Chapter 3484: Repeated Failures
The big day had come.
The Larkinsons spent a lot of time strategizing and preparing for their upcoming bout against the Glory of Urthina Battalion.
No one knew what the religious group might unveil during the semifinals.
The Urthinans had already shown a considerable amount of strength, but the possibility that they were still hiding secrets was great!
The Larkinson Battalion had to win the next match at all costs.
If they lost this time, they only had a chance of obtaining third place.
While winning 10 combat carriers sounded like a rich reward, it did not sound as great once everyone recalled how many mechs and mech pilots it took to grasp those warships.
If the hundreds of mechs and mech pilots all participated in smaller tournaments, then there was a possibility that the Larkinson Clan could have won more than a dozen combat carriers throughout the two week duration of the G-Aena League!
Not only that, the Larkinsons had already written off hundreds of mechs and would permanently lose at least hundreds more after fighting two more difficult battles!
It was not unacceptable for the Larkinson Clan to use up its main combat assets.
Producing mechs was its bread and butter.
The benefit of owning a factory ship like the Spirit of Bentheim was that the clan could easily churn out replacements as long as it had access to enough raw materials.
In contrast, it was a lot harder to build lots of good combat carriers with a respectable capacity of 60 mechs.
Although the clan already put the Diligent Ovenbird to work, it would still take at least a month or two to build a cheap, flimsy light carrier that could only carry 20 mechs at most!
None of the Larkinsons liked this plan.
Relying on an armada of flimsy light carriers to roam the dangerous new frontier was madness, especially when everyone fully understood the strength of the other human forces in the Red Ocean!
The existence of powerful or tricky organizations such as Quizlam Systems, the Ginetzy Family, the Heartfall Security Enterprise, the Church of Urthina and the Zpoeze Group all presented serious threats to the Larkinson Clan!
Although everyone was interacting peacefully with each other at the moment, that was because they were all residing in the Vulit Central Star Node.
Few Larkinsons forgot about the fact that the central star nodes were the exception rather than the rule.
The Big Two guaranteed absolutely safety to everyone residing in their direct territory, but that applied to just a small amount of star systems.
Most star systems in the Red Ocean were still wild, dangerous and devoid of order!
If the Golden Skull Alliance bumped into the main fleet of the Heartfall Security Enterprise, then it was questionable whether the latter would refrain from taking action.
While the Heartfallers performed relatively poorly in the arena, in reality the mercenary organization was much larger and stronger than the Larkinson Clan!
Just the Heartfall Security Enterprises quantity of mechs alone could flood a lot of smaller pioneering organizations!
In an actual fight against these forces, the Larkinson Clans dinky little light carriers probably wouldnt survive unless they could shelter behind larger ships.
That was fine, but it also turned them into burdens.
In the long run, it was better to get rid of these burdens and settle for proper combat carriers that were designed and built to endure the rigors of war.
It was just that there was no good channel for the Larkinson Clan to obtain additional carriers for the moment.
Even participating in the tournaments in Chance Bay was only a temporary channel.
The expeditionary fleet had to leave within the month, thereby cutting the Larkinsons off from this convenient method of earning new starships.
Therefore, the light carriers that everyone looked down upon still had a place in the Larkinson Clan.
No matter how crappy they performed, it was better than nothing!
“Weve got to win this next match.” Imon Ingvar said as he and Vincent Ricklin of all people had paid a visit to the Larkinson Battalion.
“The others arent winning that much.
Aside from exceptions such as Commander Sendra and her team of elite Swordmaidens and our best Penitent Sisters, the rest of our Larkinsons simply arent tournament worthy.”
Commander Casella Ingvar had spent all of her time on the Larkinson Clans participation in the G-Aena League up until now.
She hadnt paid any attention to how the other clansmen were doing.
Hearing that not a lot of Larkinsons were doing well did not sound good.
“How did the two of you fare” She asked in a suspicious tone.
Neither Imon nor Vincent looked proud.
They both lowered their heads like defeated dogs.
“We got smashed.” Imon admitted.
“Not once, not twice, but thrice.
If we fought in a regular tournament, we would have been able to beat the opposition.
The rules prevent us from bullying the weak.
We can only take part in a smaller number of competitions where expert candidates like us have to fight on equal ground.”
Casella already knew this, but she didnt think the Larkinson Clans own expert candidates would fare so badly.
“Youre a skilled mech pilot, Imon.
I can understand why someone as your friend over here gets taken out in the first round, but I expected better from you.
Ive already fought against a number of expert candidates in the G-Aena League and they arent particularly special from what Ive seen so far.
What is the reason why you arent faring so well in these contests”
Her brother sighed.
“Your situation is a lot better than ours.
Not only can you call upon the support of other friendly mechs, you also have the Quint.
Every other expert candidate in our clan has to make do with modified Bright Warriors.
Those mechs are decent, but not that special compared to other Red Ocean mechs.
It also doesnt help that they dont excel at anything.
Theyre geared towards accommodating less skilled and experienced mech pilots.
