The Mech Touch
Ghanso did not visit Ves again, and neither did anyone else for that matter.
The crew of the combat carrier took their mission seriously and maintained a professional demeanor.
The sandmen had reached far and wide, and they could show up anywhere.
While the ship was currently safe in FTL travel, who knew what they might encounter at the other end.
The carrier had to be ready to face an ambush.
Venerable Ghanso needed to prepare himself for battle at any time.
How could they possibly have the time to play with their prisoner?
Ves felt as if he was a piece of cargo thrown in the cargo hold of a transport.
The crew were just responsible for bringing him from A to B without any superfluous steps!
He hated it.
After spending a lot of time around people, this forced isolation was grating at him.
He missed Gavin ’s dutiful reports, Raymond ’s advice, Nitaa ’s dedication, Gloriana ’s warmth and the energy of his design team.
It was only now that his captors deprived him from what he took for granted that Ves realized how much he depended on his friends and subordinates!
Loneliness swept through his mind and spirit, causing him to feel more and more depressed.
The bare cell didn
’t help any matters either.
For some reason, security officers neglected to offer him any form of distraction or entertainment.
They didn ’t even provide him with a single projector that allowed him to watch old dramas or something!
The lack of amenities forced Ves to depend on himself to pass the time.
He first attempted to develop some ideas for his next design project.
Now that he completed the Deliverer design, Ves did not really have anything else on his plate.
It was difficult to figure out what mech he should design when he did not even know his future trajectory.
”I don ’t know where I ’ll stay next. ” He muttered.
With everything that happened today, his trust in the Bright Republic had dropped close to the bottom.
While he identified himself as a Brighter, he no longer held the same amount of trust and loyalty in his home state.
Some of the words he spoke to the Larkinsons had come from the bottom of his heart.
He truly meant it when he told them that they didn ’t owe the state anything anymore.
While he and the Larkinsons should be grateful to the Bright Republic for offering them a good environment to develop, it was difficult to go any further.
While Ves figured that the Bright Republic still offered more room for growth, the only way to do so was to grow under the tree of the Tovar Family.
”A shelter is also a cage.
My family doesn ’t necessarily have to rely on others for protection. ”
Ves vastly preferred decoupling the Larkinsons from the Bright Republic and form a more independent existence.
So long as his family could retain its most useful customs and traditions, it should have no problem sustaining a mercenary existence.
”That ’s not enough, though. ”
Becoming mercenaries was a step down for the Larkinsons! Most of them would certainly rebel if Ves pushed them into adopting an identity devoid of honor!
Only pirates and dark mercenaries ranked worse!
He scratched his head.
”I ’ll have to consider this matter carefully. ”
Ideally, Ves wanted to make the Larkinsons work exclusively for him.
The problem was that he couldn ’t expect every Larkinson to follow this mold.
They were unlike him who did not really care about settling down somewhere else for the long term.
He needed to find some way that offered various options for his family while retaining a firm grasp on its core.
Since Ves had a lot of time on his hands, he methodically formed some ideas.
Several hours went by as he explored every option he could think of.
He eventually came up with a new vision for the family that entailed some radical changes!
His expression brightened as he looked forward to how he could change his family to his benefit!
Of course, plotting the future of his family only entertained him for so long.
After he formed his ideas, he grew bored with pretending to be the architect of the new incarnation of his family.
He began to spend his time on something different.
No matter how much his captors isolated him and deprived him with something to do, they could not prevent him from utilizing his Spirituality.
Ves turned his thoughts inwards and began to check on each active design spirit.
He checked up on Qilanxo, Ylvaine ’s spiritual fragment, Zeigra, Bravo, the Solemn Guardian and so on.
He made sure to keep track of their strength, maturity, personality as well as their spiritual dividend distribution.
Most of them reached a plateau in their growth.
Pure quantity no longer provided them with measurable benefits.
Fortunately, none of them appeared to be dissatisfied with their current lot.
Ves believed that other spiritual entities would never be able to grow as fast and effortlessly than his design spirits!
”Your jobs are pretty cushy if you think about it! There ’s no reason for you to be dissatisfied with your current progress! ”
The main downside to this easy growth was that none of his design spirits appeared eager to cultivate their strengths by themselves.
They had grown completely dependent on the spiritual feedback provided by mech pilots!
This kind of relationship reminded Ves of the relationship between the Blessed People and the Sacred Gods they used to worship.
As a former Sacred God herself, Qilanxo had adopted her new role with a lot of gusto.
Ves clearly sensed that she was applying her spiritual abilities in a much more sophisticated manner than the rest of his design spirits!
Unfortunately, Ves did not have the guts to ask Qilanxo to teach his other design spirits how
Getting in touch with each of them alleviated his loneliness, though not very much.
None of his design spirits were comparable to human company.
Even Ylvaine ’s spiritual fragment, which was the most human design spirit in his collection, was far too pure and cerebral to provide good company.
’t really help him out of his current predicament either.
As design spirits, the most they could do was to influence the minds of people to a limited degree.
”It ’s not like I can convert the crew of this ship by exposing them to the glory of Prophet Ylvaine. ” He figured.
