With the breakdown effect breathing down their necks and an expert pilot of uncertain loyalties in their midst, Ves foresaw looming disasters over the horizon.
The biggest problem with the latter was that few believed that Venerable Xie would stab them in the back. After a long time of acclimating to the Vandals, the expert pilot became their new permanent fixture. With no outward signs of doubt and alienation, everyone thought the foreign expert pilot from the Dark Plasma Star Sector had fully integrated into this latest chapter in his life.
While Talkative Jimmy and some of his acquaintances may have become aware of some of the dangers due to Ves, how could they know the depth of the problem?
The biggest reason why Ves couldn't tell Jimmy or Captain Byrd of the magnitude of the problem was because he broke a serious taboo. Any attempt at brainwashing an expert pilot received serious condemnation no matter how benign the reason may be!
With Major Verle stuck directing the fleet in orbit, Ves had no other confidants to confide in this matter.
Even if he wanted to do something, now might not be the time. This was because the Vesians that managed to reach the Aeon Corona System already showed off at least one expert pilot.
Many expert pilots didn't put much distinction between landbound and spaceborn combat so long as they possessed an expert mech tailored for each environment. The only reason why most regular mech pilots only specialized in one environment these days was because it took too much training to train them to be good in both.
It was a matter of specialization.
A decent mech pilot already took fifteen years to train. If they spent all fifteen years training to excel in landbound combat, such a mech pilot could easily be twice as skilled than a mech pilot that split his attention between landbound and spaceborn combat.
Expert pilots didn't suffer from the same constraints. Their overall skill level and learning ability surpassed the human norm. Even experts who previously dedicated in landbound, aerial or spaceborn combat for all their lives quickly became proficient in operating in other environments soon after they advanced to their current ranks.
When the Vesian fleet initially repelled the ambush from the worshippers of Haatumak, they showed off at least one expert pilot. Though the battle took place in space, who knew if the Vesians deployed that same expert with their ground forces?
Furthermore, what if they brought more than one expert?
This was a very realistic possibility. Therefore, even if Ves wanted to go behind everyone's backs and do something to Venerable Xie, he could only hold in his impulses until they finally completed their confrontation with the Vesians.
Ves didn't believe the Vesians would be stumped by the breakdown effect. They would surely be able to make it to the Starlight Megalodon. There, the Vandals would finally be able to contribute to the war effort again by ruining the plans of their hated foes.
"The Vesians hate us so much that they won't even care about Venerable Xie's old allegiances. He's as much at risk of annihilation as the rest of us. He also needs to get a ride out of this star system."Find authorized novels in Webnovel，faster updates, better experience，Please click www.webnovel.com for visiting.
While the possibility that Venerable Xie would band together with their enemies still existed, Ves didn't think such an outcome was in the cards. There was no point in grooming mech pilots into his loyalists if that was the case.
Still, the man might be doing that in order to fool people like Ves and Jimmy.
What was Venerable Xie's endgame?
"Whatever the case, I'm nowhere near a solution than before. Not without turning every Vandal in my enemy and stripping our ground forces of an indispensable champion."
Ves already developed some drastic plans, but he didn't think about enacting any of them before the Flagrant Swordmaidens encountered the Vesians.
For now, he returned to other matters. Now that a significant time went by since they gathered all of the experimental data, the beast rider project that Ves presided over finally came within reach of completing its goals.
After a day of collating data and incorporating the latest insights in his latest work, Ves borrowed a 3D printer and fabricated five different neural interfaces.
All of them shared the same starting point, but differed from each other in crucial areas. Ves wanted to fabricate even more variants, but figured that the risk of testing so many newly-developed neural interfaces posed too much of a risk.
Ves was not an expert in neural interfaces!
He reminded himself of this fact over and over again because the neural interfaces he designed might pose a significant threat to anyone who utilized them! Ves simply couldn't predict the danger because he lacked too much expertise in this difficult field!
Each neural interface consisted of a big metal box and a customized set of helmets. The beast rider only needed to wear the helmets, as this would be the medium that connected their minds to the hardware inside the box.
The box contained a lot of hardware that processed incoming and outgoing data from the mech pilot's helmet and the organic neural interface buried inside Qilanxo's skull. It also contained a lot of customized programming including the essential translation filter that Ves went through an enormous amount of effort to make.
Almost half of the data that Ves came in touch with contributed to the development of the translation filter.
Each neural interface variant also carried different versions of the translation filter.
When Ves placed the five sets of components on a long table, he admired the finished products for a bit. "These are the fruits of our labor. So much time has passed, and it is only through gathering an extensive amount of data from performing a battery of tests on some captive wild gods that we completed it at all."
All the other experts of the beast rider project gazed at the neural interfaces with mixed expressions. Each of them looked tired as they processed the data and completed their analyses at breakneck pace since the first tranches of data poured in. Some even felt they had become a part of history by contributing to the development of a device never seen before in the galaxy.
