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The Mech Touch is a web novel made by Exlor. This lightnovel is right now Ongoing.
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Chapter 2810 – Imparting Thought
One of the most important ways to distinguish sentient life from non-sentient life was the ability to resist instinctual behavior.
The main reason why humans were able to dominate Old Earth and rule over every other form of life on their origin planet was because of their capability of higher thought!
Since Ves constantly worked with different forms of spirituality, he began to develop his own thoughts on sentience.
According to his personal understanding, sentience was a higher quality of thinking that Humans were able to defy their instincts.
What did this mean?
It meant that sentient lifeforms were able to resist their biological impulses! This allowed them to pursue greater purposes that instinctual creatures would never be able to perform!
For example, Clixie did not automatically hunt down and eat every pet bird or mouse whenever she was hungry.
Qilanxo was able to get over the fact that the Flagrant Swordmaidens killed her mate, upended her entire life and basically initiated the events that led to the end of Aeon Corona VII’s entire ecosystem.
Ves was able to hold on to his principles and remain honest even when he was presented by tempting offers.
All of these examples and more signified how sentient beings were able to use their higher functioning to override the programming of their own species!
Of course, that didn’t mean that sentient thinking was able to override instinctual impulses entirely. Instead, the two usually maintained a balance. This was a very complicated discussion that was best left to exobiologists and other experts.
What Ves cared about was stopping the saboteur beetles from wrecking the Transcendent Punisher.
As long as the beetles no longer threatened his mech, the ultralight beetle mech lost its strongest offensive weapon!
Ves keenly recognized that this small backup biomech did not possess a lot of solutions. It was more of a glorified mech c.o.c.kpit that was able to fight when the main mech was no longer able to fight.
“Let’s see how I can do this.”
If Ves wanted to impart sentience in creatures that were explicitly designed to act as drones, then he had to add something that they didn’t originally possess.
He had to inject them with spiritual energy.
He considered various ideas and decided to try out the simplest solution first.
His Spirituality reached out and tried to affect the beetles. Ves exerted himself a bit more in order to impart spiritual energy into their heads.
Ves had a feeling that most of his spiritual energy strayed away. Hardly any of it ‘caught’ on to the beetles, which meant that this was an incredibly wasteful and inefficient process.
However, Ves didn’t care too much. As long as at least a portion of his spiritual energy managed to sink into the nearly non-existent minds of the beetles, then he was able to proceed.
Interestingly enough, his spiritual energy encountered remarkably little rejection. Even non-sentient creatures should have possessed the ability to resist foreign influences, but perhaps there was something about his own Life domain or his affinity with other lifeforms that caused the beetles to lower their resistance.
It could also be that they were designed to obey specific instructions and that Ves inadvertently took advantage of a loophole.
Whatever the case, Ves flooded the minds of the beetles with his spiritual energy.
The moment any of his energy entered their minds, they immediately went to work. Perhaps other forms of spiritual energy would wreak havoc to the mental capacities of the organic products, but this was different!
Ves dedicated his entire career towards fostering synergy. He possessed a gentler domain than other mech designers and he was able to achieve an unprecedented degree of cooperation with many forms of life, whether it was mechs or exobeasts.
The saboteur beetles weren’t all that different from the lifeforms that Ves had cooperated with before.
As his mind touched these simple creatures, he felt a rigid purpose in each of them. Their entire lives revolved around performing their narrow mission.
There was hardly anything in their minds except how to best destroy mechs and other complicated machinery from within!
The only other functions they possessed were all related to their primary mission in some way.
They were able to procreate, but that was only because this made it easier to maintain a healthy stock of saboteur beetles.
The beetles were able to fight against hostile organic creatures or bots if any of them hindered their mission.
The disposable insects didn’t live to old age. Instead, they died exactly 262 days after they were born, because that was the point where their organic functions began to deteriorate. Rather than waste precious s.p.a.ce and resources, the older beetles might as well die off and make room for fresher replacements!
Other than that, there was very little about them that signified that there was anything present! Even their eating times and bathroom breaks were regularized according to their biological clocks!
The more Ves learned about the beetles through exploring the essence of their lives, the more he became disgusted at what he saw.
This was not life!
This was a perversion of life!
Even if they were humble beetles, these creatures of life were slaves to their own bioprogramming. Heartless beast designers discarded everything in their genes that conformed to nature and inserted artificial instructions that left no room for free will or independent expression!
While Ves understood the reasoning behind this approach, his heart was very conflicted!
Not everything had to be sentient. Bots were tools that people used to perform specific jobs. There was no reason to impart them with any higher function.
The organic products should be no different, but Ves felt they should be treated differently than bots!
It was a very odd feeling. As a cla.s.sical mech designer who grew up in a relatively mundane state, he always grew up with the idea that machines should be lifeless. Living critters deserved to be treated with more respect, although no one minded if someone swatted a fly or crushed a bug.
