The Mech Touch

Chapter 5856 I Am On Fire
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Chapter 5856 I Am On Fire

5856 I Am On Fire

"Why is the Dominion of Man on fire?! It doesn't make any sense! There is no oxygen or other propellant in space that can sustain an exothermic reaction of this magnitude! The hull of the dreadnought has not sustained any apparent burn damage as far as we can observe."

"The fleeters are refusing to give us any answers. Professor Larkinson remains out of contact. The escort vessels surrounding the Dominion of Man have adjusted their formations. They are maintaining their distance while simultaneously remaining vigilant towards outside interference."

"From what I last heard of him, my prevailing theory is… that Larkinson couldn't resist the urge to apply his Carmine System to the Dominion of Man. I know it sounds unrealistic, but it is the only explanation that fits his eclectic capabilities! The dreadnought must possess special properties that coincidentally match the requirements of his Carmine System somehow. I think that the dreadnought's famous Spark Reactor has played a decisive role in this attempted transformation. That is the most reasonable explanation why the enormous hull appears to have caught fire."

Jovy Armalon answered a lot of calls ever since the Red Fleet began acting strangely.

What happened to the Dominion of Man only confirmed that Ves was ultimately responsible!

Master Goldstein and many other powerful leaders demanded a lot more answers than he could give at the moment. If not for the fact that mechers such as himself had not been invited over the Dominion of Man, he would have been able to supply much more exhaustive answers!

As Jovy continued to endure requests for more information, he pressed his fingers against his forehead.

Ves' latest actions had ignited yet another controversy!

"At least you are still here, Lucky."

"Meow." Lucky casually lounged on Jovy's lap as if he belonged on this spot.

"Your owner could truly do me a favor by being much more clear about what he intended to do today. He will be the death of me one day."

As interesting as it was to accompany Ves as he continued to come up with the most inventive and revolutionary initiatives a Senior Mech Designer could come up with, Jovy was starting to get tired of getting jerked around all of the time.

The more time and energy he spent on cleaning up after Ves, the less he could allocate his resources to his own personal mech design activities.

Still, it wasn't all that bad. Jovy had learned a lot of useful lessons from Ves that accelerated his progress.

As far as he was concerned, it would do RA mech designers a lot of good if they shadowed talented but unconventional mech designers for a few years. The changes in perspective and exposure to completely different approaches to mech design never failed to broaden people's horizons.

Alas, Jovy did not think that many of his fellow peers would be able to tolerate the sheer craziness that Ves regularly introduced to the cosmos!

"Why did he do this?!" Vector Loban looked ready to tear his hair out! "If our theory about applying the Carmine System to the Dominion of Man is correct, then Professor Larkinson has just committed a massive breach of confidentiality! No matter how many precautions he has taken, the fleeters may have gained crucial intelligence about the Carmine System and its many implications!"

Jovy directed a sympathetic glance towards the Transhumanist. "I do not know what Ves was thinking when he broke the rules. I can say that he is usually more diligent and attentive when it comes to abiding by his agreements. He must have his reasons to act on his own initiative and cooperate with the fleeters of all people. Regardless, it is not our place to judge him. We should leave that to the likes of the Xenotechnician and the Evolution Witch."

Vector Loban furrowed his brows. "The two leaders are too invested in him to withdraw their support. This has never been in question. It is the disapproval of other tier 1 galactic citizens that we must be concerned about. Known critics such as Fleet Admiral Amelie Jameson and the Energy Warder will capitalize on his overreach."

Jovy did not feel as much concern. He continued to stroke Lucky's back in an effort to ease his nerves.

"I think that Ves will remain just fine. The premise is that his gamble has paid off. If he truly manages to create the very first Carmine warship in existence… the Red Fleet will become ecstatic. Our Association won't necessarily be happy, but I think that there will be enough who understand that anything that increases the survival of red humanity is an act that should be pursued."

"Spoken like a true Survivalist." Vector grumbled. "You are the sort of mechers who would not hesitate to engineer the downfall of our Association if it is for the benefit of our race."

"Ves may have already done so by proposing to found the Red Collective." Jovy calmly responded. "Not that this is a probable outcome. Our faction keeps the rest of our Association in line. Enough of you are cognizant that we will do what is necessary to fulfill our mission. Our last conference has already proven that in spades. It is best to never test our bottom lines."

"There are times where I think that your Survivalist Faction is more extreme than the Unbound Humanity Faction. Only the Dissolution Faction and the Cosmopolitan Movement are more extreme. It is no surprise that you Survivalists are able to develop such a good relationship with Ves Larkinson."

Jovy took that as a compliment. "Thank you. I advise you to be more supportive for change if you truly want to earn his trust. He took the effort to call me shortly before he initiated his latest stunt, but he did not think to give you the same courtesy. I may have known him for years, but it is not as challenging to become his friend as you think. Alexa Streon has managed to work her way into his inner circle remarkably quickly."

