Chapter 4340 Unhealthy Attachment
The high-end workshop of the Spirit of Bentheim had become a busy place as soon as the Larkinsons commenced their repairs on their expert mechs.
It became a hazard to keep the paltry remains of the Shield of Samar in this space, so Ves had it moved to a spare hall where it could remain undisturbed.
Venerable Jannzi spent a lot of time in this compartment.
Though she still went back to her family from time to time in order to care for her son Mercer, the Shield of Samar was such an important part of her life that she couldnt bear to stay away for long.
Ves looked rather troubled as he noticed how unreasonable she behaved.
Jannzi had sat down and leaned her back against the exterior of the Shield of Samars separated head.
If not for the fact that a maintenance crew had carefully cleaned it so that it didnt pose a hazard anymore, he wouldnt have allowed Jannzi to stick so close to whatever was left of her expert mech.
She had stripped off her protective suit and touched the metal surface with her unprotected hands!
“Jannzi.” Ves greeted the expert pilot as he approached.
“Im aware that you are still in a mourning period, but it is time to discuss how we should proceed with your future.”
“Isnt it obvious what you should do” Jannzi looked up at him.
“You can fix this.
You can fix my battle partner.
Shes still alive.
I know she is.
I can feel it inside this head.
I have been trying so hard to contact and resonate with my living mech, and I have made a bit of progress.”
She pressed her palm harder against the metal surface and closed her eyes.
Ves could feel that she was trying her best to extend her force of will and resonate with the remnant of the Shield of Samars spiritual foundation.
“Do… you see… Ves My Sammie… is still alive.”
The close relationship and compatibility between the two actually yielded a result.
The giant mech head glowed blue for a moment, but much of the activity quickly faded as Jannzi had overstrained her willpower.
“Be careful, Jannzi.” He warned.
“What you have just done could be dangerous for you.
The Shield of Samar may no longer be complete, but it is still a stretch for you to resonate with this remnant without the help of a neural interface.”
Ves became quite impressed with what Jannzi managed to accomplish.
What she had done was similar to how a swordmaster was able to resonate with a treasured sword.
Of course, Jannzis efforts were much less effective because the scale was too big.
It was just far too difficult for an expert pilot to resonate with just a small part of a mech in this fashion.
The demonstration had given Ves a few ideas.
Though the connection between Jannzi and the spiritual remains of her expert mech lasted for a short moment, he noticed that the latter actually revitalized to a tiny extent.
The spiritual feedback of an expert pilot provided it with rich nutrition!
Not only that, but the strong bond and affection also seemed to help it regain a bit of personality again.
The differences may have been too small to notice any obvious changes, but Ves was probably the greatest authority of living mechs.
His observation capabilities were great and he was exceptionally sensitive towards fluctuations in life.
Ves became a lot more certain on how he should proceed with this case after processing the empirical data that he had just received.
“I have a couple of suggestions on how to go forward, Jannzi.
Would you like to hear what I have in mind”
The female expert pilot nodded.
I have been waiting to hear from you for days.
The longer my Shield of Samar goes on without getting restored, the more I fear for its future.”
“That is understandable.
In my opinion, the Shield of Samar has already died, but there is enough of it left that we may be able to get a version of it back.”
“What would this version look like, exactly” Venerable Jannzi critically asked.
“That is indeed an important question.” Ves replied.
“The process is important.
What we can get at the end will heavily depend on the steps we take to provide you with another expert mech.
Lets start with the obvious approach.
Normally, a situation like yours is solved by providing you with a brand-new expert mech that might share resemblances to your old machine but is fundamentally a separate machine.”
“That is unacceptable to me.
I will never pilot another mech that isnt my Sammie.
I made a vow.
More than that, the two of us simply belong together.
I cant imagine ever entering the battlefield in a mech that is different from my long-standing partner.”
Ves frowned a bit when he heard that.
Normally, he would applaud a mech pilots strong attachment to a living mech, but certain people tended to take it too far.
Mech pilots inevitably needed to switch to new machines when their older ones broke down in battle.
Still, Jannzis attitude fell in line with his own ideals.
Ves did not want to discourage this behavior, especially considering that Jannzis relationship with the Shield of Samar had provided him with a lot of research and reference data on third order living mechs over the years.
“Okay, so we can agree on trying to restore your battle effectiveness by providing you with an expert mech that is related to the Shield of Samar in one form or another.
The question now is how closely the reconstructed machine should match your original expert mech.”
Jannzi narrowed her eyes.
“Whats wrong with trying to reconstruct the Shield of Samar according to its latest design Someone with your skill should be able to do it, and if you cant do it, your wife can probably do better.
I dont care if it cant be a masterwork anymore.
As long as the form is the same, the living mech should be the same as well.”
