veral mech patrols of the Flagrant Vandals have already started to question the Barracuda ’s presence so close to their ships. ”
Ves wasted no time.
After entering a spare compartment, Ves changed out of his Squalon and CFA underlayer vacsuit and changed into his standard dark green mech designer uniform that he brought along.
A couple of bots took his Squalon and lifted it into a heavily shielded crate whose sole purpose was to block all kinds of scans and signals from penetrating its contents.
Just to be sure, Ves demanded that Ketis do the same.
Because it would be inappropriate for her to wear her piratized combat armor or uniforms in civilized space, she made do with a generic outfit supplied by the Barracuda.
”I feel awfully weak in this boring getup.
” She complained as she pulled at her plain white clothes.
”And my sword! You even forced me to give up my super-sharp CFA sword! ”
”You can fabricate a new wardrobe yourself or purchase a new set of clothes at Cloudy Curtain.
Just bear with it for now. ” He said.
”Right now, our CFA gear is far too hot and eye catching for us to flaunt around.
We don ’t actually want to draw the attention of the CFA down on us.
Just talk to Melkor when the Barracuda brings you to your destination.
He ’ll be able to set you up with some new battle gear. ”
”It still won ’t be as good as what ’s stored inside those crates! ”
As Ketis kept sulking, Ves ignored her and turned back to the captain of the ship.
”You know what to do.
Bring back this stuff and make sure they ’re locked in the vault of the Mech Nursery.
By the way, how is my company doing? ”
’s still standing.
” The female captain shrugged.
”I don ’t have much of an eye for business, but it seems the LMC is holding its head above the water for now.
That ’s a lot better than most mech manufacturers.
Thousands of them have already gone bankrupt and more are gobbled up by larger companies.
I hear there ’s plenty of rumblings at the company board at the moment. ”
”How many mechs is the LMC selling these days? Are the Blackbeaks and the Crystal Lords still rolling off the production lines? ”
’t worry about that, boss.
The LMC is still selling hundreds of silver label mechs.
It ’s the bronze labels that are giving the company a hard time.
Something about inflation and increased costs wiping out the profit margins.
The Mech Nursery also expanded their production a lot to produce more profitable silver label mechs.
I heard that the quality of the mechs went down while debt is piling up. ”
Ves closed his eyes but didn
’t linger too long.
As long as the LMC held long enough until he returned, he shouldn ’t be so critical.
At the very least, the LMC still remained standing under wartime conditions.
Many other companies lacked this luxury!
”Has Calsie done a good job as interim CEO? ”
’t say she
’s CEO material, but she has your grandfather Benjamin
’s guidance and support.
With his help, she has managed to remain on top of the issues, mostly.
She hasn ’t sided with anyone if that ’s what you ’re concerned about, although some of her initiatives is rather extravagant. ”
’t need to know much more than that.
With his grandfather keeping an eye on her, Calsie should do fine.
He pushed her to take up the chair he vacated not because he expected her to grow his business, but to keep it away from the hands of those who greedily pawed at it or tried to steer it in a reckless direction.
In the worst case, Ves left behind a contingency plan to replace her should she go out of her bounds, but it appeared that wasn ’t necessary.
After arranging matters with Ketis and Captain Silvestra, Ves boarded a generic civilian shuttle and returned to the Shield of Hispania much-diminished in stature and possessions.
He left behind his CFA shuttle, his XV-99 Squalon and all of its integrated gadgets and gizmos, his armored toolbelt along with his CFA tools and standard-issue CFA laser sidearm, and most importantly a bunch of crates containing many bundles of vintage nutrient packs!
”Of course, I can ’t forget about the Archimedes Rubal either. ”
Ves had plans for the bioimplant, but for now he couldn ’t make use for it, so he sent it packing off with the rest of the goods he recovered from the Starlight Megalodon.
As Ves stepped off the civilian shuttle, which quickly flew away since it wasn ’t actually supposed to be here in the first place, he met up with a familiar face.
Major Verle actually went out to greet Ves in person in the shuttle bay.
”I ’ve received a report that some of our recovered gear is ’misplaced ’.
You wouldn ’t happen to know anything about that, would you? ”
”Ah, no, sir.
” Ves coughed.
”However, I did happen to see a shuttle roll off the shuttle bay deck.
Terribly sloppy, sir.
The shuttle technicians should be reprimanded.
That fancy CFA shuttle along with all of its contents disappeared into space before we knew it, and well you know how difficult it is to locate a CFA shuttle with its passive ECM systems constantly active. ”
This was the excuse that Ves came up with to explain the disappearance of
To be honest, it was an extremely poorly-constructed excuse that wouldn ’t hold up to any serious scrutiny, but Major Verle already promised to make sure nobody asked any uncomfortable questions.
This was the benefit of borrowing someone else ’s influence!
While the rules and regulations clearly stated what was allowed, it was up to humans to enforce them.
Ves learned the importance of this difference during his time with the Vandals and clearly applied his lessons in this case.
Naturally, without earning the favor of the Vandals and Major Verle specifically, Ves could forget about making use of this trick.
”Well, I hope you don
’t think you
’re done here, because you have a number of appointments on your agenda.
First, we ’ll have to stop by at Colonel Lowenfield ’s flagship to hand over sensitive materials and provide a verbal report. ”
Ves nodded, not surprised that he
’d be called up to the desk of this notable figure.
Colonel Lowenfield exerted a huge influence over the Flagrant Vandals! Ves actually felt slightly apprehensive about meeting her, especially since he heard rumors that she shared a contentious relationship with Colonel Ark Larkinson at Citadel Havensworth…
She wasn ’t his lover or something, was she?
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