The Mech Touch
Now that the sandmen have begun to attack the Bright Republic, a solemn mood had swept over the entire state.
Even as Ves, Ketis and Gloriana collaborated on the Prideful Soldier project, many Brighters began to deploy to the front.
The star systems facing the defunct Coman Federation were very clearly next.
While a small number of sandman fleets might skip the star systems at the border in favor of going deeper, most sandmen admirals preferred to take more immediate hops.
As a result, the fighting at the border between the Bright Republic and the former Coman Federation had already begun to flare up! Hundreds of mechs and mech pilots already started to fall as the sandman race began to bleed the state of vital assets.
Losing a mech wasn
’t so bad.
The government freely spent its money to encourage every mech manufacturer to produce as many mechs as possible!
The real problem was that mech pilots weren
’t so easily replaced.
The Bright Republic had already lost many precious mech pilots during the previous war, and now the brave warriors and soldiers had to put their lives on the line yet again!
If too many of them died, then eventually who would be left to pilot the mechs? There was no way a state could resist the sandmen once their stock of mech pilots ran out.
Already, the Mech Corps had begun to draft numerous potentates who quit their training or dropped out of the mech academies for whatever reason.
No matter how deplorable they performed, as long as they could interface with a mech and point the muzzle of a rifle in the direction of a sandman, that was enough!
During this tense and uncertain times, the first detachments of Avatars of Myth and Living Sentinels were ready to set out for the front.
Ves, Gloriana and Ketis personally arrived at the landing zone in order to send off to the volunteers.
Ketis, who was clutching Lucky in her arms, admired the Desolate Soldiers entering the mech bays of the landed light carriers with an emotional sigh.
’s not a single melee mech among them.
I feel as if I ’ve been born in the wrong time. ”
Ves patted her back.
”Don ’t look too down.
This is simply part of what it means to dedicate yourself to a narrow category of mechs.
You ’ve made your choice.
Instead of regretting it, you should be looking forward to the times when a swordsman mech is the best possible solution to a difficult problem! ”
”I know, Ves.
You don ’t have to console me.
I ’m not as dimwitted as I used to be! ”
Lately, Ves had been spending a lot of time with Gloriana, which meant he hadn ’t been able to get up to speed with Ketis.
It was difficult for him to juggle his time because his girlfriend always demanded much of his time.
His relationship with his student wasn
’t as close as it used to be.
Ketis had grown up now.
She was used to acting on her own and no longer needed him to hold her hand all the time.
In some way, that was good.
Ves was confident that Ketis could already make it as an independent mech designer.
However, another part of him regretted the loss of the dynamic he had formed with her before his journey to Centerpoint.
He belatedly tried to make it up by reminding himself to pay more attention to her.
So far, he hadn ’t achieved much success.
Fortunately, he wasn
Despite some indeterminate tension between the two, Gloriana was more than willing to provide some guidance to Ketis.
”Mech designers with Class VI, Class VII and Class VIII design philosophies often band up with other mech designers.
That way, they won ’t be rendered helpless when they face a situation like yours.
Staying with us is the best decision you have made.
In the times where you won ’t be able to make your mech designs useful, you can lean on Ves and I to cover your moment of weakness. ”
That sounded surprisingly insightful.
Ves nodded in agreement.
”Gloriana is right.
While mech designers are mostly fine when they work by themselves, it is so much better to work in a team. ”
They chatted for a bit until the Avatar Commander and the Sentinel Commander stepped forward.
Compared to the mature and grizzled Magdalena, Melkor appeared way too young.
Nonetheless, the authority he projected was sufficient for him to hold his ground.
Ves predicted that as long as Melkor saw more action and gained more experience in commanding his troops in battle, his commanding demeanor would soon match that of the former Mech Corps captain standing besides him at the moment!
Both commanders saluted Ves once they reached him.
Ves tiredly waved his hand.
”I thought I told you to cut it with the salutes and stuff.
We ’re not the Mech Corps and we shouldn ’t pretend we are.
The Avatars of Myth are supposed to be champions and heroes.
Strict discipline is even less appropriate for the Sentinels.
A lot of mech pilots joined the Sentinels because they don ’t like the rigid structure of the military. ”
Magdalena Larkinson frowned.
”These are trying times.
Military customs and courtesy can do wonders in maintaining discipline and confidence. ”
In other words, she had no intention of cutting her act.
When Ves turned his gaze towards Melkor, the visored man said nothing, but his rigid stance signalled that he agreed with his aunt.
Among the Desolate Soldiers entering the carriers, a number of Aurora Titans stepped into the ships.
The Avatars and Sentinels only needed these two mech models.
”Who will be rotating to the front first? ” Ves asked.
”I am, sir.
” Melkor stated.
”Between the two of us, I ’m in dire need of experience. ”
’ll be dangerous.
” Ves slightly frowned.
”People are still figuring out how to deploy the Desolate Soldiers in the most optimal fashion.
If you participate in the opening act, you ’ll have to figure things out on the fly. ”
”I believe I am up to the challenge, Ves. ”
Though Melkor was never an intense person, the quiet confidence he radiated possessed its own form of intensity.