He sighed and waved his arm at the large pile of corroded and deformed pieces of metal slag.
“Its not that simple, Jannzi.
Do you think we can simply take all of this metal that has been dissolved by the Skorpion Kommandos extremely potent venom and turn it back into your original mech again Its not possible!”
“What Why not!”
“There are many reasons why we cant.
First, much of your mech is made out of Unending alloy.
Your design literally cant work if there is not enough Unending alloy anymore.
We wouldnt have been in so much trouble if the Skorpion Kommando merely tore your expert space knight apart.
We could have at least picked up all of the pieces and put them back together without too much loss.
That hasnt happened, though.
The phasewater-enriched corrosive fluids that literally melted your Shield of Samar produced a lot of chemical reactions that essentially broke down a huge amount of Unending alloy.
The slag that you see here cant be called Unending alloy anymore because of that reason.
It has degraded into different compounds that are much weaker and less stable.”
Though Jannzi did not have a technical background, she still understood that it was possible to reconstruct an alloy as long as the base materials were still present.
“Why cant you remake Unending alloy again”
First and foremost, we dont understand its production process.
This is an absolutely remarkable material that cant be made by melting a bunch of different metals before pooling it together in a giant cauldron.
Its an ancient product of alien high technology that requires a lot of mysterious steps to make.
Ive invested a fair amount of research on this topic, but my efforts have never yielded any positive results.
Without Unending alloy, there is no possibility of restoring the Shield of Samar.”
“Cant you just redesign it with a different and more accessible material in place of Unending alloy” Jannzi frowned.
Ves shook his head.
Unending alloy is unique.
It is as tough as a low-grade first-class alloy but it is also a spiritually-reactive material.
I have found no comparable material that possesses both properties.
Perhaps that might change in the future, but it will probably take many years before I can find a reasonable substitute for Unending alloy.”
“Then what does this mean”
“It means that no matter what, the expert mech that we will develop for you will look and function differently from your Shield of Samar.” Ves spoke.
“I will try my best to procure the best possible materials that we can afford to make sure the defensive power of your new machine wont be any worse than your original expert mech, but the inherently different properties means that the design will not be as familiar as you wish.
We will also incorporate better tech, better design solutions and brand-new innovations in your expert mech.”
A typical expert pilot would definitely become pleased after hearing all of this.
Who didnt want to pilot a stronger and better mech
Jannzi was different, however.
Her expression soured as Ves kept listing out the changes he had in mind.
“I dont want a better mech! I want my old one back! What you just told me doesnt sound like my Shield of Samar at all! I wont accept any solution that entails designing a completely different expert space knight only to slap the name of my battle partner on it.
What I want is the return of THIS!”
Her palm smacked against the surface of her old expert mechs head!
Ves waited a few seconds for Jannzi to calm down.
“…We can still do that, you know I never said anything about abandoning your old living mech.”
“What do you mean”
“Perhaps it is better if I show you the plan that I have come up with in recent days.
I can guarantee you that you will be satisfied with my new design concept.”
Ves activated his comm and projected a simple design interface.
He proceeded to lift his armored fingers and began to sketch out different lines.
His audience remained patient and stared as a possible expert mech slowly became more defined.
At first, Jannzis skepticism remained strong.
The expert mech envisioned by Ves might be a space knight, but its proportions, contours and overall feel were substantially different from the Shield of Samar that was forever seared in her memories.
It was also clear that Ves wanted to take Jannzis new expert mech into a different design direction than before.
Previously, the Shield of Samar was incredibly slow and heavy but also tough and resilient.
The sloppy draft design that Ves was drawing in the air looked a bit leaner and less weighed down.
A number of its design elements even looked more similar to the Skorpion Kommando than the original Shield of Samar!
Though Jannzi was preparing to launch another tirade after Ves completed his sketch, her mood quickly changed once Ves drew the final elements that completed the draft design.
The reason for her restraint was because when Ves drew the head of the new expert space knight, Jannzi recognized a lot of familiar elements.
In fact, the head of the new expert mech corresponded exactly to the mech head that she was leaning her back against at this moment!
Im done.” Ves said and smiled as he gazed appreciatively at his own work.
“This is the new concept that I have in mind.
While it is not close to a faithful reproduction of your Shield of Samar at all, I dont think it is a good idea to cling too much to the past.
No matter whether you want to admit it or not, your old expert mech has died.
That doesnt mean you are left with nothing, though.”
Janzis expression became mixed as she tried to figure out her feelings towards the new proposal.
“Is this your new idea It looks like you designed a brand-new expert mech but left out the head so that you can slot in the surviving mech head in its place.
Isnt this just a Frankenstein mech!”
“Not exactly.” Ves shook his head.
“I call this… the Dullahan Project.”
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