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«The Mech Touch (Web Novel) - Chapter 5659 ARCHIE

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Chapter 5659 ARCHIE

This chapter is updated by Novels.pl

As time passed by, the Red Ocean became increasingly more engulfed in war.

The Red Cabal continued to expand its power and dominance over the other native races in the dwarf galaxy.

No matter whether the races were strong or weak, each of them had to contribute to the war effort one way or another!

The dramatic defeat of numerous ancient phase whales and the destruction of several so-called Tide Station had enraged the alien leadership to the point where they wanted to wipe out humanity at all cost!

However, despite the fact that human space only occupied a relatively small corner of the Red Ocean, the Red Cabal understood quite well that acting on their emotions and launching an all-out offensive was not a good idea.

The eight god pilots of red humanity persistently showed up along the border regions and other key star systems.

At least one of them was permanently stationed in Bridgehead One at all times, but the remainder regularly patrolled the periphery of human space and struck fear in the hearts of every alien force.

Though the god pilots did not always bother to take action, they were not opposed to lending a hand to endangered border fortifications or a mech force that had bitten off more than they could chew!

The quantity of the god pilots was not enough, but they still exerted a powerful form of deterrence towards the Red Cabal.

Any attempted assault by a group of phase lords or phase whales was bound to end in a one-sided massacre for the native aliens!

Even the ancient phase whales did not dare to cross the border into human space. Operation Night Jazz had broken their illusion of invincibility and struck fear into their old hearts for the first time in many years.

Human space might be fairly small and poor in resources, but that also meant that the eight god pilots could defend the territories a lot easier.

Instead of launching a hasty and ill-prepared assault that would end with catastrophic losses on the side of the native aliens, the Red Cabal instead decided to be a little more patient.

They were smart enough to understand that their greatest advantage was their superior numbers. They could completely afford to drag the myriad of forces into a war of attrition.

For every alien warship that fell in battle, there were easily thousands more that could take her space.

Sure, many of those warships were relatively weak and poorly equipped, but their immense scale relative to human mechs always enabled them to inflict casualties before they got defeated.

The native aliens who got forcibly drafted in the war before being sent out to human space were not really expected to return alive.

Their main goal was to inflict as much damage to human infrastructure and human troop readiness as possible!

The more time passed by, the more the relatively slow and outdated warp drives finally delivered the hodgepodge of alien warships to a war theater.

The Red Cabal did not even bother to upgrade the vessels. The leading aliens only assigned caretakers to wrangle the arriving warships into launching an attack on human space.

The damage and loss of life had reached a scary proportion!

The brave mech pilots who resisted the constant incursions had to face the barrel of the formidable gun batteries of enemy warships in every battle.

So many human lives got snuffed out in an instant from the moment their mechs suffered a direct hit against the powerful arsenal that aliens took for granted.

More and more human forces started to lodge objections towards the taboo against warships.

"This rule is a relic of the past! Why aren't we allowed to defend ourselves with the full force of human technology? Confining our troops to mechs is incredibly unfair!"

The Red Two faced increasing calls to loosen the restrictions even further, yet they never budged.

It was not hard for analysts to understand why this was the case.

"We don't have enough resources to support the construction of so many warships."

"The Red Two don't want to lose control."

The Red Fleet was not doing nothing, however. Aside from doing its part to resist the advance of the most powerful alien warships, they also began to increase their engagement with certain states.

The fleeters also had also been working on a more consequential plan.

After many months of waiting, the fleeters finally unveiled their most ambitious plan to date!

Fleet Admiral Stanley Argile addressed the public once again. There was no Star Designer to accompany him this time as the Red Association was not involved this time.

"Fellow red humans. Each of us have become affected by the Red War. Brave men and women have answered our collective call and have risked their lives and assets to resist the alien invaders. Yet despite their commendable effort, their valiant mechs seem too small and weak when they confront the might of superior warships at every turn."

The leader of the prestigious RF Second Fleet briefly lowered his head in respect for the fallen.

"The ongoing war has reminded each of us that warships are the ultimate war machines. Their size, power and functions are beyond any mech, let alone groups of them. Only the outdated technologies and lack of sound leadership makes the alien warships vulnerable to defeat. Over time, the native aliens will address both of these problems, so we must evolve as well if we want to keep the enemy warfleets at bay."

The powerful fleet admiral finally announced the latest initiative of the Red Fleet. A projection came to life that displayed a proud fleet of human warships.

What was special about these warships was that they clearly lacked the advanced tech and sophistication of genuine RF hulls.

Instead, they resembled lesser alien warships a lot more in that they were built with second-class tech and materials!

"I am pleased to announce the activation of our long-awaited Auxiliary Fleet Program! We have forged numerous cooperative agreements with many different second-rate and third-rate colonial states. With the assistance of our naval engineers, the cooperating parties have upgraded many of their civilian shipyards to support the construction of warships that match their tech class. As we speak, hundreds of shipyards have begun to make use of their improved facilities to construct warship hulls on a wider and more economic scale!"

The announcement shocked many viewers!

This drastic change made warships a lot more accessible to space peasants!

It was conceivable that the fleeters looked down on all of these lesser warships. There was no way that any high and mighty first-raters would want to crew all of these shabby and sub-standard vessels!

