Chapter 1960 Hexer Fashion
After the Larkinson Clan fleet transitioned out of FTL, the ships cycled their FTL drives at various rates.
It would be half a day before the fleet was ready to resume its journey.
A lot of shuttles and transports ferried goods and personnel between various vessels.
A sturdy shuttle surrounded by numerous Avatar and Glory Warrior mechs departed from the Stellar Chaser. After a brief journey, the shuttle effortlessly landed in the hangar bay of the Scarlet Rose.
Ves, Gloriana, their cats, their assistants, their bodyguards and other personnel emerged from the shuttle.
As much as Gloriana wanted to stay aboard her own ship, Ves detested the Stellar Chaser. The ship was a fine vessel marred by Hexer touches.
Almost everything on the ship was hexagon-shaped. The hexagon-shaped datapads, hexagon-shaped tables and hexagon-shaped corridors quickly started to grate on his sanity!
The way the ship crew were being treated also rankled him. Ves couldn't stand the sight of women bossing around the humble boys who were stuck with doing most of the grunt work.
Though he knew it was unfair to blame it all on Gloriana, he still wanted a change of scenery.
Fortunately, his girlfriend didn't object to transferring to another ship, though she was slightly annoyed that he decided to settle on his new flagship.
The Stellar Chaser is better than the Scarlet Rose. She petulantly complained as they departed the hangar bay. Fridayman engineering is worse than Hexer engineering, you know! Besides, I'm not entirely comfortable that your ship's recent overhaul fully wrested away all of the controls and backdoors the Fridaymen snuck into her systems.
Ves smiled confidently. Calabast herself directed our overhaul. This particular ship class is hardly a secret to her and her associates. We even ripped out the original quantum entanglement node and replaced it with a different one to ensure it wouldn't siphon any data to the CRC!
I'm still not satisfied.
Too bad. Ves wasn't about to change his mind. His girlfriend could nag him all she wanted, but his feelings mattered as well! He wasn't about to let Gloriana dictate all of his decisions!
See? Even our cats agree!
Both Lucky and Clixie hissed at Ves!
Gloriana looked amused as she picked up her furry friend. It looks like you aren't being truthful, Ves.
Don't doubt my impeccable communication skills. I'm called Devil Tongue for a reason?
I think the reason for that is different from the reason you are implying.
Jokes aside, both of them enjoyed their brief tour through Ves' latest conquest. The extensive overhaul transformed the former CRC ship in many ways.
On the surface, every symbol or marking related to the Friday Coalition and Coalition Reserve Corps had been removed. Instead, the Larkinson Clan's interior decorators reformed the entire interior in a pleasant bright palette livened up with plenty of markings that reflected his prestige.
The golden cat head emblem was the most prominent symbol of all. It was present in every corridor and every compartment. Ves and Gloriana couldn't help but smile as they encountered the logo of the clan.
Every ship under my command will adopt this scheme in time. Ves revealed. We need to impose some uniformity in our sprawling fleet. I'm not sure if we'll be able to keep everything together if we continue to grow without direction.
Gloriana glanced at him. You know, you'd have an easier time trying to unite all of the groups together by adopting everyone in the Larkinson Clan.
Huh? Ves briefly halted in these steps. Since when did you support Calabast's proposal?
I've discussed this topic with her several times. She made a very good case for her suggestion. As it is, our circumstances are already different from the circumstances that shaped the original Larkinson Family. Back when you Larkinsons served as cogs in the machine of the Bright Republic, you never had to worry about anything except feeding as many mech pilots to the Mech Corps as possible. Now that your Larkinson Clan set off on its own, your relatives are visibly overwhelmed.
Her explanation didn't sound very flattering. Ves couldn't help but frown. We don't need to adopt outsiders into our clan in order to secure their services, Gloriana. Not everything revolves around family identity. So far, I'd say we are managing pretty well at the moment.
That's only on the surface. She retorted. Just look at the people around you. They are very attached to your organizations. Calabast described all of them as de-facto Larkinsons. You only need to take the final step in order to recognize what has already become the truth!
Her words caused Ves to look around. The workers aboard the Scarlet Rose consisted of his most loyal Kinners and Avatars. As his new primary vessel, Ves did not allow anyone untrustworthy to step aboard.
Ves didn't look at the crew members with his eyes. Instead, he sounded them out with his spiritual senses.
Though he wasn't the best at discerning people's inner emotions, he didn't sense anything of concern from them. In fact, it was the opposite. The people around him were true comrades who he could trust to have his back.
Even so, the Larkinson identity possessed a very special meaning to him. Not just any Tom, Dick or Harry ought to be able to join his clan as a fully-fledged member! That was still a step too far for his stodgy self!
He directed a suspicious glance towards his girlfriend. I thought you hated Calabast. Why are you carrying her water all of a sudden? Accepting her proposal means adopting her into the clan!
