The Mech Touch
Much of the sophisticated medical equipment at the Scarlet ’s Rose infirmary depended on medical experts to perform their most advanced treatments.
However, the machines had also been designed to offer more basic treatment in the event that doctors weren ’t on hand.
There were many possible perils in space travels.
Incidents where all of the doctors lost their lives happened often enough for medical equipment makers to add some automation to their products.
Most states prohibited medical equipment from replacing human doctors entirely.
While it was possible for machines to take care of treatments entirely, this was not a good development!
Doctors not only kept the machines in check, but also took responsibility for the choices they made when confronted with ethical dilemmas!
AIs should never decide the life or death of a human life!
Of course, Ves didn
’t care about all of these ethical and practical considerations.
He only paid attention to the fact that the machines were capable of healing his wounds!
When the floater platform brought him to the infirmary, he used his remaining consciousness to make sure he gained control over the medical equipment.
With Lucky on hand, he did his best to verify that the machines did not come with any nasty backdoors.
In truth, Ves was being very paranoid for doing so.
Most medical equipment were hardwired to preserve human life.
While it was possible to corrupt them into killing their patients, it took a lot of time and expertise to do so! With how fast Ves and Lucky killed off the crew, the medical officer stationed at the infirmary had no time to adulterate the equipment!
After Ves eased some of his worries, he threw himself into the embrace of one of the machines.
Its manipulators already started stripping off his clothes and spraying some kind of fluid on his most serious-looking wounds.
Before he lost consciousness, Ves turned to Lucky.
to stay alert.
Don ’t let anything..
Ves finally couldn
’t hold on any longer.
He overdrafted his mind, body and spirit to such an extent that he slept for two days straight!
The quality of the medical equipment was beyond compare.
Even when limited to performing basic treatments, the injuries suffered by Ves weren ’t very perplexing.
Explosions on ships happened often in space.
Whether they happened due to ships suffering from malfunctions or being shot at by mechs, plenty of people suffered similar injuries.
For this reason, ship-based medical equipment became very good at treating them.
Otherwise, they wouldn ’t sell as well as the competition would definitely fill in the void!
Technically, his treatment was supposed to last for at least a couple more days.
However, he configured the machines to release him and wake him up after forty-eight hours regardless of his state!
As long as stopping the treatments and forcing him to wake didn ’t kill him or aggravate his injuries too much, he had to regain consciousness no matter what!
This was because the ship would be transitioning out FTL just hours later!
While Ves programmed the Scarlet Rose to re-enter FTL as soon as she finished cycling her FTL drive, he still worried about encountering other ships in the vicinity.
While he made sure to chart an obscure route that passed through various uninhabited star systems, the population density was significantly higher in regions closer to the second-rate states!
Higher populations led to higher traffic.
The chance of encountering ships in more obscure star systems was quite significant!
Therefore, Ves needed to be on hand to navigate any crisis that might ensue!
Hijacking the Scarlet Rose was just the first half of his plan! Getting back to safety was his ultimate goal! So long the mobile supply frigate lingered in the periphery of Coalition space, the CRC could easily take back their possession!
”Gugh… I ’d rather fall back to sleep… ” He muttered as a stimulant forced him to wake.
He felt like a worn, third-hand mech that had barely been restored to functionality.
His muscles and his skin ached all over his body.
His ears conveyed muted sounds as if he doused his head underwater.
His internal organs felt as if someone rearranged them a couple of times before hastily shoving them back in their original places!
it ’s empty! ”
The void in his head was so much worse! As someone who always kept his spiritual energy reserves at 100 percent or close it, Ves felt as if he set off a firestorm to the forest in his mind!
He briefly estimated that he retained just 20 percent of his total reserves!
And this included the spiritual energy replenished by his Grand Dynamo over the past two days!
Back then, Ves must have burned so much spiritual energy that he probably risked bottoming out entirely!
His body shuddered in fear as he thought of the possible consequences for emptying his spiritual tank.
Would he be fine and just lose consciousness for some time? Or would he be depriving himself of spiritual sustenance and kill his consciousness?
He really didn ’t not want to find out, especially when his intuition vibrated whenever his thoughts strayed in this direction!
After he inspected his mind and Spirituality thoroughly, he became relieved that he did not seem to incur any major wounds.
What damage he spotted could easily be healed over time.
While Ves estimated that he would be able to restore his spiritual energy reserves in eleven days or so, until then he had to cope with the consequences of burning so much spiritual energy.
”I ’m in another low period. ” He moaned while holding his palm against his head.
The void in his mind made him feel listless and unmotivated.
The energy of life was largely absent from him, making him feel as if he was alive because his biological body was geared this way.
His permanent passion for mechs no longer raged like a bonfire in his heart.
Ves could not summon any particular enthusiasm for his profession!
Even knowing that there were four, intact second-class mechs in the Scarlet Rose ’s mech hangar, Ves exhibited no interest at all in studying their designs!
