Hearing about the changes taking place in the Bright Republic and Cloudy Curtain really made Ves homesick.

His home state underwent huge changes that transformed almost every fabric of its society! The government didn ’t spare anything to muster its defenses and prepare for the inevitable sandman onslaught!

Ves wanted to return as soon as possible to lead the LMC through the current crisis!

”I only have one more stop before my fleet turns home. ” He reminded himself.
”I still have some business at the Hertog Dominion.
It wouldn ’t do me any good to skip this destination. ”

After his treacherous— ahem, patriotic assistant finished his daily briefing and left, Ves fell into thought.

With Nitaa standing on guard and Lucky crawling over his body, Ves tried his best to make sense of the past few days.
His recent insights related to his design philosophy, the responses towards the sandman invasion and Gavin ’s double dealings all bubbled in his mind like a soup.

Though these topics weren ’t necessarily related to each other, the more Ves reflected on them, the more he began to see a way to connect them together.

Over the past several days, Ves tried his best to gain inspiration in order to form a bold and fitting vision for his current design project.
Without a unifying idea to guide his efforts, how could he ever design a spaceborn rifleman mech that stood out from the crowd?

As Ves activated his terminal and idly started browsing current news articles from the Bright Republic, the seed that had been planted in his thoughts started to bloom.

What did the border states lack the most? Why did they collapse months before they were expected to fall?

”Too many citizens have given up! Even the mech pilots and military officers have lost hope! ”

Ves didn ’t blame them.
The sandman invasion had surprised them all.
Hardly any border state received enough time to shore up their defenses before the sandmen fleets flooded out of the deep frontier and crashed into civilized space like a tide!

No sane citizen would stick around and give up their lives in a hopeless cause to stall the sandman invasion for the benefit of others.
Rather than sacrifice their lives for the betterment of random people, they would rather save their own hides!

Nonetheless, plenty of courageous mech pilots had stuck to their home states until they could no longer hold their positions.
Some even held their posts to the very end!

Plenty of stories of courage and sacrifice from the border states circulated in the galactic net, but they were few and far in between.
At this time, most stories centered around the immense amount of refugees hitching rides on any available starship!

These refugees had abandoned their state while feeling abandoned themselves.

It was a sad state of affairs.
The societal cohesion at the border states had been too weak to unite their people together when they most needed it.

”Fortunately, the Bright Republic is better off. ”

The states situated further away from the border not only enjoyed more time until the sandmen reached their territories, but also learned from the mistakes of the border states.

At the very least, the amount of Brighters seeking to flee from the Bright Republic, thereby robbing the state of valuable manpower, was quite modest!

While the government couldn ’t stop anyone from leaving if they really wanted to, most Brighters strongly believed that they were tough enough to withstand the imminent alien onslaught!

Not just the Bright Republic intended to stand their ground.
The Vesians were just as pumped to defend their state and defeat the aliens!

When Ves compared the attitudes between the refugees and the citizens of the Bright Republic and the Vesia Kingdom, he believed he found the key element that made all of the difference!

”It ’s duty! We serve because it is expected of us! We fight because it is our duty to fight! ”


While Ves recognized that duty was not infallible in the face of an overwhelming threat, currently the sandman invasion hadn ’t reached the point where resistance was futile.

As long as everyone did their duty, the defense lines would hold! Every analyst commenting on the current crisis agreed with this conclusion! With a CFA warfleet on their way to annihilate the rear lines of the sandman empire, the states under threat just needed to hold long enough to exhaust the current waves of sandmen invaders!

Ves pinned down the theme he wanted to incorporate into his upcoming mech design!

”It ’s duty! That was what I was looking for all this time! ”

It was as if a light illuminated the darkness that made him feel lost.
Now that he found his light, he had found his direction! He knew what his spaceborn rifleman mech needed to center around in order for it to be useful enough to make a difference!

Ves decided to focus on the concept of duty for multiple reasons.

First, he wanted to do his duty by designing a mech that could help the Bright Republic and other states fend off the sandmen.
He believed that the mech he was about to envision would be one of the best solutions on the market.

Second, he wanted the mech pilots who defended their states to do their duty as well.
Even if they weren ’t supplied with expensive mechs, the brave men and women on the frontlines deserved as much support as possible.

”Mechs form the most important support to mech pilots! Everything else is merely supplementary! As long as their mechs are strong and dependable, the pilots will perform their duties with confidence! ”

By emphasizing the concept of duty in his next mech design, Ves not only hoped to do his part, but also influence the mech pilots into standing their ground under difficult circumstances!

This was the third reason, and perhaps the most compelling one to mech buyers!

”The Bright Republic expects every mech pilot to do their duty.
Our defense will only hold if everyone believes in themselves! ”

The Mech Corps would undoubtedly play the main role in this coming conflict, but the private outfits were expected to ease the military ’s burden.

