724 The New Guy
Ves had to hand it to Major Verle. Who better than to convert a new expert pilot than the exhuberant Captain Orfan? The landbound mech officer possessed an ego the size of a battleship and possessed a force of will equivalent to elite pilots.
From what Ves had observed of her personality, Captain Orfan already acted like an expert pilot without having the skills to back it up.
Not that she ever took note of her deficiencies. She always pushed on and lived in the present. Despite her rather lackluster foresight, she was an adequate administrator and one of the best combat adepts among the Vandals.
As Captain Orfan grabbed hold of Venerable Xie and led the bewildered expert pilot out of the hangar bay, the rest of the greeting party was left in the dust.
"Okay." Lieutenant Koltov sighed and turned to Ves. "The Pale Dancer is in your care. Please carry out a thorough inspection and treat it appropriately. We will likely be depending on this machine when we make landfall at our destination."
Ves silently nodded, clear of his responsibilities.
Everyone split up to perform their other duties. Ves himself nodded to Chief Keys, who ordered his mech technicians to come and stow away the Pale Dancer.
He continued to admire the majestically white mech as it slowly slid into its new berth next to the Parallax Star. To make some room, Ves ordered the crates of spare parts to be dumped elsewhere.
It didn't matter because Ves already scheduled for the redundant parts to be taken to the logistics ships for immediate recycling. The sooner those pieces of junk got broken down, the faster Miss Lisbeth got over the fact that she wasted so much resources and time into producing a lot of useless modular components.
"The entire concept of a semi-modular expert mech is flawed. Too many of our engagements are thrust upon us without the time to switch out the wrong parts for the right parts. It just takes too much time to attach the modular limbs to the mech."
More egregiously, Miss Lisbeth actually concocted this scheme on her own, irrespective of Professor Velten's original vision for her custom-designed lancer mech. The Senior Mech Designer in charge of every design of the Vandals designed a base model along with more than a dozen different variants, each of them suitable to a particular budget and circumstance.
Miss Lisbeth looked at the variants and basically butchered them before picking out the best parts before spending an extravagant amount of resources to fabricate them separately.
Ves understood her logic, but the concept simply failed in practice because the Parallax Star had never truly been designed with a modular makeup in mind.
"It truly takes a lot of courage and self-delusion to think you can improve upon a Senior Mech Designer's vision."
He suspected that Miss Lisbeth's ability to work with highly complex expert mechs came from a careless encounter with knowledge beyond her means to understand. An excess of mental contamination must have messed up her mind to the point where she forcibly expressed the design principles of what she inadvertently absorbed in the past.
"I wouldn't be surprised if she used to work with a modular mech."
In any case, Ketis was currently running the delusional mech designer ragged in the gym compartment, so Ves was able to take charge of her department in her absence. He decided to ruthlessly take advantage of that fact and implement some long-overdue reforms to her flawed regime.
"Yes, Mr. Larkinson?"
"Once the Pale Dancer is secured, prepare the Parallax Star for partial disassembly."
"Its design needs a few tweaks. Right now, it is way too big of a machine for Venerable Xie. Not only will he be unable to make full use of the Parallax Star's capabilities, but the burden of piloting it will actively slow him down. We've got to dial back some of its power and implement some limiters to scale back its prodigious power. Professor Velten already prepared a variant that does this as a contingency."
"B-But what about Venerable O'Callahan, sir? Theoretically, he is still able to wake from his artificial coma and deploy into battle one last time."
"The Venerable's days of soaring into space and wrecking mechs with his magnificent lance charges are over." Ves ruthlessly stomped the man's hopes. "Rather than keep this powerful reserved for an expert pilot who can collapse in his cockpit at any second, I'd rather take my chances with our new expert pilot who has a track record for reliability."
The callous way Ves referred to Venerable O'Callahan shocked Chief Keys and every mech technician in the vicinity into a numb silence. They never stopped believing in the demigod they worshipped and attended to for years! Years of dedicated service had indoctrinated these Vandal servicemen into full-blown worshippers of a conceited demigod!
The reaction of the mech technicians only spurred Ves on. "What are you looking at? Stop caring about that deadbeat of an expert! They may be called demigods, but they are as mortal and flawed as you and me! Face it, he's already at the edge of death! While it is admirable to appreciate his service to the Vandals, praying to an absent hero won't save us from the dangers that we will certainly encounter at the end of this journey. We have a new hero now!"
It took a metaphorical kick in the butt to get the stunned mech technicians to work. Even then, their productivity dipped way below what Ves found acceptable, so he had to admonish a few absent-minded mech technicians to get back to work.
Once he became satisfied at their apparent diligence, Ves found a nearby terminal and loaded in the design schematics of the Parallax Star. A lot of it the more intricate parts required special permission from Professor Velten to access.
Ves used to think the professor classified these portions in order to prevent their weaknesses from falling into the hands of enemies, but now he understood it was for their own protection. Besides someone like Miss Lisbeth and Chief Keys, anyone else would either understand nothing at all or be driven to madness.
