Chapter 5236 A Necessary Course Correction
Too much had happened at once.
Just a moment ago, the Polymath appeared at the top of her game. She was on the cusp of taking over the splinter kingdom.
She had been on the precipice of gaining undeniable leverage over the rest of red humanity!
All of that came crumbling down due to a confluence of events. The Polymath boldly took action and initiated a conflict that provoked overwhelming opposition, much of which she accounted for and managed to keep in check.
What she did not account for were the unexpected surprises that she could not predict and calculate in advance.
Her immensely powerful data-driven planning approach might be incredibly good at reading known variables, but that did not avail her at all once unknown variables threw a wrench in her calculations!
The way the Polymath compensated for these factors was to build up a buffer, prepare more reserves and plan for greater opposition and complications than she expected to face.
It had been close.
All of the slack that the Polymath had added to her planning certainly helped her deal with the surprise appearance of the shadow of the Seleucid.
Unfortunately, this strained her resources just enough to allow an additional variable to tip the scales against the Polymath's favor.
The entry of Emma shocked a lot of Survivalists. Even though many of them still appeared to be lingering over the solemn sendoff of the shadow of one of the mythical thirteen Progenitors of Mechs, they still struggled to make sense of the appearance of one of the New Rubarth Empire's top warriors.
Had the Survivalist conference been infiltrated by the Rubarthans from the start? Did their security measures utterly fail to prevent the intrusion of a party that most definitely did not belong in this gathering? Was Ves Larkinson more closely connected to the Destroyer of Worlds than any of their records and intelligence suggested?
A lot of different questions plagued the minds of all of the mechers and associates. The confusion and lack of clarity completely jumbled people up and caused them to feel utterly lost and directionless.
As projection of the magically restored splinter kingdom faded, the Xenotechnician stepped forth in order to restore a semblance of order after everything that happened.
"Much has happened today." He began as he pointedly hovered closer to the subdued woman who had assumed a deliberate posture of loss and defeat. "Given the irregularities and transgressions committed by my colleague, it is best for the Polymath to be taken away under guard. She has requested to retract her Unity Plan. We accept her motion as this is her right. This leaves us with two remaining proposals that must still be decided upon. This session will not cease until we are able to come to a definitive consensus."
+The Xenotechnician did not say anything too exciting, but his attempt to impose a return to order had the desired effect. The mechers and associates no longer became preoccupied with messy thoughts as the return to normalcy caused them to think about more pertinent thoughts.
There were some who thought the Unity Plan still had merit despite the fact that the Polymath went rogue over it. The most important point of this plan was that it demanded an absolute leader that had the right combination of intelligence, wisdom, legitimacy and acceptance to propose reforms and be certain that everyone else would implement them without any serious pushback.
The biggest problem now that the Polymath had been eliminated from contention was who could possibly take her place?
There was one key figure that had shown remarkable qualities over the course of the voting session.
Though a number of his criteria might not be up to standard, the most important part was that his growing associations with the Terrrans and apparently the Rubarthans turned him into the perfect bridge between almost every major human group!
His relative youth and lack of robust qualifications weren't even downsides per se. Unlike the Polymath who turned out to be a power-hungry madwoman, Ves lacked the raw capabilities to pursue a similar course of action.
This would reassure a lot of people who might fear that the Survivalist Faction would try to follow the Polymath's blueprint but in a less ostentatious manner!
Ves started to feel a lot more stares directed towards him again. He frowned as he could feel the elevated amount of attention from so many powerful figures.
He despised their looks. The Survivalists had defaulted back to their scheming ways again. He found this to be especially disgusting after they had just been taught a lesson by the shadow of the Seleucid!
The more he looked at them, the more he felt alienated from them. Ves no longer retained any sense of brotherhood with these crazy bastards.
They seemed so reasonable on the surface, but their veneer of civility hid a penchant for radicality that could easily give the other MTA factions a run for their money!
It caused Ves to lose all faith with the Survivalists as well as the mechers in general. He wanted nothing to do with this crowd anymore, but given how the circumstances might unfold, he felt compelled to intervene in person.
He did not want to do this. He had already raised his profile to a ridiculously high degree. His apparent association with the Destroyer of Worlds alone was bound to attract investigations at the highest level. There was no way he could withstand so much heat!
However, it was exactly because he developed so much contempt for the Survivalists that he felt driven to intervene. He did not trust them to do what was right anymore. If he was able to derail whatever evil schemes they were cooking up in their mind, then that was even better!
While everyone had gradually settled back onto their seats, Ves rose up again.
This predictably turned him into the center of everyone's focus again.
The Xenotechnician interrupted his procedural speech and pointedly turned towards the wildcard of this event.
"Do you have anything to add, Professor Larkinson?"
"I would like to step up to the podium and address the audience. Will you allow me to speak?"
The Xenotechnican stared long and hard at Ves. The powerful Star Designer must be performing a lot of calculations in his mind.
Ves maintained a solemn and determined demeanor in the face of all of this directed mental activity. There was no way he could match wits against an actual Star Designer, so he simply stilled his mind and waited for a response.
