end of the bargain. Therefore, they did their best to treat the displaced survivors of the Shining Stars Colonization Fleet as guests instead of prisoners or slaves.
Nonetheless, hosting these refugees from the Dark Plasma Star Sector while on a mission to find the Starlight Megalodon entailed too many risks and inconveniences. Major Verle and Commander Lydia had no stomach of keeping these bedraggled refugees on their ships any longer than they had to. The sooner they got rid of the colonists, the sooner they could get back to their main mission.
Fortunately, Commander Lydia knew of an obscure space station situated roughly along their current route. If their combined fleet made a major detour, they could reach the space station and drop off the survivors, relieving them of their burden.
The only problem was that the Dragon Alliance administered the space station. While the Swordmaidens maintained a fairly neutral relationship with the largest pirate alliance in the Faris Star System, they never felt very safe when they entered their territory.
The Dragons of the Void who led the pirate bloc had an unfortunate habit of kidnapping and brainwashing pirates to serve as their cannon fodder.
Still, the Swordmaidens couldn't find another space station where they could dump the refugees without taking an even bigger detour.
"We are setting course to the Woolox Star System!"
With the sandmen fleet preoccupied with the debris field and the Fire Treaders meekly running away, the Flagrant Swordmaidens encountered no obstacles when they reached the edge of the star system and transitioned back into FTL.
It would take roughly a week to reach the Woolox System. Everyone shed their hazard suits and armor suits once the fleet found refuge in FTL.
In the meantime, Ves managed to right a lot of wrongs during his stint aboard the Gorgon's Gaze.
He reprimanded the mech technicians whenever they showed off a bad habit. He reprimanded Chief Keys for allowing the mech technicians to develop those bad habits in the first place. He quietly cursed Miss Lisbeth for turning Chief Keys into the most useless chief technician he had ever met.
If not for his familiarity with the Parallax Star's design and his resilience in the face of working with an extremely advanced mech, Ves would have suggested another chief technician to take his place. For now, necessity and lack of qualified personnel kept these unproductive bunch of mech technicians in place.
"It's not a good idea to switch them out in the middle of a mission anyway." He reminded himself. "I can't rock the boat too much at this stage. I'll have to make do with band-aid solutions."
Ves vigorously cleaned up the department's act and got them to work on a normal schedule like everyone else. The days of lazing about or performing useless repetitive actions to pretend they are at work was over.
If Ves had no more work on his plate, then that was called good delegation. If his subordinates weren't working, then that was called slacking on the job!
"Only the boss deserves to slack on the job!"
After addressing the consequences of years of Lisbeth's lackluster leadership, Ves finally achieved a satisfactory pace in his attempt to convert the Parallax Star into a mech that fit Venerable Xie's style.
The Parallax Star underwent a major makeover during his brief takeover of Miss Lisbeth's department.Find authorized novels in Webnovel，faster updates, better experience，Please click www.webnovel.com for visiting.
"It's unfortunate that lancer mechs aren't very compatible with his best strengths."
Venerable Xie generally preferred to pilot fast but agile mechs, no matter if they were of the landbound or spaceborn variety. A lancer mech excelled at accelerating to ludicrous speeds quickly in a straight line, but they weren't exactly the most agile mechs of the bunch. They performed fairly poorly compared to other melee mechs in short-ranged duels and dogfights.
Professor Velten originally designed the Parallax Star to fit Venerable O'Callahan's daring charges. Much of the resonating materials incorporated in its frame only exhibited their maximum potential when the Parallax Star built up a straight-line charge.
However, Venerable Xie stated an intention to pilot the Parallax Star as a spearman mech rather than the lancer mech. The difference between the two mech types was that the former fought like an ancient infantryman while the latter fought like a cavalryman.
Though both mechs utilized long weapons with a sharp end at the tip, the actual differences in their design were rather drastic.
Ves plainly couldn't convert the Parallax Star from one mech type to another mech type with the snap of his fingers. The best he could promise their new expert pilot was to make some accommodations.
In other words, the new state of the Parallax Star effectively resulted in a hybrid between the two mech types.
"What a sloppy outcome."
Such a change wasn't easy at all and Ves had the feeling he was wasting the Parallax Star's potential by forcing a change against its nature. However, Venerable Xie wouldn't be able to pilot the lancer mech like its previous expert pilot anyway because his resonance strength couldn't keep up with the demands of the lancer mech.
As for the Pale Dancer, Ves deferred any modifications for later. It took some time for the Flagrant Swordmaidens to reach the Starlight Megalodon, so while Ves already had a small redesign in store to strengthen it against the crushing effects of extreme gravity environments, he needed to wait until the mech technicians completed the work on the Parallax Star.
