761 Karma as a Commodity
Did the act of teaching redeem his crimes?
When Ves asked himself that question, he suspected that this may be one of the reasons why certain mech designers pursued the teaching profession. Teaching was a way of giving back to the profession. Since he taught Ketis so earnestly without turning her into his puppet, his own conscience must have decided that it was a valid way of absolving himself of his misdeeds!
What a stroke of luck!
After handling the inquiries of his student before he handed over another virtual textbook for her to flip through in her spare time, Ves leaned back in his chair and smiled.
If teaching turned out to be a good way to undo the damage of my misdeeds, then he could effectively break the rules more often without having to pay a painful price!
"It's like wiping away my debts by performing a couple of good deeds."
Ves developed a small theory about this phenomenon. It resembled the concept of karma. As long as he did more good than bad, then his net balance of karma remained positive.
In his perspective, karma went from a concept of morality to an immeasurable but very real commodity. If Ves wanted to keep his design philosophy in a healthy state while occasionally play fast and loose with his principles, then he needed to make sure he treated karma like he treated his budgets and bank accounts.
The basics of maintaining a good budget was to ensure his income surpassed his expenses.
For example, if his tampering with Venerable Xie's neural interfaces put him 1,000 karma under debt, then he needed to compensate that with at least 1,000 karma worth of good deeds.
Ves sensed that the little lesson just then probably had a value of 0.01 karma at most. That was hardly impactful, but the lesson didn't last very long. If Ves continued to guide Ketis, he could probably ramp up his income and pay off his karma debt a month earlier and restore his design philosophy to normal!
Whatever the case, this was just the start! If Ves ever took in more students, he could easily earn bucketloads of karma, thereby expanding his allowance of misdeeds!
Of course, that was easier said than done, and he hadn't figured out the mechanics behind this phenomenon yet. He idly called it karma, but it probably behaved in a different manner than money.
For example, he wouldn't be able to borrow karma from others, or invest it in some stocks and profit off his dividends and capital gains.
He doubted that he could lend his karma to others, who subsequently used it to perform more good deeds in their own stead, and thereby pay them back after they have succeeded in their ventures.
His design philosophy was something deeply personal to Ves. It encapsulated his hopes and aspirations as well as his core values related to mech design. He formulated his design philosophy long before he joined the Vandals and adopted some of the crooked ways he learned from the pirates and them. In that aspect, his design philosophy reflected the product of a pure, naive mech designer who never once stepped foot out of civilized space.
It was uncomfortably bright and innocent to someone as jaded as Ves, yet he couldn't help but cling to it regardless.
"My design philosophy is my salvation."
All of this bore further investigation, but first the Flagrant Swordmaidens needed to get the hell out of this star system!
When Ves called up a status update on the condition of the fleet, he found out that the engineers aboard the Finmoth Regal finished restoring her FTL drive. Her sublight propulsion took more time to repair, but they could easily perform that work after they transitioned into FTL.
Right now, the chief engineers that had been freed up after finishing their job transferred over to the Linever Swan and accelerated the installation of her own FTL drive. As a large logistics ship, her FTL drive was significantly larger and more complex, and thus took more time to install.
"Just two more hours until we jump."
It actually took a bit longer than that. The two hours the chief engineers provided had just been an estimate, and several snags during the repairs delayed the installation of the new FTL drive long enough to surpass their initial estimates by an hour.
Still, at least they managed to finish their work. After performing a range of brief tests, the chief engineers tentatively declared the Finmoth Regal and the Linever Swan to be shipworthy enough to engage their FTL drives!
With the help of the mysterious key in the possession of the Flagrant Swordmaidens, the engineers programmed both drives with the exact settings that would theoretically allow them to circumvent the raging spacetime storms surrounding the Aeon Corona System.
With not a single mech or spaceship belonging to another force in the vicinity of the Flagrant Swordmaiden fleet, they were all prepared to jump into the unknown. Patrol mechs already started following their recall orders and slowly tightened their guard perimeter as they returned to their carriers.
Just before the fleet made the fateful transition, Major Verle solemnly stood from his chair and issued the order they had all been waiting for. Months of bleeding through Vesian space and even more months of traversing the frontier finally culminated in this moment where they needed to take only a single step to reach their destination.
"It's been hard on you all." He spoke as he held a small speech. "We have fought many battles, several of them against the best the Vesian Mech Legion has to offer, and we survived. We have traversed more light-years this past half-year than any mech regiment traverses in a decade! We have despoiled a Vesian star system, humiliated an entire duchy by kidnapping one of their hopes, kicked a lot of pirate butts along the way and impressed the ladies over at the Swordmaidens of our battle prowess! Do you feel proud!?"
A loose rumble escaped from everyone's throats. In the command center, everyone responded with a yes of some sort. Elsewhere, the Vandals uttered their enthusiastic affirmations to the projection of their commanding officer.
Considering all the battles they went through, not a single Vandal felt unworthy of their name!
"Then what are we afraid of? The Aeon Corona System may be uncharted territory for us, but what does that matter when we have reached far beyond civilized space and penetrated the deep frontier without a single moment of hesitation? What lies before us is not a hazard, but an opportunity. It represents a chance to earn riches, fame and glory! Come now! Accept my hand and let me take you into Valhalla itself! Initiate FTL transition sequence!"
