In the end, the Castle Breakers started a fight they couldn't win. It wasn't their fault for overestimating the friends the Omen of Misfortune could call upon. Perhaps the Castle Breakers knew that the Swordmaidens were liable to back up their pals, but they definitely didn't anticipate the Swordmaidens drag along the Flagrant Vandals in their rush to save their allies.
After being chased by a patient, Vandal fleet, suffering a torment of bombardment that riddled their sublight propulsion into wrecks, the elite pirates eventually saw reality and surrendered with what little grace they had left.
In the meantime, the lukewarm forces of the Red Tongs and the Caged had quietly let off the Omen of Misfortune. They returned their mechs to their carriers and slipped their fleet away to the nearest Lagrange point in rapid time, leaving no opportunity for the Vandals to catch up to them and teach them a lesson.
Every Vandal servicemen felt pissed at the Caged for not heeding their initial warning. The Vandals had already been merciful to them when they let off the Caged in favor of annihilating the Masters of Combat, but they learned nothing from their old mistakes.
Hopefully, the Vandals would have the opportunity to corner the Caged and give them their just desserts.
"The frontier may be big, but we'll catch up to you Roppongans sooner or later."
Since the Vandals performed the greater share of the fighting, they left the duty of policing the prisoners and taking their ships into custody to the Swordmaidens. It was the least they could do after dragging the Vandals in a mess that wasn't any of their business from the start.
"The biggest winner by here is the Omen of Misfortune."
Not only did their up-and-coming mech champion the Hellvoice triumphed over the Deathless in a duel, they also managed to annihilate the Castle Breakers and any chance of retaliation after borrowing the strength of their allies.
Ves had a really foul taste in his mouth at the realization that the Omen of Misfortune basically got away scott-free when they should have felt some pain for their shenanigans.
This warped custom from the frontier which obligated allies to come to the aid to their allies was incredibly prone to abuse. Perhaps the pirates developed their own solutions to this particular problem, but Ves couldn't see any from his limited exposure to the frontier way.
When Ves met with Ketis hours later at his office, he recounted his feelings on the matter to see what she has to say.
"You're blind, teacher." Came her verdict. "Don't you see? You Vandals have proven yourself to be a trustworthy ally! Helping the Omen of Misfortune when you could have ignored our calls for help was an honorable act that will spread from Mancroft and reach the entire Faris Star Sector. Everyone will know that the Vandals and the Swordmaidens are one and the same as long as they travel together."
Ves grudgingly nodded. "That's a benefit, aye, but hasn't this always been the case? The fact is that while we're willing to help the Swordmaidens resolve their own grudges if the battle is winnable, it's another matter entirely when we have to help your other friends."
"Don't underestimate the influence of the Omen of Misfortune. Like us, they have a lot of allies and acquaintances as well. Now that you've saved them from the Castle Breakers, they're obliged to pay back the favor. I think you will find that our journey into the frontier will be slightly easier now that they are in our debt. They excel in intelligence gathering, you know."
"What about the spoils?" he asked. "A lot of mechs got wrecked, and we've managed to capture the Castle Breaker ships mostly intact. What will happen with those?"
She shrugged. "We won't be parsimonious with the spoils. You Vandals contributed the most in the fighting, so your share of it will be the biggest. I think the Omen of Misfortune will surrender all of the claims to the salvage and the prizes, and so will Commander Lydia if you Vandals are pissed for getting caught up in our fight."
Talk of that had already spread throughout the ship. Every servicemen would gain a nice bonus in their bank accounts while the Vandal fleet gained a hefty pool of disposable funds.
After she finished answering his questions, they went to work. Their main duties entailed helping the Vandals processed the damaged and wrecked mechs. In the aftermath of every battle, Ves needed to plan for new repairs and new replacements, and schedule them in the shortest time possible. Right now, they couldn't afford any weakening of their spaceborn mech force.
Much of the work consisted of routine decisions that Ves had already delegated to his deputies and subordinates. It took some extra time to guide Ketis through some of his duties.
She found everything about it boring, of course. "A mech designer isn't an administrator! Why aren't you leaving this to a bureaucrat?"
"A bureaucrat may know numbers, but he doesn't know mechs. As head designer, I not only need to tally the state of our mechs, I am also obliged to draft up a plan to solve our inadequacies. Commissioning new repairs or ordering our mech designers and mech technician to salvage a wreck in bad condition requires an expert's touch."
While non-mech designers could perform the same job that he was doing right now, they would never be as good as Ves. That was because an intricate understanding of mechs was required to allocate mechs efficiently.
The complexity of his responsibilities only grew more burdensome with each mech model the mech regiment employed. For the Flagrant Vandals, that was quite a lot, so Ves actually needed to use his ingenuity and his in depth understanding of mechs to navigate the swamp that was the mech roster of the Flagrant Vandals.
