I managed to fix the player, but I don't know how long this solution will last. I apologize for all the inconvenience caused by the change in rules on the audio file server side over which I had no control.
This chapter is updated by Novels.pl
The Red Fleet's latest initiative did much to relieve the pressure in the middle zones and lower zones!
The less wealthy regions of human space had suffered incalculable losses since the native aliens launched their creeping offensives.
Although the amount of time and work required to construct all of the auxiliary warships was so considerable that it would probably take at least a year before auxiliary fleets became a more common sight, the announcement energized much of human space!
"We can finally field our own versions of warships, even if we have to follow the orders of the fleeters in order to make use of them. At least third-raters like ourselves aren't completely at the mercy of powerful alien warships anymore."
"I have always hated how people obsess so much over mechs. Don't they realize that they have become slaves to the mechers? They don't even have the genetic aptitude to pilot these silly machines themselves! I am glad that the fleeters have finally given ordinary people like us a chance to serve with real war weapons again. Compared to those overgrown toys that people call mechs, warships are how we can truly defend our homes!"
"Don't buy into the lies of the Red Fleet! Those arrogant fleeters are all luring you into doing their bidding by dangling the prospect of joining up with them. All they need are bodies to crew their discount warships. How many of us so-called 'space peasants' will truly earn a place in the RF in the end? Even if you manage to survive all of the battles against the relentless alien invaders, you will only receive a pat on the head before being unceremoniously dismissed from service."
No matter what, the rise of auxiliary fleets added another dimension to the war effort. The Red Fleet had become a much more serious player and successfully managed to counterbalance the growing influence of the Red Association!
Mechs had long played a dominant influence in human society. This was by design as the Big Two wanted space peasants to channel their obsessions for violence and combat in a more controlled manner.
The Red Two evidently decided that it was time for a change.
The warship community that previously existed as a niche subculture practically grew overnight!
A lot of people who had long grown impressed by the might of alien warships became avid fans and members of the rapidly growing community.
Although the warship community wasn't nearly as large or as well-developed as the mech community, it was not lacking in enthusiasm!
If not for the fact that auxiliary fleets were confined to second-class and third-class warships, the warship community would have gained a lot more weight in the upper zones!
Naturally, the first-raters vehemently objected to the absence of first-class auxiliary fleets. Why were their lessers allowed to play with warships while they were still confined to playing with mechs?
"Don't you get it? Auxiliary fleets are weak. If they break the rules or go rogue for whatever reason, any RF fleet can easily track them down and bring them under control. It is much harder for the fleeters to enforce their rules if they have to suppress a first-class auxiliary fleet. The gap in power has shrunk too much in this case. The Terrans and the Rubarthans will definitely not let go of this opportunity to regain their former glory!"
"There is also resource allocation to consider. Proper first-class warships are expensive to construct because they can only be built with scarce high-grade exotics and other powerful materials that are mostly exclusive to the upper zones. The fleeters are already struggling to expand their fleets. If they have to share shipbuilding resources with the other first-raters, then how can the Red Fleet keep building as much of their own warships?"
While many first-raters resented the RF for continuing to deny them the right to get involved in warships in any fashion, the fleeters had suddenly become a lot more popular among the second-raters and third-raters!
Whether this would have a greater impact on the political balance of red humanity was not certain.
The only way for first-raters to gain the right to field their own first-class warships was to earn the corresponding Warship Tokens.
Perhaps the Red Fleet sought to placate the complainers a bit, because Warship Tokens gradually became a little easier to earn.
Though they were still distressingly rare, those who earnestly contributed to the Red Cabal could always find a way to earn a token for a lesser warship.
However, the fleeters still maintained a stranglehold on the tokens corresponding to larger ship classes. Only a few parties managed to win a much-coveted Battlecruiser or Battleship Token.
Few people knew how these powerful parties managed to earn the right to field their own personal capital ship with guns, but they must have made enormous concessions in order to secure this right!
Not even the Larkinson Clan could escape the discussion surrounding the Auxiliary Warship Program.
"Should we look into fielding our own second-class warships, Ves?" Gloriana wondered. "I am sure the expeditionary fleet will be more than happy to fight alongside actual combat vessels for a change."
He shook his head. "Our clan has a strong mech tradition. I am a tier 3 galactic citizen sponsored by the Red Association. We have also committed to a camp, unlike many other states and groups. Besides, it is not as if we get to control our own auxiliary fleet. Have you missed the part where the auxiliary fleets will always be commanded by members of the RF's officer corps? Our control over the warships that we have painstakingly built or acquired from other sources will just be an illusion."
"Even if that is the case, we can still allow our clansmen to volunteer for service. They can obtain valuable training and experience in how to run actual warships. It is not as if the Larkinsons who choose to serve aboard these vessels are necessary to run our own starships."