She shrugged. She's already a part of your circle, so nothing will actually change. She's a deceitful spy, but I don't think she'll betray us. She knows that you and I are her tickets to success. Turning her into a Larkinson allows us to exert more control over her actions.
I think you are a bit too optimistic in your estimate how much control I can exert over Calabast.
He hardly had any leverage over her considering all of the blackmail materials she held in reserve. Leaking naked pictures of him doing his business in the bathroom was the least of his concerns!
They reached his stateroom.
It did not look as he expected. Instead of entering a chamber similar to the one he was familiar with before the refit, his stateroom had suddenly doubled in size!
Ves noted that the extra room came from the adjacent compartment. Two staterooms had been merged together to form a single, roomy compartment that offered far more space than Ves actually required!
Hihi! This will be our new home for the time being! Gloriana cheered.
She skipped forward and quickly arrived at the sumptuously large bed placed in the center.
Clixie jumped out of her arms and landed on the soft and comfy surface bed in order to luxuriate in its softness.
Lucky floated down and landed next to her to see what all of the fuss was all about.
Look! Even our cats like the bed I've picked out for you!
Ah. I see who's responsible.
Ves did not look amused. He distinctly remembered that he never instructed his subordinates to expand his stateroom.
It seemed that Gloriana had taken liberal advantage of his month-long coma!
Expanding the compartment and replacing their bed with an admittedly superior one wasn't the only change that Gloriana pushed through. His entire wardrobe consisted of smart clothing cut in the best fashion of Hexer high society.
The moment Ves shifted through the outfits, his face grew uglier.
Different from the sober business outfits that he preferred to wear on a day-to-day basis, his girlfriend filled his closet with colorful and excessively-frilly ensembles designed to dandify their wearers!
This was the kind of clothing that Hexer women foisted upon their boytoys!
Gloriana… Ves said with gritted teeth.
I appreciate your desire to improve my wardrobe, but I prefer to take care of my own clothing. Unless you can unlock the settings of these smart clothes, you can send them back to Brutus or something.
How did you know I borrowed them from Brutus? Gloriana looked shocked.
The quality of these smart clothes is too high! The Hegemony was still too far away to ship any goods to their location.There's no other source you could have obtained them from except for your brother!
What's wrong with them? I think they will look quite dashing on you! I should know, because I tried them out on your body when you were in a coma! Let me show you the images I've recorded!
After a bit of arguing, Ves finally managed to throw all of the flamboyant clothing out of his closet. Ves resolved to fill his wardrobe with clothes that conveyed dignity rather than ineptness.
Gloriana pouted at Ves as a bot took away the piles of smart clothing. I thought you liked a bit of color. You didn't say no to wearing cat ears.
That's because I wanted to convey levity. The point of wearing them was to decrease our threat level by coming across as eccentric. That does not mean I want to turn into a full-blown clown!
She didn't understand his objections. To her, all of the males she cared about in her life wore these kinds of outfits!
Back in the Hegemony, women were fully in control of what their boys were allowed to wear. This led to a tendency where the stronger gender treated boys as dress-up dolls.
She always wanted to join this friendly competition! Dressing up a boy with the clothes a woman picked out for him was one of the most cherished pastimes for Hexers!
Ves knew that as well, so he didn't hesitate to shoot her down before she got going.
I'll let Benny pick out a new wardrobe for me. He decided.
Your assistant's fashion sense doesn't measure up. He's just a yokel from Cloudy Curtain? You need a professional, Ves!
She soon conceded the argument once Ves made it clear that he wouldn't budge. They both sat down on their bed and played with their cats for a few minutes.
About our next mech design project. Gloriana spoke up. How much time do you want to send on this project?
It took three months to design the Bright Warrior. While our striker mech design offers plenty of technical conundrums, it shouldn't take more time than that to present a decent product.
The Bright Warrior lacked a considerable amount of optimization before you passed the design on to 'Mr. S.', you know. Can we rely on Mr. S. again?
She looked almost hopeful at Ves. Sadly, the Superpublish function couldn't be used so soon again!
Then we should reserve a bit more time to be certain. How about four months? That gives us plenty of time to iterate on the design and give us time to test the prototypes. It's crucially important that we allocate enough time to testing and optimization when it comes to commercial mechs. The market doesn't like to buy a mech that comes across as rough and incomplete.
She had a point. Besides, they might be working on another design project as well, so giving them some extra leeway in the form of an extra month was extremely helpful.
A month longer doesn't make much difference. Ves observed. It's not like we are operating under someone else's deadline. Four months it is, then. Hopefully, I can get a lot more work done now that I have my implant.
He didn't plan to spend all of his time on designing his striker mech, though. Aside from leading the Larkinson Clan, he also wanted to start making some actual headway into creating an imaginary mech!
He had waited so long to design a mech made out of spiritual energy, but he had always been hampered by his imperfect memory and mental visualization abilities.
Now that he installed a literal storage device in his brain, those problems no longer hampered his imagination!