Ves obtained a lot of gains from his brief two-hour study. He learned a bit more on how the stealth crawler managed to hide itself from detection.
More importantly, however, Ves also managed to deduce the weaknesses of this application of stealth tech. More than that, he also deciphered some of the holes that circumvented these means.
These loopholes not only worked on the stealth crawler, but any other application of stealth that worked on the same technological principles. Ves guessed with a high degree of confidence that the infiltrator suits that Calabast and her operatives made use of shared the same principles!
As long as Ves tuned his stealth detector gadget with settings that exploited these loopholes, it might very well be possible for him to detect Calabast and her invisible bastards when they thought they were sneaky.
This gain may very well exceed his other gains. To be frank, Ves didn't learn all that new in terms of theory, but his insights in how to apply his knowledge on stealth tech made considerable leaps.
In any case, fortune blessed their journey as the stealth crawler made it all the way to the presumed border of the safe without a hitch.
They weren't alone.
The Vesian breakdown-proof mech pretty much parked themselves around perimeter to catch any Vandal or Swordmaiden stragglers that miraculously made it all the way through. They truly made a lot of effort in trying to prevent their mortal enemies from reaching the Starlight Megalodon.
Fortunately, the stealth crawler swaggered its way past the Vesian patrol without a hitch. Miss Calabast placed a lot of confidence in the stealth technology utilized by her organization, showing no hesitation in passing less than five-hundred meters from the nearest Vesian mech.
Ves and Ketis pretty shook in their suits of combat armor because the enemy mech could have easily noticed something amiss at that range. Fortunately, the stealth crawler did not leave behind any overt tracks as it calmly crawled forward.
"That was close!" Ketis exclaimed.
Ves tried to calm his shaking heart. "I think the only reason why we made it through is because those Vesian mechs aren't using the most advanced sensors and processors. A more modern mech would have noticed some environmental discrepancies."
Nonetheless, the safe zone finally came within reach. Ves studied the projection, but the stealth crawler's optical sensors only detected the vague outline of a colossal capital ship looming over everything in the vicinity.
The hazy contours of the Starlight Megalodon resembled a long and cylindrical whale that seemed to stretch out from one end of the horizon to the other. The length of the Starlight Megalodon absolutely matched many medium-sized cities, and though her width and height were shorter in order to present a narrow profile in battle, she still possessed a humongous amount of internal volume.
To call her a floating city fortress in space would be an understatement!
"Most space stations never match her size!"
Truly, a battleship more than eleven kilometers long served as the apex battle weapon of the human race. The human battleship defined the Age of Conquest and paved the way for humanity's rapid expansion and tyrannical self-destruction. They became the hammer in which humanity beat up the aliens and themselves to a pulp.Find authorized novels in Webnovel，faster updates, better experience，Please click www.webnovel.com for visiting.
Nowadays, only the Common Fleet Alliance and the Mech Trade Association commissioned battleships these days.
It sounded strange that the MTA made use of warships up to and including battleships, but they wouldn't be able to throw their weight around in the galaxy without the strength to back up their threats.
Yet no matter how well the MTA designed their battleships, they couldn't hold a candle to the largest and most powerful naval organization in the galaxy. The CFA truly knew their battleships, and even if the Starlight Megalodon was three-hundred years past her prime, she could still crack planets if she chose to. The evidence suggested that she miraculously retained some functionality over the years.
From this distance, the stealth crawler's sensors could also see the dense streams of astral winds escaping from a very visible crack near the stern of the battleship. Ves never got tired at the sight as nobody figured out how her FTL drives managed to sustain such a phenomena without degrading or breaking down.
FTL drives notoriously demanded a lot of maintenance, especially after heavy use or when they aged a couple of decades. By all rights, the Starlight Megalodon's FTL drives shouldn't have worked for so long.
The stealth crawler crossed over the invisible boundary claimed by the Starlight Megalodon. Just a few seconds after they entered, a pale beam instantly struck the entire vehicle.
The stealth crawler stopped. The occupants inside stopped. Their perception stopped. It was as if they were frozen in time!
A nearby Vesian tiger mech noticed the stasis beam and became alarmed. Just as it turned around to face the strange vehicle that managed to sneak to the safe zone from under their nose, a tractor beam reached out from the distance and lifted up the stealth crawler.
As soon as the crawler gained sufficient height, the tractor beam swiftly retracted the captured vehicle straight towards the Starlight Megalodon.
An uncertain amount of time later, the tractor beam placed down the stealth crawler at a clearing right before the hull of the battleship. The stasis beam that froze the stealth crawler also disengaged.
"How did we get so close all of a sudden?!"
To the occupants, the transition immediately threw them off balance. While Miss Calabast benefited from prior warning, both Ves and Ketis felt as if someone robbed them of their memories.
This was a highly unpleasant sensation!
"Calm down, you overdramatic mech designers! Nothing happened besides getting dragged over alongside the Starlight Megalodon. We're here."
The gravity of the situation dawned upon the two. Indeed, as soon as the hatch opened up and everyone stepped out, Ves looked up at the aged but mostly intact hull of the Starlight Megalodon in earnest.
Her metallic dark blue hull plating long lost its shine due to age and corrosion. What coating the battleship used to be covered with long wore out from millenia of exposure to the elements. This also wiped away most of the markings and symbols painted on her hull.
The only markings that remained were those embossed in her hull. Ves easily made out the giant words that proudly declared her identity.
