r>This is because we are out to recover is really too attractive. ”

”What is it that has sent you all racing towards the Starlight Megalodon like lemmings jumping off a cliff? ” Ves asked the crucial question.

She hesitated.
”It is… a means of extending someone ’s life.
Certainly, when we interrogated the clones, they revealed many interesting treasures we might be able to gain from the ship, but by far the most attractive prize is the high-grade life-prolonging serum that is locked within one of the Starlight Megalodon ’s vaults.
This has sent the powerful people backing us up into a frenzy! While it ’s hard enough for them to be able to extend their lives by a hundred years, it is almost unthinkable for them to extend it successively as the price for each subsequent treatment rises exponentially. ”

”The old geezers who are pulling our strings all want to live for three-hundred, four-hundred and even five-hundred years. ” Captain Orfan finally admitted now that Lieutenant Dise spilled the beans.
”I won ’t tell you who is driving the Flagrant Vandals, but that person is an incredibly powerful bigshot in the bright Republic.
It ’s in all of our best interests to fulfill the mission, because you don ’t want to know what will happen to us if we made it this far only to return with empty hands. ”

”Let me think for a bit. ” Ves said, forcing a momentary paused.

He folded his hands in front of him to block the frown trying to engulf his face.
A mix of emotions roiled through his body and mind.

For some reason, he felt empty and disappointed.

He felt empty because if Lieutenant Dise and Captain Orfan told him the truth, the Flagrant Swordmaidens truly risked the lives of hundreds of mech pilots and many thousands of support personnel all in an effort to extend the life of a powerful official.

He also felt disappointed because he held some suspicions that the two mech officers still held back some of the truth.
Why go through all this trouble and sacrifice so many lives if not for a greater goal?

Certainly, retrieving the life-prolonging treatment serum was sure to be a mission objective, but how would that help the Bright Republic?

In the perspective of the government, the Starlight Megalodon offered much more treasures that could enhance the power of the entire state rather than a single individual!

Truly, Ves didn ’t know whether to laugh or cry at the answer that Captain Orfan and Lieutenant Dise finally settled upon.
After experiencing the greatness of the CFA and the grand vision that guided their actions, the motives and ambition driving the backers of the Flagrant Vandals and Lydia ’s Swordmaidens all seem petty in comparison!

”Is this all you are after? ” He asked, trying to confirm their answers and allowing them the chance to amend them.
”The more you tell me, the more I ’m able to help you complete your missions.
I don ’t intend to return with empty hands either, you know. ”

”We ’ve heard there ’s more to be gained on this ship, but we ’re hardly in the position to make off with them. ” Lieutenant Dise shrugged.
”Retrieving the higher grades of life-prolonging treatment serum as always been our primary goal, at least when it comes to the Swordmaidens.
It ’s possible that Commander Lydia held other ideas, but I don ’t think so.
She ’s gone now so we ’ll never be able to find out what ’s in her head. ”

”Captain Orfan? ”

”Same as what Dise said. ” She grumbled.
”From the moment we began with the mission, we only came for one thing, really.
You have to know that it ’s really suspicious that the Starlight Megalodon sent out a bunch of FTL shuttles helmed by clones.
It smells like a trap.
Yet the people pulling our strings want us to go in anyway, hoping that we ’d be able to get in and out as fast as possible with the only prize they really care about.
That ’s the full score. ”

Ves held the same suspicions, but regardless of that he still couldn ’t completely get around to accepting their claims.

Nonetheless, he had no choice but to accept them at face value, at least in the open.
”I ’ve already informed you before that I ’m collaborating with a third party.
They advised me not to tell you what they are after, so forgive me for keeping this short.
As far as the third party has informed me of their intentions, they have not expressed any designs towards the life-prolonging treatment serums.
They are after something greater, I think.

The two mech officers adopted mixed expressions.

”You owe this third party your current position, right? ” Lieutenant Dise asked.

”Correct. ”

”How trustworthy is this third party. ”

”Practically nil.
However, as long as we need each other, there is sincerity in our cooperation. ”

”Who is this supposed ’third party ’?! ” Captain Orfan asked with a frustrated tone.

Ves couldn ’t answer her, though.
”I don ’t have a clue.
It ’s a powerful influence, but they are doing their best to obscure their actual identities and allegiances.
I think it ’s better off that we don ’t know.
The less we know, the less they have a reason to off us all. ”

All three of them nodded in a rare moment of agreement.

”It still sounds shady and precarious as hell, though. ” Orfan remarked, ”But I guess we ’ll roll with it because we don ’t have another choice.
Just make sure you watch your back.
There ’s no telling what will happen once you become a liability instead of an asset. ”

”Oh, I ’ve already taken that into account. ”

The meeting devolved into a discussion of their future plans.
Ves promised to exert his efforts into recruiting as much of the Flagrant Swordmaidens as the Starlight Megalodon ’s crew as possible.
He also offered his help into attempting to retrieve the life-prolonging serum from the vault, but the two mech officers wanted to try and obtain them through their own efforts first.

Despite their differences, Ves was still on their side.
As long as the objectives of the Flagrant Swordmaidens didn ’t clash with Calabast ’s intentions, there should be any harm in assisting both at the same time.


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