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Chapter 3961 Gloriana the Genius
As Ves and his family continued to enjoy their week-long holiday, many other parts of the Larkinson Clan were moving as well.
Not all of them went on vacation as they still had to take care of a lot of business.
Meanwhile, inquiries kept pouring in as more and more parties wanted a piece of the phasewater that the Larkinsons had obtained.
From building superdrives to conducting new research on this miracle substance, many inst.i.tutions based in Davute and beyond possessed an incredible hunger for phasewater!
"Phasewater! More phasewater! A few grams aren't enough! We need at least ten times as much phasewater to produce a strong enough spatial reaction! d.a.m.nit, why can't we obtain enough phasewater!?"
The properties of phasewater in its purest form were relatively simple. The more phasewater gathered together, the more it was able to shake the fabric of s.p.a.cetime.
While this had many implications, the most important one for most scientists and engineers was that more powerful and profound applications of phasewater could only be achieved by gathering a sufficient quant.i.ty of this liquid exotic!
A single gram of phasewater barely made any disturbance while a hundred grams was enough to affect entire stars.h.i.+ps!
The reactions produced by concentrating more than a kilogram of phasewater were inconceivable, especially if the gathered material was actively stimulated!
As for concentrating more than a hundred kilograms of phasewater… only the Big Two and other top organizations mastered the applications of such a powerful quant.i.ty.
In the hands of the Larkinson Clan, none of this was particularly significant. The Larkinsons had no background in FTL drive technology or warp drive technology. Their researchers possessed no foundation in superluminal travel methods or any other obvious applications of phasewater.
The clan pretty much treated their reserves of phasewater like a ma.s.sive mountain of money!
At its current state, the Larkinson Clan was unable to make effective use of phasewater in any of its engineering activities. It made a lot more sense to trade it away to those who could utilize it better in exchange for other benefits.
Whether it was money, favors, high-tech products or protection, the clan received so many different offers that it became hard to decide which ones to accept.
While there were plenty of Larkinsons who were eager to accept these deals right away, Ves adamantly called for patience.
Going on vacation was a nice excuse for him to let this frenzy play out long enough for the initial burst of excitement to die down a bit. Too many clansmen only had green in their eyes these days, and that caused Ves to grow more concerned.
"The more people want to buy my phasewater, the more I feel the urge to h.o.a.rd it for myself." He muttered as he looked out at the glistening expanse of water.
He didn't know why, but when he woke up today, he felt the urge to depart from Kotor City and take a boat trip onto a lake.
This prompted him to take his family out to a scenic waterfront and rent a luxury yacht called the Semerosa so that they could all enjoy the wonders of one of Davute VII's great lakes.
Currently, the local star was s.h.i.+ning down from above while a calm wind whipped up the water into different waves.
The yacht that Ves had chosen to rent was an interesting one. While the seaborn s.h.i.+p was equipped with all kinds of technological bells and whistles, he had turned all of that off so that he could try to propel the craft by manipulating the Semerosa's old-fas.h.i.+oned sails.
Naturally, Ves had no clue at all how to manipulate the various sails, but fortunately the vessel came with an AI that could either give hints or perform all of the necessary operations by itself.
Ves may have wanted to seek out simplicity, but that did not mean he was willing to perform an excessive amount of manual labor. He was a clan patriarch, not a sailor!
"What are you thinking about?" Gloriana asked as she approached the rails where Ves was leaning on. "You looked troubled."
"I just don't know what to do, honey. I'm glad that we have solved our poverty issue after concluding our last expedition, but I don't think anyone in our clan is prepared for this scenario. We have way too much money but not enough clues on how to spend it responsibly and in a sustainable fas.h.i.+on. Do you know how many proposals and requests are waiting for me once I get back to my office? Each of them can propel us all forward, but it could also cause us to squander our entire windfall while getting little to nothing in return."
Gloriana snorted. "Look at you now. The victorious plunderer and fish-whale slayer, all sad and burdened because he can't make up his mind on how to convert hundreds of kilograms of phasewater into solid benefits. A lot of pioneers would kill you if they hear you struggling like this. You're being a melodramatic fool, Ves. You're suffering from success."
"That's a real problem, you know." Ves retorted. "A momentary success doesn't equate to permanent prosperity. Phasewater itself is just a hugely valuable material. It doesn't generate any income by itself. I would rather have more enduring a.s.sets such as additional capital s.h.i.+ps or access to high technology that can comprehensive strengthen our clan and enable us to harvest more phasewater in a more sustainable fas.h.i.+on."
"Then why don't you do that, Ves?"
Ves sighed. "There are too many choices. When our financial strength was weak, everything was a lot simpler. We didn't have the money to invest in multiple initiatives, let alone a single expensive one. All we could do was spend our money as sparingly as possible on a couple of cheap and simple areas. Now… we have a million more choices. Which ones are the best? Which ones are a waste of money? Which ones will put us into danger? We can never truly say. I'm so afraid that I will screw up this fantastic opportunity and delay all of our growth as a consequence."
His wife looked sympathetic as she came close to embrace his shoulder.
