And I decided to exploit my new Perk by making a spheroid balloon. That's a USA Football football, for the geometric challenged. It was roughly 2,000 feet long by 800 feet wide and tall. I placed it in the empty area between the second and third walls. Polished steel, 0.1mm thick, all Dungeon walls. 8,960,000 square feet of sheet metal. 653 metric tons of pure steel. 46,000 metric tons of lift if I could remove the air from the inside, which I could. Which I did. Slowly.
The damn thing lifted into the air and I stopped destroying the air inside. I had tether cables so it wouldn't suddenly jerk up into the great beyond. Structural integrity, 100%. I let it rise a little more, reaching 400 feet above the ground. The DCSC inside the spheroid kept it running perfectly. It was connected to the DCSC inside the first wagon. The mirror-polished steel reflected the ground in a distorted way.
My Dungeon was officially in two places at the same time. The space between the ground and the steel balloon was not my Dungeon. And I could use Replicate there though I knew I would suffer the delay due to distance unless I could run a vine tether between here and there. At the altitude, I wanted to fly this enormous metal kite? No chance in hell to keep a vine that long from snapping under its own weight.
I slowly created the basket underneath the balloon, carefully removing the air inside the steel balloon as I went I added robotic features until the System considered the dirigible a Mecha and granted it my Class Perk bonuses. It could now extend robotic arms and fight using giant swords. Also, the propulsion systems were all controlled via the computer. I could make it rise or fall by Replicating or absorbing ballast.
Over the next couple of weeks, I added enough weapons to make the Avengers' SHIELD Helicarrier look like a civilian toy boat. I added portholes to all weapons so they would count as traps, for the 50% discount and other trap-related bonuses.
When it was finished, I got a System notification.
> Name your new Creation.
"Its name is 'Huginn and Muninn', in honor of Odin's Crows. Be my eyes in the sky!"
> For creating level 180 Dirigible Fortress Dungeon "Hugging Momma" (Legendary), you gained 3,603 Experience Points.
Yay! Almost a month of work to earn a quarter of a level! I dissolved the tether and let Hugging Momma fly on its own. I had two fully-charged DCSCs in the balloon so I would need to go up there and recharge the servers at most in two years. I did the math wrong. at 5 DM per day, 2,000 points paid for 400 days, a year, and a month, give or take a week. So, yeah. Let the bird fly. I programmed it to fly in a circle around the outer wall, a mile out, and at 7,000 feet of altitude. Should anything fall from it, it would fall outside the city. The second rule was to shoot any flying Infernale it detected if the line of the shot didn't intersect the city on the ground or the World Tree.
Which World Tree, you ask? Bollocks, the one that hadn't yet sprouted, Timmy. It was alive and the amount of Mana it was churning only increased minutely every day. Trust me. A lot of people believed it was a hoax but they liked the park in the middle. Lots of room to play.
Hugging Momma fired its laser batteries at a flock of demon birds that were trying to reach it. Yeah, no more wasting DM on missiles and cluster munitions. Also, the DM the dirigible produced was more than enough to pay for the upkeep. Just that pesky touch-to-recharge requirement kept it from being fully autonomous. And due to a feature of my Mecha Pilot Class, the Mecha I was driving shared my aura, so a touch from Blackjack Six was considered a touch from me.
I was having a lesson on build optimization with Marshall. I had to reveal some of my Perks to him but at this point, it was clearly established that attempting to kill me was suicide. And I didn't reveal all of them.
"Wait, go back. You picked what for a sub-Class?"
"Dimensional Porter," I repeated.
"Rarity and Classification?" He pinched the bridge of his nose and winced.
"(Very Rare) and (Worker)."
You picked a (Worker) Sub-Class?" He asked just for the sake of asking.
"And you intend to keep it? Do you even need Dimensional Storage?"
"No, not really."
"Then why don't you drop it?"
"You can get a new Class, level it up. Grow stronger."
"The Dimensional Storage is a Trait. But the Class Skill affects that Trait directly. What happens if I drop the Class?"
"The Skill becomes useless. The System will notice it and ask you to remove it. The same with the Perks but at least with the Perks you get some Attribute Points back."
I had earned two ranks in the Dimensional Quartermaster Skill.
- Time passes (5*Rank)% slower in the storage.
- (Rank) times per day, when removing a non-(Unique) item from storage, you may pay its Replication cost instead to get a copy of the item. This has a discount of (5*Rank)% on its final cost. Items Replicated this way are worth at most 80% of the resources spent or the normal value, whichever is lower.
- Items in storage waste (10*Rank)% less space due to their irregular geometry.
- You may make an item from the Dimensional Storage appear anywhere outside an enemy's aura within (10*Rank) Yards away from you.
"I keep some magical fruit in there. Time passes slower—"
"You can hire an Enchanter to do the same. For money, not a Sub-Class slot."
"I'll need more than 300,000 Experience Points to level the replacement."
"Life sucks, deal with it. Drop the Class. Grind the Exp. Level up a good replacement. Buy a bag of holding. Hells, buy a Crate of Holding. It just takes longer to enchant. How much stuff can fit in that Storage Trait of yours?"
"571 cubic feet. 63 cubic yards."
