Chapter 3223: Traditional Recipe
After forming an agreement with the Persham Chamber of Commerce, the expeditionary fleet finally set course to the interior of the Vulcan Empire.
As a third-class vessel, the Dented Coin was a little slower than the ships of the Golden Skull Alliance.
Her singular FTL drive was as old as the trading ship and was optimized for efficiency and longevity rather than speed.
Nonetheless, third-class FTL drives did not differ too much in speed.
They mostly cheaped out in other areas such as stability and tolerance against higher levels of gravitic activity.
During their travels, the Larkinsons began to hold more exchanges with the Pershams.
They either talked over the galactic net or invited them over.
It wasnt just about friendship.
What Minister Shederin and the clan were actually aiming for was to gather insider knowledge about the state of Vulcan Empire.
As a trading company, the Persham Chamber of Commerce possessed a wealth of information that wasnt easily accessible in the public.
Director Olivier Persham maintained active trading contacts in many provinces and visited all of them at one point or another in his life.
He had grown up seeing the dwarves go from being the underdogs to becoming the absolute authority in the Smiling Samuel Star Sector.
The passage of time may have faded his memories a bit, but he still had plenty of interesting stories to tell.
The only challenge was to pry them from his mouth.
“Haha, heres a gift for you, lad!” Director Olivier grinned as his thick feet lumbered over to Ves and Minister Shederin in one of the guest lounges aboard the Vivacious Wal.
An honor guard stepped forward and accepted the gift-wrapped box on the clan patriarchs behalf.
The impassive guard performed a close-ranged scan and found nothing wrong.
In truth, the gift and everything on the shuttle that brought Olivier over had already been scanned multiple times by different devices.
This final check was mostly meant to convey a point.
Once Ves accepted the rectangular box and lifted it up and down in order to feel its heft.
According to Minister Shederin, the exchange of gifts was a time-honored diplomatic tradition.
Everyone liked to receive nice things, and giving gifts was a way for people to show they were considerate towards the recipient.
Gifts could either be symbolic or possess a substantial amount of value.
If the presents leaned towards the latter, then the relationship was usually more transactional in nature.
In other words, they were bribes.
In reality, the line between symbolic gifts and outright bribes wasnt so obvious.
More valuable gifts might be considered bribes in one jurisdiction and mere trinkets in another jurisdiction.
Neither the Pershams nor the Larkinsons needed to resort to anything dubious.
Their existing contract already satisfied their respective demands, so there was little reason to pursue more.
This instance was merely about deepening their friendship.
Just as the Pershams prepared a gift, so did the Larkinsons.
“Ah, I have a gift for you as well, director.
Here you go.” He said and waved his hand.
A smaller gift-wrapped box appeared from behind and floated over to the dwarf.
Director Olivier grabbed hold of it without any sense of guardedness.
As soon as it fell into his hand, the gravitic hold over the box vanished.
Both of them proceeded to remove the decorative packaging and opened their respective boxes.
The dwarf lifted his thick eyebrow as he held a small mech figurine.
It was a highly simplified but still exquisitely crafted representation of the Desolate Soldier.
As a product that was handmade by Ves, it possessed a glow, however weak.
“Since you have expressed so much interest in my mechs, craftsmanship and glows, I thought you would appreciate this little toy.
What you are experiencing right now is just a fraction that the mech pilots of my actual mechs take comfort in.
The only thing to take into account is that Im not sure how long its glow will last.”
Once Ves and his expeditionary fleet entered the Red Ocean, he wasnt sure whether the glow of this totem would still remain active.
The complication was that its source was the Solemn Guardian.
He always wondered how far his design spirits were able to stretch their influence.
He had a feeling that their range was substantially bigger than his own, but he did not dare to assume that it stretched across the entire Milky Way or beyond.
Perhaps his stronger design spirits came closer but it was still a stretch to think that their influence was able to stretch across hundreds of thousands of light-years.
Leaving behind a totem here or there would help him determine the range of the various influences that empowered his products.
“This figurine is based on your most-sold mech model, right” Director Olivier asked as he gazed at his gift in wonder.
“I can feel why so many people like it, especially if it comes with an affordable tag.”
“The Desolate Soldier is one of my older and earlier mech models.
I plan to come up with a revision of the original design eventually.
Im just waiting until I gain a bit more skill and newer technologies become available.
Right now, the original version is still able to keep up with more modern mechs despite being a lastgen design.”
The dwarf looked wistful at the figurine.
“With mechs like these, our empire would have become a lot more stable.
Back in the old days, every citizen of the Vulcan Empire worked towards the same goals.
We all wanted to make our people strong.
These days, I miss our common purpose.
Everyone is developing different ideas.
Some dwarves want to stay put while others want to expand into other star sectors.
Some of my people still insist that Vulcan is a human god while others have become convinced he is a dwarven god.”
“Whats your take on your patron god, director” Ves curiously asked.
“Hes a human god, of course!” Olivier replied without any hesitation.
