The Mech Touch Chapter 394 Silver Lining
Just as everyone thought that the Vesians would stomp the LMC flat, the up-and-coming mech company surprisingly held them off.
Although the outfits hired by the LMC sustained a lot of losses, it became a fact that they actually repelled two Vesian mech companies!
Every citizen in the Freslin area swelled with pride. Their tiny rural planet actually contributed to the war in a splendid war. A company founded by one of their own citizens hadn't flinched against the invaders but instead fought back with endless ferocity!
"Hahaha! Cloudy Curtain still has some teeth! We're more than a bunch of farmers who only know how to cultivate cloud rice!"
"Who said that people from Cloudy Curtain can't fight? We've smacked the Vesians right in the face!"
Compared to the jubilation of the citizens in Freslin, the mood turned much grimmer over at the other side of the planet. Orinoco suffered a substantial loss. Worst of all, it had likely been done by their own side.
The spaceport, the planetary assembly building, all those company headquarters and all kinds of infrastructure turned into hollow craters and fields of debris. Many of the pieces that erupted from the blasts even went on to damage the surrounding structures.
Tragedy swept the entire capital city as emergency services worked day and night to rescue those buried underneath the wreckage.
Although the occupants of the buildings had been warned of the bombs, they only had two minutes of time to evacuate their workplaces, which was much too short for most of them. The only reason why the casualties hadn't surpassed a thousand was because most workers stayed away from work due to the raid.
Blame and recrimination hadn't started flying yet, but the undercurrent already started surging. The political and economic alliance that dominated Cloudy Curtain for so many years started fraying apart as each side blamed the other for setting off the bombs.
"I don't know why you have the shame to show yourself in public! Instead of risking your own lives to fight the Vesians, you blew up your own structures and killed your fellow citizens! If I didn't know any better, you're likely working for the Vesians!"
"Don't point your fingers at me! Our company has suffered the worst of all! What about you? Your company headquarters somehow got away unscathed. Don't think we're clueless about your ambitions. You've always wanted to supplant us over the years. The Vesian raid was the perfect excuse to do us in!"
Throughout the Bright Republic, the 3rd Imodris Legion's shocking raids unsettled the entire Bentheim region. The near-simultaneous raids strained the Mech Corps, which had to choose where to send their forces quickly and in enough numbers to make an impact.
The Mech Corps largely failed.
The raiding forces went in and out as quickly as possible while inflicting as much damage as they could. They mostly struck smaller star systems with barely any defenses. While that meant they only caused a marginal amount of damage, the damage to everyone's morale was enormous.
The 3rd Imodris Legion basically terrorized the entire periphery around the Bentheim System while suffering very few losses. This changed the aspect of the current war, as the citizens of the various rural systems finally realized that even they couldn't escape its horrors.
The Bright Republic moved quickly to support the stricken star systems. Cloudy Curtain was no exception, as a handful of ships arrived from Bentheim to support the disaster relief and begin to rebuild some of the infrastructure on Orinoco.
However, alongside the aid, the Republic also sent out investigators. The self-sabotage incident in Orinoco had become famous throughout the entire state overnight. The power brokers over at the capital city huddled like rats and kept their heads down in front of the ongoing investigation.
When Ves heard about the news, he shook his head. "Whoever set those bombs aren't stupid enough to leave any traces. Those investigators will probably spend a few weeks in Orinoco before they compile a meaningless report and go back to their fancy offices in Bentheim."
"It doesn't change the fact that our political opposition is completely discredited in front of the Republic." Gavin responded. While everyone mourned for the dead and started preparing for hte funerals, Gavin and the rest of the Marketing Department already started slobbering over the golden opportunity presented to the LMC. "It doesn't matter who is ultimately responsible, they're all made from the same cloth. The ruling coalition is finished."
Ves nodded. Right now, the White Doves caught the most flack of all. The raid exposed their ideology as an unrealistic fantasy that did not fit at all in the brutal Age of Mechs. Many citizens of Cloudy Curtain also fingered the pacifists as the group that was most likely responsible for setting off the bombs.
"It's all well and good to celebrate over their misfortune, but do you have to publicly lionize our own battle so much?"
Ves had changed his antigrav clothes into a dark, formal suit in order to attend an upcoming funeral. Over a dozen mech pilots died to defend the Mech Nursery, and he owed it to them to pay his respects.
Thus, he found the contrast between the solemnity between the funerals and the exuberant publicizing of their success in the media to be jarring.
It was as if the LMC danced on the graves of the fallen mech pilots in order to score some points from the public.
"Boss, don't let the losses think we've lost. In actual fact, we won. Think of how rare that is! Almost every other raid succeeded in overrunning the other rural star systems and inflicted tens of billions of credits in economic damage. The Bentheim region is bleeding, and they need to be shown a victory to prove they hadn't let the Vesians beat them black and blue!"