"That's a lot. My recommendation is that you drop the Class. You do this. Wait until you earn a new Sub-Class slot, then drop the Class. Leveling two Sub-Classes from zero should lower your effective level enough to make it easier to gain Exp."
"Oh. Wait, my effective level would drop to... Oh, crap. Not that much."
"The woes of high-rarity people." Marshall grinned. "You screwed up picking that Class. Also, the spellcasting one. Not a good match. Something that gave your robots more punch or your weapons..."
"What is it?"
"And you still killed Jabberwock. Look, there's one thing you can do. You have two combat Classes, but do you use them together? Artillery General and Mecha Pilot."
"You don't. I don't see any of those big guns on your robot," Marshall cut me off. "Do this. Go and make a robot specialized in using those electrical weapons of yours." Test it against the Infernale. See if you like it. Think about the Perks you will activate to fight with them."
He gave me this challenge and left.
Yeah, I could do that.
A mobile weapons platform. A Mecha that combined both Classes. The Synergy between them would be... Yeah. I could see. What kind of robot should I make? A spider-tank? Chicken legs? yeah, let's go with a full spider. Eight legs. Let me spawn some spiders and let them walk under the scrutiny of some cameras to capture the way they move.
Now, the guns. I want a humanoid torso. Missile launchers on the abdomen, shoulder-mounted railguns. Point-defense lasers on the head. Big laser cannons for arms. Point defense lasers on the underside of the torso. I need a DCSC inside too. Make a note to put on Ranger Ork too. Can't disconnect from the Dungeon while piloting. Drop the head down to the chest, streamline it here, and redistribute the weight.
Now, why do I have a dome at the front that does nothing? Deflect shots? If the enemy is in range to shoot back at this baby, I'm doing something very wrong! No. Add more laser cannons here. I'll put eight, shaped like a spider's eyes. Heh. Eye beams. Put the torso on a swivel mount so I have a wider arc of fire. Make sure the PD lasers on the underside don't fire at the legs. How wonderful would that be? Oh, can't forget the jump jets. Now, the legs can't be that thin. It won't hold the Mecha's weight. But if I'm putting thicker legs, I can move some of the jump jets there.
The power drain on this beast will be huge. I might need to respawn the batteries on the fly. It won't operate autonomously anyway. To make the best use of my abilities in tandem, I need to be inside the mecha, right next to the DCSC.
I had to decide. Should I use round, more animal-like features, or the brutalist sharp angles of the robots of the 2000s? I split the screen and put them side-by-side. Angled. And I could put reinforcements at the corners to really bring out that militarized feeling. Now, colors... an austere desert camouflage pattern... Or new-age neon colors? Ranger Ork was very cartoonish so this one should be serious. It is settled. Desert camouflage.
I did some calculations and the legs could use a bit of reinforcement. Spread the anchor points for better support. An ejection system for damaged legs. Can't let them drag the robot behind. And on the back, two deployable weapon emplacements, to add more fire coverage and cover. a set of five cylinders on the back with six hidden guns. The cylinder would shoot a spike into the ground when deployed, open the weapons, and fire. I'll put some mortar tubes on the top to make it count as artillery, and then put their control in one of the two free instructions of the DCSC. When on the move, these cylinders would be deployed to provide fire support.
What a costly machine. At 150 feet long and 50 feet tall without the legs, it would be able to position itself strategically and deliver precise attacks from a long distance. The railguns were larger than the ones I used at the FOB against Jabberwock. The increase in size and barrel length should give them more damage, If I increase the mobility of the abdomen, I might even shoot the railguns straight forward. Yeah, let's do this, why not.
Finally, along the sides, two 100ft long swords, to animate. Stop. Belay that. Let me check the Perk.
Animate Weapon: You may wield a weapon you crafted telekinetically. Replace Strength with Willpower, Dexterity with Wisdom, and Agility with Intelligence.
Why does it have to be a sword? What if I place a super giant railgun in the middle, move the others to the sides... and then animate the ridiculously huge Gauss cannon to shoot from the air? This required further testing.
Yes, I could manipulate any weapon I'd crafted. I could make a laser cannon fly, and a Gauss rifle move around, aim, and shoot itself. With that, I finished the design of my new siege Mecha. Now, what name should I use? The spider from the Lord of the Rings?
Know what? I'll stick to the basics. This one will be called Black Widow. Creating the mecha cost me 275,000 Dungeon Mana, with the Cloud Server included.
> For creating level 185 Mechanic Spider Mecha "Bricks Windows" (Epic), you gained 7,327 Experience Points.
If I created a new one, it would give me only 20% of the Exp value. Really not worth it. I boarded Brick Widener using "Get in the Fucking Robot, Shinji," and went for a test drive. Outside the city. But with a name like that, I should paint it blue and change its name to BSOD.
Bio: The author would like to reinforce for the umpteenth time that the characters' opinions are their own, may be intentionally wrong, do not reflect my (MDW's) personal viewpoints neither are included in this work to further any political agenda (I don't even live in the same hemisphere or country as you, whichever those are. I'm writing from the Earth-Sun L3 point for all I care). My works serve no purpose other than to tell stories with conflicting viewpoints. Use of the reader's critical sense is highly advised.