The Mech Touch
ir of cat ears was seriously hampering his upgrade opportunities!
A huge part of Asco
’s industry revolved around hunting alien or genetically-modified cats.
Exobiologists and geneticists, many of them unaffiliated with House Laterna ’s research institutions, offered their services to the hunting outfits.
Nonetheless, most of the biotech researchers working here were not skilled or knowledgeable enough to work for better firms.
That, or they simply wanted to conduct their research independently without any obligations.
”Let ’s check into the hotel first before we explore our surroundings. ”
They did so, arriving at one of the more upscale hotels.
Ves was sure that a lot of watchers noted his entry into the establishment, but he didn ’t care.
Once they settled in, Ves gathered his crew in order to distribute some tasks.
”Now, all of you know what I
’m here for.
I ’m not here to hunt a huge cat, but study one.
Killing them isn ’t necessary but I don ’t particularly care whether a hunting team kills them or not after I am done with them.
As long as their rates are within my budget, I don ’t mind which hunting team I get in bed with.
What truly matters is the cat that I wish to study up close. ”
”You ’ve never told us what you are looking for, boss. ”
’s because I can
’t quite judge what I want from footage alone.
” Ves calmly replied as Lucky started tugging at his cat ear attachments with his paws again.
”I need a better impression of the cats that I have in mind, and for that I require information that isn ’t necessarily available on the galactic net.
I need hearsay and testimony from the hunting teams that have encountered the specific cats before. ”
”Do you want us to interview the local hunters? ”
Ves nodded, and then directed his gaze to the Ingvars.
”Imon, Casella, I ’ll leave this task up to you two.
I ’ll give you a modest budget that you can spend on loosening up the tongues of the hunters drinking at the bars or lazying about on the streets. ”
”Do we really have to, sir?
” Imon scrunched his face in disgust.
”No offense, but the hunters are predominantly… ”
”I know they
’re rough, Imon, but you
’ve spent months with the Battle Criers.
Interacting with this kind of ilk should be within your capabilities. ”
The male Ingvar still looked ill at ease.
”If you can manage it, you can approach the more professional hunters instead.
” Ves sighed.
”Just make sure you squeeze some reliable information out of them without prematurely emptying your budget.
Make sure to ask Crindon to load your comm with a lie detector module so you can verify if the hunters are telling the truth. ”
This suggestion caused both Imon and Casella to look a lot more relieved! With their noble identities, they felt much more comfortable interacting with the upper ranks of the local hunter community!
”You can rely on us, Mr.
Larkinson! ” Imon confidently patted his chest, as if his earlier doubts never occurred at all!
While Ves held some doubts, he nonetheless let Imon and Casella decide on their own approach.
The task he handed to them partially served as a test.
He wanted to see if they were resourceful and adaptable enough to handle this simple task.
Once he gave the Ingvars a list of huge cat specimens that he wanted to know more about, he turned to Crindon.
”As for you, I
’d like you to look into the hunting teams themselves.
” He instructed.
”What I ’ve read from the galactic net only consists of official records and dry reports.
While they are already informative, I know better than basing my judgement on official papers alone.
I need you to go out and discreetly listen to the rumors circulating around Kemila.
Don ’t attract any attention or make it too obvious what you are doing. ”
Unlike the Ingvars, Crindon did not show any hesitation.
Do you have any priorities in the intel I gather? ”
’m preferably looking for hunting teams that put themselves up for hire.
I want to know which ones have a reputation for reliability and customer service.
I don ’t want to hire a hunting team without knowing that they have a penchant for ignoring the instructions of the client even if they don ’t pose a threat! ”
I will be on the lookout for obedient hunting teams, though I think there aren ’t that many of them here.
Hunters are by their nature self-sufficient and unwilling to bend to authority in hunting-related matters. ”
Once Crindon received his instructions, Ves turned to the last two members of his group.
”Gavin, Nitaa, the two of you will be coming with me to the hunting hall.
While Crindon and the Ingvars collect information from informal channels, we ’ll be paying a visit to the local hunter hall and meet with the officials. ”
As a Journeyman Mech Designer, Ves expected a good reception from the local officials.
Unfortunately, Ves would be disappointing them as he did not intend to set up shop on Felixia.
The mech designers who worked in Asco predominantly consisted of Novices and Apprentices.
High-ranking mech designers had better things to do than tinker with a handful of hunting mechs engaging in an artificial circus.
As much as the hunting activities here required real skill and preparation to succeed, Ves had no illusion that everything about the entire experience had been carefully crafted by House Laterna.
The savvy rulers of Felixia planned out almost everything except the behavior of the cats themselves, and even that Ves wasn
’t sure of.
From what he learned so far, House Laterna wasn ’t above employing secretive means to spy on people.
He wouldn ’t be surprised that the biologists under their employ secretly influenced the behavior of the Crown Cats, to the point of being able to instruct them to kill a certain number of hunters!
The Asco Continent was more of a playground than a true hunting preserve.
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