"At least we got the right battleship." Ketis joked as she admired the battleship in her own way.
After so much time and so much travel, Ves almost couldn't believe he finally reached the fabled lost CFA capital ship.
What struck him the most about the Starlight Megalodon wasn't her immense size, nor the immense corvette-sized gun turrets. As an example of human engineering at its greatest height, Ves already expected the battleship to be an imposing colossus built for war.
"This is a battleship with history."
The Starlight Megalodon radiated an aura of age, majesty, dominance and invincibility. She possessed a faint, mixed but highly complex blend of meanings normally associated with historical relics.
The most historic machine that Ves had ever seen was the Larkinson Ancestor's personal mech. Back at Rittersberg, Ves never knew that the history and experiences of a machine could accumulate its X-Factor.
Yet even that impressive historical mech was a toy in front of the Starlight Megalodon.
Although only three-hundred years had passed in the outside galaxy, the surface of the planet experienced three-thousand years. Not only had the survivors of the crew spent their entire lives around the crashed battleship, many generations of their descendants must have lived their lives in the vicinity as well.
All of their accumulated beliefs and superstition continued to pile up on the Starlight Megalodon, causing it to become more than just a crashed vessel. It became a totem of belief, a container of spirituality ascribed by those who lived in this region.
Ves became intoxicated by her multifaceted X-Factor. All of his original mech designs may possess stronger and more concise X-Factors, but they were ultimately artificial constructs conjured up by his own imagination. Even if Ves considered his imagination to be vivid and rich, he was only a single individual.
His individual imagination could never surpass the imagination of millions of humans. This was the strength of a group!
Just witnessing the spiritual splendor of the battleship advanced his understanding of the X-Factor. The insights he gained from this glimpse alone almost made the entire trip worth it. Ves even developed some ideas on how to improve or replace his old Triple Division technique.
"Those constructs.. What is that?" Ketis asked as she gestured at the extra 'additions' built alongside the hull of the Starlight Megalodon.
Ves stared at the constructs and noted that they looked like primitive sand structures. It was as if someone built a partial sandcastle around the massive hull. The distribution of the sand structures was fairly random, and besides the open windows Ves couldn't tell anything else besides that they used to housed tens of thousands of people.
"Thoses sand structures are the principal reason why the Starlight Megalodon encountered a mishap three-hundred years ago." Miss Calabast smirked. "What you're looking at is the remains of a highly advanced sandman mothership."
Ves and Ketis practically jumped, but Miss Calabast quickly calmed them down.
"There's no danger here! The sandmen have all been rendered inert down to their sandman admiral. Right now, what you're seeing is their carcass. Over the years, the survivors of the Starlight Megalodon hollowed them out and turned them into living space."
If the crew of the Starlight Megalodon didn't see fit to remove all of the sand that constricted the battleship inside and out like an infectious disease, then the threat they posed must have long been gone by now.
Aeon Corona VII would have been a very different planet if the sandman mothership defeated the battleship and all of their crew.
Still, the knowledge that they were standing besides an immense sandman amalgamation didn't put them at ease. Most sandmen motherships posed little threat to a CFA warship, but certain sandmen admirals grew and learned to such an extent to where they became incredibly formidable.
A sandman mothership that dared to attack a CFA battleship and succeeded in constricting her to this extent should not be weak!
"If the Starlight Megalodon is riddled from inside-out with sandmen remains, is there anything left inside?" Ketis asked.
Miss Calabast snorted. "Look at the size of her. There's no way a single sandman mothership can crush her insides. We're fairly confident that the core compartments aren't affected. As for the outer compartments, perhaps thirty to fifty percent are grinded down with sand, but there's plenty of goodies left in the remaining compartments."
Her explanation put down their apprehensions. While Ves still questioned how such a formidable sandman mothership died all of a sudden, this wasn't the time to puzzle over these questions.
Miss Calabast led them alongside the battleship but didn't approach her yet. Ancient rusted prefab structures surrounded the crash site. Obviously, this area used to house a lot of people, but that was in the past. Not a single human emerged from these eerily empty structures.
When was the last time someone lived in this settlement?
After ten minutes of walking, the three finally came within view of some familiar mechs.
"There are Asterias and Enduring Protectors up ahead!" Ketis exclaimed!
Ves spotted the mechs poking above the structures up ahead and quickly counted their number. "All the mechs of the exploration party and the follow-up party that are unaccounted for are present! They're safe!"
Seeing those mechs dormant but unharmed and without a single scratch put down some of his worries. It seemed the Vandals and Swordmaidens trapped in the safe zone hadn't encountered any hazards that posed a threat to their mechs.
The huge, hulking form of Qilanxo resting close to the breakdown-proof mechs also reassured him somewhat.
Both Ketis and Ves eagerly wanted to reunite with possibly the only survivors of the Flagrant Swordmaiden ground forces.
"Can we go and meet our comrades?"
Miss Calabast casually gestured them forward."Go ahead. That's why I brought you here. You should understand their situation first. They're kind of stuck right now. Once you become acquainted with their difficulties, you'll see why its in your best interest to cooperate with us. I'll pick you up after twenty-four hours. Don't tell them about our existence. It's for their own good."
She sounded like she wasn't worried at all that Ves might possibly renege his end of the deal. This implied that Ves, Ketis and the other Flagrant Swordmaidens trapped in the safe had no way to progress inside the battleship without Calabast's assistance.
"We'll see." Ves replied.