The disgruntled mech technicians already called Ves a slave driver behind his back. If Ves could get away with whipping their backs, he would have already done so.
Compared to the rest of their colleagues who maintained their high spirits while working productively, these men and women developed a superiority complex solely due to the fact that they worked on the personal fighting steeds of expert mechs.
Shaving down their egos required a considerable effort on his part. Ves knew he couldn't change the department permanently as long as Miss Lisbreth and Chief Keys remained in charge. However, he hoped his intervention here stuck around long enough to help the Vandals survive through this mission.
What happened after they completed the mission and finally returned to the Bright Republic was someone else's problem.
"I'm already on my way out anyway."
During the exhaustive efforts to reshape the expert mechs, Venerable Xie dropped by occasionally with Captain Orfan in tow. As a responsible expert pilot, he cared a lot about the mechs he would be working with in the future.
Ves knew that every expert pilot developed some kind of inner strength related to spirituality. Whenever he drew near their new expert pilot, he sensed a muted aura that radiated a warm current of protectiveness.
Anyone standing close to Venerable Xie would unconsciously feel reassured that he would have their backs. Even if no one could put their feelings into words, nobody wanted to be separated from his presence.
"How is this lancer mech shaping up?" Xie asked in his second visit for the day.
"The Parallax Star is more than halfway through its transformation, sir. We've hit a few snags at the start, but the mech technicians have just completed the hardest parts about the conversion. As you've requested, the mech pilots less like a lancer mech and more like a spearman mech. It will be able to go head-to-head against enemy duelists with a bit more proficiency."
The expert pilot took in the Parallax Star with a critical eye. Obviously, he was never really taken in by the lancer mech. "Even with the changes, it will still be a difficult mech for me to pilot. I don't pretend I can match the skill its previous owner has demonstrated. I am amazed at O'Callahan's feats whenever I watch archival footage of his deployments. I have a big pair of shoes to fill."
Nobody knew how well the expert pilot might fare in the newly adjusted Parallax Star. There was no point stuffing Venerable Xie inside a simulator pod and have him play with a virtual version of the mech. The phenomena that expert pilots were capable of summoning translated poorly into a virtual environment.
Only a live test with the actual mech in use would prove whether Ves had succeeded in his minor redesign.
It excited him. Though he should have consulted Professor Velten to inspect his redesign plan, it would have been a huge hassle considering the current communications blackout instituted among the entire combined fleet.
"If the redesign is successful, are you prepared to defend the Flagrant Vandals and our allies from the threats we're expecting to face?" Ves asked.
"Of course he is!" Captain Orfan immediately intervened. She approached the expert pilot and slapped him on the back. "He's one of us now! A genuine Vandal! I heard that Major Verle even sent out an emergency citizenship application for our man here. From what I heard, the people back home approved the application within three minutes! You're looking at a new citizen of the Bright Republic here!"
Ves blinked. "That fast? Wow, the Mech Corps must be desperate for expert pilots. Don't they usually conduct a thorough background check before they approve of any foreign elite?"
"Don't ask me why the folks back home have made it so easy. But that means that Venerable Xie here is a true Brighter now!"
The expert pilot in question chose to ask an awkward question at this moment. "Does this mean that the supposed war you Brighters are embroiled in is going worse than expected?"
That shut Captain Orfan up.
"We don't know." Ves answered after a few seconds. "We're so far away from the war that we don't know how well it's going for our side. If it's like the last wars, then the Bright Republic ought to have unleashed their counterattack against a divided, overextended and exhausted Vesian invasion front. Whether that has already happened enough is still an open question. We'd be able to get some clues if we can access the galactic net, but these days it's so full of spam and misinformation that you can never get the full truth out of reading the news portals."
The unspoken message lingering in the back of their minds was that the Flagrant Vandals ought to be fighting in the thick of it. Instead, a confidential mission brought them far outside the theater of war that the Vandals had difficulty recalling the last time they fought against a Vesian force.
While they stomped and intimidated several pirate outfits lately, they found little meaning and even less satisfaction out of their hollow victories.
What was the point of venturing so far out into the most desolate parts of the galaxy?
"Tell me more about the Bright Republic." Venerable Xie diplomatically steered the topic away from the war. "If it is to be my newly adopted state, I'd like to know how to fit in. It is strange for me to serve a republic. Adjusting to a society where every citizen theoretically holds the same status is strange for me to comprehend. How are you able to determine who is fit to rule and who is fit to work?"
Oh boy. Ves inwardly cringed. To someone who grew up under the yoke of aristocrats who claimed their right to rule came from their birthright, it was difficult for them to open up their minds to alternatives.
"It's a long story…"