Humanity's Greatest Mecha Warrior System
Chapter 151: Paparazzi

They spent the rest of the morning watching the noble guests play beach games then went for a swim before relaxing on the beach with glasses of juice. Or at least Max went for a swim.

As it turns out, Nico does not float. At all. So, despite being waterproof and able to absorb oxygen from the water, playing in the deeper parts of the lake was not for her without specialized equipment. She did have a lot of fun in the deep water though, walking out to the center of the lake to admire the view out of the station through the transparent panels.

All morning long, Max sensed that something was not right, but when he listened to the thoughts of those around him he didn't find anything strange or threatening. He was beginning to think he was just being paranoid, the way the threat seemed to keep changing directions throughout the morning, but it was too persistent to be nothing at all.

After a light lunch of deep-fried fish fingers, specially prepared at Max's request for the kids, the next shift of guards arrived, six Gamma-ranked Security Guards employed by the Chen family.

All four parents came with them, ready to scold the children until they saw the two Majors and the General sitting with them.

"So you did wait for guards, just not the ones we expected. Well played." The head of the new security detail congratulated the two while giving the Nannies a dirty look for not informing him.

They looked utterly unconcerned, and Max got the impression that they were likely as well trained, if not more skilled than the actual security.

"Did you see anything suspicious this morning?" The leader of the incoming guard shift asked Max politely, ignoring the Nannies.

"Nothing. It's been pretty calm here." Max informed him with a smile. It was honestly a very relaxing morning, other than that nagging feeling in the back of his mind.

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"Just the one server with the implanted cornea camera, but maybe that's normal? I don't know much about Comor employee security procedures." Nico added.

"Where?" Both Maids asked instantly, and Nico launched herself over to a nearby tiki bar, grabbing one of the employees by the shirt.

"This one, see. It's a cornea implant on his right eye." Nico pointed out.

"How could you even notice that? It's perfectly transparent." The man complained, clearly terrified of the swimsuit-clad Mecha Pilot.

"I am a Cyborg. Upgraded sensor devices are pretty standard for every full conversion, especially in the Military." Nico told him, keeping her face expressionless since she hadn't quite mastered a smirk yet.

It was actually her Innate Talent that found it and identified it as a camera, not some super secret military-grade upgrade to her eyes, though if she zoomed in and used her thermal overlay she would be able to detect the slight temperature variance between the two eyes. But who would examine a simple tiki bar employee that closely? The chances that he would be detected were extremely low.

"Cameras are strictly prohibited here. We will have to confiscate your recording device." The young Lady's maid snarled, barely keeping her quiet servant act together.

"I am with the Comor Free Bacon, I have rights. This is a violation of the press." The man declared suddenly, looking victorious.

"Under Kepler military security laws, taking illicit footage of military personnel and dignitaries is not a crime. However, publishing it may be considered a violation of espionage laws subject to summary execution on conviction." Nico informed him and a small wet spot became visible below the waist of his uniform as the reporter began to panic.

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"I will see that the footage is properly vetted through the censors." The man stammered and then fled the beach at a full sprint, heading for the main doors out of the hotel and into the Station.

"How long has it been since a reporter was convicted of espionage?" Prince Wushu asked, eager to learn a new way to get rid of the annoying paparazzi that plagued the Cygnus Royal Family's life.

"The last one to be convicted in Kepler territory was thirty-seven years ago. A reporter was found to be a Cygnus military spy and was publicly executed. She was just scaring the reporter away with a threat." General Kirkland clarified for the boy, who looked crestfallen at the news that you couldn't simply convict and kill paparazzi.

"They're not allowed to take footage in private spaces though, so there are limits," Max added.

"You will get used to them, Highness. They're a persistent lot. But as long as you're never caught in public with a woman who isn't your wife the scandals will all be minor." General Kirkland chuckled. Multiple wives for the Royal family were nothing new, but there were strict standards to their behavior nonetheless.

The beach games had settled down for the afternoon and the kids were having a nap in a hammock together when the Chen family's rather eccentric uncle showed up, looking around to ensure his brother wasn't there to stop him from hanging out with his niece.

He had a big smile on his face and a pair of child-sized VR headsets with him. The moment he noticed Max and Nico he came over, wishing to say hello again.

"I hope you remember me. Everyone calls me Uncle Lu. I am the head of Comor's Mecha development program and an amateur video game designer. I designed the game you both will be competing on in a few days, but no spoilers, it would ruin the fun.

What I really came for was to see you. My department has been gushing about you two ever since that news blurb aired." He adobe's, heartily shaking Max's hand.

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"What news blurb? We were in transit and the news is never shown here, so I have no idea what you're talking about." Max asked.

"Oh, there was some leaked footage showing your unit fighting Narsians on Sigmund. It's a long way from here, so they didn't play much footage, but that piloting was spectacular. We're all Mecha designers in my department, so how the end product will be used is important to us. I won't drag any more business into your vacation, but I had to say hello before the kids woke up."

Leaked footage from a planet with its satellite system destroyed and the cities overrun with giant aliens? Not highly likely. From the sound of it, the footage made them look heroic, so it's most likely a military video.

That's fine though, Pilots have always been held up as heroes, he grew up on their stories, as retold by the government. But in all his years, he had never heard of one from the videos even showing up on his planet.

Everyone here already knows who he is and what he does, so a few clips of him in action shouldn't change much about how he is treated by adults.

The kids woke up only a few minutes later and Uncle Lu began his attempt at convincing the maids to let them try the games he brought. Nico is smiling at his back, so whatever he brought isn't the usual boring stuff nobles call educational.

The two servants try the units first, then take them off and put them back on again, to see if he just put a single-use lock on whatever he is hiding. They are all aware of his antics, but he does have the rank to give the kids gifts without interference. Even if the maids will insist on safety checking the present before actually presenting it to the kids.

They both rush back to their room with the staff and guards while Uncle Lu grins. Once they're all away and out of earshot Nico turns to him and laughs.

"Gears of Grindage 3 is a classic. Gene locking it to only the kids was genius."

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"I knew a cultured young lady such as yourself would approve. Now, would you both like to accompany me to the boxing matches? I'm not sure if you've realized this yet, but there's only one more day before the gaming tournament starts. I'll be going back to the planet tonight after the fights to be a judge if you want a ride without burning credits." Uncle Lu suggested.

That sounds much better than taking the public shuttle from the station. Tomorrow a lot of soldiers will be cleared to leave, so the shuttle will be packed and so will the planetary public transit.

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