Chapter 3198: Cross Game
The notion brought forward by Minister Shederin Purnesse sounded preposterous at first.
Anyone who possessed even a sliver of familiarity with the Cross Clan knew that they were made up of a bunch of warriors who revered the strongest among them.
With Saint Hemmington Cross as their greatest example, the Crossers all immersed themselves in a martial culture where only strength conveyed righteousness!
Therefore, the people attending the meeting did not seriously consider whether the guest designer that had recently been inducted in the Cross Clan was eligible to succeed Patriarch Reginald if the latter had passed away.
In the Garlen Empire back in the Vicious Mountain Star Sector, almost all of the citizens over there showed open disdain towards cerebral leaders who couldnt even beat a mouse.
Their views on what kind of people made for good leaders had become so distorted that they directly equated piloting ability to good leadership!
It was a stupid mindset and one that Ves did not think would last.
The Cross Clan should have ended with Saint Hemmington.
He was the model example of how putting a meathead in charge was pure idiocy.
The fact that pretty much every single member of the Cross Clan still revered the deceased ace pilot to this day said everything about their ability to think critically and learn from the past.
Ves therefore found it very difficult to reconcile this negative impression of the Cross Clan with the notion that a mech designer could take it over.
“Shederin, why do you think that way” He asked.
Everyone turned their attention to the former ambassador.
The Purnesser calmly obliged and explained his reasoning.
“It is true that the Cross Clan is following the ways of the Garlen Empire, but it would be a great mistake to assume that it is still the same.”
“First, this outlook has already failed them before.” He raised a finger.
“They had to have learned some lessons from the calamity that nearly ended their clan.”
Shederin raised another finger.
“Second, they are no longer in Vicious Mountain.
As our fleet keeps traveling forward, the distance to their old home increases.
This makes it increasingly more difficult to maintain the same values and customs as before.
It becomes a lot easier to adopt the customs that are more common in their current surroundings.”
He raised a third finger.
“Finally, Professor Benedict Cortez is of much greater importance to the current Cross Clan than the alternatives.
From my own observations, Venerable Linda Cross and Venerable Imaris Cross are not up to par.
It will be difficult for them to command as much respect as their predecessors.”
“I dont think youre wrong, but will the Crossers agree” Ves questioned.
“I dont think the clansmen will be able to accept the notion that they should turn to someone who isnt a fighter.”
“Ah, but is that really true” Shederin smiled.
“Is Professor Benedict really as weak as you say I think he shares a lot of traits in common with you, Patriarch Ves.
Like you, he is a mech designer who is uncharacteristically able to project strength when necessary.
Like you, he is an indispensable part of his organization because he is their main source of revenue.
It is conceivable that the Crossers might look at the Larkinson Clan as an example of how a strong and capable mech designer can lead an organization into prosperity.
If they decide that they want to pursue a similar future, then choosing a Senior Mech Designer over any of the expert pilots as their next leader might sound like a more viable option.”
“When people get desperate, they tend to pay less attention to established rules and traditions.” Calabast remarked.
“Isnt that right, Ves”
“Uhm, yeah.” Ves lamely answered.
“Will the Cross Clan really be driven to such a state, though Even if Patriarch Reginald disappears, the rest of the Cross Clan will be okay, right”
No one could say for sure.
“The Cross Clan has undergone several major changes since they have joined the Golden Skull Alliance.” Shederin said.
“Not only has it shifted into a nomadic, space-faring clan that is not attached to any fixed territories, the clan has also taken in tens of thousands of foreigners and inducted them into the clan with the help of theirkinship network.
Think about what this can do.
Both steer the clan away from its former identity.
At some point, the changes may go far enough that it is no longer unthinkable to allow a Senior Mech Designer to gain acceptance.”
“Acceptance wont come naturally.” His son Novilon added.
“Professor Benedict must actively lay the groundwork to convince the Crossers to break tradition.
He will have to contact all of the stakeholders in the clan and win over a majority of them to induce a change.
He should also be working on encouraging Venerable Linda and Venerable Imaris to comply with this unprecedented change.
If either of them objects, then they can instantly rally a large number of Crossers against the Seniors takeover attempt.
The conflict might get very bloody very quickly, and that will most certainly lead to grievous losses to both sides.
If Professor Benedict is aware of this, then he will not commit to any action that will lead to a lose-lose situation.”
Ves and everyone else thought about what the Purnessers had said.
Their vision on this potential power struggle was much further ahead than anyone else in the compartment.
Even Calabast looked thoughtful.
There were still a lot of questions.
Too much about this scenario is based on spurious deductions.
There wasnt enough evidence that any of this might take place.
“Does Professor Benedict really want to take over the Cross Clan” General Verle skeptically asked.
“In my opinion, the downsides far outweigh the gains.
Not only does he have to be responsible for everything, but it will take an unreasonable amount of effort to tame the unruly Crossers.
No matter how much he is able to manipulate them into accepting his leadership, the Crossers are still Crossers.
They wont be able to shake off the sense that they should have appointed a genuine Crosser expert pilot instead of a mech designer who only entered the picture relatively recently.”
Ves nodded in agreement.
“I think the same way.
I know first-hand how troublesome it is to manage an entire clan.
While the control is nice, there is just too much stuff going on.
