The Mech Touch Chapter 785
783 Chief Leslie Dakkon
As both a ship engineer and a mechanical engineer, Dakkon possessed a very broad base of knowledge.
While someone like Chief Avanaeon may be more in tune with the most complicated aspects of starships such as their FTL drives, Chief Dakkon was more of a jack-of-all-trades that made him suitable to take up a leadership post on a logistics ship.
"It sounds like you didn't start off as a ship engineer." Ves remarked.
"True. I never imagined I ended up in the Mech Corps." Chief Dakkon sighed as the fast transport and its escort of mechs started to get underway. The journey to A27 took roughly a standard day, so they had plenty of time to chat. "As you've no doubt noticed, I used to start off as a mechanical engineer with a specialty in heavy equipment. After I got my degree, I worked at several industrial manufacturers that manufactured everything from ore harvesters to space station components."
"Did you enjoy it?"
"Of course I did! I constantly participated in projects involving different machines. I became good at my job as well and received promotion after promotion."Find authorized novels in Webnovel，faster updates, better experience，Please click www.webnovel.com for visiting.
"What about mechs? Did you ever get in touch with them?"
"Nope. I don't have any desire to work with mechs at all."
The chief turned to Ves. "This may sound like news to you, but not everyone is nuts for mechs. To be frank, they disgust me. The introduction of mechs to humanity hasn't curbed our race's destructive instincts at all. They merely channeled them in a more accessible format where the damage is limited to a level below where they are a threat to entire planets."
The sudden vehemence in the chief engineer's voice along with the familiar argument stoked Ves' recognition. "You sound like one of those peace advocates."
"Guilty as charged! I used to be a member of the Old Pacifists even. We used to believe we were one of the few people who believed that humanity is better than their murderous, infighting ways."
"I screwed up on the job." Chief Dakkon averted his eyes from Ves and stared down at the deck. "I made an inexcusable error and earned the ire of my employer. The only way I escape retaliation without leaving the Bright Republic was to join the Mech Corps. When the Old Pacifists found out, they kicked me out of the club. I didn't miss them anyway. After spending a lot of time with the Vandals, I realized that humans are too greedy to put down their warring ways. Once I accepted that fact, I kept my head down and worked earnestly for my new home until I was promoted to chief engineer. That's my life's story in a nutshell. Boring, is it not?"
"I don't agree." Ves said gently. "The Flagrant Vandals are filled with interesting people who have made mistakes but are working to redeem themselves. Everyone has a unique story to tell."
"Well, don't pry so much if you know what's good for you, kid. Not everyone appreciates it if someone airs their secrets."
They strayed away from the chief's background and instead turned their discussion towards their work. Talking shop benefited them both as they exchanged new ideas and cast a different perspective on matters.
Ves quickly found out that while he mastered a lot more theory, Chief Dakkon possessed an advantage in both experience and problem solving capacity.
The man also turned out to be a font of handy little insights.
"So you designed these legged transports, right?"
"I wouldn't say that I'm the designer of the transports." Dakkon immediately pushed back. "I've merely borrowed a template design from the central database and spent a couple of months on refining its design to suit our circumstances. I didn't expect the terrain of Seven to be so difficult to traverse in many places, though, so I that's why it's taking longer than we anticipated to get the legged transports up and running. Their legs need to be longer in order to traverse most of the complex terrain."
"How fast can they run?"
"Not a lot. They're meant to move outside of the influence of an antigrav field in order to conserve energy. While those antigrav modules, it wastes a lot of energy, so its more efficient to design the legged transports with greater power than to lighten them up. The only downside that comes with this efficiency is that the transports can only run thirty to forty kilometers an hour at most, though I won't be surprised if that dips down to twenty kilometers an hour."
"At that pace, it's going to take us ages to traverse to the other side of the planet."
"We don't have any other choice. Our mechs can run faster as long as their gravitic backpacks are supplied with energy, but they are already running through them like they're sieves. Our engineers have to divert a lot of effort into finding means to generate more energy on our own in order to recharge our spent energy cells and batteries."
The root of their survival and longevity on the surface rested on their ability to manage their energy supply. Good energy management enabled them to go on longer without depending on outside help.
The ground forces initially touched down in the calmer hemisphere of the planet. Right now, there weren't too many barriers in place that prevented the Vandals and the Swordmaidens to be supplied from the fleet up in orbit.
All of this would change once the ground expedition crossed over into the turbulent hemisphere. The closer they got to the Starlight Megalodon, the harder it was to remain in contact with the fleet up in orbit. The increasing amount of turbulence eventually cut them off entirely, leaving the ground forces to fend for themselves.
So trying to start off on the right foot in terms of energy management immediately became their primary concern. Chief Dakkon and the other engineers, technicians and machinists all shouldered a huge burden. Without their constant efforts, the ground forces would never make it all the way to the Starlight Megalodon without running out of energy and supplies.
As time went by, the passengers started to get bored. As the fast transport moved towards A27 alongside another crawler from the Swordmaidens, people inside started taking naps and ate nutrient packs whenever they grew hungry.
By the time the delegation arrived at the city, the sky looked as bright as ever. In fact, the brightness of the astral winds annoyed so many Vandals and Swordmaidens that they started to wear protective visors or ocular augments in order to prevent their eyes from straining.
