Chapter 2514: Fellow Creators
In the end, was there any doubt?
Ves might be troubled if he tried to recruit someone who was absolutely unwilling to abandon everything and join a risky venture, but Vivian Tsai was not at that point. She merely didn't have enough time to weigh such a life-changing decision.
Since that was the case, Ves directly pre-empted her normal decision-making process by challenging her. Once he ignited her passion, he lured her in by offering her an implicit promise to turn her ship designs into reality.
This was enough to win her over!
"Will you really make use of my ship designs?"
"Yes." He said. "Of course, they will need to match my requirements and specifications. As long as your work conforms to what our Larkinson Clan needs, then I will do my best to find a shipyard to realize your work."
Of course, it was a lot more complicated than that. For one, Vivian simply couldn't design an entire capital ship from scratch by herself. She needed to hire an entire team of shipwrights, naval engineers and other technical experts in order to design an immense vessel filled with countless interconnected parts.
This was not something Ves had to worry about. He could leave these routine matters to Vivian. He just cared about acquiring the right principal shipwright to lead the Larkinson Clan's naval design operation.
As long as Vivian and her operation settled in, they could start designing unique starships that precisely fit the Larkinson Clan's needs. Ves might finally be able to add some distinct but very useful capital ships to his fleet that would surely be useful in the times to come!
Though he and the Tsais still needed to hash out a contract, as far as Ves was concerned, he could already consider Vivian a Larkinson. Once she entered the clan and formed a connection to the Larkinson Network, she would no longer have any thoughts about going back to her old life.
After explaining a bit more about what he expected from Vivian, Ves and her father stepped out of the workroom.
Lucky curiously floated around while Nitaa silently covered Ves' back.
Though there shouldn't be any threats on the passenger ship, who knew if someone wanted to act on Ves. In fact, Nitaa thought it was foolish for the Holy Son to step aboard a ship that wasn't under his control.
"I am glad that Vivian has decided to become a part of your clan." Erander spoke. He looked a lot more relieved than before. "She may not be very focused in her work sometimes, but she is earnest about designing starships that help people's lives."
"I can understand that. I hold the same mindset when designing my mechs. Machines make people's lives better. It is only through greater application of technology that we are able to further separate humanity from its primitive biological roots."
The Majestic Tealer threw an odd glance at Ves. "That is.. surprising to hear from you. I never imagined you would hold such a noble sentiment."
"Why is this surprising? We are both creators. We are both agents of order who work to provide solutions to people."
Erander awkwardly coughed. "Patriarch Larkinson, we create very different machines. The starships I design and build are purely civilian products. They pose no inherent threat to our fellow men once we deliver them to our customers. At best, you can argue that combat vessels such as fleet carriers can be used for destructive ends, but they are not engines of destruction. Mechs on the other hand…"
"I can understand why you would think that way, but I think you are discounting the role of mechs. Violence and war are an indispensable part of humanity. You cannot restrain our race's urge to fight. I think the Big Two has made the right decision to designate mechs as a reasonable alternative to warships as war-making tools. Ever since the Age of Mechs supplanted the Age of Conquest, our race has never engaged in mass slaughter on a galactic scale."
"Mechs are war machines. They are built for the express purpose to destroy. Even outside of battle, their mere existence inspires fear."
"I see that as good. It shows that mechs don't actually have to kill anyone or inflict any destruction to maintain order. Deterrence is essential to keep society running and to prevent our alien enemies from attacking our civilization."
"That does not make mechs righteous! While I respect your skill and efforts, I cannot disassociate mechs from death. The immensely prosperous mech industry is capable of supplying as many mechs that humanity wants. It is far too easy for people to get their hands on mechs. The ubiquity of mechs grants power to people who have no right to control dangerous weapons. Just look at Vicious Mountain! If their tribes and their glory-addled warlords aren't killing each other all the time, the Garlen Empire would have grown into a behemoth at this time!"
They couldn't come to a consensus. Their life experiences and backgrounds were far too different. The teachings they received also instilled different values and principles into their minds.
Shipwrights thought of themselves as the most important enablers of human advancement.
After all, the fate of modern humanity was undeniably tied to space! Without any means of crossing the stars, how could their race possibly bloom across the galaxy?
Of course, much of humanity's past and present success in its expansion rested on the destructive firepower of warships.
Erander Tsai conveniently left this special category of ships out of his consideration. He was just a civilian shipwright. Even if he designed a lot of ships, he had never touched warships before.
In fact, seeing the Gravada Knarlax was the closest that he could have ever gotten to a real warship!
Therefore, Ves did not take much stock in the Majestic Tealer's viewpoints. While it was correct to say that starships were indispensable to humanity, mechs served a purpose that was just as vital.
