Chapter 5770: The Web Mistress

5770 The Web Mistress

The first day of the public inquiry had come and gone.

So much had happened that Ves and his team had been busy all night. They squeezed their networks for all of the information they could get. They also reviewed the arguments made during the first sessions and considered whether they should address additional issues during the second session.

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Ves had spent a lot of time strategizing, but he also made sure to take a few hours off in other to rest his mind and return to peak condition for the important day ahead.

"What is the public sentiment like?" He asked his latest recruit.

Kelsey Ampatoch had a good understanding and feel of the mech community due to previously working for Isthmus Manufacturing. He certainly possessed a lot more insight in the sentiments of customers than Jovy and Vector.

"It's a storm out there, sir." The former Rubarthan replied. "There is a lot of confusion, misinformation, grifting and tribalism taking place throughout human space. The good news is that your existing customer base is firmly behind you. In fact, each time you held a speech, you not only made up for lost ground, but significantly strengthened the loyalty and dedication of existing users of your products. They are highly sympathetic towards your cause and they have faith that you are going above and beyond to defend their interests."

Ves smiled at that. "All of the time and effort I spend on building up a good reputation and releasing mechs that people can fall in love with have paid off. I am sure that Master Alice Cantor is a good mech designer who has made many contributions to the mech industry, but the difference between me and her is that I am a well-known personality among the public. Master Cantor on the other hand has probably never made a name for herself outside of the most elite circles of society. I don't know what the Mech Supremacists were thinking by putting her forward as a speaker."

"Well, she has greater authorization and seniority than others in her faction." Jovy noted. "She is also a strong advocate of the necessity of serving mech pilots and the preservation of the divergence model. This is not the first time that a mech designer attempted to present an alternative to the officially accepted philosophy towards the relationship between mechs and mech pilots. The Mech Supremacists are extremely sensitive towards any deviations from the standard definition of mechs. They have a habit of behaving as the police of the mech industry."

"So they are busybodies who run around and tell other people what they cannot do with their mechs, is that right?" Ves frowned.

"Sort of. For example, they have fended off many attempts by other ambitious mech designers who sought to gain acceptance towards all kinds of extreme deviations such as demimechs, multi-pilot mechs, juggernauts, permanent mechs, alien mechs, starship mechs."

"Wait. I have heard about and even designed some of the former, but what are the latter?"

Both Jovy and Vector chuckled at the same time.

"It is not a surprise that you have never heard about them." Vector Loban spoke. "They are deemed too controversial, so our Association has always expended effort to suppress any discussion related to them. Their labels should already give you a clue on what they mean. Permanent mechs is a radical approach that attempts to establish a permanent interface between a mech and a mech pilot."

"What?!" Ves reacted with surprise! "Even I am not crazy enough to design such an absurd mech. How can pilots ever live a normal life among humans if his body is permanently caged in the cockpit of a machine?"

"You would be surprised how useful this may be to certain people. Permanent mechs are an idea that Transhumanists such as myself have entertained many times for reasons that you should already know. If a mech pilot permanently interfaces with a biomech to the point where separation no longer becomes possible, then the distinction between the two effectively becomes meaningless. The biomech has effectively become the pilot's new body. It is a pity that the Mech Supremacists are so protective of the original definition of mechs that they refuse to tolerate the existence of permanent mechs. Since they have managed to rally popular support, designing permanent mechs has become prohibited."

"I see. I don't mean to offend you, but I think the Mech Supremacists were right to discourage their development." Ves said as he showed clear signs of discomfort towards this idea. "What are alien mechs and starship mechs?"

"They are exactly as their names suggest. Alien mechs refer to the effort of developing mechs that can be piloted by non-

human races. There are plenty of scientific reasons why the invention and study of such mechs can enrich our understanding of mechs. However, the fear of giving away a highly effective war weapon to our alien adversaries has prevented many researchers from embarking on such projects. The Mech Supremacists are so adamant that mechs must retain an exclusive advantage to humans that they eventually persuaded the rest of the Association to ban this subject outright."

Ves actually found himself agreeing with the stance of the Mech Supremacists once again. "I would have done the same if I were in their place."

"Starship mechs are attempts to develop starships or warships that can be controlled by one or multiple potentates in order to establish superior control. It essentially requires mech designers to design a starship as if it is a juggernaut. Suffice to say, this idea only briefly got floated around before both the MTA and the CFA swiftly joined together to squash it down. Neither of the two wants to blur the line between starships and mechs."

The idea was plausible. Even Ves was able to come up with a rough plan on how to design a large starship that partially functioned like a mech. It was not technology that limited the development of starship mechs, but politics.

"Okay." He said. "I get why the Mech Supremacists have tried to suppress weird stuff like juggernauts and permanent mechs. What I cannot accept is that they think that living mechs deserve to be on this list. There is no way my works are as bad as the other ones!"

