Chapter 2360: Defiant Ves
There was so much to do.
Ves not only had to start making the custom mechs for his expert candidates, he also had to develop plans and put them in motion.
Even as Task Force Predator slowly moved about while deploying aggressive patrols to beat back the increasing number of pirate scout mechs, every clansmen became swamped with work.
Repairing mechs, modifying mechs, converting starships and more caused the entire fleet to resemble a large scavenger operation.
A lot of materials were being consumed in order to ready the forces for the most difficult battle of what looked to be an exceptional campaign.
As long as at least some of the Larkinsons survived to the very end, each of them would all come out as battle-hardened veterans! The value of these mech pilots and other personnel was incalculable and well worth many of the risks that they had taken.
However, it was easier said than done to get to this point.
A few miscalculations on his part had led his forces in an inescapable confrontation against one of the most powerful pirate fleets in the Nyxian Gap.
When Ves asked Calabast if there was any way to avoid getting intercepted by the main pirate fleet, her answer remained the same.
The pirates really hate us. She grimaced.
Did you expect that all of your actions against them wouldn\'t somehow bite you back in the butt There are good reasons why neither the Peacekeepers nor any other major pirate groups have tried to assault pirate bases such as Ulimo Citadel, and it\'s not just because of all of the superweapons defending these locations.
Yes, yes, yes, I know.
Pissing off pirates with friends is a bad idea, I get it already.
I\'m being serious, Ves! While it may sound strange, diplomacy is one of the main reasons why most pirate organizations in the Nyxian Gap remain in existence.
No one can withstand getting ganged up by multiple hostile factions.
At the same time, no organization can be assailed when backed by numerous allies.
Let this be a poignant lesson to you.
If we ever travel to a bigger pond, we can\'t afford to get chased by sharks all the time.
Ves glanced to his display case where the drooping Prosperity Tree looked as if it lost a bit more life than before.
I don\'t endanger myself and the rest of our clan because I think it\'s fun.
I\'ll watch myself a lot more closely once we escape the Nyxian Gap.
Calabast moved over to one of the couches in his stateroom and draped herself over it.
She tilted her head at Lucky, who was dozing off on the armrest.
Is he okay It would help us a lot so we can employ him as a commando cat again.
I\'m not sure, to be honest.
I\'m willing to give him a few more weeks to get over his indigestion.
If nothing changes, then I\'ll resort to other measures to get him up and running.
A brief silence ensued as Calabast did not immediately make a remark.
Instead, she looked around with her head and observed the various pieces of furniture and other objects in the compartment.
What are you doing Ves suspiciously asked.
I\'m trying to take a measure of your personality.
It\'s difficult to pin you down these days.
There are moments when you act selfishly and callously and there are other times where you come across as compassionate and caring.
It\'s an interesting duality, but not exactly the most stable one.
Don\'t you think
What was Ves supposed to say to that
Are you doubting my sanity
She released an amused chuckle.
Her black uniform rippled as her body shook.
Oh, heavens no! Doubt has long left my mind! I think that anyone who knows you well can already say with a hundred percent certainty that you are not right in the head.
I am not insane! Ves angrily stated.
I am just a little bit eccentric, that\'s all! That\'s normal with mech designers.
Besides, I only look a bit worse at the moment because there\'s a huge threat closing in.
Desperation can lead everyone to extremes.
His answer did not satisfy the spymaster.
I\'ve seen you spinning around like a hyperactive cleaning bot for several days now.
Not only that, you\'ve been cooking up more and more outlandish plans.
While I don\'t necessarily disagree with the measures you are resorting to, I feel it is important for you to regain some perspective.
What are you talking about
Let me be frank with you. She adopted a concerned expression.
I am concerned about mental wellbeing.
While it\'s true that the Nyxian Gap is capable of bringing out the worst in people, I\'m afraid that some of it will stick if we return to civilized space.
You\'ve become more unhinged, Ves.
It takes a very deplorable kind of person to experiment on his own people.
Ves stood up and slammed his fist against his desk!
I CAN\'T AFFORD TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT MYSELF WHEN IT WILL LIKELY LEAD TO OUR DEATHS!
He stepped forward and pointed his finger towards her.
Don\'t misunderstand me.
I take my responsibilities seriously! I am doing everything possible to get as many of us back home as possible.
Didn\'t you tell me a few days ago that you have already made preparations to sneak away unnoticed
That\'s different! Escaping a battle that is unwinnable is a reasonable action to take!
Abandoning our fellow clan members is far more cruel than what I am doing! At least I am giving everyone a fighting chance! I have never forced anything onto my clansmen.
Each of them are ready and willing to gain as much power as possible to achieve an upset against the pirate armada.
The two of them harbored opposing sentiments on this issue.
