Now that Ves successfully delegated his supervision duties to Ketis, his schedule finally freed up a lot.
He felt bad about pushing all of the repetitive, banal and rage-inducing work to his student, but the problems that constantly popped up should provide her with plenty of practice in solving mildly complicated technical issues.
Some of the other Vandal mech designers felt that Ves bypassed them entirely for no reason.
He didn't care. He was in charge and they were not. Ves didn't trust any of them to wield their powers responsibly.
Trust. Competence. Power. All of these intertwined at multiple levels among the ground expedition.
At the very top, the co-leadership of Captain Byrd and Commander Lydia led to a harmonious relationship so far, but how long would that last? The Swordmaidens had their own way of doing things, and Commander Lydia's authority was equal to Major Verle's.
Captain Byrd only held the upper hand so far because the Vandals possessed many more capabilities the Swordmaidens lacked. The Vandals not only brought more supplies, but they also retained many experts and science-minded support staff that continuously helped them with the natives.
Without the continued efforts of the exobiologists, the Flagrant Swordmaidens wouldn't have been able to figure out the wild gods and demystify their capabilities.
Hundreds of experts helped with studying the remains of Pairixan and the other dead sacred gods right now.
In particular, they collected all of their god crystals after studying how the surrounding flesh interacted with these foreign object and tried to study their internal structure to see how they managed to influence the astral winds.
Other experts including Dr. Tillman succeeded in nursing Qilanxo back to life after several close brushes with death. While she remained heavily injured, the giant exobeast no longer worsened in health.
The continuous efforts of these experts gave the Vandals a lot of prominence over the Swordmaidens who only knew how to chop their enemies with their swords. Their time hadn't come yet. Once the ground expedition collided with the mech forces sent down by their rivals, then that would be their time to shine.
Ves figured that Commander Lydia was biding her time right now. She kept a low profile and allowed the Vandals to take the limelight so far. The Swordmaidens rigorously adhered to their existing routines and always trained for the next fight where they might actually be of use.
That battle would come, sooner or later, and at that time the Swordmaidens would make themselves known.
On a lower level, the undercurrent slowly started to surge. Venerable Xie continued to expand his circle bit by bit. Though many mech pilots wanted to receive his tutoring, he focused most of his efforts into empowering his first fans and his most loyal core.
To Ves, it seemed as if Venerable Xie was biding his time as well. Just like Commander Lydia, he refused to set off waves and instead attempted to work below most people's radar.
Ves himself actually enjoyed no official authority over the Vandal mech technicians, yet no one drew any attention to this technicality. The responsibilities he claimed for himself went far beyond the strictly advisory capacity he was supposed to fulfill.
His high degree of competence alone convinced every mech technician that putting him in charge would be the best for all of them. They may not like him personally, but they would rather have him in charge than someone else.
Too bad they got Ketis instead of Ves the last few days.
Compared to Ves, she lacked the competence to solve all the technical challenges that came up during their repairs. Her inexperience even led her to provide deeply flawed solutions to some of the more challenging problems.
This didn't help her at all, though she at least recognized she was outmatched when she failed. Ves had to step in and clean up her messes in those instances.
Still, what she lacked in competence, she made up for it with gumption. In the instances where she didn't automatically commanded everyone's obedience, she bullied the mech technicians into taking her seriously.
Sometimes, she let her failures get the better of her. Her work didn't go all that smoothly and whenever she failed or fell short, her frustration built up and caused her to forget her limits.
During those times, she forgot that she wasn't dealing with hardened Swordmaidens or Swordmaidens-in-training. Several mech technicians got carted off to the infirmary to treat their broken bones and other serious injuries.
If it happened once or twice, then Ves wasn't inclined to look. Now that such incidents happened five times over several days, Ves could no longer stay on the sidelines.
"Didn't I tell you it's not about hurting the men?" Ves took Ketis aside one day. "Injuring the mech technicians is a means to an end that comes at a price. You need to be more stingy with how much violence you dole out."
"I'm sorry, Ves, but I'm not as good as you. These stupid problems continue to annoy the hell out of me. How could they screw up so often?!" She cried out her frustration.
"This is the hardest part to supervising a workshop where a lot of complex repairs are taking place. It may look difficult at first, but once you deal with the problems for a month, you'll slowly find out that they aren't so different from each other. You don't have to wrack your brains all the time to develop a new solution when an old one suffices."
Ves basically told her to stick with her job despite her initial setbacks because the experiences she went through now would help her out enormously later on. Knowing how mechs broke and failed enabled mech designers to develop new machines that avoided the mistakes of other designs.
Though she didn't see the value yet, Ketis reluctantly continued to perform her duties, but with a more mindful touch this time.
If Ves wanted Ketis to take over some of his work, then he needed to make sure she didn't drop the ball too much. Otherwise he'd be forced to resume those duties.
Ves didn't opt to delegate his most tedious work duties because he wanted to sit back and relax. No. If Ves wanted to buy some time for himself, he always had a goal in mind.
