Major Quinlist Verle-Larkinson entered the clan patriarch\'s stateroom.
The luxurious but elegant compartment reflected the personality of its occupant.
Ves only made a perfunctory effort in decorating it.
The stateroom looked good enough to impress visitors, but lacked a personal touch.
Aside from affixing the emblem of the Larkinson Clan on every side, the space did not compare to those owned by people born into wealth and power.
The former officer of the Mech Corps preferred it that way.
Despite the many masks that his new superior wore in public, Major Verle knew quite well that Ves did not indulge in himself that much.
Though he had grown his business and clan to the point where he could build his own colony on an untouched planet, Ves had no ambition to build an empire so he could retire in luxury.
Ves was a hard worker.
He constantly pursued new challenges and always sought to push his limits.
Back when Professor Velten still presided over the 6th Flagrant Vandals, she always told Verle that successful mech designers possessed two traits.
Ability and discipline.
Those who advanced to Journeymann almost always had the former, but the latter was a bit more rare.
According to the professor, many Journeymen began to get complacent as their progress stagnated and their minds grew slower due to age.
A lot of Journeymen constantly had to resist the temptation to skip their work in order to spend their accumulated wealth.
Ves was not that kind of mech designer.
He happened to meet all of the important criteria that Professor Velten had mentioned.
In fact, he even surpassed some of them.
This was why Major Verle unhesitantly encouraged every willing Vandals to join him in applying to work under this rising star.
So far, Verle did not regret his choice.
Ves had been more than generous to the former servicemen, and the Vandals quickly integrated in the Larkinson Clan after they realized all of the benefits to joining a wealthy, powerful and independent organization.
Though Major Verle did possess a lot of concerns about the future, in the present he knew he would always have the support of his new clan patriarch.
Even though he only joined the Larkinson Clan in less than a year, Major Verle already became the effective military leader of the clan.
Aside from the Swordmaidens, he had the right to issue any order to the Avatars, Sentinels and other forces.
The clan patriarch entrusted a lot of power and a lot of responsibility to someone who wasn\'t tied to the Larkinsons just half a year ago.
This was rather odd, because Ves did not trust other people easily.
From his intelligence training, the major knew that the current incarnation of Ves still reflected the trauma he accumulated after the harrowing experiences of the Aeon Corona Mission.
His cold, ruthless personality emerged as an extreme response to the lessons he learned.
Even though Verle and plenty of other people were somewhat aware that Ves was a damaged person, no one said anything.
If Major Verle had a choice, he would rather follow someone who was always on guard and fully aware of the cruelty of the galaxy.
It was better to be overprepared than the opposite, and the substantial buildup of military power in the hands of the Larkinson Clan was a much better guarantee for survival than hollow dreams and empty hopes!
Good morning, sir. He greeted as Ves looked up from his terminal.
Hello to you too, Lucky. Verle smiled.
The tiger-striped mechanical cat was crunching on a piece of mineral that Ves had thrown at him.
The cat eagerly bit at it, causing crumbs of exotic particles to fall down onto his owner\'s dark hair.
Ves took no notice to his cat\'s antics.
Have a seat.
Let\'s discuss the state of our task force.
When the major took his seat, he began to report the usual details.
He mentioned the state of the ships, the state of the mechs, the overall mood and morale of the members of the task force and the preoccupations of the leaders presiding over the different elements.
Commander Magdalena has taken the disappointing performance of her rookies to heart.
She has intensified the training and drilling sessions of the Living Sentinels.
Though a lot of complaints have emerged from their ships, we are seeing steady jumps in performance.
Ves smiled at that.
They have finally stopped being complacent.
It was a good idea to give them a smack in the face.
It\'s not just the Sentinels who have become more serious.
The Avatars, Vandals and so on have also stopped being complacent.
Seeing Davy\'s Ghosts fight so ferociously even after they lost their leaders has served as a wakeup call to many complacent Larkinson mech pilots who think that their excellent training, superior mechs and glows will allow them to run roughshod through the Nyxian Gap.
Pirates dominated the Gap for a good reason.
Though many of them were trash, the more successful ones had the capital to pose a threat against the Larkinson Clan!
Hmm.. Ves leaned his clean-shaven cheek against his fist.
If we encounter any other beatable pirate groups like Davy\'s Ghosts, don\'t be in a hurry to exterminate them.
Each pirate encounter is another training opportunity.
You know as well as I do that many of the new hires among the Avatars but especially the Sentinels still need to be bloodied.
My thoughts exactly, sir.
I have already told Commander Melkor and Commander Magdalena to draft their rotations.
Everyone will get to have their turn against the pirates.
Not everyone who ventured in the Nyxian Gap would have the gall to treat vicious, cunning pirates as training dummies, but the Larkinsons still dared to do so as long as stronger enemies weren\'t in the vicinity.
The major also reported on the developments of their newest expert candidate.
