Once the order had been given to establish first contact with the city with the temporary designation of A27, the entire camp went into a frenzy. Everyone received a couple of hours to prepare for the fairly lengthy trip.
Ves spent an hour checking over the forty mechs from Captain Orfan's assault company. Though some of the mechs deployed to the surface with various issues, most of them had been fixed by now, and the problems that remained required a lot of time to resolve.
The assault company's mech lineup lent itself well to a forceful assault where a combination of raw power and aggressive mobility enabled them to attack quickly and with considerable momentum.
True to the Vandals, all of the mechs consisted of Vesian-standard mechs looted from Vesian trade convoys and production facilities. In practice, this did not lead to too much inconvenience as long as the entire mech regiment stuck to the same standards.
Vesian mechs possessed their own idiosyncrasies that Ves became intimately aware of after months of having them under his supervision. He actually started to forget how a Brighter mech looked like.
Two controversies popped up at the end of the meeting earlier. One question was whether the first contact delegation would be joined by Venerable Karol Xie in his Pale Dancer.
Eventually, Captain Byrd denied the suggestion for various reasons. "From my understanding, the Pale Dancer still requires extensive tweaks to ready it for heavy gravity conditions, so will remain stuck in the workshop for the foreseeable time. In addition, I am not entirely reassured in leaving our portion of the camp without a champion that can deter Commander Lydia of the Swordmaidens. Besides, from the destitute state of their city, I don't think they are powerful enough to be able to match the strength of an expert pilot. This is a diplomatic mission, not a conquest mission."
Ves himself did not know what to make of Venerable Xie. He became a little less certain if his tampering on the neural interfaces produced the desired result. At the very least, it appeared the side effects turned out to be more severe than anyone had anticipated.
It had grown so bad that Ves sneakily isolated himself with the Pale Dancer, activated his signal jammer, and quickly accessed its neural interface's programming to dial down the effects of his tampering.
Hopefully, this would lessen the side effects while preventing Venerable Xie from regaining his clarity regarding his old loyalties. Most crucially, Ves also tamped down the destructive performance boost so that the expert pilot would last a little longer before keeling over from wearing out his nerves.
The second issue was whether any of the Akkara heavy cannoneers would be joining the escorts. Both Captain Byrd and Ves shook their heads.
The Vandals did not send down a lot of heavy mechs for various reasons. First, the fleet needed them more in order to give their combat carriers a leg up in terms of ranged firepower. Second, the crushing gravity amplified the weight of a heavy mech that already weighed five times more than a medium mech into a nearly immovable bounder that suddenly weighed six times more than that!
In other words, a single heavy mech expended thirty times as much energy as a regular mech under standard gravity to move!
The energy budget of the ground forces squealed like a tortured pig each time the Vandals sent down another Akkara mech. They were so heavy that their strongest transport could only bring them down one by one.
In the end, they decided to send down just ten heavy mechs, and employ them as nothing more than base turrets.
Sending them out with the first contact delegation not only lengthened the trip by several times, they also negated most of the assault company's advantages in mobility.
The heavy mechs moved so slowly and expended so much energy that the Vandals had to improvise and design specialized legged transports to carry them over a distance at a faster pace but without expending too much energy.
It would have been ideal if the ground forces could make use of tracked or wheeled transports for their efficiency, but unfortunately Seven exhibited a lot of rough and even terrain that made such means of transportation impractical.
Babysitting these heavy mechs consumed an inordinate amount of attention and resources. Fortunately, Ves didn't need to pay too much attention to them after issuing a couple of instructions. The most important work consisted of building their 'chariots', and that involved other disciplines which the Vandals could perform on their own.
"I don't even know if bringing along these heavy mechs are more trouble than they are worth."
While they could pump out a lot of firepower, the Vandals opted to bring only a limited amount of ammunition for their ballistic cannons. Not only did the shells weigh so much that they burdened their transport capacity, the mechs were simply not very cost-effective on a planet that amplified everything's gravity by six times.
They couldn't even move outside of the influence of strong antigrav fields!
Compared to the chariots that needed more time to be assembled, Ves expressed much more interest in the so-called fast transports. These lighter legged transports resembled narrow beetles in their overall shape. Dedicated to transporting troops and passengers, they moved a lot faster than any of the cargo transports, enough to keep up with a company of mechs with active gravitic backpacks on a swift jog.
Of course, they wouldn't be visiting without supplies. A cargo transport would be taking part of the first contact mission as well, as the mechs needed the extra batteries and energy cells to keep the gravitic backpacks mounted to the mechs fed.
Captain Byrd also ordered the cargo transport to be loaded with various valuables that they might be able to use to barter for goods or information from the natives. Data pads containing basic knowledge, small generators, anti-grav modules, junk exotics, nutrient packs and more had been stuffed in the cargo holds, just waiting to be traded away.
Out of respect for the CFA, Captain Byrd invested heavily in accomplishing a peaceful first contact. If the situation somehow devolved into violence, it was important for the Vandals and the Swordmaidens not to throw the first punch or provoke the locals into lashing out.
