Back in the present time, the body of Ves quietly slept on the bed inside the underground private workshop floor.
Rather than describe it as sleeping, it had actually been put in a form of stasis, allowing the body to remain healthy even as it did nothing.

Lucky whisked inside the bedroom after doing who-knew-what.
The cat missed his owner ’s touch and meowed softly at the sleeping body.

”Meow. ”

It was as if Lucky asked when his owner would wake up and pet his head again.
After receiving no response, the mechanical cat climbed next to Ves and looked down at his sleeping face.

That face suddenly woke up and broke the stasis put on the body.
The eyes whizzed and wirled back and forth before focusing on Lucky ’s extremely close head.

”Meow! ”

That was fast! Why did his owner wake up so fast?

Ves hacked open his mouth for a cough.
And another.
And another.
A strange sound escaped from his mouth as he tried and failed to take control of voice.

After a moment, he gave up and tried to move his limbs instead.
He slowly climbed up to a seated position on his bed and jerkily moved his limbs before his eyes.

Lucky stared at Ves and started to feel apprehensive.
He bumped one of his paws against Ves, only to elicit not a single scratch or pet from Ves.

”Meow? ”

After a moment of contemplation, Ves stood up and took a step forward, only to stumble and drop down on the floor in a painful heap.
He hacked open his mouth and strange sounds escaped from his throat that vaguely sounded like frustrated cries.

As Ves attempted to regain control of his faculties, Lucky stared at his body with bewilderment.
After a moment, the cat ’s eyes narrowed into slits.

This wasn ’t Ves!

In truth, as the System sent the consciousness of Ves out of his body and back in time and space, something else remained inside his mind.

Ves completely forgot about what would happen to the living image of the crystal golem in his absence.
The System only brought Ves away, leaving the crystal golem inside the empty and defenseless castle of his body.

After the crystal golem noticed the absence of Ves, it reached out in the empty mind and slowly took on the role of the main consciousness of the body.
Its strong mind slowly connected to each and every bodily function until it had completely supplanted Ves as the primary mind of the body.

Although a lot of incompatibility still existed, the crystal golem effectively possessed the body that had been begging to be taken over.

Although the crystal golem lacked the experience to control a human body, it still possessed the capacity to learn.
Over the course of several hours, the crystal golem became increasingly proficient at controlling the human body.
It became satisfied once its movements rivaled a four year old child.

am… ”

Lucky kept a close eye on his unfamiliar owner atop a cabinet.
The only reason why he hadn ’t attacked the stranger was because the body belonged to Ves.
His tail swished predatorily behind his hind body.
The cat would only attack if his owner ’s body attempted to harm itself or leave this this floor.

As for the crystal golem, it tried to recall its name, only to come up empty.
Its original spiritual remnant had long forgotten the name of the entity it was part of.
As for the crystal golem ’s current state, it was a completely new life form that only shared a loose relationship with its former identity.

The crystal golem needed its own name.
”I… am… Feraxneel. ”

Somehow, the word rang true within the crystal golem ’s spirit.
It was not the name of its former identity, but the word stood for something powerful for the alien race it used to be a part of.
No matter the meaning of the name, Feraxneel felt proud to carry this name.

Feraxneel explored the floor but didn ’t manage to unlock the security features that blocked its access to the elevators.
The possessed body gave up on leaving the floor and stumbled towards the labs, where it found a number of incomplete crystals inside a couple of lab machines.

The body ’s eyes gleamed as it beheld these crystals.
Some part deep inside the crystal golem ’s consciousness thought they possessed a lot more potential.

As Feraxneel beheld the crystals, back at the Rolling Wind Star Sector, Ves just ran out of patience with Alven.

Even if the mech pilot was ready to lay down his life for his beliefs, Ves still needed to experience more to make this trip worth the DP he invested in it.
His consciousness began to take on a menacing aura before it nipped at Alven ’s unsuspecting spirit.

Ves immediately pierced through Alven ’s feeble barriers and began to mess around.
This caused the mech pilot to cry out in pain and instinctively pulled back with his mech.

”Your Firerunner won ’t last much longer! Eject now! ”

”Never! Get out of my head, demon! ”

”Keep up your stubborn ways and I ’ll eat your entire spirit! Your soul will never be able to go back to Apellix when you die! ”

That scared Alven more than anything.
He wasn ’t eager to die, but he believed he fought for a righteous cause.
If the demon in his mind devoured his soul before it could return to the heavenly kingdom, then where would that leave him in his afterlife?

”You evil creature. ” He hissed and made a quick judgment.

Even as the console of his mech blared in alarm, Alvern still hesitated on the decision to eject.
His hand hovered over the lever that would pull the entire cockpit module away from the rest of the frame.

Ves noticed his host ’s hesitation and lost patience.
He attacked Alven ’s spirit once again but this time aimed to take control over his motor functions.
He briefly took control over Alvern ’s arm and pulled the lever in the mech pilot ’s stead.

Even though Alven quickly regained control over his rebellious limb, he could do nothing about the fact that his cockpit lifted out of Firerunner and flew back to the center of the base.
Anti-air defenses swept the vulnerable cockpit but recognized it as a friendly.
A short moment later, the cockpit reached a designated landing ground filled with dozens of discarded cockpits.

