The Mech Touch Chapter 777
775 Heavy Landfall
The projection that showed the front view of the shuttle conveyed a marvelous image of Aeon Corona VII. The strong astral winds caused the massive planet to resemble a sun in its own right. Beneath the turbulent streams of higher-dimensional particles, a beautiful and largely untamed planet beckoned them all to step foot on its surface.
As the shuttle descended gradually into the planet's formidable gravity well, it started to fight against the forces that wanted to plummet it straight towards the ground.
The shuttle began to make contact with the Super Earth's atmosphere. As the vehicle continued its descent, it began to compress the air in its path. This caused the immediate surroundings to heat up until flames finally emerged around the shuttle.
The shuttle's descent caused so much compression of air over such rapid speeds that plasma started to burn around its hull as it continued its way downwards!
While the vehicle was well-protected against the heat, none of the shuttle's occupants felt comfortable about it. The increasingly stronger rattling as well as the strengthening spacetime distortion caused a lot of weaker Vandals to feel nauseous.
While someone as fit and strong as Ketis held up fine, some of the logistics officers such as Lieutenant Commander Soapstone started to barf inside their hazard suits or suits of combat armor.
Fortunately, every modern suit these days came with a ready response to a vomiting wearer. A thin sack emerged out of a slot from the inside of her collar and neatly captured the vomit spewing out of Soapstone's mouth.Find authorized novels in Webnovel，faster updates, better experience，Please click www.webnovel.com for visiting.
Once she emptied her stomach, the sack of vomit automatically detached from her suit, only to be picked up by a shakily hovering cleaning bot hidden inside the shuttle.
Over a third of the Vandals aboard the shuttle ended up emptying the contents of their stomachs.
Ves felt uneasy as well, but his strengthened body firmly managed to keep the lid on his stomach. Ketis glanced at Ves with some respect for not being a part of the losers who couldn't handle a slightly rough atmospheric entry.
"Did you land on a wild planet before?" She yelled. The rush of the descent along with the overstrained propulsion fighting against the planet's gravity threw up a lot of noise, making it hard to hear what she said. "You look like this isn't your first time!"
"I've been on some adventures!" He yelled back. "Though I've never set foot on a Super Earth before!"
"Me neither!" She grinned at him. "It's usually more trouble than it's worth to land on a heavy gravity planet, but I'm glad we have the chance this time! Who knows we'll experience down there! I can't wait!"
Though Ves did not share her enthusiasm, a small part of his body thrummed in anticipation. To say he dreaded this deployment was an understatement. He was frightened out of his mind.
Yet the more he feared his next destination, the more he anticipated it as well!
A large, rich and livable planet like Aeon Corona VII potentially hid a lot of rare and unique treasures. From the remnants of advanced technology they could barter from the regressed descendants, to the deposits of rare exotics that the exogeologists believe was present, Ves and the Vandals potentially stood to gain an unimaginable amount of riches.
Of course, the Vandals didn't go through the trouble of entering the deep frontier for such meager gains. Recovering the treasures of the Starlight Megalodon remained their overarching priority. Nothing else mattered if they failed to reach the Starlight Megalodon and made it off with the bounty locked inside her bosom!
The rattling eventually subsided after a lengthy fall. The shuttle stabilized a bit, though the noises emanated by its antigrav modules and its sublight propulsion grew even stronger.
The closer the shuttle approached the surface, the harder it had to fight against its heavy gravity!
In addition, its propulsion also fought hard to arrest the shuttle's downward momentum. It wouldn't do to reach the surface quickly only to end up in a crash!
The rumbling actually started to grow stronger as the shuttle fought as hard as possible to shed its terminal velocity.
Once the shuttle reached the final kilometer of altitude, the vehicle still descended like a rock, but at least this time it wouldn't splatter its parts all over the landing zone.
With deft control, the shuttle pilot guided the hot but intact shuttle to the designated landing pad nestled in between some barren hills.
The Vandals chose to make landfall in this region because of the apparent scarcity of flora and fauna. If any exobeasts decided to attack the strangers from the stars, at least the Vandals and the Swordmaidens would see the attackers coming from their defensible position.
After the long and arduous descent, the crispy shuttle finally touched down on the makeshift landing pad made out of prefab material. Once the exterior of the shuttle cooled down a bit, the hatch opened up, allowing the discomfited and nauseous Vandals to exit first.
Not that the fresh air was any better. Though technically the terraforming of the first human visitors made it safe to breathe by baseline humans, the unfamiliar mix of gasses as well as the tangy smell caused Lieutenant Commander Soapstone to dry heave.
Ves and Ketis exited the shuttle a minute later. Ves breathed deep and frowned a bit. Though his modified lungs could breathe through certain types of toxic air, that didn't mean he liked the smell and taste of alien air.
The atmosphere of Aeon Corona VII had already been extensively tested by the scientists sent as part of the first and second waves. They detected neither toxins or germs dangerous to baseline humans in the air, so the prevailing policy was to conserve their oxygen reserves as much as possible unless new proof emerged that said otherwise.
