Chapter 2961: Grand Return
As much as Ves wanted to continue to enjoy his break and do nothing productive for a couple more days, he really had to get back to his duties.
Since Gloriana hadn\'t formally started any of the next design projects as of yet, Ves mostly spent his time on sorting out clan matters.
After enjoying breakfast with his wife, he entered his private office inside his stateroom and encountered a familiar face.
You\'re back, boss!
I missed you too, Benny. Ves grinned as he sat down while putting a sleeping Lucky on his desk.
I guess I have a lot of updates to catch up to.
Let\'s start with the most important issue.
How many people did we recruit in total
Gavin Neumann briefly references his data pad.
We\'ve managed to pick up tens of thousands of professionals and family members during the time we stayed in the Prosperous Hill System.
We currently host over 80,000 clansmen in our fleet.
A little over 10,000 of them are mech pilots.
That\'s quite a high ratio of mech pilots to norms. Ves raised his eyebrow.
Well, we prioritized the recruitment of young and single mech pilots, so there aren\'t that many of them who have wives and kids.
Hopefully, that will change once they settle in our clan.
Has our fleet become more crowded with the addition of so many new recruits
We have already planned ahead and put the appropriate systems in place.
We are quite experienced in this already, so you don\'t need to pay too much attention to this.
In half a year, you\'ll hardly be able to tell the difference.
Ves believed his assistant.
The Larkinson Clan had become increasingly more proficient in integrating different people from a diverse set of cultures.
It had actually become one of their notable advantages.
As long as not too many people joined at the same time, the Larkinson Clan could slowly digest the new additions without losing its original essence.
He stretched his arms and briefly glanced at his display rack to inspect the state of his prosperity tree.
It was doing better than ever.
It not only appeared straight and strong, but also gained a bit of height compared to the last time he took a close look at it.
The Larkinson Clan had not only recovered from the Battle of Reckoning for the most part, but had taken a few steps ahead!
Of course, only a superstitious fool would believe that the health and growth conditions of a small tree were directly correlated with the state of the Larkinson Clan.
Ves only treated the prosperity tree as an idle curiosity.
If his grandfather wasn\'t the one who gifted it, he would have thrown it into the recycler long ago.
Okay, we recruited a lot of new personnel and added a lot of new mech pilots to our ranks.
How many mechs do we have, though I don\'t believe our production capacity is high enough to supply mechs to all of them.
In fact, do we even have the carriers to accommodate so many new machines
Gavin began to frown a bit.
Those are indeed legitimate concerns.
You\'ll have to talk to General Verle in order to hear a detailed explanation, but from what I have learned, we won\'t be expanding our fleet with any more sub-capital ships.
We won\'t be able to take any of them past the beyonder gate so it is rather wasteful to acquire too many of them at this junction.
We won\'t be able to field a mech for every mech pilot we have as a consequence.
We are still short on functional mechs at this time, so our mech pilots have already gotten used to sharing their mechs with their fellow comrades.
As long as one pilot goes off-duty, another one will come and take over with the same mech.
This is not ideal. Ves frowned.
A living mech is supposed to bond with a single individual.
I cannot predict how they will evolve when exposed to a fixed group of multiple people.
We already figured out that this would be the case, but we don\'t have much choice.
The only way to be able to field more mechs at a time is to add more carriers to our fleet.
Such a decision becomes increasingly more problematic the closer we get to the beyonder gate.
In other words, his clan wanted to save the bother and avoid investing in lots of carriers that the clan was destined to throw away in the near future.
How are our finances Has our sales been doing well recently
Business is doing well.
There hasn\'t been much of a change since recently.
Our products are still popular, but the high price tags continue to deter a lot of potential customers.
We are still earning a generous amount of revenue.
Gavin began to mention some eye-popping numbers.
Since we have that much financial power at the moment, then we shouldn\'t be too stingy with spending our money.
The Battle of Reckoning has taught us how foolish it is to rely too much on assumptions.
We\'ll be passing through many different states and star sectors in the near future.
Who knows whether we\'ll get ambushed by another fleet The more mechs we have, the less attractive it is to bully our forces.
Our safety must come first.
His assistant looked like he agreed with this notion, but he also showed a lot of hesitation.
The burden to our fleet and organization…
I\'ll talk to General Verle about this.
Perhaps I am being too paranoid.
Aside from the Fridaymen, no one should be crazy enough to attack a fleet of our size, especially once we finished delivering expert mechs to our current batch of expert pilots.
Expanding his fleet was not the only way to increase the combat strength of his clan.
Now that he had taken care of every distraction, there was no reason to stall the expert mech design projects anymore.
While Ves wasn\'t sure how long it took to complete these complicated projects, ideally it shouldn\'t take more than half a year before he unveiled his first expert mech!
By the way, the amount of mechs we can field in the near future isn\'t as bleak as you think.
I did not include the new additions we\'re about to receive in the next few days.