Alven gritted his teeth as he slammed open the upper hatch.
He climbed out of his smoking cockpit and sprinted towards the nearest mech stables.

Along the way, a couple of servicemen checked him over.

”Halt! Identify yourself! ”

”Alven Callisto, of the Puritan Warriors. ”

One of the guards checked his credentials and confirmed his identity.
”Here you go, pilot.
Head over to building 5A4-3.
A spare mech is waiting for you there. ”

”Roger that! ”

Alven stepped on a small floating platform that swiftly crossed the courtyard and brought him out where he heard the rumbling of explosive shells and the saw the flashes of frequent laser fire in the distance.

Even as looked forward to getting back in the battle, his mind turned inward.
Alven regarded the alien presence that entered his mind with an extremely wary attitude.

”Why are you here, demon? Can ’t you possess someone else ’s mind. ”

Ves chuckled and tried to act as demonic as possible.
”Since you saw through my facade, let me tell you what I am.
I am a mech demon. ”

”A mech demon?! ”

Whatever Alven thought of Ves, he had never heard of mech demons.

”Yes, a mech demon, but I ’m not what you think.
I ’m summoned by the Sunstar Dynasty to help you resist the rebels. ”

Alven ’s eyes widened and he stumbled on top of the floating platform.
”You… you… the Sunstar Dynasty would never consort with demons! ”

”It is the truth.
Do you really think you loyalists can insist against the overwhelming assault? ”

”Reinforcements are on the way! The base commander told us that we only had to hold out for a few more hours! ”

Ves mentally shook his head.
”You dunce.
Even Apellix himself won ’t believe those words.
If reinforcements was on the way, the rebels would have been much more discrete.
What I ’m seeing so far is an enemy force that ’s so confident in their strength that they can batter every reinforcing troop into pieces. ”

Although Ves made a good argument, Alven shook off the words as an attempt to sway his will to fight.
”I will fight to defend the Sunstar Dynasty even if the entire galaxy is arrayed against me! ”

Ves sensed the conviction in those words.
This Alven was a true believer through and through, which gave Ves very few options to prod Alven to his desired course of action.
All he wanted was to keep this idiot alive despite his wish to throw away his life.

He kept himself mum as Alven reached the mech stables.
The structure sustained a fair amount of bombardment.
A quarter of its stables had completely collapsed under the weight of fire, which gave the servicemen and mech technicians a lot of trouble keeping the remainder intact.

Alven reported for duty at the duty station, whereupon a frazzled officer assigned him another Firerunner.

”You ’re a lucky man, Mr.
This is the last intact Firerunner in our stables.
It ’s a well-used mech, so keep in mind that it won ’t perform up to spec. ”

”That ’s not a problem, sir! As long as it can fight, I ’m fine with anything! ”

Once Alven reached the Firerunner, his platform lifted him up until he could jump inside the open cockpit.
The mech pilot seated himself before bringing the mech online.

The rifleman mech booted up within a minute.
Once Alven gained full control over the mech, he drove it out of the stables and went to a nearby weapon rack where it grabbed a random laser rifle.

After that, Alven received his next assignment.
His job was to reinforce the southwestern wall where the fighting was the heaviest.
The rebels enjoyed much more favorable terrain there.
The large amounts of crags and hills gave them a lot of natural cover against direct fire.

Even though Alven hadn ’t entered battle again, Ves still soaked up the mech pilot ’s actions like a sponge.
He only learned a fair bit about operating a rifleman mech in the earlier battle, but the situation back then had been too chaotic for him to make sense.

This relatively uneventful transit provided him with a good baseline on what to expect.
Ves already noted that Alven wielded his laser rifle in a way that would let him bring it to bear really fast.
A rifleman mech pilot was always ready to shoot.

”I ’m here! ” Alven declared as his Firerunner finally reached the broken and fragmented fortifications next to the crumbled southwestern walls.

He wasn ’t the only mech to reinforce the position.
A large amount of defending mechs littered the walls, having tried and failed to hold back the rebels intent on conquering the base.

”Hey! Newbies! Cover us with your rifles! ”

Alven obeyed the nameless captain ’s words and moved to reinforce a heavily battered elite unit of mechs.
The rebels outnumbered the defenders at least three-to-one, which meant that the mech pilot immediately landed himself in a precarious situation.

Ves couldn ’t stay in the background and do nothing.
He constantly observed the enemy mechs as they continued to hide behind the thick shields held aloft by various melee mechs.

He knew that if he wanted this battle to turn out to be something else than a massacre, he had to figure out a solution against those incredibly sturdy shields.

The entire loyalist force failed to come up with a solution against those thick shields.
While Ves knew how difficult it was to figure out a magic solution, he still had to try.

He entered a deeply analytical state as he combined his visual observation with the scans taken by the Firerunner.
He approximated the shield ’s material composition and tried to dig through his extensive base of knowledge for a way to exploit these materials.

”I got it! Those shields are brittle when subjected to extreme cold! ”

No material was completely impervious to every type of damage.
The shields used by the rebels consisted of a large amount of fairly cheap materials in order to mass produce them to arm every melee mech that took part in this assault.
With such low quality materials, it was inevitable that a major flaw would persist in the alloy shields.

”Alven! Find a cryo weapon! Find a way to freeze the shields! ”

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