The two mechers soon stopped their exchange of words as they went back to answering calls.

The mood among the people who were only able to observe what was happening from a distance was a lot different from the mood of the people who experienced the changes up close!

An enormous amount of personnel was stationed on the Dominion of Man. The dreadnought practically functioned like a moving colony settlement all by herself in terms of population!

Many of the spacers and officers who suited themselves up in high-quality hazard suits and combat armor that befitted their ranks initially experienced a series of strange sensations as they participated in the massive ritual.

They already found it odd that they had been ordered to make a lot of structural modifications to the power lines and substations and so on. They found it even more incomprehensible that they were instructed to manually alter the faces of many artworks featuring male figures.

"Why do we have to paint the supreme Mmarshal's face in every hallway and compartment?"

"Shut up and do your work. It is not our place to question our orders."

"A bot can repaint all of this in seconds and do a much better job than any of us." The man continued to complain. "Why must we do this ourselves? We are not even the original artists of these bulkhead murals."

"There is weirdness in the works. It has to be when the Argiles invited the developer of living mechs to our ship."

"Wait… are you suspecting that this is part of an effort to turn our dreadnought into the warship version of a living mech?"

"There is no other reasonable explanation. The sequence of events is obvious."

"This… this is impossible! Design philosophies are the principal reason why mechs are able to bend or break the laws of physics! It has never worked on warships unless the people responsible are Star Designers!"

"I do not know what gives Professor Larkinson the confidence that he can upgrade the Dominion of Man, but I would not count him out. The Argiles know what they are doing."

The sense of ritual grew heavier when the crucial moment arrived.

From the moment they received the order to shed their blood, each of them felt as if they had developed a closer relationship with the vessel somehow!

The seemingly nonsensical dances and other rituals initially caused them to question whether there was any functional benefit to engaging in these embarrassing acts, but they soon withheld their complaints as they developed an even closer relationship to the Dominion of Man.

"We are the guardians of mankind."

"Caramond Perle has led us once. He shall lead us again."

"I dedicate my heart and soul to the ideals of the supreme marshal!"

While the fleeters were not familiar with this phenomenon, their rituals and dedications all caused them to resonate with the Dominion of Man as well as the ancestral spirit that had just formed a connection with the dreadnought!

Though the resonance remained subtle enough to escape everyone's notice, this changed as soon as fire began to spread throughout the hull!

The Spark Reactor generated a vast amount of fire E energy!

Much of it remained isolated until it could safely be disposed, but the difference this time was that a portion of it deliberately bled into the conventional power lines that connected to every section of the dreadnought.

This produced many consequences.

At first, the spacers merely felt as if they were standing next to a blazing bonfire.

It was only later that the spread of fire-attributed E energy began to light several crucial ship systems on fire!

Not only did the Brain Trust and the Rubicon Spatial Transfer System inexplicably burst into flames, the same also happened to every single fleeter equipped with Dread Armor!

Initially, the soldiers wearing these heavy armors assumed they were under attack!

If not for their excellent training and discipline, a few of the more trigger-happy soldiers would have discharged their weapons by this time!

Fortunately, their protective suits did not indicate any obvious battle damage, so the troops quickly figured out that the flames did not pose any threat.

That did not mean that they could be ignored!

Not only did every person locked inside a Dread Armor feel awfully hot, but their powerful equipment actually felt as if the flames fueled their growth somehow!

Not a single piece of Dread Armor aboard the Dominion of Man was exempt from this phenomenon.

The fire phenomenon did not spread to the Dread Armor stored in the cargo hulls of supply ships or other storage sites.

One of the most notable Dread Armors that got 'refined' by the flames was the high-quality officer-grade unit worn by Volkert Argile himself!

It was precisely because the commander of the Dominion of Man experienced this phenomenon first-hand that he allowed this to proceed without making any attempt to interrupt the process!

"Are you in distress, skipper?!"

"I am not in pain." Argile waved his arm to fend off one of his adjutants. "I have sustained no injuries so far. Please continue to monitor my condition, but do not employ any safety measures unless you have actual proof of harm."

Though the Dread Armor became directly affected by the fiery refinement process, Dread Captain Argile did not remain completely unaffected!

A minute portion of the fire energy spilled into his body, causing subtle changes that he was barely able to notice.

Whether deliberate or not, Dread Captain Argile inexplicably felt more closely connected to the Dominion of Man.

It was a wonderful sensation. Volkert Argile had always wanted to master a ship as fine as the Dominion of Man to a greater degree, but there were limits to how much he learned about the dreadnought.

The fire energy coursing through his body enabled him to develop a closer bond with the Dominion of Man through other means.

Yet as the fires began to subside from his Dread Armor, the feeling grew weaker.

"No!"

A part of him wanted to take back this addictive sensation! Despite his strong discipline, the temptation to become one with his massive starship was too great for him to ignore!

"Come back and light me on fire!"

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