A few days went by as the combat carrier apparently traveled to a more distant star system.
There were too many possible destinations to count.
Space was unimaginably vast, but also filled with countless stars, many of them uninhabited due to their poor resource endowments and unattractive satellites.
Though Ves lost track of the day-night cycle, he tried his best to estimate how much time had passed.
At least he didn
’t have to worry about his hygiene.
At irregular times, his cell would be blasted by an all-encompassing sonic blast that cleaned up his clothes and body.
This was a more convenient solution than offering him a shower, which Ves was very reluctant to take advantage of.
He did not wish to expose his exceptional underwear and what he hid underneath!
”Thank goodness they went for the lazy option! ”
The supply of food also came at irregular times.
While Ves did not have access to a clock, his instinctive sense of time suggested that his meals arrived as little as two hours or as much as ten hours after he last had a bite!
”What is the point of this treatment? ” He frowned.
From what he learned of the Vandals, these kinds of mind games were meant to disordient him and soften him up for further interrogation.
Could Ghanso have ordered the crew to mess with him as a form or revenge?
”Screw you, Ghanso! ”
Fortunately, this unsettling period did not last forever.
By the time Ves felt his entire body experiencing some discomfort due to dropping out of FTL, he estimated that over three days had passed.
”I wonder how my people are doing at home.
Hopefully, they haven ’t fallen apart in my absence. ”
The LMC and his other organizations should still be keeping everything together.
He could also count on Gloriana to be on the lookout for anything that threatened his enterprises.
Roughly an hour or so passed before something broke the monotony of his confinement.
His ears picked up a strong and familiar stride.
Ghanso Larkinson had returned.
He gestured towards the guards on duty.
They stepped forward and deactivated the energy screen.
”Did you finally receive orders to free me or something? ” Ves asked.
” Ghanso shook his head.
”We ’ve completely shut off contact.
If you hoped for an early release, then keep dreaming.
We are still following our original orders.
In fact, we can only restore contact after we have transferred you out of our hands! ”
”Sounds like General Cavendish is very certain that his orders would be countermanded.
Don ’t you think that your mission is improper in that case? ”
’s a reason why we are laying low.
Luckily for you, Ves, you ’ll soon find out what we have in store. ”
Ghanso did not talk to him any further.
He merely watched on as the guards picked him up from his cot and held him gently by the arms.
They slowly left the brig and entered the corridors.
They walked passed various crew members, who did not react to Ves at all, which he found strange.
After ascending a couple of decks, they reached the starboard side of the combat carrier and halted in front of an exit hatch.
”Where are you taking me? ” Ves asked with some concern.
”You ’ll see. ” Ghanso smiled coyly.
Eventually, Ves felt a minute thud from the hatch, signifying that some sort of object had formed a connection to the exit.
The hatch soon slid open, causing air from a different ship to briefly wash over their bodies!
The temperature and filtering of the air was distinctly different.
Ves became more and more concerned what lay at the other end.
’s go, Ves.
” Ghanso prodded his back.
”Only the two of us are allowed to proceed. ”
The pair of armored guards let go of his arms, allowing Ves to move on his own.
Since there was nothing he could do to resist despite regaining his freedom of motion, he entered the walkway while Ghanso followed him from behind.
”Are you worried that I ’m going to escape or something? ” Ves frowned.
”Stop blabbering and keep walking! ”
They silently crossed the distance and emerged onto an entirely different vessel.
Ves inspected the interior design and looked surprised.
”What a luxurious ship! ”
The rich interior reminded him of a passenger liner in the way that it broke up the monotony by offering a lot of decoration.
The warm colors, the artful projections, the tasteful plants, the gilded accents and the pleasant scent did not fit a military vessel at all! The Mech Corps would never waste so much resources on some useless luxuries!
What alarmed Ves even more was that the quality of the materials seemed unusually high! While he was not familiar with the specific formulas, he felt that even the smallest plant pot cost as much as a budget mech!
A single hatch opened up, revealing a single woman dressed in a very sophisticated business suit.
The woman walked forward with heels that clacked against the deck in a steady pattern.
Once she reached the two Larkinsons, the blond woman smiled.
I ’m very pleased to meet you.
I have looked forward to our meeting for a while now! ” She turned to his cousin.
”Thank you, Venerable Larkinson, for bringing him to us.
We will certainly repay this favor by dispatching our nearest mercenary corps to bolster your Bentheim System! ”
”How many mechs? ” Ghanso asked.
”Around three-hundred mechs.
All piloted by adequate mech pilots.
They will assist in repelling the sandmen for the remainder of the Sand War! ”
Ves grew suspicious of the woman
’s sophisticated accent.
Her superior demeanor which did not show any hint of deference towards an expert pilot signified that her status was quite extraordinary!
After inspecting the woman some more, he realized why her attire seemed so familiar!
”You ’re a Fridayman! ” He gasped.
Ves turned to Ghanso in shock! ”You traitor! It ’s not enough for you to shoot against your own family! ”
What Ghanso did was nothing less than selling his own cousin to the Fridaymen!
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