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Chapter 2968: Manpower and Organization Concerns
Every capital s.h.i.+p possessed a unique charm. This charm profoundly affected the way that people lived their lives aboard a given vessel.
The Dragon’s Den was a vessel designed to conduct research on the go. She possessed all of the facilities of a traditional ground-based research center, but made certain adaptations to make researchers feel more at ease.
During his tour through the upper decks of his new research s.h.i.+p, Ves encountered plenty of false windows that displayed views of lush, untamed planets. He pa.s.sed through relaxation and socialization areas which were filled with greenery and possessed high ceilings which depicted a very realistic illusion of an open sky, complete with wind blowing in people’s faces.
“Researchers are humans as well. No one except the s.p.a.ceborn can endure living months and years on end while staying confined in metal or metal-like boxes all the time.” Dr. Ranya explained as they observed dozens of off-duty researchers and other personnel relaxing in the garden area. “These Lifers possess a great appreciation of nature and natural environments. The Dragon’s Den devotes quite a lot of internal s.p.a.ce to compartments like these because the Lifers who built this s.h.i.+p are aware that regulating mood and stress are vital to keeping scientists healthy and productive.”
The Life Research a.s.sociation developed a highly enthusiastic and compet.i.tive culture towards biotech research. This produced good results as many scientists worked hard and did not shy away from innovating. Yet it also led to a lot of burnout and extreme behavior that could fell even the most promising academics.
As scientists, these Lifers were aware of the dangers and performed extensive studies on how to mitigate these negative consequences. The various design elements of the Dragon’s Den reflected the measures that the Lifers had developed to stave off burnout.
“Not every problem can be solved by allowing our scientists to enjoy a break.” Ves remarked. “One of the shortcomings I’ve noticed about them during my time on Prosperous Hill VI is that they are too isolated. They don’t interact with people of a lower station than theirs. Certainly, they are proud elites who have the potential to become the ruling cla.s.s of the LRA, but they spend so much time looking up that they don’t even know that the ground beneath them has grown rotten. This is one of the many reasons why the Supreme Revolution resulted in so much chaos.”
As the herder of all of these scientists, Dr. Ranya took his warning quite seriously. “I did notice that these Lifer scientists tend to behave more sn.o.bbish around lower-ranked clansmen. It appears the hierarchy they are accustomed to is a lot more vertical than ours. I’ll try my best to pull them out of their ivory towers and mix them up with other Larkinsons on a more frequent basis. They’ll probably get annoyed whenever they are forced to spend time outside their labs, but it will be for their own good.”
“You have my full support. As long as you don’t make any blatantly unreasonable decisions, I will stay behind you.” Ves voiced.
“Thank you, sir. I will act more firmly if that is the case.”
In moments like these, it was important for Ves to establish his stance. He explicitly granted Dr. Ranya the authority to implement whatever measures she felt were necessary.
Of course, giving her such a wide lat.i.tude was also a test of her leaders.h.i.+p capabilities. If she somehow botched this task, then Ves would simply appoint someone else in her stead.
From what he had seen so far, Dr. Ranya did not want to let go of her current post as the director of the Larkinson Biotech Inst.i.tute. Even though it did not amount to much in the past, now that it absorbed so many Lifer scientists and practically took possession of the Dragon’s Den, she wielded a huge amount of power despite her younger age and lack of qualifications!
The scope of her responsibilities grew too quickly. He wasn’t certain that she could keep up with the growing demands of her job. The only way to know if she was ready was to let her plunge into the pool and see whether she would sink or swim.
In any case, the LBI had yet to blow up under her reign, and Ves had good hopes for her. She was a Wodin, and if she was anything like Gloriana, then she would never slack off on the job.
After they finished touring the upper decks, they moved to the middle decks where most of the s.h.i.+p’s operations took place. The bridge, the engineering bay and the crew cabins were all sandwiched in the middle of the capital s.h.i.+p.
Ves found this to be a rather odd design choice. “I would have thought that the Lifer s.h.i.+pwrights would place the laboratories in the center of the Dragon’s Den.”
“Knowledge is valuable, but lives are more important.” Commander Rivington said as he felt more in his element in this part of the capital s.h.i.+p. “Don’t get me wrong. It will definitely hurt to lose the research laboratories, but as long as our vessel is still s.p.a.ceworthy, we can still escape enemy pursuit and limp back to safety. Our researchers can always restart their prior research as long as they are still alive, and they won’t have to start over since they already harvested plenty of insights. They can also rely on backup data stored in the safer sections of our s.h.i.+p to restore their prior results.”
That made a lot of sense. As Ves toured through the various core sections of the Dragon’s Den, he noticed that the structure here was tougher and more robust than elsewhere on the s.h.i.+p.
In other words, her citadel was stronger and tougher than what was usually the case for non-combat vessels. This meant that while the Dragon’s Den was easy to scratch, it was a lot more difficult to take it down entirely. Ves was glad that her designers included at least some survival measures.
Commander Rivington began to speak about his own responsibilities during this part of the tour.
