[su_accordion] Chapter 164: Maintain Calm[/su_accordion]
Author’s Corner: So, said this in my last chapter of World Keeper, but… I totally got distracted for a few days by random free games. Don’t throw things at author-sama! I’m writing again!
“How did the negotiations go?” Ackbar asked after I appeared on the bridge.
I nodded my head lightly, moving to sit back in my comfortable captain’s chair. “Well… We’re getting the help at least… We’ve just got to wait a while for it.” Seeing the confused look on his face, I explained the situation regarding the Deus Ex’s population problems.
“Ahh… Yes, that would be a problem. Well, I suppose we will simply have to see what happens, and plan around that. However, I do have something to report, Captain.” This time, it was my turn to be confused. “While you were absent, I conducted another scan for the New Human Empire, and I felt that there were less responses than previously. Roughly 20% less, if I had to guess. Either they are consolidating their forces at less locations, their spies have died, or they have started setting up defenses against divination magic.”
Well… that sucked royally. Information is a deciding factor in a war, and it is one that we are severely lacking in… “I see… We still have the locations for their planet bases that we acquired before we arrived at Gerin. When we get the Deus Ex’s help, we’ll begin heading to those. Hopefully, they aren’t abandoned or anything.”
Ackbar nodded and turned back to his station, while I sat back and thought about our situation. We need some reliable intel. Don’t suppose my friendly neighborhood deity would be of any help?
No can do! Rules are rules, no telling the business of other players.
Fine, fine.. Figured it wouldn’t work, but had to try. I shook my head in resignation, and simply waited for the results from the Deus Ex. Either way, we’d have to wait for them. Who knows, maybe their scanning technology will be able to give us some help if it is advanced far enough.
Like that, an hour passed by in silence, until a communication was received from the Deus Ex. “Captain Hulett. Calculations have been complete. Please stand by for seven days, at which point we will possess sufficient numbers to send with you.”
“Understood…” I let out a small sigh. Seven days wasn’t too bad, at least. I had been expecting them to ask for more time, at which point I would have had to leave without them and ask that they catch up when they are able. A week… was still acceptable.
“Very well. We shall continue production until that time. Until then, it is suggested that modifications are made to your primary ship, as it is lacking several key features.” I felt my eye twitch slightly at that. The Ariadne isn’t lacking… you guys are just too insanely advanced.
“We would… appreciate the assistance.”
“Very well. Dock your ship at the orbital construction facility, and upgrades can begin immediately.” After it said that, there was a ripple in the space around the metal planet. A large, circular station was revealed, with three rings all connected and lined up to fit ships far bigger than the one we were currently using.
Seeing that the conversation was over, and the Deus Ex abruptly ended the call, I shook my head slightly. “Go ahead, take us in. But, be sure to keep an eye on whatever upgrades they make. Not that I don’t trust them… but can never be too careful.” That got a nod from everyone on the bridge, and our ship slowly changed course and moved to dock at the station.
Shortly after we got docked, there was a request for entry from one of our airlocks. Pulling up the visual feed, there were five bipedal robots of near identical design were waiting motionlessly on a platform just outside the airlock. They were each just under two meters tall, with slim, metal faces that only had two glowing green orbs for eyes. Along their bodies were green lines, likely marking them as construction units. Finally, the one difference between them was that each one had a unique code painted on their chest. Of course… it wasn’t an english code, but a series of dots, lines, and empty circles.
I gave the order to let them in, but as before I asked Celeste to keep an eye on them. There was a chance that she could learn some new designs by watching their work, or get ideas for more improvements. Even though they have quite a lot of advancement in regards to technology, I am confident that Celeste knows far more than them when it comes to magic. After all, she has some information from the future, as well as personal experience over a much longer period of time compared to these Deus Ex.
After they entered, the construction crew immediately proceeded to the shield generators. The eerie thing was that they took the shortest route possible, despite not asking for directions or having never been on the ship before. Most likely, they conducted a deep scan of the ship before suggesting the upgrades. Really hope one of those upgrades is to shield against teleporting, and those scans…
Once the five Deus Ex arrived at the primary shield generators, they began retrieving devices from seemingly nowhere, each one pulling out something different. One of them began rapidly disassembling the shield generator, while another began pulling out smaller chips and circuits, as well as a few crystal. Like a well oiled machine–pardon the pun– they tossed out some of the previously installed machinery and replaced it with what they had pulled out. Over the course of the next few minutes, they had practically replaced the entire generator, leaving only its shell intact.
Celeste… Are you able to tell what they’re doing?