This was clearly unnatural to Ves! Ever since he started studying second-class mech design, he always wanted to get in touch with these impressive machines! Merely reading about them and observing their projections failed to satisfy his desire to work with something tangible!
Ves had always been a mech designer who liked to get his hands dirty every now and then! The satisfaction he gained from fabricating them and tinkering with them was irreplaceable!
For this desire to be absent from him jarred him quite a lot!
If he was in a healthier mental state, then he would have panicked by now! His identity as a mech designer mattered a lot to him, so anything that affected his passion and motivation for mech design was a catastrophe!
”My emotions are muted… ”
He never emptied out his spiritual energy as much as now! Not did his condition impact his passion, but also his other feelings and emotions!
It was as if he started viewing reality in black and white instead of color.
Everything seemed more lifeless and pointless in his consciousness.
Why did he enjoy designing mechs?
Why was he in a relationship with a Hexer?
Why did he reject the olive branch offered by the Friday Coalition?
Why did he recklessly attempt to hijack the Scarlet Rose?
If he was the Ves of before, then he would have just bulled through his doubts with his passion and conviction!
Yet now, he couldn
’t help but doubt his decisions.
His lack of feelings skewed his judgement, causing him to lean away from his empty heart!
He couldn ’t help but be reminded of Patricia ’s description of rational mech designers.
Had Ves inadvertently turned himself into a rational mech designer?
”The description fits.. ”
Rational mech designers did not necessarily like designing mechs.
They had to find conscious reasons to engage in their profession!
They also suppressed their feelings and emotions in order to stay as rational as possible!
Right now, that seemed to describe his current condition!
”I have to get a handle on this strange state! Regardless of what I think, I have to see my decisions through the end! ”
Instead of doubting his prior decisions, Ves decided that he should stick to his original will and ignore his doubts.
Regardless whether he made the right decisions or not, quitting halfway would not lead to good results!
”This is just a temporary state.
” He reassured himself.
”In less than two weeks, I ’ll be back to normal.
I ’ll thank myself for staying true to myself in this low period. ”
After he finished inspecting his mental condition, he turned his attention elsewhere.
He blinked his eyes and viewed his surroundings.
The infirmary looked the same as always.
No one moved him while he was out like a light.
It was impossible for someone to sneak onto the Scarlet Rose when she was still in FTL.
While there was a chance that some crew member survived the massacre, with Lucky on patrol they wouldn ’t be able to stay alive for long!
Where are you? ”
His cat was absent, which concerned him a bit.
Due to his muted emotions, his paranoia and perpetual worries weren ’t as strong as they used to.
much more inclined to trust in his probability analysis.
The chance that Lucky encountered a setback or that some survivor managed to regain control of the ship was very small!
”Well, before my new ship exits FTL, I have to make sure I complete the takeover of her systems! ”
It took several minutes for him to crawl out of the machine.
Because his treatment lasted too short, his body was still too weak!
Even now, he didn ’t even possess the ability to walk!
The only way for him to move around the ship was by relying on a floating chair.
The infirmary had plenty of them on hand.
As soon as Ves activated one of them, he was able to rest his worn-out muscles and command the chair to move by gesturing with his fingers.
The chair actually provided him with an option to control it with his thoughts, but with his mind ajar, Ves did not dare to resort to this option!
Once he left the infirmary, his first priority was finding Lucky.
In order to call him back, Ves explored the settings of his floating chair and found a transmitter.
[LUCKY! MEET ME AT THE BRIDGE!]
After broadcasting this message through the loudspeakers and a short-ranged transmission, Ves commanded the chair to move him to the bridge.
Once he reached his destination, Lucky playfully phased through the ceiling and landed on his lap.
”Meow meow. ”
Ves narrowed his eyes at his cat in suspicion.
Unlike him, Lucky looked anything but weary!
”Did you sneak into the material stores and eat the exotics reserved for repairing the mechs? ”
Lucky innocently looked up at him while swishing his tail with supreme contentment.
Due to his muted emotions, Ves did not feel very angry about Lucky
The ship didn ’t belong to him in the first place.
From a logical perspective, he hadn
’t lost anything.
He just gained less than he expected.
In any case, as long as Lucky grew stronger, Ves did not mind if his cat gorged his stomach to bursting!
Help me gain complete authority over the ship. ”
His goal was to usurp the position of captain of the ship.
This was not something that could be done with an automated hack!
Ves had to make full use of Lucky ’s CFA-derived hacking suite to navigate the Scarlet Rose ’s core command systems.
However, with no virtual security expert opposing his blatant actions, he slowly made progress until he finally made the Scarlet Rose acknowledge him as captain!
Unfortunately, his earlier sabotage worked against him.
Unless he undid some of his tampering, he wouldn ’t be able to exert full control over the ship!
Even then, there was always the chance that the security systems would recognize that he wasn ’t actually the captain! He needed to make sure that the operating system did not contain any hidden safeguards or backup functions that forcibly robbed him of his command authority!
”This is going to take a lot of time. ”
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