726 Force of Will
Due to his lower-class upbringing along with the intense efforts of the Fourth Prince to keep him under his thumb, Venerable Xie never developed a strong sense of pride and self-worth.
By all accounts, the fact that he broke through to become an expert pilot was purely an unanticipated fluke. Though his elevation overjoyed the Fourth Prince, the fact that he possessed such a strong and reliable bodyguard must have alarmed his fellow claimants to the throne.
Venerable Xie's advancements in the ranks of experts likely accelerated Prince Hixt-Klaaster's downfall in the Royal House of Talk.
Ves only surmised this from the scraps of information the Venerable revealed about his old employer. Neither Ves nor Captain Orfan managed to pry open his mouth about the matters of the Royal House of Talk and the Palast Kingdom.
"I do miss them, though." He sighed as the three lounged in a corner of the mech workshop where the Parallax Star underwent its final adjustments. "Talk is a proud House and one that has established a firm but just rule over the Palast Kingdom. Our state is experiencing a golden age under the rule of this House!"
The two citizens of the Bright Republic rolled their eyes. They heard similar praises from Vesian citizens who didn't know any better. Still, it wasn't as if they could say anything to the contrary. They learned that criticizing the Fourth Prince, the Royal House of Talk and the Palast Kingdom was a sure way to trigger the expert pilot.
The Vandals had to remind themselves that Venerable Xie only grudgingly left the Fourth Prince's service. If Prince Hixt-Klaaster hadn't bargained away his loyal retainer, the Flagrant Swordmaidens would have never gone through the trouble of rescuing him and his remaining men.
While Captain Orfan did a decent job at making Xie feel at home among the Vandals, his remaining attachments still held him back from committing to his new home.
In a way, Ves felt sorry for the hapless expert pilot. The man never had the opportunity to develop a firm and independent personality. His unbreakable emotional dependence on the Fourth Prince became a huge hindrance to everyone.
Over time, the Vandals would probably encourage Xie to grow a spine. Right now, they still needed him to be as well-behaved and obedient as a puppy.
As the works on the Parallax Star started to wind down, the work on the Pale Dancer began to pick up. Since Ves placed most of his attention to supervising the conversion of the Parallax Star, he placed responsibility to ensure the Pale Dancer's adjustments went correctly to Miss Lisbeth, though with a few caveats.
She would only get to perform her duties after she survived an intensive training session conducted by Ketis. The Swordmaiden mech designer love for personal training drove Lisbeth to her wit's end. Her body almost broke down several times during the training sessions, causing Ves to chuckle.
Miss Lisbeth still managed to summon up a smile when she showed up at work in the late mornings. Wracked with muscle pains and fatigue, she listlessly performed her duties in a robotic fashion.
Her exhausted mind and body left her with very little energy to exercise her own initiative. She also made for a pathetic sight whenever she came into view of Venerable Xie. Though the expert pilot remained scrupulously respectable to everyone he met, he showed signs of discomfort whenever he came into the presence of someone with a sloppy and disheveled appearance.
To be honest, Ves felt rather disappointed by this expert pilot they obtained at a bargain price.
"You get what you paid for." He sighed when he met with Ketis after a quiet dinner. "Don't think that all expert pilots are like Venerable Xie. Most of them are aware of their rights and privileges, and don't hesitate to take advantage of it. As far as I'm aware of, even the experts in my own extended family aren't above taking liberties when it suits them. It helps that we maintain a fairly good reputation, though. It lets us get away with even more stuff than usual."
The two enjoyed some free time together in a quiet corner at the ship's bar. He took a modest swig of the filmy brew the crew of the Gorgon's Gaze liked to drink. While he didn't claim to love the nasty aftertaste, he started to get used to it at least.
Ketis preferred to knock over the stronger stuff the resident brewmasters had cooked up in their darkest lairs. Her extensive genetic modifications had hardened her against all manner of poisons, so she needed to imbibe a lot more alcohol to get a buzz.
Ves suffered from the same problem as well actually, but he didn't drink because he wanted to get smashed.
"What's it like to grow up in a family with expert pilots in your line?" She asked. "You guys must be royalty, right?!"
"Not really. You have to understand that while the Bright Republic treats expert pilots well, they don't get elevated into nobility like they do in the Vesia Kingdom. It's part of our belief that every human is the same."
That sounded alien to a daughter of the frontier like Ketis. "I can't imagine what that's like. Also, how do you get so many expert pilots in your line? Many people who have kids are struggling to get them to inherited the right genetic aptitude for piloting mechs, but your guys are swimming in experts!"
Ves laughed at that. "It's not as exceptional as its sounds. First we're part of a family line descended from an exile of the New Rubarth Empire. From some accounts, our ancestor is quite special, though our history records of the period back then are a little spotty. While his blood has run thin, we've kept our genetic aptitude high through spending a considerable amount of our earnings into funding our own private gene clinic. Through the help of tailored genetic treatments, we've been able to insure our family births a high proportion of potentates in each generation."
