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Chapter 1949 Worthy Larkinsons

The Mech Touch
     Chapter 1949 Worthy Larkinsons

    Expand the Larkinson Clan!

    Invite thousands of employees and retainers to take up the Larkinson name!

    If his grandfather Benjamin and his uncle Ark heard this suggestion, they would probably accuse him of ruining their heritage!

    This was not within his plans!

    In his dreams, he wanted to grow the Larkinson Clan organically. Over several generations, the children and grandchildren of the current clansmen would solve its number shortage and transform it into a stable entity!

    Yet Ves had to admit that if past events were anything to go by, the amount of Larkinsons born might not exceed the amount of Larkinsons who died or left.

    While he was confident he could navigate this problem on his own terms, what Calabast proposed was nothing less than using a mech to swat a fly!

    Expanding the ranks of the Larkinson Clan by adopting a couple of meritorious retainers was within an acceptable tolerance.

    It wouldn't be much different from welcoming outsiders who had married into the clan. The main bloodline of the Larkinson heritage would still remain vigorous as it flowed through their children.

    Yet if the clan suddenly invited more than ten times the number of trueblood clansmen to become its members, it would not be easy for Ves and other original Larkinsons to remain in control!

    What was most egregious about this suggestion was that the introduction of so many newcomers risk diluting or outright destroying the Larkinson heritage!

    This is unacceptable! I refuse!

    Are you that insecure about the strength of your clan? Calabast retorted. You have the Larkinson Mandate, right? You've built a very strong culture and you have made a lot of strides in earning people's loyalty. The True Believers under the lead of James aren't Brighters or Larkinsons. Yet they have forsaken their own state and fought alongside the Larkinsons against a force led by second-class mechs. They may be Ylvainans, but they exemplified the very same traits that define a Larkinson!

    He had to admit that she was true, but her conclusion was absurd! Turning Ylvainans into Larkinsons sounded wrong! They were cultists who were more liable to listen to James than him! They were deeply religious and believed in all kinds of superstition. Those were traits that he would very much want to keep out of his clan!

    The True Believers aren't the only ones who want to become a Larkinson. Calabast continued. I want in as well. The reason I formed the Black Cats is because I want my subordinates and I to be recognized as a part of your clan. Though I haven't always succeeded in protecting you against every threat, I have contributed considerably to your safety and the safety of your clan.

    Ves looked aghast at Calabast. It was already bad enough that she was a fly that continued to buzz around his orbit all the time. To turn her into a Larkinson was unthinkable!

    Are you serious? You're a Hexer! Why do you want to become a Larkinson?! That doesn't make any sense!

    She steadily looked at him in the eyes. I'm not joking, Ves. Not this time. I have thought a lot about this issue and I have shared many ideas with James. Allowing us and everyone else who is working for you to join the Larkinson Clan will benefit everyone involved. It's a win-win-win arrangement.

    There are drawbacks as well. Ves retorted. For example, our clan risks losing its identity! Everything that has the potential to make it great will be drowned by all of the values introduced by the newcomers!

    You're exaggerating the problem, kid. Didn't I tell you to trust in the foundation that you have built? Everyone who has decided to stick with you such as Calsie and Gavinn are fully committed to your ventures. Brave mech pilots like Joshua King have confronted the mechs of the Coalition Reserve Corps directly. They are just a sample of the thousands of fighters and workers who have abandoned their old lives to follow you to the Red Ocean and beyond. Hardly any of them will refuse the offer to join the clan because becoming a Larkinson is one of their greatest honors!

    Ves vigorously shook his head! This is still a step too far! We already have a process in place to motivate them to work hard! The most hard-working employees are eligible to become retainers, and the ones who proceed to perform meritorious services are considered for adoption by the clan. What will it mean for the clan when becoming a Larkinson stops becoming rare? Our name and reputation will turn into a commodity!

    You're exaggerating again, Ves. She said. Let me show you the people you fear will destroy the Larkinson Clan from within.

    She activated a projection that provided Ves with snapshots of the people of his fleet.

    He saw Fleet Coordinator Ophelia Kronon hold a conference meeting with every captain. She not only displayed a high degree of professionalism and leadership, but she made sure that the outcome of the meeting benefited the Larkinsons.

    He witnessed Joshua guiding a number of new recruits through some challenging battle simulations, many of which were based on the Battle of Kesseling VIII. Joshua not only taught them how to pilot the Bright Warrior, but also reminded him what the Avatars of Myth stood for and who they were obligated to protect with their lives.

    He witnessed Gavin quietly working alongside Raymond and the other leaders of the LMC to keep the sprawling mech company together. The recent hostilities with the Friday Coalition caused many of its client states to suppress the LMC's business activities.

    Sales dropped and local bank accounts were seized in every state aligned to the Friday Coalition. This resulted in a considerable setback to the LMC and forced everyone who worked at the roving headquarters to do their best to preserve as much assets as possible!

    He saw a crowd of Ylvainan spacers praying earnestly in front of a statue of the Great Prophet erected in a spare room aboard one of the new carriers. After they said their prayers, they returned to their stations and diligently kept the ship in peak condition.

