Not a lot of Larkinsons wished to divest themselves from the Bright Republic.
Despite all of the recent drama, many Larkinsons still valued their commitment to the Mech Corps and the state they vowed to protect.
More importantly, almost every Larkinson couldn\'t bear to part with the friends and family who lived in the Bright Republic.
It simply wasn\'t possible to move their entire social circle to an entirely different state!
What complicated the matter even further was that the Ylvaine Protectorate held very little appeal to the Larkinsons.
The Ylvaine Protectorate pretty much mandated belief in their state religion.
How could the Larkinsons, who all grew up in the Brighter tradition, put down all of their skepticism and engage in superstition
It was impossible! While the Ylvainan Faith was fairly mild, some of its tenets were very controversial, particularly the one that stated that humans and aliens were all brothers and sisters!
Nonetheless, some Larkinsons, especially the younger ones who weren\'t tied down by their spouses and children, decided to take the plunge.
They believed that a bright new adventure awaited them if they followed Ves Larkinson in quest to make the Larkinsons greater than ever before!
Those who were still obliged to serve the remainder of their tours of service were still stuck in the Bright Republic.
However, as soon as they got free, they would definitely leave and join wherever Ves wanted to go!
Some Larkinsons had already become convinced that Ves would find some way to bring them all to the Red Ocean Dwarf Galaxy!
Once they arrived at an entirely new galaxy, their future prospects were bound to be bright!
Of course, only the earliest enthusiasts and loyalists of Ves had already made the plunge.
Many others who were tempted still remained undecided.
After all, the leader they put all of their hopes in had gone missing.
How could the Larkinsons ever dream of surpassing their current height when the main person responsible for carrying them upwards was nowhere to be found
Raella Larkinson crossed her arms as she oversaw a crew of mech technicians servicing the Prideful Soldiers and other mechs of the Blood Claws.
She made for a slightly unusual sight.
Not only was she wearing a caste, but much of her body and face was covered by a special medical fabric.
A woman wearing overalls and a poofy beret soon approached her side.
How goes the repair
Not very good. Ketis responded and wiped some metal dust from her firm hands.
I\'ve taken a good luck of your Prideful Soldier, what is left of it anyway.
How did you even survive a direct series of hits on your mech
It takes more than a random barrage of lasers to take down a Larkinson! She grinned.
Aren\'t you supposed to be exiled from your family
That\'s just to shut the old coots up.
Their nagging drove me crazy.
Even if my name is not in the family rolls anymore, my blood still flows true.
Maybe you have an opportunity to go back.
I\'ve heard the Larkinsons are splitting up.
I\'m sure that Ves will welcome you to his half of your family!
Raella looked uncertain, which was highly uncharacteristic of the ferocious Blood Captain.
I\'ve already built a new life here.
I left the Larkinsons in order to accomplish something by myself.
So far, I\'ve succeeded.
As Ketis had been working alongside Raella for some time, she knew that the rebellious Larkinson truly valued her independence.
However, working all alone meant that she had no one to lean on when she needed some help!
Even the Swordmaidens depended on their fellow sisters! No one can survive on their own!
You just brushed past death a few days ago. Ketis gestured to Raella\'s limp arm.
When we pulled you out of the ejected cockpit, your left side was marred with third-degree burns.
If your cockpit had been hit again, nothing but ashes would have been left of your body!
Well, I got better.
These kinds of flesh wounds are trivial.
I\'ll be ready to thrash the sandman as soon as I become accustomed to my regenerated tissue!
Her Larkinson identity came in very handy this time.
The Blood Claws did not hesitate to offer her the best treatment they could provide.
Sometimes, you behave just like the Ves I know.
The two of you aren\'t as different as you think. Ketis pointed out.
Ah, shut up! Raella weakly punched the mech designer\'s arm.
I hate being compared with my cousins!
I don\'t mean to make you feel bad.
I just think that this lone wolf routine of yours is not going to last you forever.
I\'m perfectly fine on my own!
Both women held this argument many times.
For now, Raella was determined to continue on her own.
She didn\'t need Ves to achieve greatness!
Elsewhere in Bentheim, Vincent patted the leg of his battered Adonis Colossus with satisfaction.
Keep on fighting, old soldier.
Your popularity has reached a new record, Vince! His PR manager manager said ecstatically.
Over ten million people viewed your stream, and many of them have donated to your fund!
That\'s not good enough! That figure isn\'t concurrent! I have no use of people who drop by my stream for a couple of seconds before switching to another one! And bright credits are pretty much worthless these days! It\'s already worth half as much as a month ago!
Every member of his crew looked rather helpless at that.
Hyperinflation evaporated most of their savings!
At these dire times, only their mechs and ships retained their value!
This is just the start, Vincent.
With the Mech Corps refusing to live stream their soldiers, the rest of the competition is manageable.
As long as you continue to show up in battle, you\'ll definitely reach the top!
His way with people and his unusual mech turned him into a popular figure.
Though his battle performance still hadn\'t reached an impressive level, his increasingly more proficient showmanship was enough to make a memorable impression!
