The Mech Touch (Web Novel)
Chapter 5960: Inferiority

5960 Inferiority

Now that he concluded his important talk with Ketis, Ves could only bide his time and wait.

He hoped that she would find the time to visit him sooner rather than later.

"Don't make me go on another business trip." He muttered to himself.

Now that he had done what he could to enact his ambitious new plan, he shoved all thoughts related to Dimension Breach Creation aside.

He lacked the AP to do anything useful with it, and he hardly thought it was wise to open a dimensional tear on an important planet located in a Terran port system!

Time passed by as Ves handled other matters.

For example, he returned to teaching his classes in person over at the Eden Institute of Business & Technology.

It might be beneath his present status to continue to lecture to a lot of students like this, but Ves found it important for him to remain connected to the future talents of the mech industry.

It certainly helped that he was able to screen promising recruits for the Larkinson Clan in advance.

Aside from that, he handled other necessary chores such as supervising the integration of the two new shipyards into the Larkinson Clan.

Enough time had passed for the first batch of existing Larkinson members to arrive at both Starfarer's Berth and the E-66 Experimental Yard.

With the cooperation of CEO Eric Poderin and Chief Shipwright Keziramous Demodian, the personnel base of both shipyards underwent significant upheaval.

It did not surprise Ves that a lot of employees who previously indicated that they wanted to leave and find employment elsewhere suddenly changed their mind. It was funny how thousands of shipyard workers tried to fight tooth and nail to retain their current jobs!

There was one overwhelming reason why all of the shipwrights, naval engineers and other workers wanted to stay so badly to the point of giving up their existing citizenships.

"The Dominion of Man." Kezi said during a remote conference. "Everyone and their mother wants to work on the next 'living starship' developed by the great Devil Tongue."

Ves grimaced when he heard that abominable moniker. "Well, they aren't doing their job security any favors by referring to me like that. Anyway, they are not wrong about their assumptions. I do intend to make more living starships with the shipyards under my control, but let's not get too hasty. I need to figure out a lot of stuff. There are a lot of luxurious conditions on the Dominion of Man that other starships simply do not have."

Anyone expecting his shipyards to pump out miniature versions of a Carmine dreadnought would be in for a massive disappointment!

Ves had not even begun to research a viable substitute for a Spark Reactor!

He definitely wanted to start making progress on this front, but he didn't have enough time to fit this in his schedule.

The most he could do was to suggest a few research projects to the T Institute.

The researchers over there weren't competent enough to develop a substitute of a Spark Reactor by themselves, but they could still save a lot of work for Ves by conducting a lot of precursor studies.

So long as Ves had access to enough empirical results, he could come up with a theoretical model that was much more grounded in reality.

In the meantime, Ves spent most of his work time contributing to the Dark Zephyr Mark III Project.

A lot of Larkinson expert mechs had been waiting far too long to receive their upgrades. Ves knew that it was unacceptable to delay the completion of the revision of the Dark Zephyr any further.

Now that he no longer became preoccupied with distractions, Ves could finally devote enough time on helping his wife complete her first proper archemech.

It helped that they were making progress at a much more rapid pace this time. His wife's recent breakthrough had opened the floodgates. A lot of problems that had caused the two of them to get stalled for a long time no longer hindered them any longer!

Ves did not nearly understand as much about archetech than his wife, but Alexandria's design network rapidly made up for that shortcoming.

He did not expect to master archetech as thoroughly as Gloriana, but it was enough for him to master the basics.

His wife was happy to take responsibility over translating and refining the parts and systems that would make up the reinvented Dark Zephyr. She loved to tinker with the subversive mechanics, material science and electrical engineering aspects that made archetech so fascinating.

Ves helped with the broad strokes and the E-technology aspects of the Dark Zephyr.

Though his wife played an indispensable role in designing the physical structure of the expert light skirmisher, Ves always thought that it conformed to his vision more than hers. The Dark Zephyr was one of his babies as far as he was concerned.

In order to understand the Dark Zephyr's current metaphysical state better, Ves occasionally called Venerable Tusa and instructed him to examine the expert light skirmisher from many different angles.

While Ves found it difficult to get a clear overview of the Dark Zephyr by remote, he was still able to ascertain the third order living expert mech's overall growth and development.

"So the Dark Zephyr has gained 14 Ascension Runes in total, huh?"

The physical projection of Venerable Tusa nodded. "Yes. I cannot say whether that is fast or slow, but to my feeling, my partner has slowed down."

"I am not surprised. I do not fully understand Ascension Runes either, but I know enough to state that they are reflections of the growth of a living mech. Your Dark Zephyr continues to grow at a slow pace by himself. He also grows whenever he fights. What is important about the latter is that the battles must be fruitful enough to significantly stimulate your expert mech's growth. Has the expeditionary fleet fought a lot of easy battles as of late?"