These were neural interfaces meant to be used by beast riders attempting to connect with the minds of one of the most powerful and unique lifeforms on Seven!
No one had ever heard of anything like the god species of Seven emerging elsewhere in the galaxy. Didn't that make them pioneers? Even if humanity already already mastered something similar elsewhere in the galaxy, they still felt proud at the thought of pushing the boundaries of existing knowledge and developing something entirely novel!
"It's not over yet." Ves cautioned the researchers who all looked forward to a few good nights of sleep. "None of these neural interfaces may work. Some may even be outright dangerous to our beast riders. We can only find out if they're any good if we perform some live testing."
This presented a lot of controversy. Considering the risks, how could they even know if the neural interface didn't endanger the lives of anyone who made use of them? They had no baseline to work with at all. Simulating the results didn't work because they couldn't model the man-beast connection.
This was the inherent challenge of developing something drastically new! They didn't know if they nailed the neural interfaces or accidently developed a handful of new murder devices!
This problem haunted them since the start of the beast rider project. Fortunately, with that much time, Ves eventually came up with a somewhat viable solution.
"It's too irresponsible to subject our beast riders or any other mech pilot to test out these neural interfaces." He said. Then he grinned. "This is why our first tests will be performed with the help of our dwarf captives."
The wildlings differed enormously from baseline humans, but they still made for viable test subjects if Ves temporarily switched off the translation filters. After all, the thought patterns of the dwarves needed no translation. They already came in the correct format to interface correctly with the god species.
Two problems emerged if they wanted to perform these tests. First, they no longer had any living wild gods on hand. They could either go out and capture one, which was a bit of a hassle, or ask for Qilanxo to play along.
The second problem was that dwarves already possessed the same functionality as the beast rider neural interfaces. In order to avoid complications and invalid results, the exobiologists needed to operate inside their brains and disable their organic connectors.
As none of the exobiologists completely understood their brains, such an operation would be rife with errors and complications.
Nonetheless, they had no choice but to proceed.
Ves nodded to their resident exobiologist. "Prepare twenty dwarf captives for surgery. If any of them croak for any reason, then take out another one. Make sure to draw on the dwarf captives imprisoned in the Mind Blender first, as they have shown a proven capability to interface with mechs."
Once he issued some other orders to prepare for the testing, Ves personally sought out Qilanxo to ask for a favor.
"Please cooperate with tests." He pleaded to the sacred god. "Are you willing to allow our dwarf test subjects to interface with your mind through our newly-developed neural interfaces? It's for your own good! Once we succeed, we can finally enable Captain Orfan and Lieutenant Dise to connect directly with your mind!"
Qilanxo stared at Ves for one second with her huge eyes before releasing an angry roar. Ves almost bowled over from the strong and awful-smelling breath released by her indignant roar!
"Okay. Message received." Ves said before quickly withdrew.
The beast rider project still needed access to at least one exobeast to perform their tests. Though making use with a wild god added a couple of undesirable variables, Ves didn't think it would make too much of a difference and skew the results too badly.
The most important benefit to using a wildling captive and a wild god was that they didn't care for their welfare! Even if the dwarf captive fried his brains or if the wild god became insane, how did that affect the Flagrant Swordmaidens?
The beast rider project could simply order them to capture other test subjects. The planet was so huge and lush with life that they could easily bump into a wild god regardless where they traveled. The scout mechs ranging out of the current location of their camp already mapped the positions of at least eight nearby wild gods within several hundred kilometers!
The dwarfs were even more numerous, with small tribes popping all over the place wherever the huge animal herds grazed the fast-growing grasses and foliage.
In fact, as soon as Ves gave the order, the Vandals quickly sent out a double squad to subdue the nearest wild god within a day. Because the beast was too big and heavy to bring back to the camp, Ves and the other experts participating in the research project all boarded into a fast transport along with some essential equipment and made their way to the unlucky wild god.
"Alright, let's get things ready!"
Once there, they set up their equipment and inserted all kinds of sensors and monitors into the wild god. In particular, they placed most of their sensors near the head of the wild god to monitor its brain activity.
Once they made their preparations, they brought out a random dwarf captive and placed them into a specialized restraining chair installed on top of the back of the subdued wild god. A box rested behind the chair, while a researcher affixed the helmet component onto the dwarf's head.
"The dwarf looks kind of out of it." Ves remarked. "Are you sure you didn't botch his brain surgery somehow?"
An exobiologist besides him smiled. "That's only due to the sedatives we pumped inside his bloodstream. We've already injected a counteragent to flush the sedatives. The dwarf will certainly regain his wits in ten more minutes. By then, he'll be sober enough to participate in this experiment."
"Alright." Ves nodded, accepting the explanation. "Well, if anything goes wrong, it's a good thing we brought some spares. we still have nineteen more dwarf captives to go through."
Within fifteen minutes, everything was set in place. Once they performed their final checks, Ves issued the command that everyone had been waiting for. "Commence the first test!"