710 Mastering a Tech
The Flagrant Swordmaiden fleet left the Mortose System behind and ventured deeper into the frontier. After completing a transaction with the Church of Haatumak, they held no more intentions of meeting any of the other local pirate factions in the frontier.
From now on, the combined allied fleet intended to avoid as many pirates as possible while they navigated towards the elusive Starlight Megalodon. They jumped from the quietest star systems possible in order to minimize the odds of encountering others, but while the Faris Star System was nearly desolate, individual pirate vessels holed up nearly everywhere.
A month flew by as the Flagrant Swordmaidens settled into an uneasy routine. For some reason, many of them felt as if they were being watched.
Most Vandals aboard the Shield of Hispania thought that one or both of the major pirate blocs placed pirate scouts along their route to keep an eye on their course.
Only Ves knew where the feeling really came from. Having spent a month under near-constant observation, he became extremely proficient in acting as if someone wasn't breathing behind his neck all this time.
What could he say? He apparently possessed a talent in acting considering how many times he behaved duplicitously.
The method he adopted worked best with the study materials related to ultracompact batteries and energy storage. That was why he focused his efforts on gaining a rudimentary understanding of this topic first before he turned his intellectual prowess towards stealth tech.
His progress with stealth tech proceeded slower because he possessed less diverse literature on it. His main gains came from his cooperative tinkering sessions with Chief Avanaeon.
The Chief Engineer exhibited an impressive grasp of applied sciences that synergized well with Ves.
If other duties hadn't claimed the bulk of their schedules, they would have been able to spend more time with the stealth shuttle fragments. For now, their primary duties took precedence over their research into deciphering the workings of stealth tech.
As Ves walked back to his office from another collaborative session, he glanced at the Vandal mech technicians and ship ratings go about their work. The mood among the rank-and-file started to become more depressed the further they flew from the Bright Republic and civilized space in general.
The isolation and the realization that they were cut off from all forms of help had truly set in at this point.
As Ves returned to his office, he nodded towards Ketis who was tinkering with another miniature mech at this moment. After a lot of hands-on practice, she shook off her disdain towards so-called physical labor.
It was too bad her relations with the mech technicians aboard the Shield of Hispania remained a bit too tense for them to work together.
Compared to every other person on the combat carrier, Ketis held up the best against the creeping realization that they traversed an unimaginable distance from their homes.
To Ketis, Lydia's Swordmaidens was her home, and their fleet was always a single shuttle ride away whenever they dropped out of FTL. No matter how deep the allied fleet ventured into uncharted space, the young woman always kept her spirits high.
Ves wished he could feel as unconcerned as her. Home was many light-years away and the awareness that uninvited guests made themselves at home in their fleet constantly burdened his mind.
"Fuel supply is sufficient for now, but a couple more months like this and we won't have enough to return to civilized space. Other supplies remain ample considering we haven't fought any battles. Crew morale is declining, but hasn't tipped over into negative territory yet. Few still remember that our original mission is to find the Starlight Megalodon."
Ves switched from his log to status readouts of the entire mech compliment of the Vandal fleet.
"The condition of our starships are improving as patchwork repairs on their damaged armor belts has been progressing. Our mech roster is looking healthier as the revised designs I've disseminated to the other combat carriers are being realized by the mech designers and mech technicians."
Then he cast his mind on the cooperation shown so far between the Flagrant Vandals and Lydia's Swordmaidens.
"Our two forces are growing closer and more comfortable to each other. A clear separation still exists, but the passage of time has fostered the growth of mutual trust between the Vandals and the Swordmaidens. At this stage in our journey, the Swordmaidens have taken over complete primacy over our route and our interaction with the pirate outfits we meet along the way. We are firmly operating in their backyard, and the border back to civilized space is so far away that the Flagrant Vandals are pretty much at their mercy."
That last point served as a point of anxiety in some of the more paranoid Vandals. They feared an inevitable betrayal from the Swordmaidens once they achieved their objective. It would be all too easy for the all-female pirate gang to stab them in the back and leave them stranded deep within the frontier.
Ves knew for certain that Major Verle and his inner circle made precautions against that eventuality.
The only problem was that they couldn't prepare for threats they hadn't foreseen. The continued presence of their uninvited guests from the Church of Haatumak continued to confound him over the last month.
He tried various means to tip off the Vandal officers, but they were too thickheaded to understand his hints. They all thought that Ves merely jumped at shadows. He wouldn't be the first one as the frontier affected all of their nerves.
For now, Ves kept his suspicions to himself and tried to lay low. Instead, he allocated some time in experimenting with his Spirituality.
He knew that this Attribute could be applied in versatile ways. The problem was finding the right means to unlock a new application. It turned out that his reckless experimentation with his eyes was a fluke.
Every attempt to direct his spiritual energy to his nose, ears, tongue and other body parts ended in failure. They simply didn't catch on and treated the rest of his body like air. Only his eyes reacted differently, but the exact reason why eluded him. His vision had never been anything special.
With no other choice, Ves experimented with injecting his eyes with his mental energy, alternating between each of them one at a time in case anything went wrong.
He learned much from his attempts.