Neither of them were able to reconcile their differences, so they just moved on.
Calabast had already made her point and it was up to Ves to find his way out of the dark hole he had entered.
Ves collapsed onto another couch but still remained a bit upset.
It wasn\'t his fault that he had to spin all kinds of extreme measures.
The circumstances forced him to do so.
If the Larkinson Clan was stronger, he wouldn\'t have any reason to go crazy!
We can\'t live like this, Ves. Calabast remarked as she stroked the sleeping gem cat\'s back.
Ever since you have started your career, you have been tumbling between danger, rest, danger, rest and so on.
You\'re not growing any younger, Ves.
Have you ever thought that Journeymen like you don\'t have any reason to expose yourselves to extreme risks You could have sent out this task force without you.
Even if it suffers an accident, you would have been safe at home next to Gloriana designing your next mechs.
Though her words made a lot of sense, Ves grew contemptuous at her description.
You know what I think about this cowardice.
I\'m a Larkinson, and you are supposed to be one as well.
How can you not know what we are all about! We are a clan of warriors, not businessmen or scientists! With the dangers I face, I can\'t afford to become a purely civilian mech designer like Gloriana.
Whatever dangers we are facing right now, I can already foresee that it will be worse in the Red Ocean!
Calabast stopped petting Lucky and turned to frown at Ves.
He looked pretty defiant as he crossed his arms across his chest.
Have you ever thought about not going to the Red Ocean As a mech designer, you can do your business anywhere.
Before the Red Ocean even opened, you intended to go on a more modest sightseeing tour, right Why not do that instead Not only will you be able to spare the millions of merits that you have accumulated, but you\'ll also be sparing your entire clan from another existential crisis like the one we are currently subjected to.
Doesn\'t that sound better
Ves huffed dismissively at her.
I\'m not one to take the slow and steady route.
There are good reasons why I need to push myself.
As a mech designer, I need to be stimulated in order to squeeze the utmost of my potential.
Haven\'t you seen the results of my latest experiment yet If it works out the way I think it will, I may have unlocked the secret to accelerating the breakthroughs of every expert candidate! I would have never come up with an innovation like this in peaceful circumstances.
His stubborn answer did not sit well with his conversation partner.
You\'re insufferable, you know that.
We\'re getting by one of the bad bets you\'ve made.
Instead of wising up, you are already looking forward to making riskier bets!
Is there something wrong with that
Do you think it\'s sustainable to act this way all the time Even if you don\'t care about risking your own life, what about the other people you care about What will you do if your future wife is imperiled What will you do when your children pay the price of your choices
That\'s not fair, Calabast.
This is exactly what you will have to consider if you continue to choose the more dangerous options out of all of your available choices.
While I admit that entering the Red Ocean can bring many benefits to us, it\'s not the only choice we have.
As an independent, you don\'t have to answer to anyone who is above you, but you must still answer to those who are beside you and below you.
Are you really determined to stick to your current course
You don\'t understand. Ves sighed and shook his head.
I am under a lot of pressure.
I have to run from some very powerful enemies and I also have to advance as fast as possible.
I don\'t like what you have said, but I am even less willing to accept the alternatives.
Every gift comes with burdens.
You should know.
You signed up with me despite knowing the huge interests involved.
She understood what he was alluding to.
The gift that propelled him to success was a tainted one.
Even now, Ves always retained his fear of getting cornered by its former owner.
I did partner up with you despite knowing what a hot potato you are.
It\'s just that I didn\'t expect my hands to get burned so much from holding you.
I really do hope you will change soon, Ves.
If you want to get your dose of excitement, then go engage in politics or participate in some mech games or something.
There are many ways that people have come up with to get their fill of excitement without literally putting their lives on the line.
Ves remained unmoved.
I don\'t know.
I don\'t like it when the stakes are too low.
I think you\'ll change. Calabast confidently stated.
When you grow older and start having kids, you\'ll change your tune.
I\'m sure of it.
You may be a daredevil, but you are also a caring person.
I don\'t particularly like Gloriana but I really hope she can help you enter into a different phase of life.
Hahaha! That\'s a funny joke! What about you, hmm You\'re older than me, right You look like you\'re forty years old.
Are you going to tie the knot with anyone I haven\'t seen you together with Commander Dise at all.
Maybe you should turn your fake relationship into a real one and visit Ranya to produce an offspring.
Who will be the mother Oh, I shouldn\'t have to ask.
There\'s no way that Dise is the mother in your relationship.
When will you be waddling around with a swollen belly
That\'s enough, you brat! My personal life is none of your business! Take care of your own mess before you stick your nose into other people\'s lives.
Isn\'t this what you have been doing this entire time
You naughty boy! Don\'t make me spank you!
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