While he hasn\'t deployed into battle since his sudden promotion, Joshua Larkinson has become a much stronger mech pilot.
His skills, which have long reached their limits, are rapidly improving.
He is much more formidable in battle once he enters the fray with the Quint.
What about his elite squad Have we set that up yet
We have just completed its formation.
We gave Joshua the choice to set the name and overall focus of his elite squad, and he decided to call it the Bright Companions.
I\'m sure it won\'t surprise you that their main mech model of choice is the Bright Warrior.
In general, the Bright Companions will try to fulfill an assault role, which is a very welcome addition to our lineup.
Bright Companions, huh Ves weighed the name.
It sounds a bit plain, but I can see why Joshua chose those words.
It not only reflects his origin, but also his piloting focus.
Joshua is the only mech pilot who understands the true nature of my mechs.
I look forward to witnessing his performance in the future, and I hope that the mech pilots he takes under his wing will also learn a thing or two.
We need more mech pilots like Joshua.
It wasn\'t unheard of to assign a number of like-minded mech pilots to expert candidates and expert pilots.
They were not only powerful warriors, but excellent teachers.
Putting regular mech pilots close to powerful figures was a good way to train future cadre!
Has Joshua made any specific requests that I should be aware of Ves asked.
The major nodded.
Well, Joshua believes that the Bright Warrior model will soon outgrow him and his Companions.
He hopes that you will spend some time on upgrading the Bright Warrior from a bridge mech to a fully-fledged second-class mech.
difficult at the moment.
There are only so many major projects that our Design Department can handle at the same time.
There are also even more high-priority mech designs on the horizon.
Tell Joshua to be patient.
Once our pipeline clears up, I\'ll revisit the Bright Warrior as well as my other older mech models.
If I may say something, I have been tracking the training efforts of all of our mech pilots.
A small proportion of our warriors are already qualified to pilot second-class mechs.
In the next year, that proportion will quickly rise before tapering off a bit.
The more rigid mech pilots will likely require a few more years to adjust to piloting higher-powered mechs, but by then the majority of our men will be able to make effective second-class mechs.
What is it you are telling me, major
Our clan has invested a lot of effort and resources in their training. The Major spoke.
It\'s a waste to keep them in third-class mechs for a couple of years.
After our business in the Nyxian Gap is done, we should look to procuring commercial second-class mechs if you cannot quickly design the mechs by yourself.
With the Larkinson Clan\'s current financial strength, it shouldn\'t be a problem to acquire a couple of thousand second-class mechs.
They will pair very nicely with the second-class ships that we will soon acquire.
The suggestion caused Ves to look irritated.
He wanted to provide his men with mechs that he personally designed, but the time constraints did not allow him to do so in a short amount of time.
He eventually sighed.
Look into this option.
Coordinate with the Larkinsons we have left behind at Cinach to see if we can allocate enough money to replace our lesser mechs.
Good choice, sir.
Do you have any requirements
Don\'t splurge too excessively.
We\'ll just use the commercial second-class machines as stopgap solutions until I have designed more ideal mechs for our clan.
The mechs only need to be strong enough to deter other second-class threats, no more.
They discussed the composition of their future mech roster and which mech models that the Larkinson Clan ought to prioritize.
The major brought up a final topic.
There is something else that we should focus on, sir. He said.
We should try and look into pushing all of our mech pilots to become proficient into piloting mechs on land and in space.
I don\'t necessarily disagree with that, but I heard that it\'s a bit difficult to accomplish that.
We are already forcing all of our mech pilots to learn how to pilot second-class mechs.
I don\'t want to burden them any further.
The training can be conducted sequentially rather than in parallel.
The highest priority is to upgrade our men to second-class mech pilots.
Only after they have accomplished this can we focus on expanding their versatility.
This is still doable, though we will have to make many compromises.
It would be very helpful if we pair these versatile mech pilots with mechs that can operate in both atmospheric and vacuum conditions.
This would save a lot of space in the future.
By fielding mechs and mech pilots that could operate effectively on land, in the air and in space, the clan would be able to make full use of all of its fighting forces regardless of the battle environment!
Though Ves looked swayed, he did not look very confident.
Versatility always comes at a price.
All of this comes at the cost of specialization.
It sounds nice to do as you say, but if each individual mech performs twenty percent worse in their non-ideal environments, then we will definitely suffer.
Major Verle shook his head.
I respectfully disagree.
We can compensate for the reduction in individual battle strength by increasing the numbers.
While I admit that abandoning specialization is not worth it for third-class mechs, I have studied how second-class forces are put together extensively, and this doctrine is very common among spacefaring organizations like ours.
It\'s all about extracting the maximum amount of benefit from a limited number of mechs and mech pilots.
..Very well. Ves acquiesced.
Make a plan and consult the commanders.
If your plan is thorough enough, we can give it a try.
On my part, I\'ll try and design suitable multi-environment mechs in the future.
You won\'t regret, sir.