Tusa pressed his lips. "I would not necessarily say so. Master Benedict Cortez is willing to take greater risks in order to plunder more phasewater, but he still tries to do his best to keep the engagements under control. He avoids any battle where enemy reinforcements are more likely to arrive. In addition, fighting under one or several ace mechs doesn't give me the feeling that the survival of the expeditionary fleet rests on my shoulders. That said, we are planning a big operation, so that might change."

"Haven't you guys heard that the native aliens are close to launching a major offensive?"

"We did, but that is exactly why we think it is a great idea to test the waters."

Ves did not inquire any further. It was not appropriate to talk about military operations over the galactic net.

He turned his attention back to the Dark Zephyr. He already figured out that the expert mech invested more Ascension Runes in the Path of the Wind Dancer.

This significantly made it easier for the Dark Zephyr to ignore all barriers and pass through enemy transphasic energy shields.

"The consumption has decreased." Tusa proudly said. "When I first started to perform the Leap of True Freedom, I was still very rough in the way I exerted my power. After the novelty wore off, I quickly became disappointed in myself because I could only do it once or twice before exhausting myself."

"What did you do to improve yourself?"

"I practiced. I worked together with the Dark Zephyr to optimize my technique. I talked to the other expert pilots for advice. One of the more useful lessons I learned from them is to try to make use of E energy radiation to fuel my ability. I was surprised when I found that it actually worked. Doing so makes it harder for me to control my technique, but the consumption is much lower. It would be stupid for me to go back to trying to fuel my Leap of True Freedom completely by myself."

"I take it that growing your resonance strength at a speedy pace has also made it easier for you to master this self-

developed ability of yours."

"Being a high-tier expert pilot does have its perks." Tusa grinned. "I do not deserve all of the credit for my improvement. Trisk has helped us as well."

"Mhmm. By the way, how often have you practiced and utilized the Shadow Dance Dagger Style in actual combat?"

"The dagger style has excellent drills. I use them to keep my body in shape and to become more used to flowing movements. As for actual battle… the Shadow Dance is not that useful against alien warships. I never saw much reason to employ it when I am fighting against an alien warship that is many times larger than my own machine."

"That is… disappointing to hear. The Shadow Dance is very powerful, and I think it scales well as your resonance strength continues to grow. The darkness element may have negative connotations, but it has many useful strengths, some of which I intend to add to your partner. How comfortable are you with the idea of increasing the Dark Zephyr's darkness aspect?"

"If you asked me this question a year or two ago, I would have told you not to bother. Now that you have given me a companion spirit, I think I can handle more of it, but only if it doesn't interfere with my Leap of True Freedom."

A dark and shadowy bird flew out Tusa's head and cheerfully flew around in circles.

"Chip! Chip! Chip!"

Ves' eyes shone as he stared at the projection of Tusa's companion spirit.

Though Tusa along with many other Larkinson expert pilots only received their companion spirits relatively recently, their strength already exceeded that of others.

This was because they were all paired with powerful expert pilots!

Blackwing may look deceptively small and weak, but it could pose a huge threat to people, especially if Tusa lent his extraordinary willpower to his companion spirit!

"If you have the opportunity to use the darkness element to add or augment a capability of your expert mech, what would you choose?"

Tusa needed to think on how he should respond. Blackwing continued to flit around while leaving a shadowy wake in his flight.

"I am… already happy with the speed and the evasive solutions of my battle partner." The expert pilot eventually responded. "When I think of darkness, I think of engulfing my mech in shadow, or installing an active stealth system. That is not necessary as far as I am concerned. I can already outspeed most enemies while also evading virtually every attack aside from wide-area explosives at closer ranges. I am not in urgent need of stronger defenses either. What I truly need is a more powerful attack solution."

Lackluster offensive ability had always been a persistent shortcoming of the Dark Zephyr. Ves was not surprised in the slightest that Tusa mentioned this point.

Though Ves had given the Dark Zephyr a bandolier so that it could carry a bunch of transphasic grenades in battle, this was only a stopgap solution as far as he was concerned.

Tusa did not want to become a grenadier. He wanted to defeat his enemies by relying on superior martial might.

There were way too many instances where he looked at the Amaranto and the Promethea and grew jealous at their impressive capacity to inflict destruction.

While it was not fair to compare the offensive power of an expert light skirmisher to that of a pair of expert rifleman mechs, Tusa often felt that his Dark Zephyr never matched up to his peers.

"I understand." Ves said in a sympathetic tone. "It just so happens that I have multiple ideas on how to boost the attack power of your expert mech. Darkness is a very versatile element. With the right hyper materials and other tech, I think I can increase the lethality of your battle partner by as much as an order of magnitude!"

Tusa instantly became a lot more hopeful.

"Please tell me more, cousin."

Chapter 5960: Inferiority
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