Chapter 1959 Trapped in Bentheim
An enormous number of ships and mechs had gathered at the Bentheim System.
With the sudden withdrawal of the sandman fleets from occupied human space, many people believed the war had ended.
They came up with several reasons why the Sand War took such a sudden turn when states like the Bright Republic had been pushed to the brink.
The sandmen race returned to sanity.
Killing the sandman emperor caused the aliens to lose confidence.
The invasion achieved its purpose.
Whatever the case, many of the states involved in the Sand War hoped that the ordeal was over.
Sadly, the sandmen weren't done yet. With their original territories ravaged by the CFA, the invasion forces were the only sandmen left in the galaxy!
Instead of running back into the deep frontier with their tails tucked between their legs, the sandman initiated one more suicidal attack.
They concentrated all of their sandman fleets and merged them into one, humongous sand planet.
The size of this planet reached an immense proportion. Not only that, but the scout ships also discovered that the sandman forces brought a lot of valuable exotics and materials harvested from their conquests!
With the reinforcement of a considerable amount of material wealth from thousands of planets, no one had a good idea of what the sandman planet could do! Was it stronger than the capital planet of the sandman empire? Was this the final attack run of the sandman race?
Whatever the case, the entire Bright Republic readied for the final confrontation.
An enormous amount of mech regiments and mech divisions gathered at Bentheim. A lot of star systems along the suspected route of the sandman planet had been evacuated.
Various scout ships had been posted in every single star system in the vicinity of the route. If the planet ever veered away from Bentheim, the defenders would know as soon as possible!
When the sandman planet finally finished its accumulation and set off in the direction of the center of the galaxy, every Brighter held their breaths.
The Mech Corps and the Starfighter Corps in the Bentheim System both increased their readiness and prepared to fight what might arguably be the most important battle in the history of the Bright Republic!
Due to the enormous scope and the historical significance of impending battle, a lot of foreign glory hounds had gathered in the Bentheim System as well!
Vesians, Reinaldans, Fridaymen and many other foreign outfits sought to land at least one blow on the planet-sized alien threat!
Even if their contribution in the battle was negligible, they would still be able to brag about participating in this epic battle!
While the foreigners looked forward to the upcoming clash between the sandman planet and the MTA warfleet, the Brighters were less than enthused.
The foreigners didn't have a stake in the battle. Whether Bentheim got wrecked by the sandman was none of their business!
In contrast, the Brighters all knew that the Bright Republic would only become a shadow of its former self if it lost its economic heart. The sheer amount of commerce, industry and R\u0026D that took place on the main planet was immense!
For many centuries, the Bright Republic benefited enormously from this concentration. It had become one of the main trade destinations in this region of space. While the star system was often crowded with traffic, the vast amount of goods flowing in and out provided lots of opportunities for businessmen across the star sector!
Yet now, the state finally paid the price for putting most of its eggs in a single basket. Against a foe that was so overwhelming that dozens of border states succumbed to their might, the sandmen had proven to be too powerful to resist by third-rate states!
While the soldiers of the Bright Republic prepared for battle, their morale had fallen into a ditch.
It couldn't be helped. In a time where the citizens and servants of the Bright Republic had to lean together to resist the alien onslaught, their own higher-ups suddenly decided to stab one of the most stories military families in the back!
Almost every Brighter disapproved of this decision. Considering the Larkinson Family's considerable prestige and honor, they deserved better!
The Brighters weren't shy in expressing what they thought.
Why are we letting the Fridaymen run our state?! Do our voices even matter?
The bright president has turned into a puppet! What has the Friday Coalition ever done for us? We're already being treated like pawns!
If our own government is shameless enough to betray the Larkinson Family, none of us are safe! Mark my words, soon it will be our turn!
The disappearance of so many Larkinsons across the ranks of the Mech Corps hit the soldiers particularly hard. The reputation of the Bright Republic tanked, and with it the Mech Corps for acquiescing to their tyrannical decisions!
How could the Mech Corps retain any honor when it repaid its heroes with a stab in the back?
Colonel Ark Larkinson didn't deserve to be chased away from his own comrades.
Benjamin Larkinson made too many contributions in the previous war to be dragged away from Rittersberg in chains.
Melinda Larkinson defended Bentheim for months, yet her own surface took her into custody!
All of these Larkinsons and more set an example to the Brighters. A lot of average citizens aspired to become like them. For their heroes to be torn down like this was an immense blow to everyone's impression of their own government!
This led to a slight depression and sense of cynicism among the mech pilots and starfighter pilots, which was very dangerous when the survival of the Bright Republic was at stake!
As the sandmen planet was scheduled to arrive in the Bentheim in the next couple of weeks, almost every Brighter in the Bentheim System prepared for the inevitable clash in their own way.
