The Mech Touch
Something profound occurred the moment a solid connection appeared.
A sacred god differed hugely from a wild god.
The former possessed a sentient mind, while the latter was a slave to its instincts.
Even Ves couldn
’t predict what might happen if a mech pilot interfaced with the mind of another sentient being.
He had the feeling that what was happening right now was an exceedingly sensitive matter.
If the MTA knew he was doing something like this, they might have suffered a collective heart attack!
So far though, the telemetry sent back by the sensors and monitors showed that their life signs remained stable and within a tolerable range.
Captain Orfan ’s nervousness even subsided a bit, though she seemed to have been whisked into another world.
Ves grew a little bit concerned at her lack of reaction or response.
What was she experiencing right now?
” One of the experts opened her mouth.
”Captain Orfan is showing signs of hallucination.
She is experiencing an unusual event.
Do we abort the test? ”
” Ves shook his head.
”Just wait and observe for now.
Halting the connection might do more harm than good. ”
Although the instruments didn
’t mention anything exceptional, Ves kept feeling that something extremely significant was happening.
It also happened outside the range of their regular sensors, which was why the experts watching the instruments didn ’t suspect anything strange.
Ves on the other hand perceived a tiny clue.
He focused his attention on his sixth sense and felt a tiny prickling in the distance.
The man-beast connection between Captain Orfan and Qilanxo produced a strange phenomena that Ves couldn
’t understand! This was unlike anything he had ever witnessed before.
Even the first activation of a mech by a mech pilot never led to such a solemn event!
”How much time has passed? ” He absently asked.
”Five minutes and going.
Sir, we are reading elevated activity in Captain Orfan ’s body.
Her temperature is rising and and outside influence is stimulating her cell activity.
None of this is supposed to happen during an interfacing attempt! ”
’t we always suspect that a man-beast connection affects the physiology of the human that takes part in this connection?
” Ves replied calmly.
”Monitor the effects and make sure we don ’t miss anything.
Don ’t abort the connection without my say so even if the life signs are starting to enter dangerous terrain. ”
The doctor didn ’t necessarily agree but what say did he have? Ves was the boss and nobody dared to go against his word.
Besides, Ves also had a point in that interrupting the connection while it facilitated an unknown reaction might threaten Captain Orfan ’s health.
For better or worse, they had no choice but to let the reaction run its course.
”The rate of data exchange has tripled! Captain Orfan ’s brain activity has increased drastically! ”
”Is it hitting through the upper limit? ”
”The data exchange is well within limitations.
I think the two are communicating with each other! ”
Ves took a look at the readings.
While he didn ’t understand most of it, he figured Captain Orfan and Qilanxo must be exchanging a substantial amount of data, and it wasn ’t limited to a single level.
He made a bold guess that their bodies and minds simultaneously communicated with each other at the speed of thought!
Even as some of the experts puzzled and worried over what exactly went on that caused Captain Orfan to experience all of these physiological changes, Ves maintained a stable demeanor.
His rock-like posture emanated boundless confidence, which silently reassured the experts and prevented them from panicking.
Nonetheless, questions still emerged.
”Why hasn ’t this phenomenon happened in our previous tests? Is it because we used wildlings and wild gods? ”
Ves nodded his head.
”What is happening right now should be similar to how a sacred god chooses one of the blessed people to be their chosen.
From the descriptions we received at Mulak, this ceremony is extremely holy to the city folk.
It ’s unfortunate that they held back a lot of information. ”
Nobody expected the first connection attempt to be accompanied by all of this fanfare.
Was this why Qilanxo refused to interface with the wildlings? To a sacred god, each connection between the mind of a human came with a lot of implications.
’t be a loose as wild gods who seemingly didn
’t care whose minds they interfaced with.
Interfacing with a sacred god was like bedding a wife for the first time, while interfacing with a wild god was like paying a visit to the town prostitute!
Still, a fundamental question popped up in his mind.
Why did this happen?
”Is it because of the man-beast connection? ”
The source of the matter lay with the sacred gods.
Nothing like this happened with the wild gods.
Old experiments where researchers attempted to interface the mind of a human with the mind of a dog or cat never delivered such drastic results either.
What made sacred gods different? Why did they get to be called sacred?
Ves thought for a little while, ruling out several variables before he fixated on one in particular.
He walked away from the experts monitoring the sensor readings of the test pilot ’s health and approached one of the engineers that monitored the activity of the god crystals borne by Qilanxo.
”Sir, is there anything you need? ”
”Are Qilanxo ’s god crystals doing anything? ”
”Their energy reserves are decreasing at a small but steady rate.
I can ’t tell you where the energy is led towards. ” The engineer said in a confused tone.
”We haven ’t been able to insert any invasive sensors into Qilanxo ’s body, and her body outputs too much interference for our deep scans to penetrate her flesh. ”
Qilanxo was drawing upon energy! And not the regular kind of energy that powered the mechs and machines if the Flagrant Swordmaidens, but pure higher-dimensional energies siphoned from the astral winds!
While Qilanxo never called down an energy tornado since she suffered heavy injuries and entered captivity, none of her god crystals ever ran empty.
Even though she expended most of her energy reserves from defending against the massive explosions that overloaded her space barrier, she still retained a low amount of charges that never went anywhere.
Now, for the first time in months, those god crystals finally discharged their higher-dimensional energies.
And it definitely involved the man-beast connection!
”We can only keep observing.
I don ’t think these changes are detrimental. ” Ves spoke, more to reassure the experts than anything else.