“Every dwarf from the Paramount Province knows the truth.
Our faith in Vulcan was born there and we have always remained aware of who he truly is.
Those liars and cheats who claim that Vulcan is a dwarf are delusional.
As much as I like the idea of it, my faith still remains true.”
“That… is an admirable sentiment.”
Oliviers mood dropped.
“Its a pity that all of the younger dwarves no longer assume what their parents say are true.
Theyre getting more and more precocious.
Hah! They know nothing! These arrogant kids all grew up when the Vulcan Empire just entered its golden period.
They know little of the hardships involved with convincing foreign dwarves to support our case, fighting desperate battles against our former oppressors and making sure not to alarm the strongest human forces too soon.
No, they just assume that dwarves like us were always invincible and that Vulcan must also be one of us for that reason.”
The old dwarf began to ramble again, not caring too much that he was in the company of other humans.
Ves and Shederin liked Olivier for that reason.
While that took place, Ves looked down on his own gift.
A fat wine bottle rested in the box that he received.
He held it by the neck and slowly lifted it up in order to study its label closer.
[ORIGINAL DESALA X AMBROSIA – TRADITIONAL RECIPE OF BLESSED VULCAN – XANTUR IRON BARREL AGED – 405 AOM]
Ves felt very weird all of a sudden.
He briefly recalled his attempt to raise the morale of the dwarven rebels during his last Mastery experience.
Back then, he was less than impressed by the ignorant and incompetent members of the Desala Resistance Movement.
Though they were inventive enough to set up a hidden base right beneath their oppressors, they were woefully under equipped and underprepared to fight against the guard force of House Kantis.
As a student of General Verle, Ves knew that one of the deciding factors that could determine the outcome of a battle was morale.
If the dwarves launched their escape attempt against the humans like normal, then they would have definitely lost heart once they understood how much they were outgunned!
This was why Ves employed a variety of tricks that were known to work.
Pretending to be Vulcan aroused their religious fervor and limited their rational thinking.
The less logic they employed, the less they questioned the purpose of their actions.
Stuffing their bodies with alcohol was also a guaranteed way to relax and distract soldiers before they were sent into the meat grinder.
Though the dwarves werent able to get their hands on human-produced drinks, that didnt stop Ves.
Though he was a mech designer by profession, he learned enough science at school to know the basics on how alcohol was brewed.
The oldest and least sophisticated way to produce alcoholic drinks was to stuff a lot of food in a vat and let it ferment for a time.
This sounded just like letting food rot, but the difference was that the chemical reactions were more controlled as the germs ate various sugars and produced ethanol along with other byproducts.
Ves employed this exact method without much care for sanitation and formulas.
Ethanol was naturally deadly against bacteria and fungi after all.
If this crude process worked for ancient humans who had yet to recognize blue as a distinct color, then it would work for him as well!
Of course, instead of using grapes and hops, Ves used the only food available to the dwarves at the time.
The contents of nutrient packs contained sugar compounds as well so there was no reason why it shouldnt ferment.
It was actually a favorite if extremely dangerous pastime of bored spacers who were stuck on the same berth for years at a time.
The only real challenge he faced was that the fermentation process took time.
Ves increased the temperature but the lack of time resulted in a rather weak brew by modern human standards.
The resulting drink he casually called ambrosio still succeeded in intoxicating the dwarven miners! Despite their strong and robust bodies, they never enjoyed any drinks in their entire lives, so none of them built up any tolerance for alcohol!
When Ves checked the alcohol content of the bottle he received, he noticed that thisoriginal ambrosia was indeed on the weaker side.
“Is this truly an authentic recipe” Ves skeptically asked.
“Of course! We dwarves take our ambrosia seriously!” Olivier shouted.
“The original recipe isnt too popular these days as there are better tasting ambrosias on the market, but the original recipe brewed from Desala X is still precious to us! Vulcan himself has introduced our kind to the pleasures of alcohol with this blessed recipe.
The best scientists and brewmasters from our empire studied and reconstructed our gods original brewing process, allowing us to produce the nectar that has divinely inspired the original rebels once again.
Traditional ambrosia is still used in important ceremonies and religious occasions.
What youre holding is a blessed piece of history.”
Ves didnt feel any blessings or anything special from the bottle.
It was just a mass-produced version of the swill that he had originally produced.
Still, he appreciated the intent of this gift even though he thought it was probably trash.
“Thank you for this gift, Olivier.
I love exploring new cultures, and this ambrosia of yours is certainly an important part of your people.”
“What are you waiting for Crack it open and try it out! This bottle is from my personal collection.
I wanted to age it more but considering our friendship I thought it would be great to share this drink with you today.
You wont regret it, patriarch!”
They did what the dwarf suggested.
When Ves lifted his wine glass to his lips and smelled the ambrosia, he almost went back in time.
This was indeed close to his original brew!
It was too bad that the taste left a lot to be desired.
Not all traditions were necessarily great.
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