In time, word leaked out of a closed conference between Major Verle, Commander Lydia and the Misfortune Seer. The three top leaders of their respective forces hashed out a quick and dirty deal, of which some of the agreements became public.
"The Omen of Misfortune has agreed to take charge of the mechs and ships the Flagrant Vandals have captured in battle. The spoils officially belong to the Vandals, but the Omen is in charge of liquidating the prices before depositing the proceeds into the financial accounts of the Vandals. The Omen will be rewarded with a five percent cut if they discharge their duties properly, with additional bonuses if they complete their job faster. The Swordmaidens receive a ten percent cut of the total earnings but aren't entitled to any further spoils!"
The deal sounded perfect for the Vandals because they really couldn't afford to stick around. The big ships of the Castle Breakers would be tough to sell, mainly because their size and quality propelled them out of reach of the average outfit commander.
"That's going to be worth quite a few billion bright credits, er, a couple of million K-coins." Ves corrected.
"It's a lot more money than we're used to handling over at the Swordmaidens." The horned mech designer admitted. "They never let me deal with the money accounts, but I know that we rarely get to spend millions of K-coins at once. You're sitting on a massive pile of coins. Where will you spend it all?"
He shook his head. "I don't know. That's up to the brass to decide. However, we have already completed most of our shopping, and our logistics ships are filled to the brim with supplies. The time for shopping is already over. It's time we get a move on into the frontier."
The conflict between the Omen of Misfortune and the Castle Breakers formally came to an end. As far as anyone was aware of, the Castle Breakers were history from now on, as it was unlikely they stashed a second fleet somewhere.
As for the Mancroft Independent Harbor, unrest continued to spill for a day. It took that much time for the Bosey Clan to suppress the rioting pirates and forcefully hack through the faulty programming of their cleaning bots and send out a forceful shutdown command.Find authorized novels in Webnovel，faster updates, better experience，Please click for visiting.
The bloodshed was enormous, and most of the treasure hunters had skedaddled out of the star system as fast as humanly possible.
Surprisingly, the pirates hadn't been scared off at all. Besides the departure of a few small-time cowards, the rest remained as if the violent riots and the bots gone postal had just been another tuesday for them. Certainly, these pirates didn't lack for courage.
Of course, the other reason why the pirates stuck around was so that they could board their ships and salvage the remnants from the giant debris field that stretched over the orbit of the terrestrial planet. Neither the Vandals, the Swordmaidens or the Omen bothered the clean up after this trash belt. So they tacitly gave permission for the bottom feeders to take advantage of the free salvage floating in orbit.
In any case, all three of them had overstayed their welcome in the Mancroft System. The Bosey Clan was not amused with their space battle and the spillover effects of it. Their precious space station had been struck by numerous lasers and other weapons fire while three entire piers got snapped off due to collateral damage.
The Bosey Clan constantly sent out messages to them asking for compensation! The Vandals and the Swordmaidens left the matter of compensation to the Omen of Misfortune, who would be staying in the Mancroft System long enough to get rid of all of their captured ships for a good price.
Ves sighed in relief when he heard that. "I was half afraid the Omen of Misfortune wants to tag along with us. Three is already a crowd."
He didn't need Ketis to tell him that the three leaders came to some sort of backroom deal. No matter how you looked at it, the Flagrant Vandals harvested the majority of the gains.
This was the privilege of strength!
Even after they lost half their mechs and mech pilots throughout their escape from the Vesia Kingdom, they were still a force to be reckoned with. The average large-scale independent pirate gang only fielded two to four companies of spaceborn mechs at most.
Those affiliated with one of the pirate blocs tended to be better off. Still, the only way they could resist the invasion of a mech regiment was by mobbing them with numbers. Ves didn't despise this primitive method because history had already shown plenty of times that pirates working in concern could bleed a prey to death.
In any case, the vast majority of the pirate outfits in the frontier consisted of smaller groups than even the Swordmaidens or the Omen of Misfortune. Single-ship outfits consisting of a single converted carrier and perhaps eight dilapidated mechs comprised the majority of the pirate forces skulking in the Faris Star Region.
These dregs failed to prove their courage or ability and didn't have sufficient wealth to upgrade their forces. They lingered at the edge of bankruptcy and ruin. Even if over a hundred of these outfits combined their forces, the Flagrant Vandals could easily mow them down at once.
As long as the Flagrant Swordmaidens didn't meet an outfit from the Ravienne Alliance or the Dragon Alliance, they could continue to throw their weight around with impunity.
"Hopefully the rest of our competitors are like the Castle Breakers as well. Overconfident and way in over their heads."
After processing all of the matters that needed processing, the Flagrant Swordmaiden fleet finally moved out of orbit. They would be departing from the system in half an hour.
Ves remembered that as soon as the fleet entered FTL, they would disable most of their quantum entanglement nodes. At that time, communication with the other ships in the combined fleet would be cut off.
"I should make a call for Mayra before that happens."
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