The temperature was also remarkably temperate, though the Vandals deliberately chose to land at one of the most comfortable areas in the northern hemisphere terms of climate.
"What is this tangy smell in the air?" Ves puzzled over it. "It smells familiar, but not quite."
"Smells like metal." Ketis remarked. "Didn't you say this landing zone is next to a large deposit of ores and junk exotics?"
The current plan called for establishing a foothold and to construct a temporary base at their landing site. Hopefully, the deposits provided them with enough resources to mass-produce extra legged transports to expand the size of their supply train and pump out scores of cheap turrets to guard their base against raiding pirates or Vesians.
Though the Flagrant Swordmaidens hadn't detected the presence of their rivals, they knew for certain that they would be around somewhere. The planet and its orbit was too big right now for them to bump into each other right now, but that would certainly change once they got closer to the Starlight Megalodon.
As for the sandmen, there was a large probability that they might be present on this planet as well, though for some reason the Vandals hadn't spotted any sandmen colonies from orbit.
Aeon Corona VII wasn't actually an ideal planet to the silicate life forms. While the huge planet's abundant resource deposits might have interested the sandmen, the heavy gravity was simply hell to the race.
They wouldn't be able to move so fast and fluid without expending at least six times more energy. For a race that largely resembled bots, the logical choice would be to avoid settling on heavy gravity planets. The energy expenditure in settling them and maintaining a colony on them simply wasn't worth it unless the value of its bounty surpassed the extra effort.
While the exobiologists and the other analysts in the employ of the Vandals didn't claim to be able to read the sandmen's minds, they didn't rule out their presence on the surface of the planet.
A battleship or the origin of the ongoing anomaly should be more than enough to attract their interest!
Once the Vandals who came off the shuttle acclimatized a bit, a guide garbed in a hazard suit approach the newcomers. "Alright, folks, welcome to Aeon Corona VII, or as we like to call it, Seven! By now, we've transmitted your next orders along with a map of our expanding base into your comms. Don't be surprised if the map changes every hour. This place will look twice as big twenty-four hours later. By the way, one day on Seven lasts for forty-three hours, so don't judge the time by the three glowing dots in the sky!"
One of the Vandals raised their hand. "Did you catch any critters yet that we can eat?"
All of the Vandals laughed at that. Their guide grinned as well. "If we do, then we'll be sure to cook it up and have you take the first bite. Don't blame us if you drop dead the next second!"
The joke livened up the mood and made them forget about the discomforts of their new environment.
Their guide pointed an armored thumb behind his shoulder. "One more warning. Do you see all of the paved and plated ground we've laid out? All of those areas are safe to traverse. Active antigrav modules make sure that all of the paved areas fall within their antigrav field, which means that if your mass is seventy kilograms, your weight is seventy kilograms as well, give or take a few k's. If you stray too far outside the paved ground though, don't be surprised if you suddenly weigh as much as your fat mother!"
That caused another burst of laughter to escape from everyone's mouths. Still, every Vandal present took the warning to heart. Nobody wanted to become imprisoned in their own bodies when they landed outside one of the active antigrav fields.
"What are you standing around here for? Get a move on!"
Ves consulted the map and found that the base had actually been split up into two. One half hosted the Vandals while the other half hosted the Swordmaidens.
Though he wanted to pay a visit to see how the Swordmaidens set themselves up, he knew that his current duties compelled him to remain with the Vandals first. He turned to Ketis and gestured in the vague direction of the Swordmaiden side of the base.
"Right now, I have to take care of a lot of paperwork and other boring stuff. If you want, feel free to return to the Swordmaidens. I'm sure Mayra will be glad to see you again. You can even show off your new accomplishments."
"Good idea!" She nodded her head like a chipmunk. "I've already told her about finding my design philosophy, but I haven't showed it off to her yet! I bet she'll be really proud of me when I tell her how amazing I am right now!"
Ketis quickly scampered off to the Swordmaiden side of the base, though at least she made sure to stay firmly on the paved paths. Ves shook his head and followed the directions to the only mech workshop set up so far, though it wouldn't be the only one up for long.
"We've finally reached this planet, huh." Ves idly remarked.
He almost couldn't believe their long journey had reached this point. He somewhat missed the idle days of travel in space interspersed with occasional battle, but he figured their situation on the ground wouldn't be much different.
As Ves glanced at the construction machines setting up prefab structures to the sides, he wondered how the descendants managed to survive on this planet for so long.
Obviously, they managed to employ a form of antigrav technology that shielded their cities from the crushing gravity.
Yet did they master this tech from the start, or was it starting to become a lost art? This was one of the possible reasons the analysts put forward as an explanation as to why the descendants hadn't expanded their presence on the planet after thousands of years.
If they truly mastered the planet, their population should have ballooned into the billions by now. However, current estimates on their population put them at no more than a few million humans.
What limited their growth?