The Mech Touch
Ranya hadn ’t warmed up to Ves at all, he wasn ’t concerned.
Gloriana was insanely protective of him.
Now that she got him back, she turned into a veritable mother hen!
Though Ves was touched by her concern, he knew he needed to stand up for himself! How could he continue to rely on her girlfriend for protection?
The Glory Battalion wasn
’t under her control.
Madame Constance Wodin was the true individual in charge.
Ves felt as if he had inadvertently been caught in the web of this woman
’s own design.
The only problem was that he didn ’t know what Gloriana ’s mother thought about him.
Was she disdainful towards him like other Hexers? Was she just allowing Gloriana to indulge in her latest fancy in order to mature her personality?
Whatever the case, he doubted that Madame Constance was sympathetic towards him.
In the words of the Hexers, he was a mixed breed, a mangy mutt whose filthy paws muddied Gloriana ’s shoes.
His stay aboard the Stellar Chaser fully allowed him to experience the treatment he could expect if he traveled to the Hexadric Hegemony.
Every woman, even the lowliest ship rating, plainly looked down on him because of his gender!
Ves did not consider himself to be a vain person.
He did not insist on earning everyone ’s respect.
What did it matter if some strangers despised him for some inane reason?
Yet this was different.
The constant denigration and casual dismissal towards the male gender did not reach the level of abuse, but came very close to it! Ves truly started to chafe at the prejudices expressed by Gloriana ’s crew!
These experiences made him even more determined to avoid the Hexadric Hegemony like the plague! There was no way he would ever be able to hold himself together if he visited Gloriana ’s state!
”I ’ll kill myself if I have to endure this nonsense on a daily basis! ”
From his occasional interactions with Hexers who weren ’t Gloriana, Ves gained a very visceral understanding on their perspective on boys.
The very fact they refused to call any human of the opposite gender a man spoke for itself.
For their entire lives, the Hexers had been taught to look at males as inferiors!
Boys were immature.
Boys were incapable of controlling themselves.
Boys became naughty if left to their own devices.
All of these underlying assumptions had been baked so thoroughly in Hexer culture that none of the Hexers questioned their beliefs!
Even the male ship ratings did not show any dissatisfaction at being treated in such a poor fashion!
For them, the worst thing that could happen is to be seen as incapable!
Ves noted that every Hexer male yearned for validation.
Nothing made them happier than when their female superiors complimented them for ’being a good boy ’!
As Ves wasn
’t a prisoner, he casually strolled the sections of the Stellar Chaser.
Everywhere there were people, he continually witnessed this degrading treatment towards the hapless Hexer males.
Even older males who developed numerous skills and competences over their careers were regarded as boys by female officers who were young enough to be their grandchildren!
Witnessing all of these travesties made Ves sick.
He dreaded the infamous Hegemony even more.
He swore to himself that even if Madame Constance Wodin summoned him directly, he would do everything to run away!
Not even Gloriana ’s pleadings would deter him from avoiding her home state! Ves instinctively knew that if he ever dropped into the murky pool of the Hegemony, he would definitely drown!
At this time, Ves finally encountered a male Hexer who was a little different from the spineless males who served as low-level crew members on Gloriana ’s ship.
As soon as the small fleet of Hexer vessels emerged from FTL, the Hexers carefully scanned their surroundings as their FTL drives started cycling.
The expert pilot who rescued him from the Fridaymen finally gained the opportunity to visit the Stellar Dancer.
Gloriana practically snatched his collar and dragged him all the way down to the shuttle bay in order to meet his savior.
In addition, Dr.
Ranya dropped by as well, but she didn ’t appear as ecstatic.
Obviously, Gloriana possessed a lot of affection for her brother! Ves half-expected that the stiff and powerful Wodins exhibited frequent internal competition.
Perhaps he wasn ’t wrong, but it didn ’t appear to apply in this case.
His girlfriend happily bounced on her feet as she waited for the arrival of the shuttle.
”What ’s your brother like? ”
”Brutus is my closest brother.
” She replied.
”He ’s the closest to my age in my family.
My other brothers and sisters are a lot older than us, so I never played with them a lot.
They were so busy with school or work that they weren ’t home very often. ”
”Is he like the other ’boys ’ in your state? ”
”Of course not, Ves!
” She slapped his arm.
”Not every boy is the same.
There are differences between females.
Why can ’t there be differences between males? ”
”What makes your brother different? ”
’s of higher birth, for once.
” She answered.
”While our Wodin Dynasty isn ’t as powerful as the six matriarchal dynasties, anyone born in our family is destined to become remarkable! Just because Brutus is a boy doesn ’t mean he ’s allowed to shame our bloodline. ”
”Seeing that he
’s not only a mech pilot, but also an expert pilot, I
’d say he
’s pretty successful in that.
The Wodins must be proud of him..
Gloriana smiled with pride.
”Every expert pilot is useful, regardless if they are boys or women.
We don ’t look down on male expert pilots if that ’s what you are thinking.
Brutus has proven himself.
He even took upon himself to be my protector! ”
The amused twinkle in her eyes signified that she didn ’t take Brutus seriously in that regard!
Anyone would be glad to obtain the protection of an expert pilot, but Gloriana still considered Brutus to be her childhood playmate!
Ves mentally shook his head.
He heard enough.
He still didn ’t entirely understand how males were treated by female Hexers.
