801 Stuttering Hal
"Does that mean we can purify the murky crystal?"
"Nothing so good, sadly." Chief Dakkon regretfully shook his head. "When we put the murky crystal close to the god crystal, the two began to react, but not in a good way. The murky crystal did indeed begin to lose some of its cloudiness, but some portions of the god crystal started to become murky! We had to separate the two crystals immediately before this reaction ruined our god crystal!"
In other words, it was like mixing hot water with cold water. If you mixed them together, what resulted was two portions of lukewarm water.
If the Flagrant Swordmaidens wanted to create hot water, then ending up with more water that was significantly colder would be taking a step backwards.
They didn't want the water to grow cold! They wanted to heat all of the water up so that they would all be uniformly hot!
Still, if nothing else, this unanticipated reaction proved that the two kinds of crystals shared a strong relation. "Well, it sounds like there's not much use in hunting wild gods for their murky crystals. All the Vandals and Swordmaidens hoping that we continue to hunt them down so that we can enjoy an endless supply of god meat during supper will doubtlessly be disappointed."
It took a significant amount of effort to hunt down the wild gods and transport tons of their flesh. The Flagrant Swordmaidens already filled the cargo holds of their transports with containers filled with nutrient packs. This efficient food source carried the most nutrients in the least amount of space.
Even though it seemed like wild gods provided a lot of meat, they didn't provide all the necessary nutrients to keep a human body in peak condition, and took up a lot more space for the calories they provided.
Nothing beat the efficiency of nutrient packs. They were the undisputed kings of survival food and military rations!
As Chief Dakkon regaled Ves of his team's initial research results, it became clear that they didn't really understand anything about the strange crystals.
"No matter if it's the murky crystal or the god crystal, both of them consist of matter that we've never seen before. It's completely different from any exotic I've come in touch!" The older man vented his frustration. "We don't even have the right equipment in this mobile lab to study the crystal. Captain Byrd is hounding me behind my back to produce results, but it's not as if I'm a researcher who specializes in higher-dimensional matter and energy!"
Mech regiments like the Flagrant Vandals hired plenty of science officers and experts, but none of them possessed the acumen of a dedicated researcher. Those smart enough to be hired as professors would never join the military and participate in dangerous missions!
Therefore, the research capacity of the ground forces was a lot less impressive than everyone thought. Especially with regards to something as complex as the god crystal, not even the experienced Chief Dakkon or the extremely knowledgeable Ves could make sense of the darn thing!
Ketis surprisingly showed them a different way of getting what they wanted. "You know, I bet the natives know a thing or two about the god crystals. Haven't they successfully made use of them in their own way? Why bother figuring this stuff yourself when we can just borrow someone else's expertise?"
"That's right." A light shone in the chief engineer's eyes. "Wracking our heads over this stuff will take decades to learn anything substantial. It's a lot easier if the natives point us in the right direction!"
It was the same approach the Swordmaidens took when they lacked technical expertise to run their ships or service their mechs. Rather than force the battle-hungry Swordmaidens to do all of that boring stuff themselves, why not capture some experts and enslave them in doing their dirty chores?
Though relying on external experts came with a lot of caveats, it provided a lot more convenience to the Flagrant Swordmaidens. They desperately needed to figure out the application of the god crystals quickly if they wanted to obtain a solution to their energy deficit problems.
If not, their progress would stall half-way!
As they traveled closer and closer to the Starlight Megalodon, the spacetime distortion in the skies above grew stronger, eventually cutting the ground forces off from their vital supply line to the fleet in orbit.
By then, if they hadn't come up with a solution, the Flagrant Swordmaidens would have to rely on their meager generators to replenish their energy cells, all of which would only provide them with enough energy to progress just ten kilometers a day or something!
"We should bring up this course of action to Captain Byrd and Commander Lydia if they haven't already thought of it." Ves suggested. "According to our route, our next stop is to brush past the ancient city of Samar."
"Good idea. We've already used up our goodwill with Mulak. As long as we impress the natives at Samar, we'll be able to rip them off the same way."
One of the pieces of lore the Flagrant Swordmaidens obtained fromm Mulak was a very badly drawn map of the nearby terrain and cities.
The map showed obvious disparities with the footage captured from orbit, but at least it let the ground forces identify the cities in the vicinity.
The ancient city of Samar sat in the middle of a much more fertile region. Larger and more prosperous than Mulak, the city also used to function as a center of industry.
Though the natives of Mulak believed that none of the old factories and machines worked anymore, the Flagrant Swordmaidens didn't entirely believe that claim. Perhaps the technological decline had struck Mulak the most because it was only meant to serve as a resource extraction hub.Find authorized novels in Webnovel，faster updates, better experience，Please click www.webnovel.com for visiting.
If any city understood the importance of technology, then Samar should definitely be one of the enlightened places on the planet.
On the other hand, if the level of technology at Samar resembled the general ignorance of Mulak, then this phenomenon could no longer be explained by natural means!
