The Avatars of Myth may have faded from prominence in the Larkinson Clan, but they were not out.
As the original elites of the Larkinson Clan, the Avatars all had pride carved into their bones.
Sure, the Penitent Sisters fought like banshees, but were they fighting on behalf of the Superior Mother or her son
The Swordmaidens, at least the original ones, truly sacrificed much for the Larkinson Clan, but the strong-willed women were only willing to pilot a very limited section of mech types.
Right now, the prestige of these two female-dominated mech troops far surpassed that of the Avatars of Myth, but Commander Melkor intended to change that.
He knew that the competition was ferocious, but as a Larkinson, how could he back down from a challenge
He did not put his all into this goal just to prove he wasn\'t a failure of a commander.
It was more than that.
As a Larkinson, he felt duty-bound to propel a mech force that best represented the Larkinsons in their totality as their premier elite soldiers!
Perhaps the greatest criticism directed towards the Avatars of Myth was their lack of defining characteristics.
Everyone immediately knew what the Penitent Sisters and the Swordmaidens were like, but no one was quite able to identify any common labels to the Avatars of Myth other than that they were elite and made up of Larkinsons.
This was quite bad and Melkor had thought long and hard about this problem..
He did not wish to rashly define an identity to his men for fear that it would box them into a corner.
He eventually constructed a grand if tentative vision for the mech force he led.
In his greatest ambition, the Avatars of Myth distinguished themselves from the other Larkinson mech pilots by living up to their name!
Of course, defining what this meant and turning it into reality was incredibly hard.
This was Melkor\'s driving mission, and he knew that he would need several decades in order to fulfill his dreams and complete an accomplishment that would allow him to be remembered.
What complicated this outlook was that there was no guarantee that Melkor would remain as the head of a force that had already surpassed the size and strength of an entire military mech regiment!
In the Mech Corps and other professional military branches, the people who were qualified to lead such huge and powerful units were senior officers with the rank of colonel or similar.
These leaders had worked hard to stand out from the officer class.
They rose up the ranks through merit and expanded their competences through both academic study and learning from experience.
Only the best — or the most politically connected — were able to climb over the heads of countless other officers and gain the power and authority to affect the future of an entire state!
When Melkor thought about the power he wielded, he felt unworthy of the huge amount of responsibility thrust on his shoulders.
He didn\'t deserve his current position.
He knew that very well.
He originally started off as a drop-out from the Mech Corps.
Perhaps his original Larkinson heritage allowed him to to command a couple of dozen or even a few hundred Avatar mech pilots without too many issues, but the current mech force was incomparably greater nowadays.
A mech regiment did not just center around its mech pilots.
There was a vast hierarchy of combat and non-combat personnel under his command.
Numerous officers took charge of essential and highly-technical matters such as ship command, mech maintenance, supply management, pilot support services, finances and many other matters.
Did Melkor have the experience, knowledge and competence to lead all of these departments Nope!
Even though he had done his best to study in his free time and build up the vast quantity of knowledge required to lead such a huge and powerful military organization, he was not particularly talented in leadership and management.
He was just a mech pilot.
If he didn\'t join the Larkinson Clan at the beginning and witnessed its meteoric growth in size and scope, he would have just been serving as a regular mech pilot for a security company or something!
This was why he always approached his increasingly more important responsibilities with humility.
He distinctly recognized that he wasn\'t the best at anything.
This prompted him to copy Ves\' approach and find capable officers who could do the jobs he could not with skill and confidence.
So far, it was working.
The Avatars of Myth remained stable and there were few problems that were truly concerning.
Everything was running fine, but that was not enough.
Any decent leader could offer stability.
A great leader accomplished more.
The Avatars may function well enough to contribute to the strength of the clan, but they failed to live up to their promise!
As long as this was the case, Melkor would continue to look for more solutions.
There had to be a way for the Avatars to distinguish themselves and adopt a fighting method that was wholly theirs!
The upcoming battle was not only meant to bloody the Avatars and ignite their fighting spirit, but also served as a trial where they could test some of the new ideas that Melkor had painstakingly worked upon.
His mind was almost completely occupied by the surprises he had in store.
He did not expect to consider a brand-new variable in the form of an offer from Ves!
As much as I respect your accomplishments, you do not have a good reputation when it comes to your experiments. He slowly responded to his powerful cousin.
Ves looked taken aback at Melkor\'s skepticism.
People talk about my experiments That\'s impossible! Much of what I do is confidential!
We Larkinsons aren\'t blind, you know.
A few clever clansmen can roughly guess what goes in and what goes out of those labs of yours.
I don\'t know if any of these ridiculous-sounding rumors have any merit, but what I do know is that you have shown fewer and fewer scruples over the years.
You\'re the guy who would gladly push the button to nuke an entire planet if you can accomplish your goal!
