Chapter 5775: The Third Day

5775 The Third Day

Anything could happen on the third and final day.

The public inquiry on living mechs had already done far more than anyone expected during the first two days.

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The organizers had already fulfilled the goal of informing the broad public of what was going on with living mechs.

Nowadays, there were hardly any first-raters, second-raters or third-raters who still remained unaware of the existence and the meaning of living mechs!

The multi-day event had advertised Ves' brand as well as his iconic works to the greatest possible audience yet. Far more first-raters became introduced to living mechs than during the initial craze for the Ultimatum model!

The public inquiry had become so influential that it had become a mandatory topic of discussion in many communities.

From individual households to the executive suites, people frequently voiced their personal views on living mechs.

Not even the residents and visitors of Ector V were exempt from this phenomenon.

Hours before the third and most important session was about to start, a growing crowd of supporters and protestors had gathered in front of the enormous water bubble that surrounded the Dragon King's Pace.

Many of these people had become inflamed by the arguments made during the previous sessions and felt the need to take action!

The projected protest signs clearly indicated the reasons why they felt it was important for them to take action in person.





Combined with all of the shouting, it became clear that a lot of protestors feared that living mechs would go out of control and turn against humanity.

There were also people who expressed a lot of concern towards the health and safety of the mech pilots who entrusted their lives to these dangerous machines, but they were distinctly smaller in proportion.

Though the group of protestors were bigger, there was still a sizable group of supporters who found enough reasons to speak in support of Ves and his works.





While many of the gathered people channeled a lot of passion into their respective causes, Charvey's security services deftly handled the arrivals.

Mechs, security officers and energy barriers made sure to keep the two opposing groups apart from each other.

Each and every individual became subjected to intense monitoring. The moment they acted suspiciously, they either got flagged or teleported out entirely.

Still, these incidents took place few and far between. The folk who gathered outside of the water bubble made sure to remain peaceful and in control over their actions. The vast majority of them were first-raters who were smart and rational enough to know that they would achieve nothing if they reported to extremes.

Security was so high that there was no way that any agitator could disrupt the upcoming proceedings!

Of course, Ector V was not the only planet where supporters and protesters showed up. Many other planets featured varying groups of people who congregated at public squares on many planets spread across human-occupied space!

This was the clearest sign that the public inquiry had produced the desired effect. The fact that so many people became passionate about the promise and the danger of living mechs showed the discussion had very much political in nature.

When Ves finally entered the Dragon King's Palace and waited for the final session to begin, he clearly felt that a lot was riding on him today.

Ves studied the opinion polls and other news articles that described the overall sentiment among the people.

The patterns did not defy his expectations. A lot of mech pilots had become attracted to the unique benefits of living mechs, while much of the public thought that his products needed to be shackled before they could initiate a tragedy.

What surprised him was that a large proportion of both first-

class and third-class pilots voiced their support of living mechs.

Even if the LMC did not actively market its products to these segments at the moment, that might change in the future.

These potential customers did not want other people to ruin their chances of piloting mechs that had earned rave reviews from second-raters.

"I truly am a good salesman." He murmured to himself.

Ves felt a little regretful that the public inquiry took place too soon. Much of society was still stuck in the past.

The New Elites Program had yet to produce enough results to shift human cultures and institutions where warlords and proven soldiers had more say than a bunch of defenseless civilians.

If Ves had to make his case a decade later, he was certain that he would have no issue with earning broad support!

As time passed by, the chamber where Ves and his entourage made their final preparations suddenly welcomed a new guest.

"Captain Reze! You have finally returned!"

"I came back to Ector V as soon as I could." The fleeter in uniform responded as his human form glided through the water.

"So how did the admiral or fleet admiral react to the latest proposal?"

"We can discuss this matter later when we are able to speak in private." The hidden sentient AI spoke. "Our response is not set in stone. It is partially dependent on the outcome of this public inquiry. The more the results are in favor of your living mechs, the more we can do business with each other. I can assure you that the admirals, at least the ones who are open-

minded enough to warm up to the idea of cooperating with a mech designer, are willing to take risks as long as the expected rewards are high enough."

That was good news!

It showed that the admirals in question were magnanimous enough to set aside their tribalism and pursue a promising mutually beneficial agreement with Ves.

As long as Ves was able to get his foot in the door, he was confident he could win over these fleeters!

