The battle between first-class mechs was an amazing visual spectacle to Ves. He eagerly took control over the transparent VIP booth's flight system to adjust his view.
"If there's no surprise, the Haspel Asps will handedly win this match." Benny commented besides Axelar's hover chair. "They completely surprised the Terminators, who expected the Asps to field a very different lineup of mechs."
One of the most exciting aspects about duels between first-class mechs was that it was always a question what configuration of multipurpose mechs a competing team might field next time. Every mech pilot in a first-rate superstate underwent intensive and arduous training in order to master multiple fighting styles at the same time.
Mech pilots with mediocre genetic aptitudes could forget about mastering the use of a multipurpose mech!
Axelar didn't resort to taking recreational stimulants for nothing during his own grueling years at the mech academies. At the elite institutions that the scion of the Streon Clan attended, the renowned mech instructors who presided over the mech cadets cared nothing about their illustrious backgrounds!
Right now, Ves witnessed the results of this highly selective training standards for mech pilots in action. The mech athletes of the Tyon Terminators and the Haspel Asps displayed an exceptionally broad proficiency in dozens of weapon and auxiliary systems!
Whereas the mech pilots of the Bright Republic already struggled with the meager amount of gimmicks that came with the Aurora Titans, the mech athletes competing in the Cube Arena multitasked many different functions without a single moment of hesitation!
The quality of mech pilots simply couldn't be compared.
If a mech pilot from the galactic rim suddenly entered the galactic center, then he would struggle to make use of more than ten percent of a first-class mech's full potential! Even the simpler Terran mechs were incomprehensible maze to the likes of Melkor, Raella and Melinda!
In contrast, if one of the mech athletes of the Terminators or the Asps visited the galactic rim, they could quickly dominate the dueling scene. Having mastered the use of all sorts of mech configurations and weapon systems, it was not very difficult for them to get used to the limitations of a specialized mech.
It was pretty much like piloting a crippled multipurpose mech that was stuck in a single narrow configuration.
A huge disparity existed between a Brighter mech pilot and a Terran mech pilot. The latter invested much more resources into the quality of their mechs and their training standards for mech pilots.
While Ves adjusted the position of his VIP booth, he recognized another crucial element.
Every Terran was genetically enhanced from the start! If their parents were already genetically superior from the start, then their offspring inherited those superior genes as well!
In addition, much like how the CFA offered gene optimization treatments to their own, each Terran enjoyed a lifelong regime of modest genetic updates.
Those with greater status and wealth like Axelar Streon enjoyed expertly tailored gene adjustments on par with CFA officers. Meanwhile the average citizen still made do with more modest treatments offered by the Terran government.
A vast gulf in parameters existed between a baseline human from the galactic rim and an average Terran citizen!
If the differences between the average people was already so pronounced, then the disparity grew even wider among mech pilots. All of the genetic and other types of enhancements available in the Greater Terran United Confederation meant that each mech pilot turned themselves into genetically-engineered super soldiers!
The result was that each mech athlete that competed in the Cube Arena today fought like quasi-expert candidates. All of them displayed an inhuman level of skill, reaction speed, multitasking that baseline humans simply couldn't match!
Not only that, but the well-trained mech athletes also displayed the instinctive cunning and sound judgement of an expert candidate while not actually being one themselves!
"None of the mech athletes are expert candidates, right, Benny?"
"Of course not Master Axelar." His attendant dutifully replied. "The instant an expert candidates emerges from the mech games, they are instantly taken to an elite mech corps. Expert candidates are simply too valuable to squander in an idle sport like the mech games."
Even in one of the most advanced superstates of human civilization, expert candidates and expert pilots were in short supply!
The restricted warfare the Terran clans engaged in meant that expert candidates and expert pilots didn't have to be afraid of being swamped by a gigantic horde of enemy mechs!
Both sides were only allowed to deploy an equal amount of mechs. Each expert pilot played an outsized role in an elite mech corps!
The match progressed as Ves predicted. Even though he didn't fully understand at least half of the high technology on display, it was easy to see that the fast, powerful and heavily-armored multipurpose cannoneer mopped the floor with the Tyon Terminators!
"The Terminators are faltering!"
Under the interference by the other mechs of the Haspel Asps, the Terminators could only sporadically pursue the heavy cannoneer. However, despite the range of functions at their disposal, the Terminator mechs failed to damage the heavy cannoneer!
The well-designed mech fielded by the Asp simply dodged or outran any Terminator mech with the offensive power to punch through its armor.
As for the lighter Terminator mechs that could match their opponent's speed, the heavy cannoneer simply decided to withstand the light attacks while saturing their foes with area bombardment!
"What a cheat mech!" Ves sighed. It was a nightmare to face this kind of mech in battle.
At some point, the Terminators adopted a defensive posture, indicating that they intended to wait until the highly-mobile heavy cannoneer exhausted the ammunition reserves for its main cannons.
That was a big mistake!
While Ves recognized that the heavy cannoneer only carried so much ammunition, it possessed more than enough rounds to beat at least half of the Terminator mechs to a pulp!
Now that it was no longer being pursued so intensively, the powerful Asp mech began to chip away at the Terminators, starting with its fancy but insufficiently tough smart metal mech!