Others simply unfolded the helmets of their hazard suits or combat armor in order to save their eyes the trouble.
The fast transport halted five kilometers away from the walls of A27. Ves peered in the distance and admired its apparent. The patina and rust adorning the walls alluded to a rich history.
Captain Byrd collected the three experts together in an elevated compartment of the fast transport. The roof started to fold back while the deck rose into the air, placing them onto the upper surface of the vehicle.
"A27 stands before us." She began. "Right now, our main challenge is to initiate peaceful contact. To do so, we'll have to convince them that we don't have any hostile intentions to their city. I'm not sure whether they are familiar with mechs. It could be that they have lost the technology to field them into battle, so there is a risk that they'll mistake our mechs as giant monsters. Do you have any suggestions to facilitate peaceful contact?"
The young female exobiologist spoke up first. "I've been studying the markings on the walls and they definitely show signs of being attacked by exobeasts that are even larger than most mechs. Most of them appear to have been inflicted by quadrupeds or multi-limbed exobeasts, so the sight of upright mechs should be sufficiently distinguishable from whatever it is they are fending off."
"Good point, Dr. Tillman. While it is impossible to predict how they will react to mechs, it is necessary for us to project a certain amount of strength as well, so I will bring at least four of them along to impress upon the rulers of the city that we mean business. Any other suggestions?"
Chief Dakkon raised an important point. "I know that wireless communication is kind of borked under all of this interference, but why not try to send a powerful transmission first? If they still operate functioning transceivers, it may be possible to start a discussion at a safe distance."
"No." Captain Byrd shook her head. "First impressions are important. They may not even believe who we are if we attempt to hail them from a distance."
After entertaining a bit more feedback, she eventually decided to just stand on top of the fast transport and slowly approach the walled city under a modest escort of four mechs.
As the small delegation detached itself from the rest of the mech company that would be staying behind in case they needed backup, the fast transport dictated their pace as it crawled into view of the city and vica versa.
Though the errant distortion made long-ranged detection rather hard, the large transports and mechs should have been visible long ago. Disconcertingly, the city exhibited no reaction at their approach.
As the range fell to a kilometer, the city seemed like a dead husk rather than a thriving settlement. However, the increasingly-detailed sensor readings revealed that A27 hosted at least a hundred-thousand people, all of them spread through every part of the city.
By the time the fast transport stood five-hundred meters away, Captain Byrd ordered a halt.
Silence dominated the plains before the city wall and its ditch. After several minutes of patient waiting, Byrd came to the decision that the inhabitants wouldn't be making the first move any time soon.
"Transmit my voice over the loudspeaker." She ordered one of the operators of the fast transport. "Amplify and project my voice towards the city. Let's see them ignoring us now."
Once the transport's 'mouth' opened up to reveal a shaped loudspeaker built just for this purpose, Captain Byrd started to greet the city in the simplest manner possible.
"TO THE PEOPLE INHABITING THE CITY BEFORE US! WE ARE VISITORS FROM BEYOND THE SKY. YOUR ANCESTORS FROM THE COMMON FLEET ALLIANCE ARE KNOWN TO US. WE GREET YOU IN THE NAME OF FRIENDSHIP AND TRADE."
Despite projecting Captain Byrd's booming voice over the entire city, not a single human showed up to give a reply. The mech captain waited for an entire minute before speaking again.
'WE HAVE COME FROM BEYOND THE STARS TO HELP YOU ESTABLISH CONTACT WITH THE OUTSIDE GALAXY. WE CAN HELP YOUR CITY BECOME STRONGER. WE HAVE BROUGHT FOOD AND TECHNOLOGY SUCH AS ADDITIONAL POWER REACTORS AND ANTIGRAV MODULES. WE ARE PREPARED TO TRADE ALL OF OUR GOODS IN EXCHANGE FOR FRIENDSHIP AND INFORMATION."
Another gnawing silence followed after those words. The city didn't appear to be rousing itself in response to Captain Byrd's enticement at all.
"Have the descendants gone deaf or something?" Chief Dakkon wondered.
"That's unlikely." Doctor Tillman rejected the suggestion. "The environmental conditions here does not give any reason for humans to decouple themselves from their hearing."
Ves threw out another guess. "Maybe their prevailing language has drifted so far from standard human language that they don't even understand what we're saying."
"That is a possibility, but it is unlikely if they have maintained a certain degree of technology from the CFA." Captain Byrd replied. "I believe that the inhabitants are simply flustered by encountering something entirely different from the threats that they have faced so far. We need to give them time to make sense of our presence and form a unified response."
"I have a bad feeling about this, though." Ves cautiously said. "They had plenty of time to see us coming, and they would have definitely heard your greeting by now. What if they are preparing something other than a peaceful response?"
An alarm suddenly rang from the transport.
"Detecting incoming ordnance from the city! Take cover!"
All of them directed their attention towards the city. Of all the possible responses they could muster, the Vandals never expected the city to launch aircar-sized boulders at them with great force and speed! Though the heavy gravity pulled them down the ground rather quickly, they still ranged far enough to crash in the vicinity of the fast transport!
A second volley of boulders slammed into the terrains next to the transport and its modest escort. Neither the transport nor the mechs possessed any armaments that could intercept the boulders, so they couldn't do anything against the rocks!