"Well, it's not like Miss Lisbeth is too far-off from that point."
She would probably hate what he intended to do to the Parallax Star. That was why he waited until she was gone before he began to initiate the transformation. As the mech technicians performed the initial tweaks under his direction, Ves continued to pour over the modified design. Though he made a lot of headway into transforming it into a more restrained machine, he hadn't actually presented this mech to their new expert pilot yet.
"According to his record, he's supposed to be proficient in lancer mechs as well, but piloting a superpowered version of this mech type is a big jump."
Right now, the Flagrant Vandals mostly faced threats from space. The importance of securing their fleet remained a top priority before they arrived at the suspected crash site of the Starlight Megalodon.
Therefore, Ves only instructed the mech technicians to perform the shallowest adjustments. Once he became satisfied that they wouldn't screw things up, he turned around and left the hangar bay in search of their new expert pilot.
Lieutenant Koltov had already returned to her regular duties, so Ves had to ask a few ratings where he could find the expert.
"Last I heard, Captain Orfan organized a small welcoming party at the ship's bar!"
Ves almost had to palm his face when he heard that. Of course she would attempt to ply the expert pilot with booze.
Situated in the lower decks, the ship's bar was the local watering hole for Vandals with too much credits to spend and not enough places to spend it upon. Lately, more and more Vandals frequented the bars and lounges of their ships in order to distract themselves from the growing dread of traveling further and further away from the light of civilization.
Right now, a large congregation of off-duty Vandals gathered at the far side of the compartment. A synthetic, upbeat tune played in the background while the men and women all downed a glass of the local swill distilled out of nutrient packs.
Usually, every ship formulated a unique blend of alcohol from an eclectic combination of nutrient packs. Combining different flavors, ingredients, production dates and ages through a different homebrew distillation process cobbled together by mech technicians and engineers in their spare time resulted in wildly different varieties.
A popular saying in the galaxy was that humanity invented more flavors of alcoholic drinks than their total population.
Ves grabbed a glass of the drink and sniffed at it. When he took a sip, he found it to be dark and rich, though he wasn't a fan of the clingy layer of film that lingered in his mouth.
He navigated through the press of people and didn't hesitate to push people around to reach the center of everyone's attention. Captain Orfan already jousted about with a glass in one hand and Venerable Xie's shoulder with her other hand. The only detail that ruined the festive atmosphere was that everyone still wore their piloting suits and hazard suits.
Even though the Fire Treaders already pulled back and the sandmen showed no sign of moving in to attack, the Flagrant Swordmaidens remained at risk while they turned around and flew back to the outer portion of the star system.
However, suits aside, the Vandals tried their best to make Venerable Xie feel at home among the Vandals, though the man only barely sipped his drink until now.
"Ves! What are you doing here?!" Captain Orfan boorishly called when she saw his approach. "Aren't you supposed to play with your big toys?"
"I'm here for business, captain. I need to borrow our good expert pilot for a few minutes to get his input on the modifications that are in the works. Can I take him somewhere quiet? I'll return him to you as soon as possible."
"Sure thing! A mech is a mech pilot's lifeline!"
Once Ves brought Venerable Xie to a private booth of some sorts that came with a sound isolation screen, he activated his comm and projected the designs of the Pale Dancer and the Parallax Star.
"Mr.. Ves, is it? What is it you require of me?" The soft-spoken expert asked cautiously.
"You can call me Ves or Mr. Larkinson. Your choice, sir. I'm the temporary head designer of our task force. I called you aside so I can consult you on the changes I want to make to your mechs."
"Aren't you rather young for a head designer?"
"The guy who was supposed to take up this post is regretfully missing, sir." And very likely dead or imprisoned by now, but Ves didn't want to rehash those dark thoughts. "Anyway, I won't take up too much of your time. Right now, the Flagrant Vandals intend to make full use of your versatility by adapting the spaceborn lancer mech originally designed for our last expert pilot for your use. Here is the design of the Parallax Star as well as a summary of its specs after it has gone through an adjustment. Is there anything not to your liking?"
"While I am capable of piloting a lancer mech, I prefer to pilot a ranged mech.."
"I'm sorry. We don't have the time nor resources to design and fabricate a spaceborn rifleman mech tailored to your ability. You will probably have the opportunity to request one from my superior once our task force returns to civilized space and merges back into the main fleet. For now, we need to make do with our existing resources."
Venerable Xie did not look very pleased at the fact that the Vandals expected him to pilot what was essentially used goods. However, he was also a good soldier, so he barely barked an objection.
Both of them held a brief but fruitful discussion concerning the Parallax Star. The expert pilot requested a lot of minor tweaks and changes that bent the Parallax Star closer to his personal style of combat.
Though Ves couldn't fulfill every item in Venerable Xie's wishlist, he promised to do his best to implement the main changes the expert pilot insisted on having. If he was being pushed to pilot a spaceborn lancer mech, then it better reflect his own style rather than someone else's!Find authorized novels in Webnovel，faster updates, better experience，Please click www.webnovel.com for visiting.