Chapter 3330: It Has Come
“Your bellys grown bigger.”
“I would hope so.
Our baby daughter is getting more ready to pop out.” Gloriana smiled as she and her husband rubbed her bulging belly.
“I guess with all of the delays, our first child will have the privilege of being born in the Milky Way after all.
She shall be our final gift to our home galaxy before we chase after a more ambitious tomorrow.”
Clixie climbed up on the bed and sniffed at Glorianas body.
The cat rubbed her head against the exposed belly, not that the pregnant woman noticed.
“We have stayed in Amswick way too long, Ves.
When are we finally going to move”
“It shouldnt be long, now.
Im just waiting for the final act to begin.” He mysteriously said with a grin.
“Im impatient to leave for the Red Ocean as well, but you cant rush certain matters.
For what its worth, the extra delay has been good for us.
Not only did we manage to make up for the personnel we lost, we also performed enough repairs to the Graveyard that she can serve as an adequate defensive ship once again.”
Her overall integrity is still a matter of concern, though.
These makeshift repairs dont go deep enough.
All of that heavy kinetic fire from the Slug Rangers has stressed and cracked many parts of her internal structure.
Repairing these sections without access to complete drydock facilities will be a long and painful journey.”
Ves shrugged as he shifted out of his bed.
“The ship will hold.
The Graveyard will be able to pass through the beyonder gate without falling apart at the other side.
Vivian Tsai has assured me of that.
We can slowly fix the remaining damage once we have reached the Red Ocean.
A drydock is nice but not essential, especially once we have the Diligent Ovenbird in our hands.”
Gloriana scrunched up her face.
“Have you reconsidered renaming our upcoming capital fleet repair and construction vessel I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone thinks it is a good idea to give a dignified capital ship a name that is more fitting for a party boat!”
“Hey, we all need some levity in our lives.
Its just a label, honey.
I dont want our clan to turn all stiff and serious all of the time.
What matters more is that the Ovenbird can meet the needs of our fleet.
It is the only capital ship that can fix other starships.
I dont need to tell you how crucial that is in the Red Ocean.”
One of the benefits of delaying their main journey was that the shipbuilders were able to apply additional upgrades and refinements to the two capital ships the Larkinson Clan had ordered.
Both the Diligent Ovenbird and the Gorgoneion received expensive new modules that should hopefully make them much more useful in the times to come.
As the couple both went into their separate bathrooms to freshen up and ready themselves for the day, they met again to partake in their breakfast and talk about their various issues.
Most of their discussion related to the Bulwark Project and the Chimera Project.
Both of them had progressed substantially, with the former only a week away from completion.
Venerable Jannzi didnt have to wait much longer to receive her impressive expert mech!
“I want us to be in our best state once we refit and overhaul the Shield of Samar.” Gloriana insisted.
“Youre too distracted with all of this dwarven stuff lately.
I hope you wrap up this nonsense as soon as possible so we can finally get back to what we should really be doing.
Were mech designers, not revolutionaries, you know.”
“You dont need to remind me.
Everything I am doing is so that I can design better and more impressive mechs.
I am not living out a power fantasy or anything!”
His wife rolled his eyes.
“Well, please tell me when you finally have your fill of megalomania.
Play time doesnt last forever.”
“Im not playing around! Im engaged in serious business here! Its not easy propping up the clan.”
“If ruling the clan is too hard for you, then you should try and delegate your responsibilities to someone competent… such as myself.”
Yeah, that would go well with the clan.
“Uhm, Im good.
Thanks for the offer.”
Once they finished their breakfast, Gloriana headed over to the design lab straight away as usual while Ves departed for his office.
“Miaow!” Clixie ran after him and brushed her body against his legs.
You want to keep me company today”
Ves picked up the furry cat and scratched her chin as she squinted her eyes in pleasure.
Clixie was a fine replacement for Lucky who had wandered off again.
Ves even heard reports that Lucky snuck onto shuttles that brought him to other capital ships!
Ves had plenty of pets these days.
Once he reached his office, he put Clixie on his desk while he started his morning duties.
He quickly signed off on some proposals from the chief ministers while listening to Gavins morning briefing.
As usual, his assistant was voicing concern over the expeditionary fleets continuous delays and his continued obsession over the dwarves.
Ves brushed aside these concerns like usual.
Few Larkinsons understood that Ves did not in fact obsess over the dwarves.
The Vulcan Empire was an obstacle to him regardless of whether it was ruled by humans or dwarves.
Gavin soon made way to Minister Shederin, who had become a regular visitor as of late.
The old and sophisticated man sat on a familiar chair with a pleased expression on his face.
“You look happy.” Ves pointed out.
I have received explosive news from my sources since yesterday evening.
I did not rush to inform you at first since this could still be an overblown rumor.
I waited for other contacts to corroborate this development.”
“Well, let it out then.
“The Mech Trade Association has washed its hands of the Vulcan Empire.
