The Mech Touch


The Mech Touch Chapter 251 Black


Since the design phase required a lot of focus, Ves made sure that the company didn't need his presence for the next couple of weeks. He met with the officers and set a couple of goals.

"The new directors will be installed soon. You'll need to take some time off your project to introduce them to the company. You're wearing the chairman hat as well, Ves."

"I know." Ves replied in a sour tone. "I'll make time, but I trust you can take care of everything else?"

The LMC only offered a single model for sale, so many employees had little to do outside of dealing with the backlog in administration.

"There will always be decisions that you have to sign off. I'l present them to you weekly if able."

With that taken care of, Ves closed himself in his office and booted up the design suite. It was time to turn an idea into a concrete product.

First, the images. The base role received such a substantial boost from Barley's borrowed sentiments that it threatened to break its shackles. It wouldn't be very desirable if the base role gained absolute supremacy.

"Fight, phoenix! Survive! C'mon Jake, you aren't a top mech athlete for nothing!"

Ves distinctively gave the other two images a boost of strength to catch up to the knight. With the timely infusion of energy, the phoenix and Jackknife Jake started taking the.offensive against the base role portion of the Triple Division Technique.

The battle took place in an abstract realm where imagination and intelligence formed the principal mode of struggle. This enabled the wily Jackknife Jake to take an early lead, having cut a pound of flesh from both the phoenix and the knight at once.

The battle for supremacy tugged back and forth as none of the three images held their advantages for long. Any moment where one image gained a clear advantage, the other two images ganged up on them. The struggle transitioned into a battle of attrition, where momentary bursts of energy occurred less and less as the images began to ration their remaining reserves.

Slowly, the phoenix gained an advantage in this increasingly lengthy standoff. It came down to which side lasted the longest.

The knight possessed a lot of endurance and willpower. As a master of defense, the image relied on its durability to hold out the storm. The only downside was that the knight did not have any means to replenish its reserves once it ran out.

Jackknife Jake typified a top mech athlete in that he treated the battle like a duel. While he started strong from the beginning, his reserves began to flag once it dragged on for a longer stretch of time. Mech duels never lasted longer than half an hour because the audience would get bored by the waiting game. Jake became increasingly more feeble as the attrition dragged down his performance.

It was exactly in these circumstances that the phoenix gained supremacy. It only needed to endure Jackknife Jake's intensive attacks at the beginning. As for the knight, the image acted too defensively to put any significant amount of pressure on the totem animal. By the time the knight realized its mistake, the phoenix already enjoyed a clear superiority.

"The phoenix is unending."

Once its superiority reached a decisive moment, Ves started to feel his brain heating up as the phoenix burst out into fire! A massive inferno swept through his mindscape and swept every corner with cleansing flames!

The phoenix forcibly wiped out everything on the battlefield including its two rivals! Both the knight and Jackknife Jake could do nothing as the flames disintegrated their unique identities and subsumed their purified essences for the victor.

The phoenix had won!

A rich bird cry rang out as the flames turned into a shade of black. The sinister-looking conflagration swirled like a shrinking tornado that concentrated all of the fire into a single, black egg.

Deep, mystical patterns ran throughout the egg, their meaning and purpose unknown. Ves sat rapt with anticipation as he waited for the egg to mature. The patterns seemed to invigorate the egg as it started to grow hotter to the point it burst into the same black flames that formed it in the first place.

This time, the fire seemed more deeper and nuanced than before. The wild, untamed fire had turned into a carefully-controlled mantle that tightly protected the egg as it began to hatch.

The shell cracked quickly. Among the broken shell, a pillar of black flames rose to the heavens as it announced the rebirth of the phoenix.

"The black phoenix!"

It had evidently gained a substantial boost in strength. Its cleansing flames enabled it to absorb the essences of the two other images without risking contamination. The black phoenix only willingly absorbed the best part of its rivals, such as the knight's enduring willpower and Jackknife Jake's devious intelligence.

Stronger and more intelligent than before, the black phoenix seemed to stare at Ves before huffing at him in disdain. It was as if the arrogant bird told him that his mind was an unworthy home for him, and that he should hurry up and finish his design.

"Alright, alright, I'll work on it!"

While the battle took a toll on his mind, Ves gained a lot of inspiration from the vivid imagery. "It's exactly how I envisioned my design."

Neither pure aggression nor pure defence triumphed over endurance. Staying power, longevity and recovery ability granted the phoenix a great amount of superiority in battles of attrition.

"By all accounts, the upcoming Bright-Vesia War will definitely drag on for years. This should be the greatest stage for my black phoenix knight."

With the conflict between the images coming to a close, Ves focused on the victor and channeled it through his work.

He started with the internal frame or the skeleton of his design. Knights usually possessed very robust internal frames, but the thicker the internals, the more it impacted its mobility. It also took up a deceptively large amount of volume, leaving less space for the internal architecture.

Ves faced a dilemma at the very start. Should he utilize a thick internal frame that offered strong defense or a leaner frame that left more potential for mobility?

"An offensive knight should still be able to act like a defensive knight if the situation calls for it. On the other hand, a thicker frame will cripple its playmaking potential by slowing it down too much."

Rather than decide by himself, he closed his eyes and channeled the black phoenix roosting inside his head. The proud imaginary creature squawked and lifted off into the air, circling around the mental representation of the design in his mindscape.