"What's being spread on the galactic net is too slanted!"
Right now, the LMC in cooperation with the Bright Republic's propaganda office enthusiastically spread out footage of the battle at the walls. In particular, the Marketing Department edited the footage they released in a way that made the two gold label Blackbeaks of the Avatars of Myth the main stars of the show.
Although their performance had been above and beyond, Ves found the manipulative editing to be a little too much. Their increased prominence came at the cost of recognizing the sacrifices of the other participants in the battle.
"Boss, right now, nobody cares about the dead." Gavin heartlessly replied. "You just have to switch to another news portal to see, hear or read about all the tragedies Imodris has caused. In the midst of all that doom and gloom, the public needs something to cheer about. I don't see why we can't promote our Blackbeak models along the way as well."
Ves eventually relented on the issue. He saw the advantages as well as anybody. Interest in the Blackbeaks exploded once again. The third-party manufacturers received an influx of new orders and the waiting list for the silver label Blackbeaks practically doubled in a matter of days.
In the next week, Ves spent his full time on processing the aftermath of the battle. He attended the solemn funeral. He issued the payments owed to Sanyal-Ablin and the rest. He also approved plans to repair and strengthen the Mech Nursery's defenses.
All of that flushed down the LMC's liquidity down the toilet. The company spent almost all of its cash to afford
It was a good thing that the Blackbeaks gained prominence again. With the increased sales that resulted from the impromptu marketing campaign, Ves did not worry too much about the company's financial health.
In the end, this was what made the Mech Nursery worth defending. By continuing its operation unabated, they contributed to the war effort in their own way. Its loss would have weakened the Republic, and its preservation represented a rare ray of sunshine in the middle of the doom and gloom that followed the 3rd Imdris Legion's daring raids.
"What is Imodris up to now?"
While the raids had been an astonishing success for the intrepid legion, it hadn't actually inflicted any significant material losses. The Bright Republic's ability to wage war hadn't been impacted at all.
Right now, everyone in the Bentheim region dreaded Lady Amalia. The aggressive heiress was like a poisonous snake who slithered in the back garden of their house. Any attempts to root out her presence failed. She could be hiding anywhere.
It was a good thing that Ves had nothing to do with it. He left the headache-inducing issue to the Mech Corps and resumed his normal operations.
Construction teams swarmed the Mech Nursery and started patching up the gap in the walls. They also filled in all the craters and restored much of the turrets that got destroyed.
People started coming back to work, and offices started to get lively again. Down in the manufacturing floor, the mech technicians quickly restored all of the production lines and resumed their normal production.
Ves even paid a visit to the floor and took some time to fabricate two more gold label Blackbeaks. After an expedited testing process, Ves quickly had them delivered to the Oodis Mudriders.
Even though their performance fell a bit short in the previous battle, Ves still honored the unofficial agreement he made with Commander Husaan. Even though the Mudriders could fall into a black hole for all he cared, Ves would catch a lot of flack if word went out that he stiffed a mercenary corps.
Mercenaries did not take kindly to anyone who withheld their payment.
Once he took care of all of those chores, Ves left his subordinates to process the remaining issues and went back down to his private workshop floor.
He still had a design to complete.
As he stepped back inside his private workshop, he looked around but failed to spot Lucky's presence. He contacted security every day, but none of them had managed to find out where he holed up.
"I hope you're still alright, Lucky."
His cat should still be okay. His entire body incorporated a substantial amount of high-grade Rorach Bone. Its main trait allowed it to repair any broken or missing parts by itself. It did so by siphoning any available energy. This was a very inefficient process though, so it might take months for Lucky to become whole again.
Ves sighed and turned back to his design. He activated a projector that displayed the progress he made so far. While he finished designing every aspect of the mech, it still looked very rough in his eyes.
He still needed to optimize this design.
"Let's get to work."
He put his rifleman mech into a variety of mathematical models and let the processors simulate the outcome of different events. The results revealed various weak points and imperfections that Ves hadn't been aware of when he first drew up the design.
The simulations revealed a lot problems about the laser rifle. Ves designed it in a small and compact package by incorporating an alien crystal. The interaction between the crystal and the rest of the body of the rifle did not go very smoothly.
At the heart of it, the compatibility issues revealed that Ves did not fully understand the alien tech he incorporated into his design.
Ves did not give up on this matter. "I can still make this work."
Several weeks went by as he continuously iterated on his design. The rifleman mech became more polished every day, and while the problems with the crystals embedded into the chest and rifle of the mech persisted, Ves inched closer and closer to a solution.
Sometimes, he took a break in order to get a status update on what was happening up above. Much of it sounded mundane and routine. The Bright Republic moved quickly to shore up the mood of the public, and the 3rd Imodris Legion appeared to have made themselves scarce for the time being.
"There's one thing you should know about, boss." Gavin said after he finished reciting the latest report. "Someone recently licensed your Blackbeak design."