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Chapter 1861 Empowering Mechs
Ever since Ves discovered the Golden Cat's domain and her ability to gather the spiritual energy of every Larkinson, he began to think how to employ them to his advantage.
This was harder than it sounded.
The value of the Golden Cat as an ancestral spirit was very evident. As a design spirit, Ves was not so sure.
A spiritual beam attack might be devastating against an individual, but did it even work in mech combat?
Would a spiritual attack even be effective against a mech pilot who joined his mind with a mech? From his own experiences, Ves learned that the man-machine connection caused mech pilots to become extraordinarily resilient against spiritual attacks.
"This may even be one of the driving reasons why mechs were popularized!"
From the scattered information he learned of the Five Scrolls Compact and the rebellion that caused it to lose most of its Holy Scrolls, mechs probably played an essential role!
It was clear that the Five Scrolls Compact possessed a deep grasp of spirituality. They developed many mysterious applications of it. All of the examples of spiritual engineering that Ves had witnessed might have originated from this very obscure but enormous cult!
Yet somehow, mech pilots became very resilient against direct spiritual manipulation when they interfaced with a mech.
With the man-machine connection, the often small and weak spiritualities of the mech pilots became part of a greater hole, a cog in a great machine that served as the most impervious spiritual armor that Ves had ever witnessed!
Was this why the Five Scrolls Compact faltered against the Big Two? Was mechs the key to defeating the Holy Sons and Daughters and all of their spiritual sorcerers?
Ves couldn't tell. He could only make some informed guesses from unreliable information. Regardless, he believed he was on the right track!
If his speculation was right, mechs and spirituality were intertwined after all. It was just for a very different reason! Rather than seeking to exploit spirituality like the Compact, the a.s.sociation instead sought to defeat it! The MTA's hidden but very much ongoing research on 'psionic power' probably took this direction, hence why the organization kept it secret!
The MTA's promulgation of very distinctly supernatural progression trajectories for mech pilots and mech designers was another aspect which showed they were interested in spirituality.
Rather than allowing people with spiritual potential to become members of test subjects of the Five Scrolls Compact, turning them into mech pilots or mech designers would instead turn them into the archenemies of the cultists!
It all made sense.
Mechs existed to defeat the Compact. The MTA was the foremost defender against this defeated but not extinct organization!
This conclusion neatly explained the reason why mechs and the MTA turned into a force to be reckoned with. The rise of mechs as a weapon platform was very much an artificial process.
While most people believed that mechs became popularized throughout human s.p.a.ce in order to give them something to play with after their wars.h.i.+ps were taken away, this was a rather weak explanation.
If mechs turned out to play a greater role than toys, then the current order of the galaxy all made sense!
Right now, the Age of Mechs was ascendant, and the Five Scrolls Compact could only scurry in the darkness.
This was because mechs were practically everywhere! No matter how sophisticated or impressive a spiritual sorcerer could fight, Ves doubted anyone of them could defeat an entire mech regiment!
"Mechs have a greater purpose than what is evident on the surface. The MTA's mandate doesn't solely extend to guarding and governing human s.p.a.ce. Their actual goal is to suppress the previous overlords of humanity as much as possible!"
Though it seemed a bit random for Ves to contemplate the current galactic order, it put all of his research and applications into context.
Obviously, Ves was right to obscure most of what he could do with regards to spirituality. By focusing mostly on mechs, he had an alternate explanation why he managed to come up with glows and other esoteric phenomena.
"I'll have to act even more eccentric in public to reinforce my disguise!"
Perhaps the key takeaway from this train of thought was that direct spiritual manipulation wasn't as useful against mechs than he hoped. It was a pipedream for the Golden Cat to be able to fell a mech by knocking out the mech pilot.
Even if spirituality seemed to pa.s.s through physical matter like air, the man-machine connection was like another layer of armor that completely protected the mech pilot!
Therefore, Ves shrugged off all ideas to add a spiritual beam attack to the Larkinson mech. It was a fantasy to believe that it could disable a powerful mech by bypa.s.sing its physical armor to strike directly at the mech pilot!
If that was the case, the Five Scrolls Compact would have regained control of human civilization by now!
However, that did not mean that spirituality was useless in the context of large-scale battles.
Weren't his glows the best example? They didn't affect people and mech pilots directly, but rather influenced their minds through boosting the confidence of friendlies while suppressing the morale of their foes.
These kinds of indirect effects may not be strong enough to single-handedly win a battle, but they were definitely influential on the battlefield!
To Ves, the difference between a spiritual sorcerer and a mech designer was very clear. The former always aimed to empower himself, while the latter always sought to empower others!
While it wasn't impossible for spiritual adepts to find ways to boost others, it probably wasn't ubiquitous.
Mech designers like Ves were different. The proper ones always sought to meet the needs of their customers.
"Mech designers exist to serve mech pilots."
This service mentality was the guiding principle of his profession. Ves should constantly exercise his abilities along this principle.
When he extended it to his current situation, Ves began to develop some modest and workable ideas surrounding the Golden Cat.