If every problem could be solved by pushing buttons, then Ves would gladly press them as many times as needed! He was tired of dealing with intractable issues all the time.
Look, I\'m not trying out something completely new and unknown here, Melkor.
I have come up with various ways to strengthen people and I would just like to give you a gift in return for all of the hard work you have done over the years.
The Avatar Commander shook his head.
I don\'t deserve any gifts.
At least wait until I have completed this mission and come back from Trieden II before offering me any rewards.
is kind of late.
The reason why I came here is because I want to improve your odds of success.
I don\'t need the help.
Look, I have personal as well as professional reasons to reject your offer.
You know what I think about my current position.
I have to prove I am still the right person for the job.
I need to prove my own worth without cheating or taking the easy way out.
In addition, any changes I experience might affect my performance or distract me from the overall situation in the field.
I can ill afford to deal with new variables when I already need to keep track of so many existing ones.
All of the arguments that Melkor presented sounded logical, but Ves had a feeling that his cousin was afraid of what would happen if he said yes.
To be sure, his fears weren\'t unfounded, but Ves felt upset that he was being blocked.
He looked steadily at Melkor.
The Avatar Commander calmly made his stance clear and continued to stand his ground without any sign of flinching.
Ves could have pushed harder if need be.
He was the Devil Tongue for a reason.
Yet… Melkor was more than just an average Larkinson.
He was a blood relative and a supportive helper who had always backed Ves up.
The least he could do was to reciprocate the respect he received.
Fine.. Ves replied in a glum tone.
Have it your way.
We\'ll talk more about this after we have concluded the upcoming operation.
They eventually returned to the main topics at hand.
They discussed how to configure the Bright Warriors taking part in the operation and how to respond against varying levels of resistance.
There is a possibility that most of our preparations might go in vain. Melkor mildly remarked.
While the Grand Loxic Republic is quite large and very powerful, most of their military assets are concentrated elsewhere.
The Trieden System simply isn\'t strategic or valuable enough to merit a lot of attention.
Whatever black mechs are lurking underwater might only amount to a handful of mech companies or something.
There isn\'t really any need for more to inflict a slow and gradual death upon the Purnesse Family.
Melkor had a good point.
Human space turned into a much more dangerous place after the Crown Uprising began.
Mechs and mech pilots became the prime guarantees of safety.
Many powers tried their best to gather as many of them as possible in order to ensure their own survival in these trying times.
Who would be stupid enough to dispatch many hundreds if not thousands of mechs to conduct a very slow and sluggish extermination campaign The Purnesse Family may have been influential once, but according to the latest intelligence, their prestige and importance had fallen off a cliff.
The Purnesses wouldn\'t be able to do anything meaningful for a long time.
If we don\'t get the fight we expect, then just treat this excursion as a light exercise.
We should show off some of our might in order to make others take us seriously.
The further we travel from the Komodo Star Sector, the less our reputation is able to impress the locals.
The news just doesn\'t radiate well across further distances.
It couldn\'t be helped as the galaxy was too big.
There were so many different celebrities and famous organizations in every star sector that the residents all tended to favor local powers.
After all, compared to a strange and foreign clan like the Larkinsons, a local organization exerted a lot more influence on their daily lives!
The Avatars of Myth didn\'t just have to complete the mission perfectly.
They also had to look good while doing so.
Image mattered and the Larkinson Clan still had a lot of work to do in order to establish their credentials as powerful warriors who should never be provoked.
I kind of miss one of the quirks you used to add to your mechs.
Do you remember the festive cloud generator you often integrated in your mechs You imparted all kinds of cool effects to your early mechs with the help of the colorful mist it generates.
Ves briefly cast his mind back to the past.
I forgot about that myself.
I know what you mean, but I\'ve matured since then.
My mechs don\'t need to work so hard anymore in order to attract attention.
The modern signature look I\'ve established is a much more elegant and less obtrusive way to brand my mechs.
You mean the third eye that is always surrounded by a hexagon for some reason
That last part is Gloriana\'s signature, not mine.
You know that\'s kind of disturbing, right Some of my men complain that everytime they deploy into the field, they feel like they are parading around while wearing a Hexer brandmark.
I thought we were supposed to be a part of the Larkinson Clan instead of the Hexadric Hegemony.
It\'s just a small design element.
There is no underlying message behind this visual element. Ves insisted.
You should stop worrying about irrelevant matters and focus on the matter at hand.
According to our current schedule, we should be arriving in Trieden II in a couple of stops.
If you need to make any further preparations, you need to get everything done quickly because we\'ll be going into a fight quite soon.
Ves looked forward to seeing his men in action again.
It always gave him a rush of power to see his subordinates piloting his own mechs in a serious operation.
Hopefully, the black mechs that they would likely be fighting against wouldn\'t get scared off too quickly! His thirst for blood needed to be sated!
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