Such a large scale decline and stagnation simply didn't fit with the human drive for progress!
Nobody knew why the blessed people hadn't been able to maintain even a rudimentary modern technological standard, but Ves didn't rule out a conspiracy. It was too ridiculous that humans willingly gave up the benefits of technology to live their lives as if they lived in the past!
Ves and Ketis left the mobile lab and returned to a heavy transport that had been fashioned into an extremely cramped mech workshop.
While none of the mech technicians found it easy to service a mech on a moving platform, they had no other choice. With so many mechs on the field, a handful of mechs broke down from time to time due to the challenging conditions.
The gravitic backpacks the Vandals sourced from Harkensen I continually fought against the planet's gravity at close to their maximum capacity. If the planet's gravity was only five g's instead of six g's, the gravitic backpacks faced a lot less strain as they worked substantially below their maximum power. They'd last at least twice as long in those conditions.
Sadly, neither the Vandals or Swordmaidens had any other recourse. Both the backpacks and the mechs themselves all endured heavy strain whether they were under the influence of an antigrav field or not. Even at rest, the heavy gravity continued to pull at the more vulnerable components.
Even their transports and some of the goods they carried within suffered from the adverse effects of heavy gravity. Though Chief Dakkon did his best to make the heavy transports as rugged as possible, nothing could prevent them from suffering minor breakdowns that nonetheless forced the transport to halt in order to fix the issue.
"If this is what all machines have to go through, no wonder the natives abandoned technology." Ketis complained as their supply caravan forcefully halted yet again. Captain Byrd didn't dare to leave a broken transport behind. "The amount of breakdowns that is happening ever since we landed on this planet is far too much. How can anyone tolerate these conditions?"
Due to the overly-frequent breakdowns, Chief Dakkon diverted some of his valuable time by trying to figure out the root of the problems.
He found out that most of the breakdowns involved moving parts. During an emergency meeting with Captain Byrd and a number of engineers and experts, the chief engineer announced the cause of the problem.
"The root issue of our mechanical problems is the spacetime distortion that we're subjected to." He stated with certainty. "The astral winds that are blowing above our heads isn't entirely uniform. It's just like wind in that way. It curls, it weakens, it strengthens, it curls up on itself and more. This turbulence in turn affects the spacetime distortion on the surface of Seven."
"How bad is the effects of this turbulence?" Ves asked, already frowning because mechs involved a significant amount of moving parts. Though the tolerance of most of their landbound mechs should be quite good, a large deviation might cause a mech to destroy its own leg during a routine march!
Chief Dakkon didn't have good news for the people present in the meeting. "At the micro level, time might speed up or slow down by a couple of milliseconds. Space might stretch or shrink by a couple of millimeters. If it happens once every once in a while, then our machines can still handle the deviations. However, once the astral winds above our heads become exceptionally turbulent or violent, the chance of breakdowns increases by as much as five-thousand percent!"
Such a humongous increase basically meant that it was assured that one of their mechs or transports would suffer a malfunction at least once every standard day!
Fixing these issues slowed down their forward progress and consumed their supplies dedicated for repairs. For all of their sakes, they better find a solution quickly or be driven mad by an increasing number of breakdowns!
After all, once something broke down, it never regained its peak condition!
Each time something broke, it became that much easier to suffer the same malfunction in the future.
This was also one of the reasons why mechs generally never lasted more than five years of intensive combat, or ten years of moderate use. They suffered so much battle damage and underwent so many field repairs and sloppy fixes that their battle efficiency eventually dropped by more than half.
At that point, it was better to sell the mech and use the gains to help purchase a new one.
As for the old mech? Refurbishers and repair shops usually subjected them to an extensive overhaul before selling them on as second-hand mechs.
However, even a relatively complete overhaul never really renewed the life expectancy of a second-hand mech. This was why many people in the industry looked down on the practice of selling second-hand mechs.
As weapons of war, mech pilots needed to rely on their mechs through thick and thin!
Ves witnessed plenty of second-hand mechs giving up the ghost too soon, particularly with the old Walter's Whalers. Some of their ramshackle mechs deactivated in the middle of the battlefield after suffering moderate damage that they should have been able to endure.
Right now, both the Vandals and the Swordmaidens worried about suffering from the same problem merely by moving around on the planet.
"This situation is unacceptable." Captain Byrd stated with evident dissatisfaction on her face. "Our current rate of attrition is far too high. By the time we reach the Starlight Megalodon, we might have already lost half our mechs and transports due to farting winds! What are our solutions?!"
Chief Dakkon stepped up again. "Ma'am, while we aren't able to shield our machines from the effects of turbulence, we can still mitigate the problem. We can keep the astral winds over our heads under observation. Whenever it becomes exceptionally violent, we can force our expedition to halt. As long as none of our mechs and transports move, the turbulent spacetime distortion won't be able to trip them up."
"How often do we have to halt if we do so?"
"At least ten hours for every standard day. We'll also have to pause for at least twenty times a day, ma'am."
"That's too much!"