Ves looked thoughtful. "That is true. We don't have a shortage in personnel, and our clan is still attractive enough that we can easily recruit specialists that can fulfill more challenging responsibilities. I will have to discuss this with the rest of the clan, but I think that other Larkinsons will come around to this viewpoint as well."
If Ves was a lot more committed to the Red Association, then he probably would have chosen to stick exclusively to mechs.
However, ever since he developed the desire to curry more favor from the Red Fleet, he became a lot more open-minded towards any opportunity to build a closer relationship with the fleeters.The Auxiliary Fleet Program served as an excellent opening!
Ves followed through with his plan. He held a few discussions with the present leaders of the Larkinson Clan and soon allowed clansmen to volunteer for service.
Trained and experienced spacers were always in high demand. A lot of spacers in the Larkinson Clan had already taken part in battles against alien warships in the past. They had already proven their courage and mettle in battle, so their qualifications were always good enough to earn ARCHIE's recognition!
Ves briefly worried that the Larkinson Network might disqualify his clansmen from serving a tour in an auxiliary fleet, but the RF did not seem to care.
Most auxiliary fleets were crewed by a mix of people from different origins. Many of them had already pledged their loyalties to different states and organizations, but each of them had come together to serve a common cause, at least for the time being.
As tens of thousands of Larkinson spacers went off to learn how to crew a warship, the rest of the Larkinson Clan remained focused on mechs.
Though the return of lesser warships to the wider human community had energized a lot of people, mechs still remained at the forefront of most people's minds.
This was because they had become a lot stronger as of late!
The earliest releases of the Hyper Generation failed to do a good job of showcasing the potential of the new tech.
More than a year had passed since the start of the Age of Dawn. Mech designers who did not prioritize haste and instead tried to make proper use of hyper technology finally got rewarded for their efforts.
Two of the brand-new mech models that had quickly grown to become the most iconic symbols of the Hyper Generation happened to be designed by Ves!
Both the Fey Fianna line and the Ultimatum line shocked the mech community and dominated the sales charts for second-class drone mechs and heavy artillery mechs respectively!
The Fey Fianna had already proven its capabilities many times in small combat scenarios, but they produced even better results when they started to get fielded in larger battles.
"Activate our decoys!" A mech commander instructed as a force of thousands of mechs advanced towards a fleet of alien warships that had just completed their raid on a previously intact human colony. "If the LMC hasn't lied, the fey should be able to draw away enemy fire. Let's see whether the hype is real."
Suddenly, the mech swarm expanded in size. Hundreds of newly acquired Fey Fiannas all deployed four fey each.
All of these fey subsequently activated their decoy functions, causing them to project the appearance of mechs that were identical to the ones fielded by this mech force!
Their emissions changed as well in order to match the emissions of ordinary mechs as much as possible. While the imitations weren't completely perfect, they just happened to be convincing enough to fool enemy sensors!
As the warships from a minor race that humanity knew nothing about started to open fire with their formidable gun batteries, the advancing mech force immediately started to suffer losses.
This was the most painful and helpless part about confronting warships. The latter possessed such a strong advantage at longer ranges that mechs could only gain the upper hand by getting close!
After more than a year of warfare against alien warships, mech forces had already made numerous adaptations to prevent their assets from getting blasted to pieces.
They employed strong ECM that interfered with alien targeting systems. They spread out their formations so no more than a single machine would get destroyed by a warship cannon at a time. They also exerted pressure by opening fire with their own mech rifles.
The recently acquired Fey Fiannas also contributed to this effort by having their luminar crystal cannon fey open fire as well!
The disguised fey behaved so much like an actual mech that the aliens indeed mistook them for actual mechs!
A lot of gun batteries directed their fire towards shooting down the decoys that bobbed and weaved through space like any other piloted machine.
Yet once a powerful attack finally managed to crush the human mech, more often than not it turned out that only a single fey got eliminated!
Though the quantity of fey in the field diminished at a steady rate, they successfully prevented a heap of human mech pilots from perishing.
Once the mech force finally managed to close the distance, the mech pilots became a lot more invigorated as they began their counterattack!
Melee mechs equipped with space suppressors exerted a lot of pressure onto the defenses of the enemy warships.
While alien starfighters hastily deployed in order to get rid of all of the mechs, they failed to put up a good fight against their human foes, especially when they confronted the newer hyper mechs that performed the best!
It did not matter if the Fey Fiannas had lost most if not all of their fey in the earlier phases of the battle.
Even when they were stripped down to their basic frames, they could still fight like half-decent hyper rifleman mechs!
Their superior fourth generation laser rifles packed a lot of punch without producing too much waste. Their mobility was so good that they were able to avoid a lot of enemy fire from both enemy starfighters and warships.
In the end, the alien raiding force lost most of its warships. The human mech force had won this fight while suffering less half as many casualties than in previous cases.
This was just the start of the Fey Fianna explosion on the second-class battlefield!
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