Fleet Admiral Argile proceeded to explain how the RF intended to organize the newly constructed warships.

"Our previous rules regarding warships still hold true. No private party is allowed to field warships unless they have earned the corresponding RF Warship Token. Many of the warships built by warships will be assigned to our newly founded Auxiliary Fleet Program. There, the vessels will be crewed by a combination of experienced officers of the Red Fleet and volunteers from our partners across human space. Once the warships have completed their trials, they shall be assigned to different auxiliary fleets that will subsequently undertake essential guard or patrol missions well outside of the hotspots of the ongoing war."

In other words, the auxiliary fleets were expected to hold the line against lesser alien fleets.

This was a clever way of utilizing weaker and less valuable resources. It was a waste of time for powerful RF warfleets to patrol the middle and lower zones. The quality gap was too big to make it worthwhile.

The newly announced auxiliary fleets perfectly solved this problem! They were much more economical and cost-effective when employed against weaker alien assets.

Though they were expected to suffer significant losses in their missions, so long as there were enough shipyards, they could easily be replenished!

Fleet Admiral Argile was not done.

"Before I end this announcement, let me inform you how we plan to reward the volunteers who have performed particularly well. As long as the best and most meritorious auxiliaries have met all of our criteria, we will invite them to join our Red Fleet and take part in our rich traditions. If you have always dreamed of becoming a fellow fleeter, now is your chance! To the stars!"

The shocking announcement produced a lot of ripple effects across human space.

Now that the need for secrecy had passed, more and more resources flowed into various shipyards owned by the Red Fleet as well as many cooperating second-class and third-class states. More second-class and third-class warships started to show up here and there as a result.

Organized into so-called auxiliary fleets and crewed by a combination of 'unqualified' fleeters and space peasants, the haphazard auxiliary warships initially performed shakingly in battle.

Neither the fleeters nor the space peasants were accustomed to working together.

The former benefited from a rich amount of naval heritage, but they were unable to handle the culture clashes and the many restrictions imposed by inferior warships.

It did not help that each of them had failed to keep up with their more successful peers and had been assigned to babysit a bunch of ignorant and stupid space peasants.

The latter possessed plenty of enthusiasm, but they hated the arrogant fleeters riding over their heads.

They also had to learn how to do their jobs on the spot as most of humanity had lost the institutional knowledge on how to run a warship!

Still, despite all of the growing pains, the auxiliary fleets quickly started to shape up as the spacers earnestly tried to work together.

The Red Fleet relied on an important tool to quickly stifle dysfunction within the ranks and force everyone to act professionally with each other.

"Who is ARCHIE and why is he flooding my vision with tables and numbers all of the time?"

"It. ARCHIE is not a real person. I don't fully understand it either, but ARCHIE is basically a fusion between a monitoring system, an evaluation system, a reward system, a punishment system, an emergency command system and more that I don't even know about. It is all automated and all run by super AIs, though I heard that they are constantly watched by human supervisors to make sure they are doing their jobs as intended."

"So that is why this ARCHIE knows so much about me! It has been observing my performance and evaluating me in the background all this time! No wonder it is able to spit out a detailed list of textbooks that I have to read in order to become eligible for a promotion. Wait, is ARCHIE in charge of deciding whether I can be promoted in rank?"

"Oh, yes. I forgot to add to my description. ARCHIE is far more objective and impartial than human officers. If the latter gets to make this decision, then the chances are high that they will just promote their own buddies even if they are not as competent. The ones that get to climb quickly usually tend to be the best sycophants. They know more about quid quo pro than leading a warfleet into battle. That is a thing of the past now. If not for the ongoing war, the Red Fleet should have entered into a golden age of its own by this time!"

"By the way, what does ARCHIE stand for? It is an acronym, correct?"

"It stands for Advanced Rational Calculated Heuristic Independent Evaluation."

"That… sounds like its makers tried to come up with any words that they could mash together to form this specific name."

"You are probably right. Its name is not important. The only thing you need to care about is that it is always watching us and constantly judging us. Taking too long to eat your lunch? You will lose a point. Complete an assignment a few minutes faster than expected? You will earn a point. Forgot to complete your daily study session? You will lose a point. If you want to make it far in our service, you better fix up your behavior and imitate the fleeters as much as possible."

"Wow. I heard that serving in the RF can be intense, but this is something else! How come the fleeters are putting so much trust into ARCHIE?"

"That is because they are already used to being supervised by AIs. ARCHIE is the successor of the Independent Evaluation System, or IES. The newer system is supposedly a lot smarter and more attentive, though I can't explain why that is the case."

"That sounds… really disconcerting."

"Don't be. ARCHIE is not your friend or your enemy. It is a system, just like the system that runs the life support systems of our warship. I suggest you get comfortable with being watched over by AIs and enjoy the benefits of being taken care of by an objective system. If you perform well, ARCHIE will reward you. If you perform poorly, you will have no one else to blame but yourself if ARCHIE hands you a demerit."

"Is there truly enough human supervision that can control whether it is working properly?"

"Sure. The captain has the right to check and override the decisions made by ARCHIE, or at least its local instance."

"Doesn't the captain have to answer to ARCHIE as well?"

"Yes. Who else can keep him in check?"

"…"

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