After regarding it with a critical eye, the phoenix released a burning black feather that landed on the design. The feather burned up once it reached the schematic and started to burn away some of the thickness in the internal frame.

Ves got the message. "If that is what you wish."

He could see the rationale for using a thinner frame. The black phoenix depended on its mobility, cunning and amazing endurance to outlast most opponents. Still, it knew when to stand its ground when the situation called for it. The phoenix did not carry over the noble mission of the knight, but it possessed its own peculiar pride.

"It's as if I'm designing a knight for mech pilots who hate piloting knights." He muttered, already forseeing the controversy his black phoenix knight could ignite. "I would have missed this issue if I declined to purchase a Mastery from the System."

The value of his first Mastery already exerted itself. Ves consciously knew what to look out for if he wanted to deviate from the standard of a defensive knight.

It took an entire day to wrap up his design work on the internal frame. Ves wanted to pursue balance in robustness and mobility. It came down to how much cutting he could get away with. If he thinned a section too much, it risked turning into a twig that might snap at the worst possible moment.

"Let's move on to the internal architecture."

His goals for the internals determined its ultimate structure. Even with a simple frame like a knight, a lot of compromises had to be made in order to form an efficient architecture that could withstand the test of time.

"It has to be tough, it has to be easy to repair, and it also has to possess a high amount of redundancy."

The last priority demanded a lot of clever solutions, because increasing a mech's RF took up a lot of weight and volume. Ves had to keep them down in order to maintain his knight's mobility.

With the generic alloys he licensed from the market, Ves began to draw up his structure according to a specific method. He started with the major pipelines and channels and began to surround them with smaller components. All the while, he sprinkled his growing architecture with features that improved his mech's redundancy and compartmentalization.

The work involved a lot of tedium and repetitive iteration. Time flew by as Ves became absorbed in the problems of day. He leaned heavily on the Mech Designer System's advanced simulations to produce the most optimal results when his considerable intelligence and creativity failed to provide a solution.

"I'm glad I beefed up my Mathematics and Physics to Journeyman. I'm finally starting to tap into the potential of all those simulations the System has in store."

Even more advanced models awaited his use once he advanced his Mathematics to a transcendent level. For now, Ves made due with the workmanlike models that provided fairly realistic results at the press of a button.

The design work on the architecture dragged on for over four weeks as Ves faced the prospect of running out of space. He could always decide to bulk up the exterior of his mech to accomodate more internal space, but that would ruin his design's entire balance.

Strangely enough, Ves never got bored throughout the entire process. With the fate of his future career hanging in the balance, he worked at peak efficiency throughout the day. Rarely did he need to take a rest due to an overburdened mind. The simplification of his images allowed him to dedicate his focus solely to the proud and relentless black phoenix.

"It's even showing signs of growth."

One of the main goals for his mech had always been the ability to foster growth. The black phoenix happened to be strongly connected to this concept, so it had been easy for Ves to emphasize that aspect. He just didn't expect the growth to start before he finalized the design.

A curious interaction took place as the design choices he made resonated with the image. In turn, the changing phoenix reflected its own desires back at the design. Ves served as the channel and mediator of this faint but clearly noticeable relationship. His role even allowed him to manipulate the interaction to suit his outcomes.

It felt like something unprecedented and profound took place in a plane beyond the material. Something that Ves had birthed out of nothing but his own mental energy took on a life of its own but colored in the perspective of his design. The black phoenix increasingly embodied the design, and the design increasingly echoed the phoenix.

"It's as if they are fated to be together."

In concrete terms, Ves made many design choices that seemed odd and out of place, but started to make sense once he put all the pieces in place. He did not design the most durable knight, but he sure as hell made it tough as bones. In order to increase his design's redundancy, he sacrificed a bit of everything, in particular his energy budget and his armor budget.

"My knight won't be outlasting or outdefending similar models as a consequence."

That sounded fairly… bad. Even with the excellent Veltrex armor system, if Ves did not employ too many layers, his knight would fall apart after a couple of alpha strikes.

"It's a marathon runner, not a sprinter. The endurance is still fairly good, and the repairability has remained excellent throughout the process."

The internal architecture crystallized all of his considerable insights in this area. His extensive development with the Caesar Augustus line taught him many ways to untangle its ungodly internal mess. Added with the fact that he designed a pure knight rather than a hybrid knight, the internals had been shaped into a form that hardly any Apprentice Mech Designer could top.

During his design work on the internals, Ves left out the layout of the artificial musculature. As knights relied on momentum and force to empower their blows, the question of forming the appropriate structure for his musculature could fill entire libraries.

Ves found to his consternation that his Battle Mechatronics Skill left him with an insufficient foundation to design a structure from scratch. Even his Mastery Sub-Skill didn't help that much, because the perspective of a knight only held a narrow perspective on the subject of something as complicated as the muscles of a mech.

"I'm going to need to read a book."

It was a good thing he saved some merits in reserve. It was time to take a break anyway, as Ves pretty much cut himself off from the rest of the universe for a month.

Once he stepped out of his office, he quickly wished he stayed inside. Jake arrived up his doorstep almost immediately with a very important message.

"The newly instated board members are eager to convene the board. If you will follow me to the conference room we've setup, you'll be able to meet them and set some high level goals for the LMC. You are working with brilliant minds here. You best take advantage of their expertise."

"Oh joy."



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