A Senior should mainly focus on working towards Master.”
“Maybe the professor needs more resources.” Raymond suggested.
“From what I know of high-ranking mech designers, they need to have access to an increasing amount of finding, resources, equipment and manpower.
If the Cross Clan is reluctant to provide him with these expensive demands, then he might choose to take over the clan just so that he can fulfill his own demands.”
That was a viable answer, though Ves wasnt sure whether Professor Benedict was truly the sort of person who would do that.
The Seniors current position in the Cross Clan was already high.
There was little need to acquire more power unless he had more changes in mind.
Magdalena raised another point.
“If Professor Benedict is truly plotting to take over the clan, shouldnt Patriarch Reginald himself be aware of what his resident mech designer is doing Why would the Cross Patriarch tolerate such open ambition from someone who doesnt fit the bill of a proper leader in his clan”
That was a good question.
Ves had met Patriarch Reginald enough times to know that while the expert pilot was very mule-headed, he was not someone who was too ignorant.
In his meeting with the two Cross leaders, the relationship between them appeared to be relatively harmonious.
While they had their differences, they mostly formed a united front.
What was going on over there
Even if Patriarch Reginald thinks that Professor Benedict is up to something, it wouldnt be so easy to break their relationship.” Ves guessed.
“The former relies heavily on the latter to design his expert mech.
While the Cross Patriarch also wants my help, I cannot design an expert mech by myself, let alone a high-tier one.
The participation of a competent and trusted Senior is an indispensable part of the plan.”
“You know what I think this case is an open conspiracy.” Calabast concluded.
“An open conspiracy” Magdalena frowned.
“Its just like a regular conspiracy, but known to both sides instead of being kept secret.
Lets say that Professor Benedict wants to become the leader of the Cross Clan for some reason.
He might have raised the topic of Ves experimental procedure to the Cross Patriarch as a deliberate attempt to create a vacancy.”
“Shouldnt this trap be obvious Even if Patriarch Reginald isnt able to see it, surely the other people by his side must recognize the danger in pursuing this option.”
So what if Patriarch Reginald knows that this is a trap of sorts” Calabast smirked.
“According to our personality profile on him, he cannot resist the temptation of grasping the chance to advance to ace pilot.
If Reginald succeeds, then he will win the game and the Cross Clan will restore the glory of the past.
If the expert pilot dies in the attempt, then Professor Benedict will take advantage of the leadership vacuum and take over the clan and lead it into a different direction.
Either way, the Cross Clan will likely become even more prosperous than now, so the clansmen will definitely be better off.
This assurance will make Patriarch Reginald feel at ease.”
Ves thought it quite sad that Patriarch Reginald thought he wouldnt be able to do his clan justice if he remained as his current self.
What was wrong about being a high-tier expert pilot He was already stronger than nearly every expert pilot in human space! Was it truly necessary for the Cross Clan to be led by an ace pilot again It was doing just fine at the moment!
“These Crossers are total nutcases if they agree to go along with such a bet.” He resentfully said.
“A high-tier expert pilot is a treasure to any organization.
How can they allow one to gamble with their lives in such a risky gamble If Patriarch Reginald dies, the Crossers will only have two expert pilots left.
That is not enough!”
“It all comes down to what Patriarch Reginald Cross wants for himself.” Shederin Purnesse sighed.
“Unlike you, Patriarch Ves, he is not as considerate to others.
His views and decisions are solely centered around himself.
He may feel compelled to protect the Cross Clan, but this is a responsibility that had been thrust into his hands due to unfortunate circumstances.
His real goal has always been to become an ace pilot.
He is willing to set aside everything including the traditions of his clan and his own life just to gain a chance of attaining greatness.”
“Death or glory.” General Verle spoke.
“The warriors that adhere to this creed never live long enough to reach old age.
Their ultimate aim has always been to become a god pilot and become the strongest warrior in reality.
They make for the most powerful pillars of support if they think they are successful, but they can easily trigger disasters if they start to become desperate.”
“Well, that sounds nice.” Ves sarcastically said.
“What should we do in response to this crazy development I dont want a bomb to explode next door one day!”
“I dont think we necessarily have to do anything, Ves.” Calabast said as she ruffled Arnolds furry sides.
“Our clan has been overtaking the Cross Clan for a while now.
If this goes on, our allies will eventually be left in the dust and the Golden Skull Alliance will no longer have as much meaning.
If we want to maintain a viable coalition, then why not let the Crossers play out their game”
Calabast raised a good point.
“If Patriarch Reginald succeeds, then he will owe us a great amount of gratitude due to the assistance that you have provided.
Our clan will enjoy the protection of a powerful ace pilot for a very long time, which is a luxury that few pioneers enjoy in the Red Ocean.”
“And if Professor Benedict Cortez takes over the clan, then he will fix most of the deficiencies that hold it back and turn it closer to something akin to our own clan.” Novilon Purnesse grinned.
“Sure, the Cross Clan will become a stronger economic power under the lead of a Senior, but as long as Professor Benedict is friendly to us, we will have a stronger ally that is much more rational than before.”
Ves rubbed his smooth-shaven chin.
Was it really so bad to allow the former Skull Architect to take control of a powerful military clan The idea sounded wrong at first, but perhaps he was being unfair to the reformed Senior Mech Designer.
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