While his entire vision from his enhanced eye became a little woozy, he became capable of seeing things that organic and electronic eyes could never see. He saw hints of lights within the minds of other people, though they resembled tiny, formless grey flames the size of a fingertip. If he wasn't watching closely for them, he would have never caught their presence.
Some people possessed larger flames. All of the mech officers as well as the mech designers such as Ketis burned a little brighter, but the difference was hardly dramatic.
Ves figured he'd only be able to see a larger difference when he met expert pilots or high-ranking mech designers.
One remarkable feature about his spiritual vision was that he could see the flames through flesh and blood as well as other solid objects. That meant within a certain range, he could detect any living people even through thick layers of bulkheads and hull structure!
The other feature was that he was able to spot the entire forms of the invisible guests as they stalked behind the various officers. This clued him in that their particular brand of invisibility was likely based on spirituality rather than technology.
He even suspected that his spiritual vision might not even work against conventional stealth technology at all if they weren't hiding any humans. This meant that bots covered in stealth plating would still be able to creep up to him despite his enhanced vision.
The final useful feature about his vision was that it exposed the aura present on each mech. For most mechs down in the mech stables and workshop assembly bays, their auras didn't look very impressive.
The blending of many different impressions and emotions caused them to take on a muddy quality that basically confirmed what he already perceived with his sixth sense.
Only the mechs whose designs Ves had personally worked on a little more appeared more coherent, but his imprint wore out over time as clumsy mech technicians polluted the spiritual identity of the mechs with their distracted thoughts.
In short, the main benefit to his spiritual vision ability was to act as a radar against living entities. No matter what kind of stealth they used or how many layers of materials they put between Ves and themselves, he could easily spot them if he looked out for their presence.
"That shouldn't be the end of it, though."
Ves suspected that there might be more applications to his spiritual vision that he hadn't figured out yet, especially with regards to mechs. It was vastly more interesting for him to leverage his alternate vision on mechs than on other human beings.
"That's something to consider for later. Right now, I'm almost done with my research."
He grinned as he turned his attention to his terminal. His studies had bourne fruit, and within a single month, he managed to digest enough of an understanding in the field of energy storage that he already made some strides towards designing an ultracompact battery.
Shaped like a fat medallion-like cylinder, it possessed the same dimensions as a slice of banana. In truth, an overwhelming portion of its structure consisted of compressed alloy. The actual energy storage parts took up a minute amount of space because they already featured an insane amount of energy density!
If Ves made them any larger, then he wouldn't be able to spend his one billion credits worth of rare exotics to fabricate three whole copies of the ultracompact batteries. These material limitations prevented him from designing anything larger.
"Still, getting this much energy out of a battery that I can carry in my hand is more than enough to satisfy my needs. Besides, it's not as if all the shielding materials serve no purpose. Without it, it takes only one hard bump for all of it to discharge."
Even if his design only produced the most rudimentary ultracompact battery possible, it contained as much if not more energy than an entire full-sized energy cell for mechs. If anything went wrong, all of that energy might erupt, causing more damage than a mech-sized laser cannon blast!
Therefore, it was safe to say the structure of an ultracompact battery actually consisted of a vault which attempted to contain an extremely dangerous concentration of energy. Carrying them around was like carrying nuclear reactors in his pockets. The only difference was that the latter posed less risk to his life!
However, even if he called them rudimentary, his batteries differed from any other ultracompact batteries in one important aspect.
They were rechargeable!
"I'm not going to get stuck with a wonderful gadget but with no way to recharge them like with my shield generator. Even if single-use batteries have a lot more capacity than rechargeable ones, it's not worth it in the long run."
The finite amount of power for his old shield generator that he left behind always caused him to sleep uneasy. He understood that most high-tech devices distributed in the Komodo Star Sector utilized single-use ultracompact batteries. This forced the users to come back to the sellers to purchase a replacement battery, earning the profiteers a lot more money than if they sold one that could be renewed for hundreds of times.
The advantage of mastering this advanced knowledge was that Ves could choose to work with single-use or rechargeable batteries himself. While the latter was a lot more expensive to produce than the former, Ves considered the expense to be well worth the effort.
The only problem with his primitive version of the ultracompact batteries could only be recharged for a limited amount of times before the exotic materials degraded and broke apart. He couldn't do anything about this phenomenon besides increasing his understanding of the underlying technology further and utilizing much higher quality exotics for his next attempts.Find authorized novels in Webnovel，faster updates, better experience，Please click www.webnovel.com for visiting.
"Well, they can endure around twenty whole recharge cycles, so it's not like I've wasted the money. Let's see what devices I can power with these batteries."
Ves pulled up the designs of his revised gadgets at the sides. He redesigned his stealth detector and signal jammer into souped-up versions capable of running on at least a hundred times of power than before. This came at the cost of expending a small but expensive amount of exotics that Ves had to.. borrow from the Shield of Hispania's material reserves.
Stealing from his own employers aside, the increased capabilities enabled him to enhance the two devices with several high-powered functions that would have drained a normal battery within seconds.
With the help of these two devices, Ves gained some confidence in dealing with the uninvited guests when the time came for him to make his move.