What we truly need is a high-end mech like the prime mechs that our clan used to field.
Without the right hardware, its hard for us to beat the competition.”
“Youre… youre putting all of the blame on your mechs.”
“You know Im right, Casella.
Weve all used the Bright Warriors for over a year now.
We know what they are like by now.
The Bright Warriors were designed for a different clan at a different time.”
Casella looked upset.
“Im not saying youre wrong, Imon, but its too easy for you to push all of the blame on your mechs.
We can only make do with the machines we have at the moment, so rather than do something that wont change anything such as complaining about them, why dont you try and improve your skills so you can overcome this handicap”
“Thats the thing, commander.
Weve tried to push ourselves harder after every defeat weve suffered, but…” Vincent didnt finish the sentence.
“Are they truly that good”
“They are, sister.” Imon Ingvar said.
“You cant imagine how many battle maniacs and desperados are taking part in these expert candidate tournaments.
Theyre all hungry and mad for advancement.
They fight as if their entire lives are on the line and destroy anyone they think is too weak to give them the stimulation they need to break through.”
Expert candidates were all on a time limit as far as they were concerned.
While they knew that they had the potential to become an expert pilot, that knowledge would not do them any good if they failed to take the most important step!
If they plodded along for too long and only managed to advance when they were at the end of their piloting careers, then what good would it do for them to undergo apotheosis
Demigods aged as well!
Since it was a lot harder for mech pilots to undergo life-prolonging treatment, hardly anyone was willing to spend extravagantly just to prolong the life of an expert pilot who already had one foot on his deathbed!
Given these circumstances, practically every expert candidate was desperate to break through.
Being able to fight repeatedly against other strong expert candidates in a safe environment was practically paradise to them, especially to the older generation.
Younger expert candidates like Imon and Vincent could only get abused in these kinds of events!
Their skills were too rough and rudimentary compared to those who underwent much better systematic training.
Their experience was lacking.
Though both of them had fought in numerous hard battles, there were expert candidates in Vulit that had fought in entire wars!
Their augmentations were also far behind.
Many expert candidates who originated from the galactic heartland and especially the galactic center enjoyed implants and genetic treatments that were at least a thousand times more expensive!
The only strong point of the Larkinson Clan was its mechs, but much of its design resources went into developing the expert mechs in the past year.
Although the effort was undoubtedly worth it, the problem right now was that no one organized any tournaments for expert pilots in the Vulit Central Star Node!
This was an understandable yet incredibly frustrating rule to the Larkinsons.
Despite the relatively recent breakthroughs of all of the clans expert pilots, as long as the masterwork expert mechs such as the Amaranto, the Shield of Samar and most promisingly the Everchanger entered the arena, there was little doubt the Larkinsons could compete against most rivals!
“Dont worry.” Casella said as she reached out and placed her hands on both of their shoulders.
“The Larkinson Battalion will succeed and bring home all of the combat carriers that you have missed out on.
Were all Larkinsons.
We stick up for each other.”
Imon and Vincent smiled and felt more at ease.
Though they still felt bad about their lack of success, they didnt shoulder all of the responsibility of winning combat carriers for the clan.
There were many other Larkinsons who were trying to fulfill the same goal.
As long as only a fraction of them succeeded, the Larkinson fleet would already be able to welcome dozens of crucial combat carriers!
“Commander! Its almost time! Please get ready to bring out the Quint.”
“Understood!” Casella responded to the mech designer that had been servicing her masterwork mech before turning back to her brother.
“I need to go now.
The arena awaits.”
“Good luck, sister.”
“I hope youll beat them, commander.”
The main gate that led into the large arena field slid open.
A flood of cheers, music and noise assaulted everyones ears.
The hype and attention surrounding the G-Aena League had practically quadrupled now that the competition had entered the semifinals!
Of the sixteen battalions that initially took part, only four of them were left.
Each one was undoubtedly the strongest of their respective groups.
With all of the flawed and mediocre competitors out of the way, the remaining matches of the G-Aena League would definitely give the spectators the high-intensity battles they craved!
As the announcers built up entire narratives surrounding the two battalions who were about to clash against each other, Commander Casella ignored all of the noise and only focused on her opponents and the Larkinson Battalions upcoming plan.
Ten kilometers away, the Glory of Urthina Battalion entered the main arena with confidence.
Their gleaming rows of green-and-yellow mechs were embellished by ornaments themed around the goddess Urthina.
“The grace of Urthina shines upon all of you!” The commander of the battalion broadcasted to the audience and remote spectators.
“Today, our goddess-blessed mechs shall smite the latest group of unbelievers who dare to hinder our holy mission.
Like the battalions we have defeated before, the Larkinsons shall be the latest ones to taste Urthinas punishment!”
Not a lot of people in the audience were sympathetic towards the arrogant Urthinans.
Their religion was unknown to most people and no one had much interest in converting to their beliefs.
Compared to these snooty fanatics, the crowd was much more eager to support the Larkinson Battalion!
“Smash the Urthinans!”
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