"Your request is granted." The man clad in an exotic alien suit finally replied.
"Thank you." Ves nodded in acknowledgement.
It still felt weird to speak at a Star Designer as someone close to equal of a man of this stature, but Ves was done with looking up to the likes of the Xenotechnician.
The events that unfolded today showed that despite the incredible design and research capabilities of these genuine True Gods, they still retained much of their human flaws and shortcomings!
While Ves would never stop respecting these figures for their professional accomplishments, he was no longer willing to take them at their word when it came to matters that fell outside of their core expertise.
This was one of the main reasons why he stepped forward and floated off the deck until he stood on the elevated podium.
As he slowly turned around, he suddenly felt incredibly nervous for addressing so many important and powerful people.
The Survivalists as well as the best associates throughout human space had gathered in a singular hall. The combined knowledge, wealth and assets of all of these leading figures easily surpassed any accumulation that he could imagine in his head!
Ves momentarily became plagued by the temptation to exploit this vulnerable social environment.
The definitive removal of the Polymath had removed the protagonist from this show. This left a gigantic void that Ves could easily fill if he chose to take this path.
He knew that a lot of people had become a lot more susceptible to whatever suggestions he could present now that he had become the man of the hour.
He inwardly shook his head. He did not set out to exploit this situation to maximize his personal gain. He just wanted to put red humanity on the right track. The last thing he wanted to do was to commit the same transgressions as the Polymath!
"Survivalists." He began by addressing the crowd. "Today... has been a disappointment."
He put his true emotions in this statement. There was no one who thought he was being overly dramatic.
Despite the fact that he did not deploy his glow or performed any of his more flamboyant tricks, he most firmly managed to capture the attention of the crowd.
"I am just an associate, so I am still new to this. However, what little I have seen have left me profoundly disappointed at your conduct and your cowardice. How much of the Polymath do you agree with? How much do you object to her goals and the measures she is willing to take to realize them? How much are you willing to disregard the opinions of others and turn your back on the principles that define our race? Don't answer these questions. I am afraid you will only disappoint me further."
From the gradually expanding looks of shame on people's faces, that assumption held an undeniable ring of truth.
Ves took this as an encouraging sign. If the Survivalists recognized that they might have been wrong about certain matters, then they still had a chance of redemption.
"Today, we have met with the remnant of one of the thirteen Progenitors of Mechs. The Seleucid should have reminded us what mechs were originally all about. They are weapons born to grant power to humanity and defend us against threats from within and without. The most important part about mechs is that they demand teamwork and cooperation at every scale. Mech pilots cannot fight at their best if they are not supplied with mechs. Mech designers cannot obtain the best protection if they do not have access to the best protection."
Ves swept the audience with a critical gaze. "Do you know why the apparition called the Polymath unworthy? I do not have a definite answer, but I can make my own guess. No one can undertake every responsibility alone. I had hoped that the sight of the shadow of the Seleucid would have reminded you of the values that the Progenitors tried to impart in humanity. What the Polymath attempted to do was wrong because our greatest predecessors never intended for our entire mech community and the rest of our society to be ruled by a single human tyrant."
This was a difficult message for the Survivalists to accept, but Ves pushed through with it anyway because he felt it was necessary.
"Now, the Polymath might be right. Times have changed. Adaptation may be necessary. However, there should be a limit to how many values and principles we forsake in the name of 'survival'. Is the model propagated by the Progenitors of Mechs really so bad? I do not think so. The Polymath may have reached the highest rank of the progression path of a mech designer, but that does not change the fact that SHE IS STILL A MECH DESIGNER. Her impressive status and power should not serve as justifications to break the restrictions of her professions and turn her into something she is not! As far as I am concerned, she has strayed from the origin of her profession and committed one of the greatest sins of our profession."
The Xenotechnician who was floating to the side started to frown when he heard this. He was already beginning to understand where Ves might be going with this story!
"Mech designers exist to serve mech pilots, not the other way around." Ves stated with conviction. "By unilaterally attempting to take over the Kingdom of Mechs and the rest of our society, she sought to subordinate all mech pilots under rule. That goes against the core tenet set by both the Progenitors of Mechs and your Association as a whole! While it is understandable to leave more complicated and technical jobs to other people, that is no excuse to cut them out of the loop and deprive them of any say in matters of great import. As far as I am concerned, we should remind ourselves of what makes us human and what we relied upon to overcome adversity in the past."
This was it. Ves knew he was bound to generate a lot of controversy, but he had to push through it in order to stand up for his own principles!
"It is for this reason that 1 recommend you all to embrace the Deep Strike Plan. The Fist of Defiance is right! Too many humans have gone astray! The only way to wake red humanity to a harsher and more brutal reality is to make a radical course correction! From now on, it is not only time for leaders to prove their worth by accompanying troops into battle as opposed to scheming behind closed doors! Let our foremost mech pilots become our conscience and our spiritual leaders! Believe in their convictions and they shall protect red humanity with impossible deeds! This is a far better alternative than to rely on the schemes of cowardly intellectuals who know nothing about true adversity!"