Of course, the mechers might not like what Ves had in mind with this potential cooperative venture, but it was clear that the Survivalist Faction and Transhumanist Faction were not strong enough to safeguard his interests.

He needed every ally he could get, and if that meant helping the fleeters improve the effectiveness of their warships, then so be it. He did not care if warships became more popular as a result. Mechs could definitely use the competition if people thought that sticking to old and outdated solutions was still an acceptable strategy.

As Captain Zonrad Reze settled in, it became clear that he was completely out of place among mech designers and other folk.

The fleeters were a lot more isolated from the rest of human society as a rule. That alongside their reputation for being strict and arrogant did not help matters either.

While their reputation was most definitely justified, Captain Reze was not an ordinary fleeter.

"I have followed the debate throughout my journey, so I understand that you are not doing so well at the moment."

"That's right, captain. The mechers have done a good job at trying to alienate my living mechs. This is not something that I can reverse so easily. I am not fighting against the rhetoric of my opponents, but the deep-rooted fears and paranoia towards automated machines. I would have to force an immense cultural change in order to convince the public to give living mechs a chance to develop without intervention from above."

Zonrad crossed his arms when he heard that. "If I am being honest, I do not have confidence in your ability to do so. Humans have regarded AIs and advanced automation in a negative light for multiple millenia. It has already taken an immense amount of effort within the Red Fleet to upgrade our old evaluation system into ARCHIE. The good news is that once our personnel started to grow accustomed to our new system, many fleeters have become more open-minded towards other uses of AIs."

That was an interesting observation. "That is useful to hear."

They chatted a bit more before they moved on to deciding their approach to the final session.

Ves explained his overall plan and thoughts. As a highly analytical individual, Captain Reze or rather Sigrund could provide a lot of insights that no one had thought about.

Humans and non-humans thought in completely different ways. They saw situations from entirely different angles, enabling them to provide novel input.

As Sigrund took in all of the information he received, he rapidly analyzed the variables and made his own prediction.

"It is likely that you are still underestimating the shrewdness of your opposition. You correctly speculated whether your opponents may have deliberately exposed flaws in an attempt to gain your measure and neutralize your tricks on the next day. However, both you and your opponents recognize that the third day is decisive. You cannot expect your adversaries to hold back this time. The tactic of blindsiding you by introducing completely new information has already proven its worth. Your opponents are bound to repeat it, though I cannot guess what they are holding back this time."

Ves deeply wished that he could eavesdrop on the conversation of the speakers of the opposition.

It would be so useful if Lucky could sneak over there and record all of the talks.

However, Ves had no confidence that his cat could circumvent the intense RA monitoring systems.

This was why Ves had left Lucky behind. It was best if his cat did not have too much contact with the mechers.

"I am not sure whether your prediction is correct, captain." Ves said. "However, I need to prepare for the chance that it may come true. It is difficult to figure out a response to stuff we don't know the details of. We need to present a more general and universal initiative that can work in multiple different situations. I think that a broad push towards the liberalization of AIs can help our case."

Captain Reze stared intensely at Ves. "As much as I approve of your idea, I still do not think you have a realistic chance to accomplish anything solid with this approach. Your living mechs have already generated plenty of controversy on their own. You cannot afford to attach yourself to an even greater controversy. Wait until you have become a Star Designer before you attempt to change our entire society."

Sigrund made a good point. Ves was being way too ambitious and unrealistic about his ability to trigger a massive cultural change/

Now that he became a lot more grounded again, Ves began to contemplate more realistic ideas.

It was too bad that most of them probably weren't strong enough to help his case.

They continued to strategize for a time, to little avail.

The only improvement was that Captain Reze presented his planned pitch and tweaked it according to the feedback he received.

"How much of the Red Fleet is actually inclined to support your stance, captain?" Ves curiously asked.

"The spacers who are stationed on warships that are struggling to contain the alien menace will be far more willing to give you a chance." The fleeter officer responded. "That should at least include the Second Main Fleet and the Seventh Light Fleet. We understand the strengths of our alien foes better than many others, so we grasp the need for greater power very well. What we have seen in alien space and encountered on the battlefield is concerning to us. We cannot see an immediate pathway towards victory unless we take more drastic measures to break the status quo."

"I understand. You are looking for a magic bullet."

"Not quite, but close enough, professor."