He sc.r.a.pped his plan to empower the Larkinson mech by finding a way to excite forced resonance.
Ves planned to do so by 'crowdfunding' the required spiritual energy to a single mech pilot. There was a lot of promise with this method. Even if it was only temporary, giving mech pilots a taste of what it was like to wield the strength of an expert pilot would be very beneficial to their future progression!
It was too bad that it was way too eye-catching. Ves also doubted that regular mech pilots could handle all of that heterogenic spiritual energy on their own. He would have to find some way to turn the Golden Cat into an active medium of spiritual energy, allowing mechs and mech pilots to draw upon its strength without getting consumed by it. This was way too complicated and also way too attention-grabbing!
He also dropped his idea to find some way to supercharge the attacks of a mech with spiritual energy. Though somewhat related to the previous idea, it was a more narrow application of spirituality. It was essentially forced resonance on a very short timeframe.
Dumping all of that spiritual energy into a single blow could empower it to the point that it matched the full-strength of an authentic expert mech!
Ves had witnessed several instances of true resonance boosting the power of attacks by an insane margin! Both lance charges and projectile fire turned into mighty attacks that had the power to threaten an expert mech!
Granting this power to the mech pilots of his Larkinson mech would definitely have a drastic effect on the battlefield!
Unfortunately, it suffered from the same problems of his last idea, causing Ves to put it away as well.
He formed some other ideas that sounded a bit more realistic.
One of them was to find some way to supercharge the spiritual network. If the Golden Cat could increase the potency and depth of her connections to the mech pilots in battle, she might be able to bring them closer together!
The intended goal was to form an active spiritual network that could truly increase the coordination and mutual understanding between the mech pilots in battle! In essence, it would function as an actual neural network without requiring any tampering to the neural interfaces!
"This falls in line with all of my conditions."
It empowered mechs in a manner that didn't catch too much attention. It wasn't as blatant as the previous ideas, which should hopefully keep the MTA off his back, especially when this was strictly supposed to be a trump card and option of last resort.
This method also sought to make the most out of the mech pilots. This method put full agency in the hands of the mech pilots themselves. Whether they sought to use their augmented prowess to save their lives, kill an overpowering opponent or block pursuit, the power was completely in their hands!
"This is true fellows.h.i.+p." He rubbed his smooth-shaven chin.
Ves quite liked the idea. He believed it was possible as long as there was enough spiritual energy to maintain this state among so many Larkinsons. It didn't even have to apply to mech pilots. It could also be employed to empower a group of Larkinsons on foot!
Best of all, it didn't require any special adjustments to the Larkinson mech design. The mech should already be connected to the Golden Cat. This meant that any mech pilot that made use of one of the four configurations of the Larkinson mech could all become part of the same active spiritual network!
Though Ves definitely intended to explore whether the Golden Cat could form such a network, that was for later.
"This domain ability should be made global to every Larkinson."
He believed the Larkinson mech should have something more specific. It had to fit with the ideals of the Larkinson Clan and become something iconic to this line of mechs.
"The Larkinson mech is a mech with four different configurations." He hummed and continued to rub his smooth-shaven chin. "Its versatility is great, but its overall ident.i.ty is lacking."
This was partially his fault. He had become too preoccupied with solving the technical problems of each individual configuration to take the bigger picture into account.
Right now, he could rectify this shortcoming. The Larkinson mech already embodied the Larkinson Clan in many ways, but that was not enough to make it stand out as a distinctive product.
"What can give my Larkinson mech some punch?"
Out of all of the half-baked ideas he formed in his mind, he eventually focused on the other purpose of the Larkinson mech design.
"How could I neglect this?! It's also a training mech!"
Ves explicitly designed the Larkinson mech to facilitate the promotion of third-cla.s.s mech pilots to second-cla.s.s mech pilots.
This meant that Ves had to set the performance and shape various aspects of his modular mech platform to be sensitive towards piloting skill.
"Skill. The mech is all about polis.h.i.+ng and refining the skills of its mech pilot!"
What if Ves could emphasize this aspect with the Golden Cat?
One of the properties that made the Golden Cat distinct from other design spirits was her direct and permanent connections to the Larkinsons.
This meant that she maintained access to all of their minds! This included the expert pilots of the old family such as his uncle Ark and his cousin Ghanso!
What if Ves could leverage the Golden Cat's spiritual network to borrow their skill?
If Ves found some way to make the Larkinson mech borrow the acc.u.mulated piloting skills and experience of an expert pilot, wouldn't that be astonis.h.i.+ng?
An average mech pilot would instantly be able to outfight a stronger opponent if he truly gained the skill of an expert pilot!
Not only that, but some of that skill might stick even if the Golden Cat retracted this ability. This way, this method would be useful in times of peace as well as war! It was as if Ves gave the mech pilots the opportunity to have their very own pseudo-Mastery experiences!
"This is it! This is the ability that I've been looking for! It might not be as direct or deadly as the other choices, but it is an ability that truly fits with the ident.i.ty of the Larkinson mech!"
Now Ves had to figure out a way to implement it. He scratched his head.
"This.. is going to be a problem."