Ves turned his attention to Qilanxo. To be more precise, her ability to interface with the mind of the natives.
He received a standing invitation from Dr. Tillman to help her out with a difficult project. He moved over to ground zero of the explosion that wiped out much of the Eastern Samar Pantheon.
One full week after the battle, the Vandals cleaned up the battlefield. They chopped up and moved away the remains of Pairixan and the other sacred gods and studied them elsewhere under more controlled conditions.
In the meantime, they built a makeshift prison around Qilanxo, though no restraints could ever be strong enough to stop her from thrashing it if she exerted her strength.Find authorized novels in Webnovel，faster updates, better experience，Please click www.webnovel.com for visiting.
So far, Qilanxo remained docile and didn't act up in any way. She exhibited enough intelligence to realize that the Vandals worked hard to save her life and help her recover from her wounds.
Ves entered the prison built around Qilanxo's massive bulk and witnessed her lying down on tiled surface with alloy restraints locking her limbs.
"Thank you for coming, Mr. Larkinson." Dr. Tillman greeted him with the respect of a fellow professional.
"No problem, doc."
Over time, the Vandals learned to disregard her fairly young age. Despite being in her thirties, Dr. Tillman's knowledge and competence surpassed her older peers. She turned out to be a genius in the same way as Ves, and people often regarded them as the same type of person.
Ves grew curious how someone as brilliant as Dr. Tillman ended up with the Vandals, but it wasn't polite to ask. If she wanted him to know her story, she would tell it to him on her own accord.
For now, they both had jobs to do.
"Captain Byrd has ordered us to subdue Qilanxo and attempt to convert her into an asset for the Vandals. Whether that is through allowing her to operate on her own or with a Vandal volunteering to be her beast rider, we don't know yet. Our imprisoned sacred god isn't entirely forthcoming when we attempt to communicate with her. No matter what, we did bomb her mate and her offspring to death."
"One of those smaller exobeasts is her child?" Ves frowned. "How come she hasn't gone berserk yet?"
Dr. Tillman smiled. "Exobeasts are capable of spawning many godling offspring. She must have birthed hundreds if not thousands of children with her union with Pairixan. Generally, the god species don't care too much about the life or death of a single child, even if he or she has been nurtured into a sacred god. Those who die prematurely are too weak."
She reminded Ves that he shouldn't equate her as a human. These god species thought in very different patterns.
"How sure are you of this observation?"
"Qilanxo told us that ourselves, likely in an attempt to reduce our vigilance towards her. When she first regained her consciousness, we posted an alarming number of armed mechs around her form. The presence of those mechs distressed her a lot. Eventually, we came to a compromise where she wouldn't act up in exchange for moving those mechs further away."
"That sounds incredibly dangerous. What if she is plotting some form of revenge?"
"We made a calculated risk to trust her word, however little we can get out of the beast. In order to build up trust with Qilanxo, we have to show that we respect her as an entity."
"So how does she communicate with you guys? So far, all she does is roar at you, right?"
"We mostly make due with asking questions that can be answered with a yes and no response. A long roar is a yes, while a short roar is a no. So far, it seems that Qilanxo is able to understand standard human language without any need for an interpreter. It's fascinating to see definitive proof at the sacred gods are sentient alien species."
Sentient meant that Qilanxo was more than a dumb beast who only made decisions according to her instincts. If she was truly sentient, then she'd be able to process complex thoughts and interact with the Vandals on a more equal level.
She still remained their prisoner though, and Qilanxo very much knew that.
"Since I'm here to find a way to get Qilanxo to interface with one of our mech pilots, has Qilanxo been cooperative in the matter?"
"Not quite." Dr. Tillman frowned. "We believe the matter of her beast rider is a more sensitive subject. Qilanxo cared more about her chosen than her own mate and her dead offspring. Our psychologists believe that Qilanxo is still traumatised by the loss of her human companion. Their bond was very deep."
This sounded rather touching to Ves. it also sprung a lot of strange ideas related to his design philosophies. Would he ever be able to reach the point where he designed a mech that cared for its mech pilots as deeply as Qilanxo pined for her companion?
Ves didn't care about Qilanxo's losses before, but hearing about her deeply traumatic separation with her beast rider affected him deeply in his heart.
It was as if his design philosophy offered its condolences to Qilanxo.
He quickly shook his head and tried to clear his mind. "So since Qilanxo is still grieving for the loss of her chosen, will we ever get a mech pilot to try and interface with her mind?"
"That plan is still on track, and due to your expertise in neural interfaces, however limited it may be, you are in charge of this project. By the time our expedition is scheduled to move, Captain Byrd hopes to see a mech pilot riding atop Qilanxo."
Ves gazed at the silent and morose sacred god. The challenge was immense. Yet there was no other choice. "I'll do it. I don't know how I can get Qilanxo to accept a new beast rider, but I'll find a way."
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