“Kind of.” She answered in a somewhat troubled tone. “Without a deep scan, I can’t properly identify what kinds of effects what they are doing will have. However, I have been running continual diagnostics on the shield generator, and so far output has increased by 30%, with multiple new shield frequencies updated. They seem to be leaving any of the magic defenses alone, and purely enhancing the technological aspects.”
Well, that was both reassuring and not at the same time. Can you at least see if they rig up anything that would be bad for us later on?
“Yeah, I’m keeping an eye out for that. So far, I haven’t seen anything. However, once the upgrades are done, I would suggest taking the shields offline for an hour or so, so that I can run a full diagnostic on them. Same with any additional systems they mess with. Like you say, better safe than sorry.”
I nodded my head slightly at that, and the Deus Ex promptly finished their work. They left the discarded components lying around for the crew to recover, replaced the covering for the shield generator, and then moved on. Their next stop was the engine. I wasn’t really sure what they expected to do here, as the majority of our thrust comes from magic formations now. Sure, we do also have actual engines, but they serve mostly as a container and converter for the energies that the formations draw from.
Though, that didn’t seem to be an issue. Here, the Deus Ex only replaced a single part, a power converter connected to the engines. And what they replaced it with was a part that looked entirely identical. If we hadn’t been personally watching, we might never notice the change. “Ah, don’t worry, John. That part was actually showing signs of needing to be replaced, but it wasn’t to a degree that we needed to worry about yet. We have all the materials to replace those if we need to.”
Well… I guess that was good, at least. Though it was discomforting that their scans apparently ran so deep that they could tell which individual parts of the ship needed to be replaced. Next on their upgrade tour was the scanners. Though, for this one they actually had to exit the ship and walk across the surface to access what they needed. And it was also this one that we were unable to watch through the cameras, because the sensor panel wasn’t in view of one of the cameras, and they needed to take the scanner offline to conduct the upgrade.
Thankfully, however, it was still within the range of my Mana Sense, so I could properly keep an eye on them through that. And through me, Celeste was able to continue observing them as well. Again, they seemed to be doing their job earnestly, and finished within ten minutes. Afterwards, they casually walked back down to the platform they had originally entered the ship from, and we watched as the platform descended into the ground. At the same time, they sent a memo through the ship’s communication window.
Maintenance complete. Full list of Maintenance as follows.
I skimmed through the list, since they labeled each and every part used, and I myself didn’t know the names for most of them. However, there was a part at the end that caught my attention.
Suggest Further Maintenance.
Hull material lacking, suggest replacing with element M-192. Full replacement impossible without approval. Lacking sufficient materials.
Engine thrust lacking, suggest replacing with model AK-5242. Full thrust capacity indeterminable due to nature of device.
Shield strength lacking, suggest replacing with model D-94. Insufficient space to convert shield module.
So… they really were just doing maintenance… and even made a list of suggested improvements. Celeste.. Can you find out what that element, and those model numbers mean? It’s unlikely that they used the same method of identifying things as we do. For all I knew, element M-192 could be iron, mithril, or even toilet paper.
“Will do, John!” She responded energetically, spending a few long moments silent before sending me a mental response again. “The element seems to be their identification for mithril, which they began discovering a few weeks ago in nearby asteroid belts and the core of their own planet. As it was an unknown element, they haven’t given it a proper name yet. As for the model numbers… they seem to be rather old by the Deus Ex standards, but are the most advanced ones they have compatible with our systems.”
“Ahh…” I unintentionally let that comment out verbally, but nobody seemed to be paying attention anyways. How much mithril would it take to replace the ship’s hull? I might have enough in my grove…. Uhm… nevermind. I let out a bitter smile as I sent a portion of my mind to investigate my grove. For convenience, I had separated all of the major metals into their own giant planetoids, so that they could have pure mana of that same type to grow faster.
However… the mithril planetoid seemed to have been too close to the center of the system when the black hole formed. By now… it had been entirely pulled into the black hole, so the only mithril I could still access was what was spawning in the individual planets. And, while there was surely a lot of it, it would not be enough to replace the hull of a ship the size of the Ariadne. Thankfully, I had placed the gold planetoid near the edge of my grove. All I had lost so far seemed to be my mithril and silver planetoids.
“It’s fine, John.” Celeste spoke to me mentally, in a comforting tone. “Once your grove reaches the next step, if everything goes right, you should have as much material as you want. You might even be able to bring out some of those legendary ores if you get lucky!”
I gave a dry chuckle at that, though she was right. Still… that was months away. I might not even reach that point by the time this war is over. Or, knowing my luck, the process would end right at some critical moment. I don’t want to turn into a giant black hole of mana during a space battle!