Though nothing has changed on the surface, the MTA will no longer take any special measures to protect the autonomy and independence of the dwarven state.
The Vulcanites have lost their shield!”
“Truly!” Ves leaned forward as he squished Clixies back with his hand.
“Theyre fair game now”
“I am 90 percent certain that is the case, sir.
I am not the only one who believes the game has changed.
I have been paying attention to the troop movements of the Empire of the Lost along with other states that are situated within reach of the Vulcan Empire.
Since this morning, they have abruptly transferred more military assets to the border areas.
They have even pulled away mech regiments that were originally assigned to defend strategic star systems such as Amswick.”
The mech militaries of all of these states must have moved more assets to the borders that the public had yet to know about.
What was clear was that the Lost and other local humans had reason to drop their fear of the Vulcanites now that the latter ostensibly lost the support of the only patron that had allowed them to live in safety all this time!
Wheels began to spin in Ves mind.
He knew that the coming days would become a lot more exciting.
The time of sitting around and waiting would soon be over.
“How have the Vulcanites reacted to this development”
“Not much.” The old man chuckled.
“Their government has never advertised their secret agreements with the MTA.
It wont do to inform the human-hating Vulcanites that they have been relying on the shelter of one of the most powerful human-centric organizations for all of these decades.
The dwarves are too proud and cannot stand losing face in such a manner.
One of the central myths of their people is that dwarvenkind is better than the rest of humanity.
Any notion that dwarves must beg to retain the favor of the tall folk is so alien to the Vulcanites that it wont be accepted even if it is true!”
“Theyll probably dismiss it asfake news or something.” Ves scoffed as he mimed quotation marks with his fingers.
“In my long career in public service, I have witnessed over and over again that there are a surprising amount of people who cant admit the truth even if it is staring them right in the face.
Anyone who cries outfake news is simply unable or unwilling to accept reality.
Sometimes it is for a selfish reason.
Other times it is an expression of ignorance.
Those are the worst in my opinion.
Indoctrination has a way of making people think that something wrong is right and vice versa.
The so-called Statue War is the most recent example of how it can be abused.”
The Vulcan Empire was a powerful case that illustrated the faults of indoctrination.
If the Vulcanites were taught to think for themselves, they wouldnt have easily fallen for the statues made by Ves.
Critical thinking was already in short supply in religious states, but the Vulcan Empire was one of the worst that he had ever seen!
If the Vulcanites werent taught to blindly embrace their faith, they wouldnt have gotten into a rat race where false prophets were able to hijack a religious movement that could have given the dwarves the pride and confidence they needed to succeed in human space.
If the Vulcanites didnt hate the tall folk so much, they might be more willing to accept the favor and good will of other humans.
The central government shouldnt feel pressured to keep its complicated relationship with the MTA a secret.
More dwarves would have returned to sanity if they knew early on how much they relied on the Associations guarantee to maintain their prosperity!
“Weve reached the tipping point.” Ves whispered.
His words rang true as further news arrived later that day.
“WAR! WAR HAS COME!”
Everyone in the expeditionary fleet stopped what they were doing and checked the news.
The local media had exploded!
“…Five second-rate states have jointly published a declaration of war against the Vulcan Empire! Their attack and invasion fleets are already crossing the border into the Smiling Samuel Star Sector as we speak.
More reservists are being called for service and the allied states will begin a comprehensive recruitment campaign in order to muster the troops that are not only needed to take back the Smiling Samuel Star Sector, but to occupy it so that we can rebuild our human homes in our old star systems!”
“…Currently, the Empire of the Lost, the Moseley Confederate, the Consolidated Kingdom of Namais, the Potsdam Republic and the Cameron Collective have all agreed to act in coordination and unify their strategic outlook for their joint invasion into the Vulcan Empire.
We have even received information that we have yet to corroborate that the five allied states have already carved out the provinces of the dwarven state for themselves!”
“…Few Vulcan military units show signs of halting their attack on their fellow dwarves.
This will likely change in the coming days, but the Statue War has already inflicted considerable damage to the Vulcan Empires war readiness.
Their defenses are in disarray, their mech armies are displaced and their infrastructure is partially on fire.
Even if all of the dwarves stop their infighting right this moment, they can only fight the five allied states to a standstill at best.
If more human states join the anti-dwarf alliance, which will certainly happen, most military analysts predict that the Vulcan Empire will succumb from the weight of an all-encompassing human offensive!”
The more Ves read and watched the news, the more he grinned.
All of these stories were music to his ears!
“Hahahahaha!” Ves raised his head and laughed.
“It has finally happened! I knew the Empire of the Lost and the other human states couldnt resist the temptation.
The Vulcan Empire is too juicy to ignore.
Just as well.
Their invasion will pave the way for my reentry into the Smiling Samuel Star Sector!”
This was what he had set out to do from the start! The entire Vulcan Empire had to be removed so that Ves could finally retrieve his damned Timpala Steel!
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