In fact, the old adage that only 3.5 percent of the population possessed the right aptitude to pilot mechs only applied in a global sense. Though even the best medical research had never managed to guarantee a hundred percent chance a child would be born with the right genetic aptitude, achieving a success rate of say twenty to thirty percent was still doable for any family descended from a genetically gifted individual.
"That only explains how you have a lot of mech pilots in your family." She frowned before taking another swig at her drink. She burped immediately after. "How come expert pilots pop up in your family in each generation? That's way too much!"
"We don't exactly understand the exact mechanics on how to create an expert pilot, but it helps if your family has a large amount of mech pilots entering the service every generation." He patiently explained. "Throwing sheer numbers at the problem increases the chance that we win the lottery at least once. Conflict is also the number one driver for an expert pilot to emerge, as danger and the threat of death draws out the full potential of any mech pilot."
Ketis frowned even more. "If that's the case, mech pilots would be throwing themselves into battle all the time. Hell, all of those crazy lunatics from the Ravienne Alliance would be filled with expert pilots by now if that's the case!"
"The Larkinsons believe that part of what makes a mech pilot an expert pilot is a strong will. Every expert pilot that I've met has a strong belief in a particular ideal or belief. None of them are weak-willed in any way and if you challenge them on their ethos, you're going to end up on the losing end."
Ves actually saw a lot of parallels in the development of mech pilots to the advancement of mech designers. He speculated that both of these professions hinged on the stimulation of their inborn spirituality.
In fact, when he extrapolated the implications of this hypothesis, he made another guess that each different human different in the strength of their inherent spirituality.
Just like each mech pilot could be rated by their genetic aptitude, each human in turn possessed a different magnitude of spirituality. Both of these traits might even be passed on through genetics, though probability and providence played a major role in their expression.
A potential explanation for the reason why the Larkinsons nurtured so many expert pilots was that their founding ancestor was supremely gifted in both genetic aptitude and inborn spirituality.
This gave every Larkinson who inherited the right genes and was subjected to the exclusive Larkinson pre-birth genetic tweaking a good starting point to break through the critical barrier that stopped many advanced pilots from becoming an expert pilot!
However, many families who were a lot more prosperous than the Larkinsons poured a lot of money and resources into acquiring the right genetics. Despite their extravagant investment in this area, their offspring often proved to be lackluster to the point of nurturing not a single expert pilot!
Ves believed that one of the causes of their high-profile failures was because they didn't take inborn spirituality into account. The other major cause was that they pampered their offspring too much! He had never encountered an expert pilot who used to be a spoiled brat!
Each and every one of them possessed a firm will and tempered themselves with unwavering discipline.
Still, he also knew that exceptions existed, particularly in the more prosperous parts of the galaxy. Strange, voodoo treatments and obscure methods occasionally managed to elevate a spoiled brat into the enviable ranks of expert pilots.
This just emphasized the fact that nobody truly knew how expert pilots came to be. Not even Ves claimed to hold a high degree of trust in his own speculations.
"You know, all of that talk about having a strong will reminds me of our Swordmaiden training." Ketis remarked. "Commander Lydia is really adamant about that. Every sister that we recruit has to go through our training regime. Heh, just look at how tired that Lisbeth woman is after I've forced her through a portion of our regular training routine."
"Disciplining her subordinates through training is a tried-and-true method for every outfit. I think that's one of the reasons why the Flagrant Vandals is comfortable with cooperating with your Swordmaidens despite the fact that you are pirates. Aside from your strange quirks, you are always in control of yourselves. At least you're a far cry from the undisciplined masses I've encountered at Mancroft."
"Yeah, but if your theory or whatever is right, why hasn't any of our sisters broken through expert pilot yet? We get into fights all the time! Sure, we don't fight as many pitched battles, but we are constantly risking our lives out here!"
"I can't explain that, Ketis. Your guess is as good as mine, which is as good as any random person off the street. I have a few guesses, actually, but even if you believe them, there is little what you Swordmaidens can actually do. In the end, it all comes down to chance. From the riches scions from the galactic center, to the poorest beggar from the frontier, I believe that an exceptional mech pilot can come from every corner of the galaxy. It's just that people from less developed areas don't have a high opportunity to come into touch with mechs in the first place, which is why the frontier seems so barren of experts."
"Well, the frontier won't stay poor forever." She boasted as she poured the rest of her drink down her throat. "Ahhh! I've heard rumors that the CFA is considering opening up the Faris Star Region for colonization within our lifetimes. When that happens, everyone's fortunes will change."Find authorized novels in Webnovel，faster updates, better experience，Please click www.webnovel.com for visiting.
Ves doubted whether the indigenous and the pirate riffraff would actually benefit from such an expansion event. According to historical trends, outside colonists always manage to displace whoever settled the star systems beforehand.
Meanwhile, most pirates got wiped out.