A male expert pilot evidently enjoyed some actual respect, but it wasn ’t enough to turn them into equals.
The shuttle finally arrived.
Ves studied the shuttle carefully and noted that it was a vastly superior model from other second-class shuttles.
Though its acceleration and maneuverability was not much better, its armor and protective measures were on a different level!
Once the craft landed on the deck, the hatch opened up, revealing a single man in the blue-and-gold uniform of Glory Battalion.
Compared to the other mech pilots of the Glory Battalion, the newcomer
’s uniform was decked with various decorations.
Some of them immediately made it clear that he was an expert pilot!
In truth, Ves did not need to read these markings to realize that the man was an expert pilot.
A strong, protective will radiated from the male Hexer
’s mind like a bonfire in the night.
The entire shuttle hangar became charged in a faint, invisible embrace.
This was Venerable Brutus Wodin, the famous fifth offspring of Constance Wodin!
He was several years older than Gloriana, but already exuded the spiritual strength of a seasoned expert pilot!
His tall body and balanced physique immediately made it clear that he was a professional soldier.
His strong, measured strides conveyed both strength and control.
Ves was very familiar with this kind of cadence.
He had heard it from enough Larkinsons to get a better sense of Glorian ’s brother.
As soon as Brutus came near, Gloriana instantly left her boyfriend ’s side and threw himself onto her brother!
”Brutus! Welcome back! ”
The expert pilot
’s serious face cracked into a smile.
”I was only gone for a few days, sister. ”
”Hehe, I know.
It ’s not about us this time.
Let me introduce you to Ves! ”
Gloriana cheerfully grasped her brother
’s arm and dragged him over to Ves.
Even though her strength paled in comparison to her much bigger brother, Brutus never showed a hint of resistance!
Meet Venerable Brutus Wodin.
Brutus, meet Ves Larkinson. ”
For Gloriana ’s sake, Ves pushed down his skepticism and offered to shake Brutus ’ hand.
’m pleased to meet you, Venerable Brutus.
Thank you for coming to the rescue a few days ago.
I appreciate your aid. ”
Brutus stopped smiling as he turned away from his sister.
His lips curled into a faint sneer.
He stared at the offered hand as if it was covered in mud.
Before this moment grew more tense, Gloriana forcefully intervened.
She used her continued hold on her brother ’s sleeve to force his hand to accept the handshake.
She clasped both hands and vigorously shook them up and down.
”Brutus! Be serious! ”
Her brother was less than enthused about this meeting, that was clear to Ves.
Just like Ranya, Brutus looked down on him.
Changing his opinion would be an uphill battle.
”Eh, let ’s head up for a drink! ” Gloriana suggested.
Under her lead, the two males followed her up to the lounge.
Ranya followed them as well and casually chatted with Gloriana.
In the meantime, Ves walked alongside Brutus.
He became unnerved when the expert pilot scrutinized him like a potential threat.
This became clear when Brutus unconsciously applied pressure on Ves with his force of will!
Ves was no vegetable.
While he did not actively push back, he nonetheless showed no discomfort.
He had seen his fair share of expert pilots, and Brutus was still too young to match the stronger ones!
As excellent as he appeared, he wasn ’t necessarily better than his uncle Ark or Venerable Relia Foster.
This silent game served as an excellent opportunity for Ves to get a sense of Brutus ’ personality and core conviction.
Every expert pilot developed a single dominant emotion or ideal to dedicate their lives towards.
Ves experienced enough varieties to identify the direction of an expert pilot ’s focus.
He immediately noticed some differences from the likes of Venerable Foster.
The Vesian expert pilot possessed an aggressive and domineering force of will.
This turned her into an awful opponent against her enemies!
Ves expected Brutus to adopt a similar force of will, but it turned out that the Hexer expert pilot followed the opposite direction!
The force of will emanating from Brutus possessed a very protective component.
Ves found it similar to Qilanxo and Jannzi Larkinson ’s flavors.
While their overall directions were similar, each of these protective individuals interpreted protectiveness in a slightly difficult fashion.
These small differences often resulted in drastic differences in their personalities and approach towards conflicts!
’s protectiveness was tinged with motherly love.
As an ancient Sacred God who lived for multiple centuries, she spawned many offspring, some of which grew up into formidable giant exobeasts! Her protectiveness towards her children had honed her spiritual character down to her very soul!
Jannzi on the other hand was not as old.
She didn ’t possess the life experiences of her patron, nor did she have the experience of a mother.
However, she had the blood of a Larkinson flowing in her veins.
As a Larkinson mech pilot, the call of duty was carved in her bones!
When the broke through to expert candidate, Jannzi inherited Qilanxo
’s protectiveness, but also put her own spin on it.
She began to see herself as a guardian and a protector to those who were vulnerable!
From what he heard, Jannzi improved by leaps and bounds when she participated in the Sand War.
There was hardly a higher calling than protecting entire planets worth of civilians from heartless alien threats!
What Ves sensed from Brutus was very similar to Jannzi.
It was almost identical in that Brutus saw himself as a guardian.
There was a crucial difference, however.
Whereas Jannzi dedicated herself to protecting people regardless if they were strangers, Brutus dedicated himself solely to protecting his family or loved ones!
Ves could tell because he noticed something remarkable! Brutus ’ force of will seemed to flow towards Gloriana and wrap her up into a protective blanket or shield!
Even Ranya received a spiritual blanket, though it was a bit weaker than the one around Gloriana!
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