Ves deviated from this orthodoxy by expanding his definition of life to include mechs. In the right circ.u.mstances, machines could become sentient as well, and that had the potential to make them a lot more useful than other products!
Since mechanical machines could become alive, why not organic machines?
It was an argument that Ves hesitated to accept. He did not implicitly reject the notion, but he feared the consequences of embracing it. Continuing with this train of thought would lead to a slippery slope where Ves might eventually consider every object to be alive!
He shook his head. “I don’t need to deal with these questions. I need to hurry up before the saboteur beetles finish the job!”
Ves did not hesitate any further and tried to impart sentience into the beetles. He actively encouraged his spiritual energy to contaminate the minds of the beetles.
This went remarkably easy, but that was a given considering not much was there in the first place. While his spiritual energy originally wasn’t able to root in the minds of the non-sentient creatures, the story was different once they became contaminated!
Since his spiritual energy possessed a very strong life attribute, the minds of the beetles embraced this attribute and everything else that came along with it. A mysterious process took place where Ves felt as if the insects slowly elevated themselves.
Unfortunately, due to the limitations of his method, spiritual energy and the mental capacity of the beetles, not that much had changed. The creatures only felt slightly smarter than before.
This was enough. Ves halted his current actions and issued his command once again.
This time, the saboteur beetles responded. Each of them halted no matter what they were doing.
While the beetles were technically required to continue their actions, they accepted the spiritual command that Ves had issued!
The beetles weren’t suppose to harbor any feelings, but somehow they felt reverent towards the progenitor that had uplifted them to a higher degree of existence.
No exobiologist or beast designer had ever heard of this! If they learned what Ves had done, they would have captured him and taken him away in order to learn how to master this remarkable ability!
Fortunately, all of this took place in a fairly subtle manner. The mechs in the arena were so far away that not even Ves was able to pick up the spiritual fluctuations. He was only able to extend his senses by latching on to one of his own creations.
Anyway, time was running out. Just because the beetles had stopped didn’t mean that the Transcendent Punisher was in the clear.
With the incendiaries continuing to inflict damage on the Ylvainan mech, Ves had to do something to defeat the opponent!
“Kill.” He mentally commanded.
He imparted an image of the ultralight beetle mech while he conveyed this command.
For a moment, the saboteur beetles struggled. Their newly-born sentience warred against their bioprogramming.
They weren’t supposed to attack their source! Several safeguards came to life in order to prevent the organic products from turning against their own side!
Ves merely repeated his actions.
The constant repet.i.tion seemed to help. Eventually, the beetles finally defeated a portion of their programmed instincts! Every impulse related to preventing them from attacking their own side had temporarily died, allowing the beetles to see their own allies as enemies, if only for a moment!
LIke mind-controlled beasts, the beetles all scurried out of the cavity of the Transcendent Punisher and quickly began to attack the mech that originally carried them within its belly!
“What is happening?!”
“Have the beetles been hacked?!”
“This is impossible!”
Ves quietly retracted his influence and pretended as if he wasn’t responsible. He tried to act as surprised as everyone else.
Hundreds of saboteur beetles crawled over the frame of the secondary biomech!
While the subverted attacker bugs weren’t very big, their mandibles were surprisingly sharp and were easily capable of digging through the exterior of any ultralight mech!
It only took a dozen seconds for the first beetle to chew through the thin and fragile exoskeleton of the beetle. The internal organs were not even reinforced, so they succ.u.mbed in an instant as soon as the beetles tore into the vulnerable flesh.
There was nothing the beetle mech could do to fend off the attacking creatures!
None of the commands transmitted by the small mech succeeded in a.s.serting control over the saboteur beetles. Even the command that forced the beetles to commit suicide failed to produce any effects!
As the mech was rapidly being chewed apart, the officials couldn’t hold back any longer.
A strong gravitic wave emanated from the arena that pushed all of the out-of-control beetles away from their current target!
Another forcefully doused the flames on top of the heavily-damaged Transcendent Punisher.
Energy s.h.i.+elds came to life to prevent both sides from attacking each other any further.
[The final match of the second phase has ended! On account of what has happened, we have no choice but to declare the Transcendent Punisher to be the winner.]
If the match hadn’t ended, the saboteur beetles could have easily breached into the tiny c.o.c.kpit where Gwineth Ulser piloted the beetle mech!
While many people were able to realize this, the drastic turn of events was too shocking for everyone to accept.
Why did the saboteur beetles rebel?
Weren’t they close to defeating the Transcendent Punisher?
The Ylvainan mech was well on its way to losing before this happened.
The audience couldn’t accept this last-minute turnaround!
“THIS DESIGN DUEL IS A FARCE!”
“WE WILL NOT BE HUMILIATED!”
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