Ves found it kind of funny that the Vandals prioritized staying into the CFA's good graces even as they attempted to loot one of their crash-landed battleships. He wasn't even sure how they planned to get away with that deed, but then again a lot of shady dealings happened behind the scenes.
Before Ves boarded the fast transport which would be carrying Captain Byrd and her staff, he spent some time in incorporating his new present into his combat armor.
Compared to the small backup knives embedded into hidden compartments into his armor, the Cadisis was larger but infinitely more capable. Ves experimentally punched the tip through a spare piece of armor plating and managed to punch it through with only a moderate effort on his part.
After performing a few more tests in which the stiletto-style knife remained as sharp as ever, Ves expressed his admiration at its craftsmanship. "What an amazing weapon! This weapon is built to pierce through armor!"Find authorized novels in Webnovel，faster updates, better experience，Please click www.webnovel.com for visiting.
A hunger for knowledge ignited in his heart. The techniques involved in forging this weapon was exquisite. The alloys utilized to make it so strong yet so sharp remained a mystery to Ves, because when he put it under a scanner, the device simply failed to register the object!
"How is it able to evade the scanning?"
Ves immediately understood that the swordsmith incorporated an entirely different form of stealth than the stealth tech that he painstakingly studied. The Six-Sided Dice that he built with Avanaeon relied entirely on active stealth systems that ran on power, while the unassuming-looking Cadicis evaded almost every form of detection due to its material composition alone!
"I'm going to need an industrial scanner tweaked to exacting settings if I ever want to figure out its composition." He sighed.
His private lab at the Mech Nursery contained such a rig, but out here on the field he had access to no such thing. For now, the Cadisis remained as inscrutable as the Amestendira.
"At least I figured out some more uses for this gift."
The Amastendira was his trump card that he didn't really wish to show off whenever he landed himself in a spot of trouble. As the previous incident with the Acolyte in the shuttle had shown him, the weapon was way too powerful for its own good, and dialing down its standard power setting took too long in emergencies.
The weapon also released too much emissions that made it impossible for Ves to employ the weapon with any degree of stealth.
The Cadisis on the other hand exemplified stealth, especially after Ves incorporated it into a hidden holster integrated in his Earth Ant's vambrace. Upon activating a hidden command, the Cadisis discreetly slid out into his armored palm, allowing him to wield the weapon in a stable grip out of sight and without throwing up any noise.
Of course, outwardly Ves maintained the illusion of being nothing more than a noncombatant with hardly any combat power. The Earth Ant had been designed to look as plain an non-threatening as powerful for a suit of light combat armor. While it looked a little thicker than the combat armor worn by other support personnel, an enemy would probably chalk it up to his insecurity.
The only weapon he deigned to carry outwardly was a standard-issue laser pistol. While he would have ordinarily chosen to carry a ballistic pistol to balance out the Amastendira's damage type, any form of projectile weapons simply performed like crap on this heavy gravity planet. They only maintained their effectiveness under the influence of antigrav fields, which didn't cover much terrain at all.
"Mr. Larkinson! It's time! Captain Byrd requests you to board the fast transport with immediate haste!"
Ves waved away the messenger and quickly adorned his Earth Ant after he completed his jury-rigged modifications. The combat armor felt as responsive as ever, and a quick check to its systems showed that he didn't screw anything up.
Satisfied with his preparations, he grabbed a spare infantry-sized gravitic backpack and attached it to the standardized slot in the rear of his armor.
Everyone wore one by default. If they ever found themselves outside of the influence of an antigrav field, they needed to rely on it to see themselves to safety before its batteries expired.
Exiting the workshop, Ves crossed the base and walked to the edge of the camp where a full mech company stood in an impressive-looking column. The tall mechs made for an intimidating sight, and the Vandals hoped that the sight of them would be enough to deter any malicious thoughts from the natives they were about to contact.
As Ves walked up to the ramp extended from the fast transport, he entered its shuttle-like interior and found that heavily-armed security officers occupied most of the seats.
He tracked down the other experts at the very front of the passenger compartments. He plopped himself down on one of the oversized seats meant to accommodate exoskeleton soldiers and greeted the man sitting in the next chair over.
"Hey. You're Chief Dakkon, right?"
"Yep." The older man replied. "I've heard about you as well. You're the famously young head designer of our little club. When we first heard a squirt like you got field promoted to your current posting, none of us thought you'd be able to keep all of our mechs together. We all expected you to crash and burn in a couple of weeks."
Ves grinned. "Well, sorry to beat your expectations, but not a lot of mechs have blown up under my watch. So, which starship did you come from? I haven't seen you before."
"That's not a surprise because I'm one of the chief engineers of the Beggar's Bounty. While my main responsibility is to keep the fat logistics ship running, I'm also cross-trained in heavy industrial machinery. That makes me very suitable to help oversee the industrial activities the ground forces are engaged with. All of our mining activities and the production of the legged transports fall under my watch."
Ves looked very surprised at Dakkon. He hadn't expected to meet such a capable engineer among the Vandals. He suddenly grew very interested in the older man.