Ves felt that Melkor was someone with something to prove.
Having sat out most of the previous Bright-Vesia War, his cousin was probably unwilling to remain on the sidelines.
Now that the Avatars had matured into a smaller but more focused mech force, Melkor had all the tools he needed to excel in the coming battles!
As if thinking the same, Magdalena nodded at Melkor in respect.
”Every Larkinson must answer the call of duty.
This is the greatest conflict the Bright Republic has ever faced.
Our state has never been pushed so close to the edge.
To resist the sandman and protect the lives of trillions of Brighters is a noble calling! ”
I ’m not just doing this for myself.
I ’m fighting on behalf of our home state. ”
As trivial and weak as the Bright Republic seems on the galactic level, it was still their home! Each and every Larkinson had been born and raised on a planet of the Republic.
This gave them an indescribable connection to the state.
Once Ves was satisfied with Melkor ’s resolve, he shared one last hug with his cousin.
As soon as Melkor turned around and marched to his carrier, the Avatars standing in ranks began to shout!
”We shall sweep the stars of the sandmen! We will crush every grain of sand into dust! We must protect the Republic with our lives! ”
”Because we are the Avatars of Myth! ”
The Avatars shouted those cries with such intensity that Ves could feel the raw emotions in their voices.
His eyes widened for a short moment as he recognized a familiar sensation.
The Flagrant Vandals projected a similar sense of unity, camaraderie and purpose.
Of course, the Avatars were nothing alike from the Vandals, but both of them had cultivated the essential qualities that bound mech pilots together.
As Ves studied the older Avatars and the younger Avatars, he noticed that all of them showed nothing but trust to each other and trust towards Melkor.
For Melkor to have bonded his highly-skilled Avatars together in such a unified fashion, his command skills weren ’t for show!
That made Ves feel a lot better about sending Melkor off to the front.
As for Commander Magdalena, it was best for her to remain at Cloudy Curtain in order to hold the fort.
The Mech Nursery and all the other properties of the LMC on the planet still needed protection.
Leaving at least one senior commander behind ensured that the Avatars and Sentinels left behind wouldn ’t be running like headless chickens in the event of an emergency.
Ves stood at the side of his older aunt as they watched the light carriers close up and begin to boost off the ground.
”Those light carriers can
’t sustain many hits from sandman lasers.
” Magdalena remarked in a deceptively casual tone.
”It ’s a bit of a pity that for all of the money the LMC is earning right now, we haven ’t been able to get our hands on a single combat carrier. ”
Her words carried an implicit rebuke towards Ves.
Even as the LMC earned hundreds of billions of bright credits in the past month, the company was spending most of their newfound wealth in building up its infrastructure!
In particular, Ves heavily pushed for to construct more manufacturing facilities.
He wanted his company to become less dependent on third-party manufacturers!
”We have already discussed this, commander.
” Ves pursed his lips.
”Every shipyard is chock full of orders.
The demand for starships is insane.
The second-hand market has been swept clean of savvy vultures.
The price of starships has already tripled, and still demand hasn ’t subsided yet! How can I possibly buy combat carriers under these circumstances? ”
”Aren ’t you supposed to be a mech designer with allies and connections? From what I ’ve heard, you ’re a man of importance in the Bright Republic! ”
”That ’s true, but I ’m hardly the top dog in the Republic.
I still stand no chance against the members of the founding families, the established Senior Mech Designers and the powerful business families that have kept the economy in their grip for generations.
All of these people have far better connections. ”
Magdalena let him off after hearing that.
You ’re still a long way from joining their ranks.
What about your girlfriend, then? Can ’t she help? ”
’s not politically wise to leverage her identity to obtain advantages in the Bright Republic.
I ’ll just piss a lot of people off and make more enemies. ”
”What about ordering the combat carriers from the Hegemony? ”
”It will take months to deliver my order.
The war will at least be halfway done by the time they fall into our hands.
Besides, I don ’t think the Hexadric Hegemony is in any position to fulfill these kinds of orders.
From what I ’ve read in the news, their shipyards are already occupied with the Komodo War. ”
Both of them adopted grave expressions when they thought about the destructive conflict between the Coalition and the Hegemony.
The Komodo War already claimed many billions of lives! The amount of powerful second-class mechs that had fallen simply boggled the mind.
If all of those second-class mechs had been sent to fight the sandmen, then the aliens would have probably lost so hard that they wouldn ’t even be able to set foot in the Bright Republic!
”What an enormous waste! ” Magdalena lamented.
Ves nodded in agreement.
”Even when the aliens are harvesting so many human lives, the Coalition and the Hegemony are still preoccupied with their private vendettas. ”
Both of them felt inordinately disappointed at the conduct of the second-rate states of their star sector.
Many third-raters looked up to the second-rate states for leadership.
In a moment that was prime for them to showcase their power and magnanimity, they perplexingly decided to forsake their responsibility to the star sector!
At least Melkor answered the call of duty!
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