er of these swordsman mechs, Mayra was able to design much more comprehensive modifications that addressed the problem much more effective than what Ves had done.

Ves decided to pay a visit to her workshop during the next long break for the day.
As the legged transports halted, the men and women rapidly erected a handful of temporary prefab structures to make camp.
Everyone had done this so many times that they became extremely practiced in assembling and disassembling these structures that served as a temporary barracks, mess hall, workshop and more.

After he crossed over the the Swordmaiden side of the camp and entered one of its workshops, he greeted Mayra.

”Hey! ”

”Ves. ”

”How is Ketis doing lately? ”

”She ’s been around. ” Mayra said mildly.
”I appreciate the experience you granted her.
She ’s much more respectful of the mech workshops now ever since she worked alongside some real mech technicians. ”

Looking at Mayra ’s calm expression as she sat behind a terminal in her combat armor made Ves mistake her as an officer.
Everytime he met her in person, he became impressed by her poise.

This trait alone turned her into an anomaly among pirates! Her self-control must be leagues ahead of Ves!

Ves smiled.
”I ’m glad to hear that Ketis is better.
As a former teacher of her, I can ’t help but see a lot of promise in her.
As long as she keeps up her current work ethic, there ’s no way she ’ll remain stuck at the bottom. ”

Both of them looked at each other with mutual understanding.
Even though Ves didn ’t know Ketis all that long, he really wanted her to succeed, if only because she was his first serious student!

”Why have you come here? I doubt it ’s just to chat.
You don ’t visit very often. ”

”I ’ve been wanting to talk to you about the breakdown effect. ” Ves said.
”From what I ’ve observed from the Swordmaiden mechs and from what I know of my own capabilities, we ’re only able to cope with the situation for a month or two.
If the breakdown effect keeps becoming stronger at the same rate, then there comes a point where we ’re unable to catch up.
By then, we ’ll have to take much longer breaks in order to repair all of the mechs. ”

”The problem is weighing on our minds as well, you know.
However, our research capability is much less impressive than that of the Vandals.
We know how to fight and how to maintain our mechs, but dealing with these unusual phenomena is outside of our reach. ”

”I thought you Swordmaidens visited all kinds of dangerous and exotic planets. ”

Mayra smiled ruefully at Ves.
”Even in the frontier, we only pick the low-hanging fruit.
There is a lot of riches to be gained in these restricted planets, but the risk of getting stranded or annihilated through sudden circumstances is too great.
The only people who dare to visit a planet as dangerous as Aeon Corona VII are the hardcore treasure hunting expeditions.
Our courage may be great, but we aren ’t impulsive enough to throw ourselves straight into a disadvantageous situation. ”

”What if you encounter something like the breakdown effect? ”

”We would just give up on our objectives and leave.
Who cares about obtaining spoils when we won ’t live to enjoy them? Commander Lydia never hesitates to pull back if the situation turns shifty. ”

”I think those same criteria apply right now.
Isn ’t everything that is happening to us dangerous? ”

”We have no choice this time. ” Mayra sighed and lowered her eyes.
”The treasures people believe is locked inside the Starlight Megalodon is invaluable to the backers of Lydia ’s Swordmaidens. ”

Ves noticed a subtle point in her words.

”You believe we won ’t find anything aboard the Starlight Megalodon? ”

”Go figure. ” She shrugged.
”How long has it been since she crashed on Seven? What did the surviving crew do? It would be pointless to keep anything useful inside the battleship.
If I was in charge, I wouldn ’t hesitate to dismantle her into useful components that could be used to build a city.
Perhaps the survivors actually did so.
Don ’t you think the ancient cities look like they could have been made out of the hull of the battleship? ”

Ves reluctantly shook his head.
”I don ’t think so.
We ’ve scraped some samples of the alloy structures in Mulak and Samar, and their alloys are composed of mundane metals mined from the planet.
We even dated them and everything and they ’re roughly three-thousand years old.
Still, I don ’t think your sentiment is wrong.
A CFA battleship of that time is as large as a city.
There ’s no question that the survivors brought out equipment and valuables.
However, according to our clues, several splits might have occurred among the survivors. ”

”Oh? ” She raised her eyebrows.
”What are your thoughts on the matter? ”

”I think the survivors definitely disagreed on some matters.
More than that, I can ’t say.
All the ideas I ’ve come up with is baseless speculation.
Yet it ’s undeniable that the Starlight Megalodon still possesses some functionality.
We all know what happened when the Caged and Red Tongs attempted to bombard the surface.
Do you think that we ’ll still be welcome if we arrive at the battleship? ”

This event still weighed heavily on the Flagrant Swordmaidens even after a long time had passed.

Mayra pursed her lips.
”I can ’t say.
What I do know is that there is at least someone on this planet who sent out FTL-capable shuttles to reveal their presence and draw us to this planet.
It can ’t be the blessed people or the wildlings who led us to the Aeon Corona System. ”

The FTL-capable shuttles piloted by cloned individuals were cast out as bait for some reason.
Like moths to the flame, the Flagrant Swordmaidens and a handful of other rivalling forces managed to win the competition over the keys that allowed them entry into this star system.

Yet why would anyone on this planet do so? To ask for rescue or a way out of this primitive planet? Or for something else? Ves still couldn ’t ascertain the motives of those who lured them all here.

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