Even a thousand different transformations didn't prevent this mech from falling in battle. As soon as the mech lost functionality due to all of the smart metal being blasted away from its core frame, the Cube Arena projected a strong spherical shield around the wreckage in order to preserve the life of the mech pilot.
With one mech down, the Terminators immediately fell into a disadvantage. Group matches like these often hinged on which side managed to take out a mech from their opposition!
Although some of the mechs of the Asps didn't appear to be in good condition anymore, they had a much easier time in hindering the remaining Terminator mechs!
By the time the heavy cannoneer finally rain out of ammunition for its main cannons and resorted to taking potshots with its meager energy weapons, the Terminators only had two mechs left.
"The Haspel Asps has defeated the home team of the Tyon System! The Terminators have let down their fans!"
The majority of audience members were locals. Each of them booed the winners and expressed their dissatisfaction for the thorough trouncing of their home team!
The Haspel Asps paid little attention to the hostile masses. Every mech athlete got used to such reactions from the public. They were the away team, after all!
As the victory speech went underway, Ves figured it was time to enact his plan.
"The Terminators should have beaten the Haspel Asps!" Axelar's body angrily remarked.
"No team can guarantee victory, Master Axelar."
"The Asps are too devious! If not for making use of such a ridiculous mech configuration, they would have been trounced by our boys!"
Ves didn't really mean these words, but he made Axelar's body say them in order to prepare for his next action.
While Benny firmly limited Axelar's interactions, Ves intended to go around his gatekeeper by communicating in a very different fashion this time.
The key here was that Ves controlled the flight systems of the VIP booth!
During the match, Ves behaved like an honest enthusiast and used his control over the VIP booth's flight systems to get a better view of the action. He didn't employ too much speed and exerted a lot of care so that it did not approach any other VIP booths.
At this moment, Ves threw away all of his previous restraints. With a mighty jerk, Axelar's body violently pulled physically-projected elevation control!
The VIP booth that previous overlooked the arena area from above abruptly flew down! Automated safety controls quickly kicked into action and stalled its flight to prevent it from colliding against the protective shields.
Ves expected something like this to happen. He manipulated a different control that caused the booth to roll around its axis in a spinning fashion!
While Benny quickly moved to take Axelar's hands away from the projected flight controls, the antics of their VIP booth had not gone unnoticed!
One of the announcers reacted exactly as Ves expected!
"Look at the naked disrespect exhibited by this VIP booth!" The excited announcer said. "Ah, it's Master Axelar's personal booth! It seems that our local Streon clansman objects to the outcome of the match! Let us hear from the illustrious Axelar himself!"
The millions of disappointed fans of the Terminators immediately perked up upon hearing that. Was Axelar about to do something that could salvage their pride?
Benny looked aghast at his charge. If Axelar expressed a desire to contest the outcome of the match, then the bodyguard would have nodded in acknowledgement but quietly ignore the demand.
Yet now that Axelar attracted the attention of millions of local Tyons during an event that was broadcasted live throughout the galactic net, there was no possible way for Benny to force his charge to back down!
To back away after performing such a provocative action in public would shame the entire Streon Clan!
A huge set of projections appeared in the arena area, giving every member of the audience a good view of the interior of Axelar's VIP booth. Everyone stared rapturously at Axelar's body lounging lazily on his hover chair, waiting for him to open his mouth!
Ves began his show.
"Thank you for your attention. As a proud member of the ruling clan in the Streon System, I cannot stand by as a foreign team tramples upon the dignity of our star system!"
Axelar's body grinned. "The Asps may have defeated the Terminators, but they haven't overcome the best of what the Tyon System has to offer!"
The team captain of the Haspel Asps stepped forward from down below. "The Asps have beaten the mech pilots of your star systems once. We are not afraid of thrashing you a second time!"
"Hahahaha!" Axelar's body arrogantly laughed. "If you're so confident, how about facing me in battle tomorrow in this very arena? Let's have a one-on-one mech duel to determine whether the Haspel System or the Tyon System are the best!"
The crowd went wild! While they didn't have a good idea of Axelar Streon's skill in piloting mechs, it should be quite considerable considering his high status.
The team leader of the Haspel Asps was not a timid person by any means. "Sure! I'll face you in battle myself! I hope the mech arena is ready to shield your cockpit from the destruction I'm about to unleash tomorrow!"
"Hahaha! I should be the one to caution you! I am the best mech pilot of the Tyon System! As a future graduate of the Trail of Tears, I'm afraid I won't be able to hold back when we face each other with our mechs! A quick victory tomorrow will be a nice appetizer for what's in store for me in the future. Perhaps one day you'll have the privilege of boasting that you faced someone as impressive as me in combat!"
Benny tried to maintain an impassive face, but it was getting harder and harder to maintain his composure!
All of the smack talk that Axelar engaged in with the away team's leader increased his internal distress!
The more Axelar boasted, the harder it was to walk back on the challenge! At this point, no force in the galaxy could prevent Axelar from stepping into the Cube Arena in a mech!
Not only that, but Axelar publicly announced that he intended to participate in the Trail of Tears! Benny's attempt at stalling Axelar's application to the infamously grueling training program instantly became moot!