Among the Brighters called to action, a young but promising mech designer aboard a military combat carrier regarded the upcoming battle with dread.
Carlos Shaw adjusted his Mech Corps-issued mech designer uniform with a sigh. He'd been pulled away from his comfortable assignment in the rear in order to bolster the mech technicians servicing all of the mechs gathered at Bentheim.
After taking part in the last Bright-Vesia War, Carlos had enough of war. After he left the LMC, he tried to set out on his own. With his bright intellect and valuable experiences, he was confident he'd be able to carve a spot in the market!
It turned out that starting his own mech company was far more challenging than he thought.
He didn't have the capital to start his own mech company! He spent more than a year trying to attract investment.
He failed. A flood of talented Novices entered the mech industry every year. Even more Novices and Apprentices constantly knocked on the doors of investors every day!
The people with money were spoiled for choice. These savvy and discerning investors never wasted their money on a mech designer with low potential! Each of them sought out the next Ves Larkinson. To Carlos, it seemed as if they treated it as a game. Every investor sought to outdo their rivals by picking out the most promising diamonds in the rough!
Compared to the prodigies and the ones with proven track records, a recently-elevated Apprentice like Carlos with hardly any mech designs under his name fell completely under the radar!
Carlos clenched his fists. It's not fair! I'm smarter than them! My designs are better than other Apprentices!
Yet regardless of his efforts, he just wasn't exceptional enough to stand out from the crowd.
Without money, how could he afford the money to purchase a production license? How could he fund the construction of a mech workshop? How could he market his obscure mech designs?
How did Ves do it? He wasn't much better off than me at the start!
Though Carlos knew it wasn't healthy, he couldn't help but compare himself to his former friend all the time.
While Ves and his rich and powerful girlfriend recently earned acclaim for becoming the youngest masterwork mech designers of the Yeina Star Cluster, Carlos had been forced to reenlist in the Mech Corps and become one of its many unremarkable careerist mech designers!
Though the Mech Corps treated him well, Carlos hardly gained any opportunities to excel in his job. His junior status meant that the military would never entrust him with any actual responsibility.
Why should his superiors put him in charge when there were thousands of eager Journeymen and numerous willing Seniors to develop the best mechs of the Bright Republic?
As hard as it was for him to admit it, Carlos threw away his opportunities when he impulsively resigned from the LMC.
The most infuriating aspect about his departure was that he did it for one of the most banal reasons of all! He left because he was jealous of Ves' success!
I was stupid back then. Carlos plainly admitted.
He wasn't in the best state of mind back then. His recent war experiences still haunted him in many ways.
Yet that was no excuse for his selfish decision to leave his friend. He assumed that he could equal Ves' accomplishments if he had a chance to start his own mech business!
How naive he was back then. If he could travel back in time, he would beat his younger self up before he could make such a stupid decision!
He shook his head in regret. Time travel is just a fantasy.
There was no way for him to turn back the clock. Even though Ves and the Larkinson Family seemed to have attracted a lot of trouble, Carlos still believed that they were in a better spot than him! He had full confidence that his former employer would be able to overcome this crisis.
Ves wouldn't be the man he is today if he can't succeed.
After inspecting his appearance, he left his room to start his shift. The mech technicians needed a lot of direction to service the more sophisticated mechs of the Mech Corps!
Elsewhere in the Bentheim System, Vincent Ricklin leaned against the bulkhead of his carrier as his Adonis Colossus underwent its daily cleaning cycle.
Various bots and mech technicians meticulously dusted off every bit of space dust from its surface.
Any cracks, pits and marks of imperfection had to be fixed as soon as possible! His mech had to look as impeccable as possible in order to maintain his public image!
Yet.. lately Vincent started to question his purpose.
What was the point of boosting his fame and dancing to the tune of the government when the Bright Republic was in decline?
Regardless of the outcome of the upcoming battle, Vincent didn't think his home state possessed a promising future.
As a former rebel of the Bentheim Liberation Movement, Vincent was privy to some of the darker secrets of the Bright Republic.
He also knew the state was weaker than it tried to portray in public. When he chatted with his former rebel contacts, he learned he wasn't the only one who held this sentiment.
There is no future in the Bright Republic. Vincent frowned.
A part of him missed Raella Larkinson. Though they only shared a casual relationship, Realla was a lot spicier than any other babe he dated!
Hardly any babe left in the Bright Republic could bring that excitement.
A part of him wanted to chase after her. From what he heard, Raella joined up with other Larkinsons on their way to the Sentinel Kingdom.
Vincent never left the Bright Republic. Yet for the first time in his life, he started to set his sights away from his home state.
What would it be like to travel to the Sentinel Kingdom? How would Raella respond if he managed to meet her again?
Would she be pleased or annoyed?
Probably both. He smirked.