Vincent would have never been able to succeed so well if not for his Adonis Colossus! Not only did the mech inject him with a massive boost of confidence, its codpiece and masculine appearance also attracted the attention of a lot of ladies!
The good times won\'t last.
The Ylvainans showed up, and they brought their latest superwomans.
Only three have arrived so far.
It still takes time for more Hunters of Ylvaine to arrive.
It doesn\'t matter.
Those Deliverer mechs will steal all of my thunder soon enough.
You sound awfully confident.
I know Ves.
His mechs never fail to live up to their promises.
The Deliverer is exactly what it says on the tin.
It\'s going to save us all.
So as far as I\'m concerned, the good times are about to end.
The PR manager looked stunned.
We\'ll have to adjust our plan if that\'s the case.
I don\'t think we can meet our targets if we can\'t showcase you in battle.
I\'ll just find something else to excel in. Vincent smiled and looked up at his mech.
It\'s too bad my Adonis Colossus is a spaceborn mech.
If it was a landbound machine, then I could have brought it to the dueling circuit.
Throughout his participation in the war, Vincent experienced many battles.
Taking part in these encounters and witnessing the deaths of many soldiers forced him to polish his skills.
THis gave him the confidence to succeed in duels!
However, that was not enough to sustain his popularity.
There were many idols in the dueling circuit, so a newcomer like Vincent wouldn\'t be able to gain any traction at first.
He needed to do something bigger to attract attention.
A few ideas ran through his mind.
What do you think about taking part in the Komodo War
Are you crazy, Vince! Your fancy mechs will get crushed by a single hit! The level of destruction of that far exceeds what any of us can handle!
I thought it would be interesting to teach the Hexers what a true man is like! Vincent idly grinned.
Whose side would you even want to fight for The Friday Coalition
Of course not! Those bastards kidnapped the designer of my mech! Where will I ever get my Adonis Colossus Mark II if my buddy Ves is gone!
The PR manager couldn\'t believe it.
Are you actually thinking about fighting for the Hexers
Why not Vincent grinned, showing off his gleaming white teeth.
Those repressed women can\'t get any satisfaction from their emasculated boys.
I\'m sure I can change their minds about men once I show how great I am! Whether it\'s on or off the battlefield, those sizzling hot chicks will fall before my knees!
Lunatic! The Hexers would rather kick his codpiece than submit to a man!
While Vincent indulged himself in unrealistic ideas, elsewhere in the star system a certain woman met with a certain spy.
Leland Toll slowly placed a data pad on the desk.
The woman took it up and read through the contract.
I don\'t recall saying anything about divesting my stake in the LMC.
I earned those shares far and square when I placed a bet on Ves!
Ordinarily, you\'re right, Mrs.
However, the founder and principal shareholder of the LMC is very discontent with you.
In the interests of maintaining friendly relations, we have decided it is best for you to relinquish your shares to Sibilant Asset Management.
Please don\'t be concerned.
Before you ask, we are more than willing to pay what they are worth in the form of exotics instead of bright credits.
Marcella\'s fist slammed against her desk.
Do you think I\'m stupid, you little spook! All the exotics in Bentheim can\'t compensate for the loss of a 5 percent stake in the LMC! It was your idea to approach Ves and convey Senator Tovar\'s suggestions to him! I was just a mouthpiece! How can he possibly blame me for following the instructions of a founding family!
Regardless of what you think, after today, your 5 percent will no longer be in your hands.
Is that a threat
It\'s a statement of truth. Leland confidently smiled.
Even if we don\'t step in, your future as a minority shareholder of the LMC has already become a relic of the past.
Right now, we need to do as much as possible to repair our relations with Mr.
As the Devil Tongue, he is never kind to his enemies.
Though Leland didn\'t adopt a threatening posture, the pressure he exuded was substantial.
Though Marcella wasn\'t exactly sure which spy agency Leland worked for, she was definitely sharp enough to know that she wouldn\'t be able to resist a branch of the government.
As a consummate Bentheim insider, Marcella knew more than most locals.
She took the data pad and reread the contract several times.
Despite the lengthy passage of time, Leland waited leisurely for the businesswoman to come to terms with reality.
Eventually, she let out a deep breath.
What will you do with my shares
We\'ll simply hold it unless the situation changes.
Do you really think Ves will accept the government maintaining 26 percent ownership in his company That\'s 1 percent more than the shares owned by the Larkinson Estate!
You don\'t have to be concerned about that.
We will make our own arrangements with Mr.
We merely expect you to sign the contract.
Though Marcella wanted to resist, she simply couldn\'t summon up any resistance.
Even if she refused today, the government would find some other way to get what they want.
This was something she clearly understood as a mech broker in the busiest star system of the Bright Republic.
The moment she signed the contract and added her virtual authorizations to it, Leland happily took back the data pad.
We\'ll take care of the paperwork.
We will transfer your payment by the end of the day.
As Leland bid the woman goodbye, Marcella couldn\'t help but leave a parting shot!
Ves won\'t let you go! He might not trust me anymore, but he probably hates your guts! There is no way he ever holds any affection for our state anymore!
The intelligence operative did not bother responding to her words.
He completed his mission.
That was all that mattered.
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