The Shield of Hispania hummed and rumbled as the ethereal FTL drive came to life. The huge, complex ship component responsible for propelling every vessel into a range of alternate dimensions that effectively allowed for travel at superluminal speeds took a few moments to spool up.
It actually took a little longer for the entire fleet to spool up. The replacement FTL drives of the Finmoth Regal and Linever Swan needed some time to get going because the chief engineers wanted to make sure they didn't spin out of control.
Three minutes later, the fleet finally winked out. They successfully transitioned into FTL and were on their way to the Aeon Corona System!
Everyone stood down from yellow alert. Neither the Vesians nor the worshippers of Haatumak could extend their reaches into FTL space.
Nobody moved to shed their hazard suits or suits of combat armor, though. The strangeness of their destination compelled every Vandal aboard the Shield of Hispania to play it safe in case the storm decided to burp or something.
With no other emergency to deal with, Ves relaxed and returned to his office to study his latest bounty.
One of the rewards for incurring negative karma rested right inside the data chip embedded into his secure comm. When Ves activated his secure comm and activated the decryption program that allowed him to access the reading material on FTL drive technology, he smiled.
"These engineering textbooks are the crystallization of the Mech Corps' understanding of FTL drives."
The Mech Corps composed these books to educate thousands of senior engineers and chief engineers. The more people became proficient at servicing and repairing an FTL drive, the more ships they could effectively deploy.
"One of the greatest limiters of any spaceborn force is how many capable engineers they possess."
States that neglected their education sector tended to suffer the most from this crunch. This was why pretty much every state with common sense tried to foster as much people as possible into studying the sciences. They didn't need to raise a lot of top-tier academics who pumped out research papers every week. States merely hoped to foster enough engineers to increase the chances that one of them would be smart enough to understand the basics of the science behind FTL drives.
It was an uphill battle.
The Mech Corps obviously spent a lot of care into editing the textbooks as Ves browsed through the pages of one of the starter books. The language used was exceptionally simple and clear, and illustrated examples accompanied each newly introduced concept.
Ves had no problem understanding the first thirty percent of the book. Then he suddenly crashed against a cliff that represented the remaining seventy percent of FTL theory.
"What the heck?!"
The sciences involved abruptly doubled in complexity, and doubled a few pages later, and doubled again after that!
The abrupt jump in difficulty couldn't be blamed on the authors and editors who composed the textbook. The theory was simply that much ridiculous!
Even with his transhuman level of Intelligence and deep foundation in Physics, Ves in fact missed a lot of the prerequisite knowledge that formed the foundation of how FTL drives worked.
Just the explanation of how FTL drives magically whisked away a starship out of material space and into a band of higher dimensions already surpassed his understanding.
The mathematical concepts behind the phenomena that explained how the FTL drives achieved their effects also put a lot of pressure on his mind! Humans simply didn't thought that way!
"Well, I guess this is a natural consequence of stealing the tech from an alien race. Even after thousands of years, we still haven't gotten rid of the fingerprints of those whales."
Humanity actually encountered several different forms of FTL travel during the Age of Conquest. Each of them took advantage of a loophole in a set of natural laws. However, the most predominant form of FTL today was still the same. It had the advantage of speed and cost efficiency.
Other forms of FTL usually cost at least ten times more in energy, fuel or exotics to engage. While they provided some unique advantages such as being able to travel faster than light within the inner system of a star system, the CFA and MTA had pretty much monopolized those technologies for themselves.
According to rumors, the rest of the galaxy pretty much accepted that, because the math and science behind other forms of FTL was reputedly even more complex to learn!
"If this is what engineers have to cram in order to be qualified to work with FTL drives, then it's no wonder there's so few of them in our fleet!"
His respect for Chief Engineer Avanaeon increased remarkably.
"Hey wait a minute…"
Since Ves was pretty much friends with Chief Avanaeon, maybe he could obtain some guidance from him. Perhaps Ves could even beg the chief engineer to tutor him in full before the decryption of his lesson materials expired.
"I'll be back, Ketis! Just stay here and do your homework!"
"Pff, it's always homework homework homework!" She retorted in a cranky manner. "You're just blowing me off again!"
"I'll promise to spend some time with you, but this is really urgent! Take care and don't wander around!"
Ves hardly put her into his mind as his mind was only filled with the desire for knowledge. He walked across the ship until he reached the hangar bay. Curious engineers and ship ratings stepped aside as Ves hastily crossed the engineering bay to Chief Avanaeon who stood behind a control panel that displayed something about fuel efficiency.
"Ves? What are you doing here?"
"I'd like to ask you for another favor. Can you bring me somewhere private?"
Avanaeon stepped away from the control panel and guided Ves to one of the offices in the next compartment over. "Speak."
"It's like this. I've recently come into possession of some really good books on FTL drive technology. I want you to tutor me on this subject."
The engineer blinked at Ves. "Are you joking? A mech designer who wants to comprehend the secrets of FTL? Are you crazy?"Find authorized novels in Webnovel，faster updates, better experience，Please click www.webnovel.com for visiting.
Reality had turned upside down if a mech designer thought he could learn the science of FTL technology!