he experimentally tested the dexterity of his gauntlets.
”I ’ve worn some before, but they don ’t feel as sturdy and solid as this one. ”

Affixing the cape to his shoulders practically doubled his outward stature.
There was a reason why capes became the favored addition to nobles throughout the galaxy.
Powerful men and women just looked better with a cloth hanging behind their backs.

Despite its complete lack of utility to the cape, Ves had the strange sense he had become a prince of the galaxy.
The delusion flooded his imagination and he had to concentrate his mind in order to repress these dangerous thoughts.

”The clothes make the man. ” Nolsen said as he and his security officers watched Ves take in his new gear.
”You ’re not about to turn into a commando at this rate, though, so don ’t think you can tear through an entire infantry regiment on your own. ”

”I know.
It ’s just that this is way better than anything I ’ve ever worn before.
I ’ll never go back to hazard suits again if I can help it.
They feel like tin cans compared to this well-crafted kit. ”

Nolsen taught him the ins and outs of the combat armor.
The high-quality suit came with various gimmicks and auxiliary functions that made life a little bit easier for Ves if he ended up in another crisis.
Its overall parameters were also very decent, almost matching the protection level of the lowest quality suit of medium combat armor.

”That ’s everything you need to know, Larkinson.
If everything goes smoothly on Mancroft, you probably don ’t need to use all of these functions. ”

Ves nodded as he reveled in the confidence boost this suit provided him.
He felt more like a soldier than ever before.
Its gaudy, exaggerated appearance gave him an intimidating factor that Ves could combine with some of his Spiritual tricks.

”Alright, if that ’s everything, let ’s prepare for departure. ”

The Vandals and the Swordmaidens both kept their delegations small.
Only a handful of shuttles from both groups departed from their carriers.
Ves shared his shuttle with Lieutenant Commander Soapstone and a couple of other logistics officers as they made their way to one of the public landing bays of the massive space station.

From the outside, Mancroft Independent Harbor looked as haphazard as always.
Over the centuries, the original space station gained a lot of expansions and side modules that increased its capacity and allowed it to offer more services.
Very little attention had been spent on their care, though, and its scarred, splotched and tarnished exterior bore the marks of centuries of micro-impacts.

In short, it looked exactly like Ves expected a pirate station to look like.

”Soapstone, if I recall, we already stocked up on some extra goods when we dropped off the loot we acquired from the Masters of Combat.
Why do you need to step foot in Mancroft? ”

The lieutenant commander wore a suit of combat armor that looked nearly identical to his.
The bling adorning her armor made Ves think she looked like an admiral.

The woman grimaced.
”The Swordmaidens warned us that bright credits isn ’t a very useful currency in the frontier.
The same goes for nova sovereigns, Reinaldan marks and even coalition credits.
They all lose their store of value because many pirates don ’t tend to trust bank servers in civilized space. ”

”So you ’re going out to exchange bright credits for hard currency? ” Ves probed.

”You guessed it right.
Among the hard currencies we can choose, this part of the frontier heavily favors Kavenit coins.
We plan to acquire a few crates of K-coins and K-bars to facilitate trade if needed. ”

Ves winced at the enormous sums of currency the Vandals planned to exchange.
”The horrendous exchange rate will waste a lot of money. ”

”We have no choice.
Blame the pirates for not patching into the galactic financial network. ”

Kavenit was a heavy metallic substance and one of the most common low-grade exotic materials in the galaxy.
It was ubiquitous enough that every star sector contained a substantial amount of ores with Kavenit present in their composition.

The exotic saw much use in various low-grade armor.
In fact, the HRF armor system that Ves utilized in his Marc Antony series and portions of the Crystal Lord incorporated small amounts of Kavenit.
The exotic meshed so well in countless alloys that it always held some value no matter where in the galaxy you travelled that it gained the status of a universal hard currency.

One K-coin as a piece of Kavenit stamped into a coin was called weighed one-hundred grams.
The thick but compact coin looked far lighter than it actually weighed.
Nobody could mistake its exceptional status when they held it in their hands, though the material ’s outer appearance only shone like dulled steel.

A standard K-bar made out of Kavenit was worth as much as a thousand K-coins.
In turn, a massive K-slate that could only be lifted by machines was worth as much as a thousand K-bars.

”Working with hard, physical currencies is a pain in the butt. ” Soapstone complained.
”Hauling around the K-coins and K-bars is a chore and tempts every pirate in the vicinity to rob us.
We have no choice, though.
The only other alternative is to barter goods with goods, and that ’s an even bigger headache to us than working with these primitive coins and bars. ”

Ves adopted a sympathetic face, but he paid a lot of attention as well.
If he wanted to expand his dealings with the frontier, he needed to become familiar with matters like this.
”How much is a K-coin worth these days? ”

”The ’official ’ galactic exchange rate amounts claims that 370 bright credits can get you a single K-coin.
Given the sharks we are about to approach, we ’ll likely have to pay upwards of 375 bright credits for a single K-coin. ”

That was a pretty massive hit, but neither the Vandals nor the Swordmaidens could do anything about that.
Nobody offered a more favorable exchange rate in Mancroft.

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