All of the military mech regiments of the Bright Republic could only cover so much territory.

The smaller planets and star systems needed protection as well.
That was where mercenary corps and security companies hired by the state played a role.
If all of the mercenaries and corporate mech pilots did their duties, then the Bright Republic would have enough soldiers to stall the sandmen and buy more time for the auxiliary regiments to come online!

”In the border states, the local outfits fled first! Hardly any mercenary corps stuck around! ”

The flight of so many private outfits not only weakened the defensive lines, but also sparked a lot of panic! Seeing so many mechs and ships depart from the border states prompted many citizens to lose hope and encouraged them to join the great flight!

It was far too late to stop the flood of escaping citizens once it gained momentum!

”It ’s like a chain reaction.
An initial instance of panic will incite others to panic as well! ”

It was vitally important to prevent this reaction from setting off by halting it at the very start! This was why the Bright Republic exhorted everyone that they could succeed in defeating the sandmen as long as everyone remained brave!

”The government is pulling out all the stops! ” Ves realized from all of the media manipulation he encountered over the course of his investigations.

Ves likened the Bright Republic ’s measures to Major Verle ’s morale-oriented leadership style, but at a much larger scale.
Both focused on keeping hope alive and encouraged everyone to do their duty whether they fought on the frontlines or helped in the production of valuable supplies.

Many states adopted similar approaches.

For once, the Vesians put down their infighting and genuinely banded together.

The Ylvaine Protectorate rallied every believer by appealing to their faith.

The two neighboring states of the Bright Republic were both able to raise the cohesion of their people.
They were already used to answering to authority and they were anything but weak or cowardly.

Ves especially admired the Ylvainans for volunteering for military duty despite not being trained to do so.
The Kronons, Poxco and Curin Dynasties each deployed their Transcendent Messengers at various population centers in order to drum up support and inspire the Ylvainans to sacrifice themselves for the betterment of the Ylvainan Faith!

Of course, not every state succeeded in rallying their citizens to stick around and assist in the war effort.

The Reinaldans for example left their state in droves.
The profiteering traders who reaped great profits during peacetime all threw everything they could carry into their starships and left for better pastures as soon as it became clear the MTA wouldn ’t bail them out!

The flight of the so-called pillars of the community inspired many other Reinaldans to pack up their bags and leave! They spent the bulk of their wealth on buying passage on cramped starships, whose captains bilked the cowards as much as possible!

”The Reinald Republic is doomed. ” Ves concluded.

The so-called ’Frozen Leaf Alliance ’ that united a bunch of weaker states like the Reinald Republic into a military alliance had successfully deterred larger states from invading their territories.

However, while their military alliance worked against their neighbors, it didn ’t mean anything to the relentless sandmen! Alliance or not, it made no difference to the aliens!

The thought of waging true war for the first time in centuries scared the Reinaldans witless! With all of the awful news and footage transmitted from the border states, hardly any Reinaldan had the guts to stick up for a state that never really inspired their loyalty anyway!

For now, the Honored Ones demonstrated their commitment to defend the territories of the Reinald Republic, but how long could they hold while their friends and families fled in rapid tempo?

Ves never thought highly of the Honored Ones.
Their war readiness had never been tested in an actual conflict.
Against a relentless foe that couldn ’t be bribed, the Honored Ones would be forced to fight actual battles in order to win.

”Impossible! ”

Perhaps he was being a bit too unfair to the Honored Ones, but Ves always considered the Honored Ones to be weak and inept due to their long years of peace.

The unofficial pirate gangs that the Reinald Republic used to put pressure on the Vesia Kingdom and other non-allied states couldn ’t be relied upon either! Let alone expect them to do their duty, they were never assigned a duty in the first place!

Even if all of their men consisted of Reinaldans, the pirates were too selfish and cowardly to ever put their lives on the line for an abstract ideal!

The inconsistent outcomes among many different states all depended on how much their people were willing to do their duty.
Even if the mech pilots were willing to fight, the citizens may have already lost heart!

”This is a problem that is critical to the survival of the states under threat! It ’s also a problem where my specialty is exceptionally suitable to address! ”

Ves knew his strengths.
The market started to become familiar with them as well through his products.

What better than to take full advantage of his specialty and design a mech that was made to inspire everyone to do their duty?

”Whatever accusations of brainwashing I ’ll receive, such a mech would doubtlessly be useful in the hands of my customers! ”

He could already imagine the market going wild for a product that not only shored up the conviction of mech pilots, but also influenced the people around them to do their duty!

It was as if he was designing a mass-produced version of the Transcendent Messenger!

”My next mech will be both a war machine and a morale-boosting monument! As long as I sell enough mechs, I can single-handedly influence the outcome of this crisis! ”

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