of known expert candidates and expert pilots did remain unattached to the military.
Due to special circumstances, the Mech Corps didn ’t insist on recruiting them.
However, their conditions weren ’t all that good.

Expert candidates generally needed to develop themselves.
The Mech Corps invested a lot of time, attention and resources into helping their expert candidates advance.

As for expert pilots, their full range of abilities would never reach their full potential unless they piloted an expert mech! These fantastic machines cost a ridiculous amount of money to design, develop and maintain.
Ves estimated that the cheapest ones were worth about 5 billion credits, but such a cheap machine was simply not a good complement to a genuine expert pilot.

The decent ones probably cost around 30 billion at the very least, though Ves wasn ’t exactly sure of that.
All in all, while the LMC would tentatively be able to develop and maintain an expert mech, it would be a significant financial burden!

”The problem is the Bright Republic. ” Gavin reiterated.
”It ’s such a war-involved state that it has come to regard domestic expert candidates and expert pilots as strategic resources.
Perhaps in the Reinald Republic an expert candidate can get away with rejecting the offers of the Honored Ones, but the Mech Corps can probably come up with a conscription order to force Jannzi to leave our midst. ”

It happened before.
The Mech Corps were notorious hoarders when it came to expert candidates.
Any expert candidate that popped up from the private sector would quickly end up in their hands.

Perhaps in other states they may have a decent shot at retaining Jannzi, but not in the Bright Republic!

Even though the latest Bright-Vesia War had already ended, that did not mean the Bright Republic was without threats.
Ves knew the real reason why both states ended the war in a premature fashion!

If an even bigger threat loomed that necessitated the two squabbling states to temporarily put aside their animosity, then the demand for expert candidates and expert pilots would be even higher! The Mech Corps should be vigorously trying to collect as many of them as possible in preparation for an even more intensive conflict!

Ves already started to consider keeping Jannzi within the Avatars of Myth a lost cause.
The only thing he could do was to make sure he got as much concessions out of the Mech Corps for relinquishing his cousin.

”Contact my grandfather and coordinate an action plan.
If the Mech Corps is insistent on taking Jannzi away, then they better give us something in return! ”

”Will do, Ves! ”

As Gavin left his side in order to contact the Larkinsons, Ves met with Professor Ventag.

”I ’ve managed to convince more than fifty ships and installations to share their sensor readings and their testimonies to me. ” The professor said.
”The authenticity of Jannzi ’s breakthrough won ’t be in question with so much corroborating evidence. ”

”Is there any way for me to retain Jannzi in my service? ”

The professor shook his head.
”Ordinarily, no. ”

”There is a way, then? ”

”Nothing is impossible, Ves.
If Senator Tovar exerts his full effort, he might be able to grant an exemption to Jannzi ’s conscription.
The only issue is that he has no reason to do so.
Fighting to keep an expert candidate out of the hands of the Mech Corps costs a lot of political capital, and it isn ’t clear what he can gain from this in return.
The other founding families will see the senator ’s actions as an attempt to secure an expert pilot that is loyal to the Tovar Family, and that is deeply taboo in their circles.
One of the rules the five founding families have set for themselves is that they wouldn ’t compete on expert pilots. ”

Ves raised his eyebrow.
He expected the opposite! ”That ’s a remarkably enlightened stance to take.
Why is that? ”

”Because they have seen what would happen if expert pilots become loyal to a single faction rather than the state.
If the Tovar Family secured the loyalties of three expert pilots, that would mean the Mech Corps would have three fewer expert pilots to deploy during war.
If the five founding families and other powerful organizations begin to hoard dozens of expert pilots, that would mean the Mech Corps would become horribly outmatched against the Mech Legion! ”

”Won ’t the founding families and other organizations lend their expert pilots to the Mech Corps in the event of war? ”

”That wouldn ’t work, Ves.
The internal divisions and the politicking that will inevitably ensue will disrupt the Mech Corps from within.
We ’ve seen the consequences of excessive infighting and tribalism in the Vesia Kingdom ’s military! If the Mech Legion ’s noble officers didn ’t fight each other all the time, they would have been able to conquer Bentheim already! ”

If even Professor Ventag expressed little hope at retaining Jannzi, then Ves figured that the Larkinsons wouldn ’t be able to come up with anything better.
Not that the family wanted to see Jannzi ’s potential being wasted by staying out of the military.

The high reputation of the Larkinson worked against Ves this time.
Everyone would expect Jannzi to join the Mech Corps because that was what Larkinsons did.
Renouncing the family name like Raella did wouldn ’t be of any use.
Jannzi was too famous and high profile to resort to that excuse!

”I ’ll go visit Jannzi in person. ” Ves said.
”Could you take over here? ”

Go ahead and check up on your cousin.
Despite what will follow, do remember that this is a great development for her.
Many mech pilots would kill to be in her place! ”

Ves parted with Professor Ventag and moved to the Grand Skyward ’s infirmary while carrying Lucky.
He knew that the main reason Jannzi felt reluctant was that she was probably unduly attached to the Shield of Samar and the Aurora Titan model.
If the Mech Corps picked her up and put her in a random mech regiment, then she wouldn ’t have the opportunity to pilot a commercial mech model like the Shield of Samar anymore.

Such a forceful separation might ruin any chances for Jannzi to advance to expert pilot!

”I have to do something about this! ”

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