To be sure, any change could come with both benefits and drawbacks.
For all he knew, Captain Orfan ’s body became significantly stronger at the cost of brainwashing her into serving Qilanxo.
Although Qilanxo herself roared at him one day that something like that wouldn ’t happen, who knew what really went on? Everything they did was new, and Ves felt as if he followed the footsteps of the initial pioneers who first conceived of the idea of piloted mechs and created the first prototype.
Those people were legendary in the mech industry!
As for Ves, he didn
’t expect to receive any acknowledgement for his achievements.
Too much about the planet was shrouded in secrets and mysteries, and none of them could be brought to the light of day.
Around twenty minutes passed as the telemetry transmitted significant fluctuations in temperature, cell activity, brain activity and more.
After that, the elevated activity slowly subsided and entered a slightly elevated state that signified that the connection stopped doing any weird stuff.
”It ’s stabilizing! ”
Captain Orfan finally regained clarity.
She opened her eyes and adopted an unusually solemn expression.
She looked around and ignored the riding cage, the straps holding her in place, and every other artificial element.
She only recognized Qilanxo at that moment.
A wonderful sensation occupied her body, and she felt as if she was floating on air besides a massive but intimitaly familiar entity.
”I am one with Qilanxo. ” She declared.
Those words carried a strange form of weight.
In fact, Ves felt his bones resonated with her voice.
Something exceptional was running through Captain Orfan ’s body! It empowered her and elevated her beyond her human limitations!
Of course, the telemetry also detected plenty of abnormalities concerning her body, but they only detected the tip of the iceberg.
Ves knew that a lot more profound changes occurred than just those adjustments, but he couldn ’t bring up his theories with anyone because it involved unproven metaphysics.
Ves opened up a comm channel to Captain Orfan.
”How do you feel, captain? ”
The newly-christened beast rider breathed deeply.
”I feel as if I am simultaneously myself and Qilanxo.
My body is hot and I feel my mind is split in two! ”
”Are you in pain? ”
”Heck no! I feel fantastic! It ’s as if I just finished a long workout and I ’m submerged in a bath of hot water! ”
”What about your connection with Qilanxo? Are you able to communicate with Qilanxo? ”
Captain Orfan looked pensive.
”It ’s not like interfacing a mech.
With a mech, I can take control over the frame with no resistance at all.
With Qilanxo… it ’s as if I have to ask permission to do so.
Right now, while our minds are connected, she ’s far too strong compared to me.
She hasn ’t giving me permission to take over control over her limbs. ”
Interesting! Ves suddenly perked up.
He faintly believed that what he just heard could be incredibly relevant to his design philosophy!
This was as if he witnessed someone interfacing with a mech that actually lived! It made sense that the mech wouldn ’t be willing to surrender unrestricted control to their human mech pilots.
It was like a relationship! Different from an unliving mech that was like a tool, Qilanxo possessed actual feelings and desired to maintain control over her body at all times.
For now, Ves did not even think that far.
He just wanted to verify the beast rider neural interface worked without any problems.
While unexpected changes did occur, the neural interface wasn ’t at fault.
The abnormalities experienced by Captain Orfan came from the nature of interfacing with a sacred god.
Ves never truly thought about it, but there was something extremely exceptional about interfacing with a sacred god! Far more than interfacing with a wild god, connecting with a sacred god resulted in substantial changes that went far beyond some minor adjustments to the mind of the mech pilot!
At this moment, a profound insight struck him at this time.
Could he replicate this effect? Would he eventually be able to design a mech that allowed their mech pilots to experience a drastic transformation?
All of these ideas sounded extremely radical to Ves.
Other mech designers didn ’t even dare to think about these effects.
They always pursued tougher armor, harder-hitting rifles, sharper swords and other concrete performance improvements.
What did mechs have to do with transforming their mech pilots? If anyone heard that something like that was possible, they ’d dismiss that person as a loon.
While it was true that mech pilots experienced changes as they entered a man-machine connection with their mechs, the inherent traits of a machine only led to minor, gradual improvements in data processing.
’t really matter what kind of machine a mech pilot utilized.
According to many academic studies, even expert mechs and custom mechs didn ’t lead to accelerated development.
Yet this seemingly iron-clad rule might not apply when it came to interfacing with living, intelligent entities!
Ves suddenly realized something else.
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If it was so easy for mech pilots to experience improvements, why wasn ’t this a widespread method? It was too dangerous! Let alone interfacing with a dog, even interfacing with the mind of a mouse could lead to permanent brain damage!
This was also what made interfacing with the god species so exceptional.
Despite being much more formidable lifeforms than a dog or cat, neither the natives nor Captain Orfan experienced any adverse effects with a proper man-machine connection.
He already speculated that the god species were deliberately designed to be interfaced by human entities, but he had severely underestimated the exquisiteness of this trait.
Somehow, the god species were far ahead of mechs in this area!
Ves even began to develop an extremely daring guess.
”Is this the next step in the evolution of mechs? ”
After all, a man-beast connection shared a lot of commonalities with a man-machine connection.
Could Ves transplant what he learned through these experiments and apply them to his mech designs?
’s too dangerous.
” He whispered to himself.
”I ’ll have to perform drastic changes to a neural interface.
The MTA will crucify me if they learn of my ideas. ”
Besides, thinking about designing such an exceptional mech was like putting the cart before the horse.
He first needed to develop a true ’living ’ mech before he could think about providing extra benefits to the mech pilot.
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