Chapter 1946 Partial Digitization
After Ves woke up, he wasn't in a hurry to get back into the saddle.
He knew he had to make a lot of important decisions soon, so he needed to make sure he was in the best state possible to tackle all of the problems that came up during his month-long absence.
Though Gloriana wasn't always the best source of information, Ves patiently questioned to her throughout the evening in order to gain a complete picture of their ongoing situation.
Currently, the LMC, the Larkinson Clan and his other organizations successfully evacuated the Kesseling System.
Along the way, their large fleet encountered little hindrance. The CRC didn't seem to have any pursuit forces in place that could intercept their flight.
The Ylvaine Protectorate, which could have stopped their escape by mobilizing its entire military, descended into anarchy.
Betraying the Bright Martyr and the loss of Ylvaine's glow immediately roiled the Protectorate as a huge majority of citizens rose up against their leaders!
The three leading dynasties not only lost the support of the common people, but also many of its own members!
With all of the unrest taking place, no one was in a position to prevent the Larkinson Clan from leaving Protectorate space and crossing over into the region of space that was ravaged by the sandmen!
Hearing that the fleet was crossing through the ruined border states worried him a bit. Even though he agreed with the logic of this decision, he wasn't sure whether they would bump into the sandmen along the way!
You don't have to be concerned, Ves. Gloriana said as she settled into the bed for the night. We've been passing through the former territory of the Coman Federation while encountering nothing but sanded ruins and greedy scavenging fleets. You should be more concerned about humans than aliens, because some of those scavengers were likely thinking about raiding our fleet!
Are they that threatening?
Not really. She shrugged. We may have taken a beating at Kesseling VIII, but that mainly applies to our landbound contingent. We've repaired and bolstered our spaceborn assets to the point where hardly any scavengers or pirates dare to get close to us when we translate back into realspace!
That sounded about right.
Where are we heading to next?
We're not sure yet. Right now, we're continuing our flight from Coalition-aligned space. Brutus wants to take a detour to the Vindmar Republic while most Larkinsons just want to reach the Sentinel Kingdom as fast as possible in order to obtain some much-needed respite. They're not happy with remaining stuck on a vessel for months on end.
This was a very considerable problem to Ves. How could he ever embark on his grand expedition if his own clan preferred to go back to life on land?
I understand. I'll consider this matter later when I talk to the Council and the Assembly.
They eventually grew tired and fell asleep. Both of them slept while enjoying each other's company.
The next morning, they woke up in each other's embrace. After a bit of cuddling, they went through their morning routine and enjoyed a much sober-looking breakfast.
I'm sorry, Ves. She told him. After your exobiologist's betrayal, we don't have anyone who can prepare ingredients as well as him. Once we reach the Sentinel Kingdom, I intend to remedy this problem. For now, my guards are taking extra care to scan our meals.
Ves waved his hand. It's okay. I'm not a picky eater. It's a shame about Dr. Guernica though. Did you ever get to the bottom of the reason why he betrayed us? He had a promising future under my employ.
We're not sure. The Friday Coalition has many ways to incentivize someone to turn traitor. It doesn't happen a lot in the Hegemony, but there are always Hexers who are greedy enough to betray the Hegemony for money and status.
If it happened once, it can happen again.
I agree. Cabalast is already addressing this issue.
This was yet another topic on the agenda. Ves certainly had a lot to talk about with Calabast, but first he wanted to complete the Archimedes Rubal's integration process!
With the implant boosting some of his cognitive functions, he hoped he would be better equipped to navigate his problems.
Once they finished breakfast, the pair left the dining room and headed to the infirmary.
Good morning, Ranya.
The exobiologist threw a resentful look at Ves. It's about time you woke up. Gloriana insisted that I stay aboard the Stellar Chaser in order to be on call if you ever suffer a problem. Now that you're up and walking, I can finally go back to my ship and resume my personal research projects.
Hey wait a minute! Don't forget to activate my implant!
Oh. Yes. That. Let me see. Go ahead and enter that machine. We'll need to perform a complete scan of your body.
This was a familiar if time-consuming process to Ves. It took hours before Ranya gathered the data she needed. She spent a bit more time inspecting his condition before she was ready to issue her verdict.
Your body hasn't atrophied at all while you remained dormant. She told him. Your alien organs and the CFA's gene optimization treatments have done much in ensuring that your physical state remains in peak condition.
Ves didn't feel any worse despite lying dead in bed for a moment. Sounds great. What about my brain?
She smiled. While the Archimedes Rubal took its time to integrate with your brain tissue due to the complications that arose during the surgery, it has settled in without any meaningful issues. In fact, your brain is taking onto the implant a lot better than I expected. I don't think you'll have a very long adaptation process. It must be the gene optimization treatments. Almost every fleeter possesses a cranial implant.