Jovy, Vector and Kelsey all exchanged knowing glances at each other.

"Uhm, Ves, that is your bias speaking." Jovy gently said. "You are hardly the most neutral and objective person to make this judgment. From the perspective of the Mech Supremacists, there are plenty of reasons to prohibit or at least restrict your products. They have a number of outrageous traits and they clearly subvert the divergence model that has defined mechs for multiple centuries."

"Are the majority of Mech Supremacists truly opposed to my living mechs?" Ves frowned. "I can't believe that all of them want to ban my products outright just because they do stuff a little differently from normal mechs."

"About that, Master Goldstein and others have investigated the opposition from this faction. We have finally managed to obtain more information about what the Mech Supremacists actually think and what they hope to accomplish during this public inquiry."

Ves and the others looked curiously at Jovy.

"Well. Get on with it. Tell me what is happening in this faction."

"First, you have to understand that many Mech Supremacists do not hold a strong animosity towards you and your works. They oppose living mechs out of principle, not necessarily because they consider them to be an acute threat or anything. Highly passionate opposers such as Master Alice Cantor are among the minority. What is highly relevant to you is that the people at the top are not neutral towards this subject matter. Even if they have not officially spoken out in favor or in opposition against your works, their opinions carry an enormous amount of weight."

Ves immediately grew concerned. "The Mech Supremacists are led by two Star Designers, right?"

"Correct. They do not have a god pilot among them, but that is not necessary. The unquestionable leader of this faction is the Lord of Thermodynamics. He is older than the Age of Mechs. He has experienced the final years of the Age of Conquest, so his beliefs and principles are strongly shaped by the prevailing events and ideologies of this chaotic period in history. He is a man who prizes stability over upheaval. He is much of the reason why the Mech Supremacists are still so protective over maintaining a narrow definition of mechs. Frankly, you should feel fortunate that tier 1 galactic citizens have agreed to refrain from directly interfering in this affair. Your living mechs have gained so much prominence that you have attracted a number of very powerful supporters and detractors."

The revelation that the oldest and arguably most powerful Star Designer of the Red Assocation did not have a good impression of living mechs provoked a multitude of reactions from Ves.

The Lord of Thermodynamics was a big deal!

His prestige was the greatest among the Star Designers in the Red Ocean. His contributions were countless and he was probably in touch with more secrets than anyone else in the Association.

There was no way that Ves could resist a directive from such a powerful figure.

Ves previously held a high regard for the Lord of Thermodynamics for making a huge number of contributions towards the power systems of mechs. The man was one of the principal figures responsible for allowing mechs to wield so much power in combat.

However, Ves also grew disappointed at the Star Designer's overly conservative stance towards mechs. The man was an old fossil who clung to his increasingly more outdated principles and beliefs as if this was the only way to prevent a repeat of the excesses of the Age of Conquest.

"What about the other leader of the Mech Supremacists? Where does the Web Mistress stand on this matter?"

The Web Mistress was not as influential as the Lord of Thermodynamics, but that did not mean she was a lightweight.

She was known as the Mother of Support Link Technology. She did not invent everything related to support link technology, but she definitely improved and perfected it to the point where it became a lot stronger and more practical!

Her inventions were so incredibly useful that they not only revolutionized the mech doctrines of first-class mechs, but also got adopted by the Common Fleet Alliance!

The ability to transfer energy from one machine to another was so damn useful that even the fleeters had no real choice but to embrace the signature innovations of a mecher!

"The Web Mistress was born during the Age of Mechs, so she is not as opposed to innovation as her older peer." Jovy explained. "She can be described as a moderate. She is not strongly opposed or supportive of living mechs. If she was in charge, then it is likely that she would have given your living mechs a chance, but only when you have put additional safeguards in place."

That was barely better, but still not ideal. Ves wanted to preserve his rights as much as possible. Any restrictions imposed by the Red Association would only shackle him and slow him down.

Ves scratched his head as he tried to figure out what this all meant for him and his works.

"So what is the ultimate purpose of the Mech Supremacists? What are they hoping to accomplish during this public inquiry?"


"If you have any relevant information, then please share it, Jovy."

The Reality Trickster hesitated for a few seconds before he decided to respond. "This is only a rumor, Ves. This is third-

hand or fourth-hand information, so take this information with a grain of salt. According to what Master Goldstein has heard from one of his old friends of this faction, some of the opposition towards your living mechs is not entirely about principles. Disputes about convergence and divergence are only a means to an end to this group, which may or may not include the Web Mistress. What they truly desire is control. They want to impose regulations on the proliferation of living mechs and more specifically their third order variety. What this means is that they want to control which living mechs have earned the right to evolve to third order. This effectively allows the Red Association to gain dominion over your works."

Ves' expression immediately turned ugly. "That... is so typical of you mechers."