The Age of Mechs was a blessing to human civilization! There were very few alternatives to mechs that could capture people's imagination and wean them off their dependence on warships.
Despite their disagreements, Ves and Erander still respected each other. They were both very accomplished in their respective industries.
Just as Ves was about to enter his shuttle, the older man issued one last remark.
"As a parent, I am fearful of letting Vivian go. She will have to navigate life without my direct presence."
Ves turned to the older man. "You can still keep in touch with her through the galactic net. Though it's no substitute for hugs, she can still keep you in the loop."
"I know. It's just… family is difficult to part with. As a father, I know that every child must walk out of my shadow one day. It's just that I never anticipated doing so. Before I recognized the warning signs around the Harmony Association, I intended to keep her by my side until she learned everything she could from me. While I have changed my plans, I find it difficult to go through with them. The Red Ocean is too dangerous."
"Relax." Ves patted Erander's back. "Your daughter is in good hands. The Larkinson Clan welcomes every newcomer, especially one as capable as her. We aren't travelling to the Red Ocean on a whim. We plan to aggressively expand our strength in the coming years. Your daughter's role is indispensable as we are bound to acquire some core capital ships that will form the nucleus of our expeditionary fleet."
"I am glad that you intend to make good use of her capabilities. Shipwrights like her are often employed to tweak ship designs or realize upgrades to existing vessels. It is actually quite rare for people of our profession to make full use of our skills and develop brand-new ships and ship classes from scratch."
"Mech designers have to cope with similar circumstances. As long as Vivian is capable enough, I won't let her abilities go to waste."
Erander Tsai looked very pleased at that. It was a pleasure for shipbuilders like his daughter to become part of an organization that intended to acquire a lot of starships. The Larkinson Clan made no secrets about aspiring to become a nomadic, space-faring power. The Larkinsons would provide plenty of stimulating and meaningful work to his daughter and protege!
Once Ves left the passenger ship, he rode his shuttle back to the Stellar Chaser. He finally reunited with Gloriana in her mech workshop.
"You're back." She spoke.
"I'm back, honey." Ves smiled as he approached and embraced her in a hug.
"It's about time you returned. I've been waiting to fabricate the first production models of our mech designs for weeks."
"Don't worry. I'm looking forward to what we can accomplish as well. I've taken care of the most important issues. We shouldn't have much interruptions in the coming three weeks."
He still needed to stay on top of a couple developments such as the ongoing talks between the Larkinson Clan and the Cross Clan. Still, as long as nothing abrupt took place, Ves was inclined to let his clansmen handle most of the wheeling and dealing.
With someone as ambitious as the Skull Architect in the Cross Clan, there was no way he would allow the talks to founder. It was only a matter of time before the two clans joined forces.
Ves felt free to concentrate on his current priority. After completing six mech designs, he and his wife received six prime opportunities to make another masterwork mech.
It was just that the recently-married couple immediately stumbled upon their first problem.
"Due to our separation, the Valkyrie Redeemer we build out of our own hands won't strictly be the first production model anymore." Ves carefully noted.
That predictably caused his new wife to scowl. "THAT'S YOUR FAULT! If you didn't wander off into the Nyxian Gap, we wouldn't have been separated from each other for half a year. The Hex Army truly couldn't wait to deploy our Valkyrie Redeemers after receiving the complete design. Now our chance is practically gone!"
At their level, there was no hope of making any masterwork mechs unless they embarked on something of special significance.
So far, the two merely leaned on the fact that their fabrication attempts would produce the first true finished copy of a mech model. This sentiment was strong enough to bring them close to the required standard under optimal conditions.
Yet now that the two were about to fabricate their first Valkyrie Redeemer together, Gloriana's mood was already ruined due to the reason she had just stated.
Ves already knew this. He just didn't want to bring it up in order to remain positive.
"We should make the attempt anyway. Who knows. Maybe our copy is special."
Three days went by without success. Gloriana's foul mood ruled out any possibility of either of them entering into an inspired state. Their cooperation was stilted and the Valkyrie Redeemer mech they ended up with was one of the worst first attempts that Ves had ever made.
Certainly, it was a powerful mech that radiated a strong death-oriented glow.
Its quality wasn't quite up to par, though. There were too many disjointed areas which spoke of lack of concentration or lack of coordination.
Suffice to say, Gloriana wasn't very pleased by the outcome. Compared to her usual work, the Valkyrie Redeemer was an outright disaster!
"You need to get your act together, Ves! I won't allow you to make something this bad again!"
"It's been months since we last worked together!" He defended himself. "Both of us have progressed a lot during this time. It shouldn't be a surprise that we have to start over and learn how to work together again. Now that we know what to expect from each other, I think our next attempt will be better."
She scowled at him. "For your sake, I hope you will do better. Otherwise, our honeymoon ends early!"
"What? You can't do that!"
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