It also helped that the Archimedes Rubal was originally a CFA implant. It would make sense that the CFA would tailor the gene expression of its spacers to increase their compatibility with its implants.
After a long and somewhat technical discussion, Ranya finally got to the point. While I can't rule out the possibility that something might go wrong, there aren't any glaring risks. The only issue I'm concerned about is whether the alien part of you develops an adverse reaction to your implant.
So far, this problem hadn't arisen, so the likelihood that this would happen was very small. Ranya was only mentioning the possibility in order to do her due diligence.
If you're sure.
Gloriana quietly stood by Ves' side as she held Clixie in her arms. She hugged her cat in worry as if she was afraid that something might go wrong.
Lucky on the other hand appeared much less concerned. He floated alongside his body as he laid in a diagnostic machine.
Thank you too for your concern. How is your constipation, by the way?
Ves ignored his cat as Ranya pressed a device against the side of his head.
This only works a single time. Once the implant turns online, it's active for good barring any accidents. Cranial implants aren't mechs that are only brought online when necessary. The Archimedes Rubal will become a permanent part of your central nervous system. You can think of it like updating your brain. After it goes online, it's not a separate entity entity anymore. It's a part of your brain in the same way as the temporal lobe that's responsible for storing your memories is part of a greater whole.
You don't have to explain any further. I'm a mech designer. I make complex war machines for a living. I understand the analogy.
Unlike mechs, you can't disassemble your brain, and it's at least a thousand times more difficult to repair any brain-related injuries.
If brains were so easy to repair, then a lot more mech pilots wouldn't have been forced to retire.
The greater implications of her words was that it wasn't easy to replace his current implant with another model.
If he ever encountered a better implant made by the MTA or something, Ves could only let it pass. Only the top implant surgeons in the galaxy could remove the Archimedes Rubal without inflicting lots of damage to his original cognition. Those kinds of super experts only offered their services to the upper echelon of the Big Two and the first-rate superstates!
Do it. He told her. I've already made my choice. The Archimedes Rubal may not be the best implant in the galaxy, but it is exactly what I need to facilitate my work. I'm already the most successful Journeyman Mech Designer in the entire star sector without relying on a cranial implant! I don't think I actually need an implant to reach Master, but it will definitely help make it easier!
Once Ves gave his consent in writing for legal reasons, Ranya finally activated the implant.
A small signal passed through the device she pressed against his head. The signal traveled through his skull and brain tissue until it reached a receptor extended from a veiled and armored tube.
The receptor tingled a bit as it received the signal. Immediately after it passed on the signal, the main body of the implant absorbed the receptor tissue!
The Archimedes Rubal came online in full for the very first time.
Ves only felt a subliminal area in the back of his mind when it was on standby. Now that it activated its functions and made it available to him, he froze as his mind seemed to expand in a very strange fashion!
The experience was indescribable. It was as if his mind gained add-ons that inexplicably increased his cognitive functions beyond his wildest means!
Eating all of those Intelligence Candies long ago had already improved his cognitive functions to the human limit and beyond. Yet the candies improved his thinking ability in a broad and comprehensive manner.
The Archimedes Rubal was different. It ignored many parts of his mind and instead improved a certain number of discrete functions.
First, his memory expanded A LOT. Even though the Archimedes Rubal was smaller than his temporal lobe, with the latest technology humanity had at its disposal just three centuries ago, even the shabbiest memory implants could easily store a billion times more data than the human mind!
Suffice to say, a CFA implant that specialized in data storage would not be running out of storage space anytime soon!
As Ves glanced at Lucky's floating body, he had a feeling he could reproduce his entire physical makeup to an incredible degree just by relying on his memories!
As he continued to observe his cat, he also noticed something else.
He had a feeling he could form a data connection with his own cat!
It wasn't just his cat. He gained an entirely new sense of electronic connections. There were tons of devices around him which he could patch in if he possessed the right permissions. He could form a silent connection with his comm, his girlfriend's comm, the medical machines and many, many other devices!
Of course, there was a risk that a hacker might abuse this connection, but Ves instinctively found out he could retract the connectivity of his implant when he didn't need it. In addition, the implant already came with a ludicrous amount of safeguards and its security suite was fully up to date.
Related to his ability to establish electronic connections was the partial digitization of his thoughts!
He no longer had any difficulty in performing complicated mathematical equations. He didn't have to input a formula in his comm anymore. He could get the answer directly from his mind!
Aside from this, he also gained the ability to read and process many types of digital data without requiring any electronic tools!
Ves experimented by uploading some design files from his comm to his implant.
The Archimedes Rubal stored the files without a problem!
Not only that, but Ves could even 'open' the files in his mind and observe the design schematics as if he turned into a processor!
This was one of the most useful functions of his implant! With the partial digitization of his mind, his efficiency in designing mechs would probably skyrocket!
This.. this is fantastic! Now I know what it feels like to have an implant like you, Gloriana!