“For now, our new mech force is headquartered here since there is lots of s.p.a.ce here, but we hope to get a dedicated combat-oriented capital s.h.i.+p in the future. We are still in the process of setting up everything from scratch, so you don’t have to rush.”
Ves pressed his lips. “I think you are overestimating the Larkinson Clan’s financial capabilities. We aren’t rich to the point where we can hand out capital s.h.i.+ps like candy.”
The Larkinsons and their allies only had a limited quota of capital s.h.i.+ps they could bring with them to the Red Ocean. What was worse was that the s.h.i.+pbuilding industry on the other side of the greater beyonder gate was flooded with orders. There was no way a relatively small and unknown player like Larkinson Clan would ever be able to get priority unless Ves was willing to pay an insane amount of money.
The commander and Ves continued to discuss the particulars of the new mech force that the former was trying to set up. He was not making quick progress.
“We have the mech pilots. We have the officers. We have the support personnel. We have the biomechs. We have the organic carriers. What we don’t have is the organization and structure of a paramilitary outfit. Since we are starting from scratch, we aren’t burdened by outdated rules and customs. The downside is that there is so much we need to take care of that it will take a long time before we become more than a mob.”
“You should have plenty of help from the rest of the clan.” Ves pointed out. “The Military Bureau is not for show. Last I spoke to General Verle, he mentioned something about sending experienced officers and planners to you in order to act as your consultants. Is that working out for you, commander?”
“They’re definitely doing their jobs, but our Lifer mech pilots are used to serving in a different system. We are still trying to adjust to many new customs and traditions. It’s like living on an alien planet. The society that we are living in right now is a lot more different than we expected. We are not only making an abrupt transition to living in s.p.a.ce, but we are also living among people who primarily make use of conventional technology. This double whammy is making it extra hard for my men to feel at home in the Larkinson Clan.”
Ves grimaced a bit. Even Goldie’s influence could do so much in making the former Lifers feel at home. He did not forget that many of the refugees joined the Larkinson Clan under desperate circ.u.mstances. If the LRA was still at peace, then at least half of them wouldn’t have chosen to abandon their homes.
He could only provide general encouragement to Commander Rivington, but nothing more. This challenge happened to be another test of leaders.h.i.+p. Just like Dr. Ranya, Commander Rivington’s power and responsibilities grew far too rapidly and it was still questionable whether he could cope with his expanded job.
In fact, many parts of the clan had changed and grown over the past year. The clan had just exceeded 100,000 members, and this was an enormous change from the time when it just consisted of less than a thousand trueblood Larkinsons.
The men and women he originally put into leaders.h.i.+p positions were still there, mostly. While it was not a big deal for these chosen Larkinsons to take charge of a small branch of the clan that consisted of only tens or a hundred people, their job descriptions became at least ten times more complex once the people serving underneath them exceeded tens of thousands of people!
An average person on the street could never effectively take charge of so many people, let alone a team of just ten subordinates!
Despite all of this, many of the Larkinsons he appointed early on succeeded in stepping up as the clan grew in numbers and scope. While people like Commander Melkor, Fleet Coordinator Ophelia Kronon, COO Raymond Billingsley-Larkinson and so on weren’t necessarily brilliant at their jobs, they were competent enough to leave them secure in their positions.
Ves felt glad that so many familiar Larkinsons were able to keep up. The clan was only growing bigger as the existence of the Larkinson Network removed most downsides to rapid expansion. As long as the clan was able to digest the tens of thousands of people that had just joined, he would most certainly welcome even more people before his fleet entered the Red Ocean!
Competent and trustworthy manpower was scarce in the galaxy, and it would only grow worse in the dwarf galaxy. Since humanity was still new in this neighborhood, there weren’t a lot of settled planets with huge populations over there yet. Most competent personnel that arrived in the Red Ocean were already attached to other pioneers and fleets, so it was impossible for the Larkinson Clan to poach them without starting a war.
All of this meant that the clan would have to rely on its manpower to survive the next decade on its own. To minimize any potential problems related to this issue, Ves would rather recruit hundreds of thousands of extra people and sort them out later than be more constrained and suffer a crucial lack of talents after a few years of roaming the new frontier.
“By the way, sir, my men have made persistent requests to me about something.” Cecil Rivington said. “The former members of the airfleet are missing the opportunity to have a session with the angel statues. I think it might help them adjust to their new lives if we allow them to bask in the glows exuded by your beautiful organic statues.”
Ves had almost forgotten about that. As far as he knew, he ordered the Aspect of Lufas to be s.h.i.+pped directly to his workshop aboard the Spirit of Bentheim. While their effects were potent, he was not sure if it was healthy to expose people to their distinct glows on a long-term basis.
Perhaps their use was still justified while he and his men were stranded in the middle of a civil war, but that crisis had pa.s.sed.
He shook his head. “The statues are a little delicate. We don’t know whether they will distort the personalities of the people who are affected by them again and again. For now, try to manage your men without relying on this crutch.”
Though Rivington looked disappointed, he understood the underlying concerns. Even he felt that some of his men started to resemble drug addicts after a time!
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