None of us expected to receive such a massive boost at this time, but I think you will be quite happy with what one of your students has accomplished.
Ves frowned and looked straight into Gavin\'s eyes.
What are you on about, Benny
Well, it\'s a long story…
Gavin was right.
It was indeed a long story.
It was such a grand and epic tale that Ves would have applauded it if it was pure fiction.
That\'s a nice story, but I don\'t pay you to spin fantasies.
It\'s all real, boss.
If you don\'t believe me, then you should check the news.
What he learned that day shocked him so much that he never fully recovered.
In fact, two days after learning about what one of his proteges had been up to in the past month, the expeditionary fleet reunited with a brand-new fleet that consisted of at least 60 combat carriers and 40 support ships!
When the new fleet approached the Golden Skull Alliance ships, the new combat carriers disgorged swordsman mech after swordsman mech.
While almost none of them were LMC models, Ves could instantly judge that the new melee mechs were very well designed.
That\'s at least a mech regiment\'s worth of swordsman mechs!
That wasn\'t all.
When Gavin broke the news, he informed Ves that the Swordmaidens managed to recruit over 40,000 Heavensworders, of which 10,000 of them were mech pilots and 5,000 of them were elite infantry soldiers who excelled at offensive shock tactics!
Ves almost had a heart attack when he heard how many people Ketis was bringing back from the Heavensword Association.
How the hell did she manage to hoodwink so many people into joining the Larkinson Clan!
Though he quickly learned the reason why Ketis and the Swordmaidens had become such a compelling attraction to the citizens of the Heavensword Association, the story didn\'t add up to Ves.
What the hell are swordsmasters, and how similar are they to expert pilots How can someone be both a Journeyman and a swordmaster at the same time Did Ketis really cut through the roof of an entire arena as if she was a magical princess warrior or something!
Despite the abundant amount of footage of her exploits, Ves still couldn\'t wrap his mind around what had taken place.
The only way to clear his doubts was to see Ketis for himself!
He patiently waited as the new fleet of Swordmaidens awkwardly joined up with the rest of the Larkinson fleet.
Obviously, the Larkinson Clan\'s burden had increased a lot after absorbing this latest batch of new recruits.
The established clansmen already had their hands full in trying to integrate the former Lifers into their new lives.
Now, an even larger batch of former Heavensworders had to undergo the same process!
Ves was sure that General Verle and the rest of the clan leadership were already tearing their hairs out from the gift that the Swordmaidens had brought back from the Heavensword Association!
Still, there was no way that he wanted to turn away all of these new people.
As long as his clan could cope with the enormous influx of people, it would quickly grow stronger and more formidable than ever.
This gave Ves a lot more assurances that he would be able to start off on a stronger footing once he reached the Red Ocean!
As the new Swordmaiden ship and mech assets fell in line, a single shuttle flew towards the Spirit of Bentheim.
Ves and Gloriana had moved down to the hangar bay in order to greet the return of the victorious maiden.
When the shuttle hatch slid open, a small procession of Swordmaidens armed with greatswords ceremonially stepped out.
Next, an old man wearing a distinguished uniform came out next.
The old man looked curious at his new surroundings, but he did not exhibit that much awe.
All of his respect was directed towards the young woman who appeared next.
Ves almost rubbed his eyes when he beheld Ketis stepping out while adopting an imperious posture.
Compared to the young and casual woman from before, the Ketis that appeared this time looked completely different!
She wore a ceremonial white military dress uniform that boasted some exceptional looking badges and markings on its surface.
The white cape that billowed behind her back enhanced her stature even further, not that she needed the help because her pure and steely force of will already ensured that no one would make light of her presence!
Her boots clanked across the metal deck as she continued to approach.
Her sheathed greatsword floated gently behind her back, but Ves also managed to spot another sword attached to her hip.
I have. Ketis responded with a firm and confident voice.
You\'ve grown stronger.
Could you cut that out already You\'re not being yourself.
What gave it away
I can sense your amusement.
I know you too well.
The swordmaster sighed.
She turned around to grab her greatsword before doing something that restrained her forceful presence.
She appeared more approachable now that she shunted Sharpie over to Bloodsinger.
Ves did not miss this interaction.
His eyebrow rose.
He already had hundreds of questions he wished to ask his student.
Is that better
Let\'s head inside and talk about everything that has happened.
I have heard a lot of astounding stories about you during your time in the Heavensword Association, and I can see now that they are not as absurd as they sound.
Gloriana cleared her throat.
We should also talk about your new role in the Design Department.
You plan to continue to design mechs, correct
Ketis used to lower her head in the presence of the other woman.
This time, she possessed ample enough confidence to keep her head high in the presence of Ves\' wife!
I\'m still a mech designer.
That hasn\'t changed.
Just ignore my swords.
They\'re not dangerous as long as you don\'t give me a reason to cut your limbs.
KETIS! Don\'t say stuff like that!
I spent too much time in the Heavensword Association.
Give me time to adjust.
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