    He witnessed even more Ylvainans among the Living Sentinels. Though they were a rather recent addition, the mech pilots and support personnel tried their best to mingle with the old guard, with mixed results.

    Though they were rather weird to the Brighters, they were very earnest and truly wanted to become a part of the Living Sentinels. They embraced its culture and its ideals with hardly any resistance. In many ways, they succeeded in blending their old beliefs with new values.

    The final two clips were a bit more dramatic than the others.

    The next projection that came forth was a snippet of footage of two allied forces coming to the rescue of the Avatars, Sentinels and Glory Battalion beleaguered by the landbound forces of the CRC!

    The Swordmaidens fought valiantly and lost a considerable amount of mech pilots in order to ground and neutralize the CRC's powerful knight mech!

    The Kronon mech pilots who defected from the Protectorate died by droves as they fearlessly threw their mechs against an elite CRC squad!

    Despite the horrendous tech and quality disparity, neither the Swordmaidens nor the Kronons flinched from the odds despite the fact that it wasn't strictly their fight!

    The last clip was obviously stolen from a station-wide monitoring system. It's impact on Ves surpassed that of the previous footage!

    He recognized the small and distant figures of Raella and Ketis escaping a Bentheim space station under the lead of someone he didn't recognize.

    She is one of my agents. Calabast helpfully pointed out. Without placing her in the vicinity of your cousin and your student, they would have never escaped the government's manhunt.

    Ves observed all of the footage and did not deny that she succeeded in driving her point.

    There were people who didn't share the Larkinson name who earnestly worked on behalf of himself and the clan. While he wasn't comfortable with adding so many new faces to the Larkinson Clan, he wasn't as conflicted about it as before.

    Okay. The people in the footage are truly suitable to become Larkinsons. However, the Larkinson Clan is supposed to represent something unique.

    The new additions will introduce some changes that can't be stopped. However, your precious Larkinson heritage, values and principles will still retain their primacy. Everyone who is working for you wants to become closer to you. If they didn't like the Larkinsons, they wouldn't have chosen to work for us in the first place.

    What is the point of all of this? Ves asked. There had to be something more to this proposal than expanding the Larkinson Clan. Why should we take such a huge leap and transform the Larkinson Clan into an entirely different beast?

    Calabast spread her hands. The divisions within your organizations can't be sustained. Not in the long-term. If you manage to form your expeditionary fleet and set out for the Red Ocean, everyone who takes part in the expedition will share all of the wealth and woe of your clan. In the lawless, frontier environment of the new dwarf galaxy, do you think they can just resign and work for another employer on the fly? Those workers are all bound to you and your clan, and you need to recognize that. Even I gave up a promising career at DIVA to become your partner!

    He sneered at her. You're a leech, Calabast. You recognized my potential and decided you would rather suck my blood than the Hegemony's blood.

    Hahaha! She chuckled with amusement. What a nice analogy. If you think about it, everyone is a leech. Your fellow Larkinsons are all leeches who you've managed to lure by offering them the prospect of feeding off your blood. All of those Avatars, Sentinels, Swordmaidens and Kronons who died at the Battle of Kesseling VIII are leeches as well. They fought for something greater than themselves, not because they are good samaritans, but because they believe in you or the Larkinson Clan.

    The way Calabast turned around his argument left him rather stumped. Even his new Archimedes Rubal implant was not enough to gain the upper hand in their discussion!

    Why do you want to become a Larkinson? He asked. I never imagined you would want to become a part of our humble family.

    I'm quite charmed with you Larkinsons, actually. I held a different stance in the past, but the more I interact with the clan, the more I'm impressed with what you are all trying to build. While I value my independence, humans are communal creatures. Even I want to be part of something greater. Your Larkinson Clan can fill this need for me. I'm being very serious when I say I want to become a Larkinson. The Ylvainans think the same way, and so do most of your workers.

    Though a part of Ves felt flattered that so many people desire to become a Larkinson, he feared he might open Pandora's box if he accepted her suggestion!

    The change was simply too radical for Ves to accept right now!

    I can't make a decision right now. This proposal is far too big to be decided on the spot. Besides, the Executive Council and the Larkinson Assembly will have to agree as well. I doubt they are open-minded enough to embrace your proposal.

    Perhaps they might surprise you. She grinned. In any case, soon enough we'll make our voices heard. We don't mean to apply pressure to your clan, but we intend to prove that joining it will benefit everyone involved.

    The scary thing was that Ves fully believed her words. I'm not going to help you advocate your case. I'll let the clan decide first before I issue my own judgement. Just take note that I can veto any decision as long as less than eighty percent of the Larkinson Assembly is in favor, so don't try to sneak anything under my nose.

    It's for the best, Ves. The Larkinson Clan will need to become a larger, stronger and more cohesive entity to survive the challenges to come. All of the organizations won't be as disjointed anymore once you roll them under a single and common banner.

    Would this new entity be stronger than his original vision for his clan? Probably.

    Would he like it? Ves wasn't sure!