"I didn't realize this was burdening you to this extent. I'm sorry, Ves. That said, I still think you are taking this far too seriously. Why don't you let others do all of the thinking? Many of the leaders in our clan are already forming plans of their own. I have already taken a look at some of them and they aren't half-bad."
"Oh?" Ves raised his eyebrow. "What good plans have you heard about, then?"
"Well, there is one plan that calls for investing a lot of money into upgrading the Diligent Ovenbird."
"How much money are we talking about?" Ves asked.
"Somewhere to the tune of 500,000 MTA credits."
He recalled that he had already held discussions with Chief s.h.i.+pwright Vivian Tsai about upgrading the capital fleet repair vessel. However, those upgrade plans were fairly modest compared to the sum that Gloriana had just mentioned!
"In fact, Vivian can't fully determine the total monetary cost because a part of the upgrades can't easily be bought for money." Gloriana continued. "She wants to equip the Diligent Ovenbird with an extensive amount of advanced fabrication and construction facilities, not all of which can be bought on the open market. The only way to obtain all of the high technology we need to comprehensively improve the Diligent Ovenbird is to barter it from other companies with phaswater or directly exchange what we need from the a.s.sociation with MTA merits."
"I see. This… sounds like an ambitious upgrade plan. 500,000 MTA credits or the equivalent in phasewater or MTA merits is not a small sum, Gloriana. What can we get out of spending that much money and resources?"
"There are multiple upgrade paths. Vivian told me that we can go for two approaches. First we can retain the Diligent Ovenbird's function as a frontier fleet repair vessel, but substantially upgrade her sub-capital s.h.i.+p production capabilities. Instead of fabricating those tiny light carriers that no one wants to use, the production crews can start fabricating modern heartland-level combat carriers at much greater speeds and efficiency. Just think about it. We can fabricate a fully functional combat carrier every month, all while the Ovenbird is still on the move!"
Ves widened his eyes. That did sound like an attractive option! Even though spending 500,000 MTA credits at once sounded like a risky investment, if the Diligent Ovenbird's s.h.i.+p production capabilities could fully catch up to the smaller s.h.i.+pyards...o...b..ting Davute, then the clan would become a lot less dependent on external s.h.i.+pbuilders!
It wouldn't be like now where the Larkinson Clan had to wait for Murphy & Sons to complete their order.
This was nothing less than adding a small but fully mobile s.h.i.+pyard to the Larkinson fleet!
"What about capital s.h.i.+ps?" He asked. "Spending half a million MTA credits on a s.h.i.+pyard that can only build smaller vessels doesn't entirely sound efficient. I feel like we are paying a huge premium just to maintain the mobility of the Diligent Ovenbird."
"You're right, Ves. This is why Vivian also proposed a second plan that is more geared towards capital s.h.i.+p production. For roughly the same amount of money, if you are willing to anchor the Diligent Ovenbird and keep it in orbit of a planet for long periods of time, then she can essentially function as a larger s.h.i.+pyard, one that is capable of building capital s.h.i.+ps!"
Ves had already heard similar suggestions from Vivian, but this plan went to a completely different dimension when the budget was ten times higher than before!
A lot of limitations and other difficult problems no longer became as troublesome once the Larkinsons were willing to spend enough money.
Powerful options such as adding industrial superfabs to the Diligent Ovenbird ma.s.sively shortened the construction time while also enabling the clan to build much more powerful and sophisticated stars.h.i.+ps!
Right now, Ves felt conflicted yet again. In the past, he never put too much of a priority on upgrading the Diligent Ovenbird because the clan simply didn't have the budget to achieve ma.s.sive improvements.
This time was different. The clan now had the resources to convert the Diligent Ovenbird into a powerful frontier vessel or a capital s.h.i.+pyard that just happened to possess the ability to relocate.
The problem was deciding which one he should choose.
On one hand, he could not deprive his core fleet of a vessel that was capable of performing essential repairs on other damaged vessels in the field.
On the other hand, he had long grown frustrated at the Larkinson Clan's inability to purchase or build capital s.h.i.+ps of its own. Converting the Diligent Ovenbird into a semi-stationary capital s.h.i.+pyard could solve this difficult problem, but then again it might not as the Larkinsons had no experience when it came to producing stars.h.i.+ps of this size.
"You idiot, Ves." Gloriana said, interrupting his thoughts. "Why try to choose between one of the two options when you can just have both?"
"Think about it. The Diligent Ovenbird is a vessel that can build other vessels. If we upgrade her into a capital s.h.i.+pyard, we gain the capability to construct other capital s.h.i.+ps. Won't it be possible for us to build another capital fleet repair vessel to fill in the hole that the Diligent Ovenbird had left? This way, we can have it both ways! While this plan will cost us a large amount of money, we aren't short of it these days."
Ves' eyes lit up. His wife was right! Why didn't he think of this? He was so locked in his previous thought patterns that he did not consider what richer people would do. He was too much of a cheapskate to think about bolder investments!
"You're a genius, you know that, Gloriana? When it comes to spending money, you are the number one in human s.p.a.ce!"
"...Is that supposed to be a compliment?"