The Mech Touch

 
 

The Mech Touch Chapter 335 Underground Complex


Ves continued to pick Jake's brain as they entered through the gates and boarded an elevator. The device slowly brought Ves, Jake and Melkor and some guards down into the depths of the tunnel that the construction companies dug out only a couple of months ago.

"What about the Mech Corps?" Ves asked. "Occasionally, they license designs from external mech designers. They don't completely rely on models their research and development teams came up on their own."

"That's a complicated matter. Only exceptional designs fall under their consideration. As much as your Blackbeak has impressed the market, it is still a design that's below their consideration."

As much as Ves believed in his own design, he had to admit that his work paled in comparison to those designed by an entire team of professionals. A Senior Mech Designer helmed each design team under the employ of the Mech Corps.

Such a high number of capable mech designers would always be able to surpass the work of a single Apprentice Mech Designer.

He sighed. "I shouldn't get my hopes up then."

Ves was not so full of himself that he believed he could surpass the collective efforts of these all-star teams. Every member of a core design team boasted impressive track records. They made Michael Dumont look like the school dunce.

They mostly consisted of older mech designers as well. It was generally believed you had to be in your late thirties to be an asset to the team. This meant that the backbone almost always consisted of established Journeyman Mech Designers, each of whom possessed their own unique talents.

The elevator descended fairly quickly. Several kilometers passed by in a single minute, but the inertial dampeners built into the elevator ensured a smooth ride for every passenger.

It stopped once it reached the first underground floor. As they exited it, Ves beheld a huge but largely hollow corridor. Several huge alloy hatches led to other hollow chambers.

"This is the warehouse floor where the manufacturing complex will store the majority of their goods. It's placed in the upper-most floor to facilitate the movement of raw materials and end products."

Ves nodded at that. Some believed that the goods should be stored in the lowest floor, but Ves thought this made more sense. It would take a lot of hassle to ship the goods several more kilometers underground.

Once they looked around the empty chambers for a while, Jake led Ves to the floors underneath. Each single floor had been separated by many stretches of soil in order to isolate each of them in case of an enemy breach. While this added to the cost, the extra safety was worth the added effort.

"I don't remember any of this in the original plan. How much extra will it cost to setup a secure underground complex?"

"The total cost has increased from 500 million credits to 1.5 billion credits. The extra money is mostly spent on extra space and strengthening the tunnels. Not everyone in the board agreed to the price increase, but your grandfather is adamant about turning your little fief into castle."

Again, his grandfather played a crucial role in enacting a change within his company. At least this time Ves agreed with the decision. The company sat on a growing pile of cash. They might as well invest some of it on their manufacturing complex, which would serve as their crown jewel and the seat of the LMC.

Ves reminded himself that he needed to have a good talk with his grandfather anyway.

Over the next couple of hours, Jake led him down the elevator and showed him the other underground floors that needed to be filled up with furnishings and equipment.

The floor underneath the warehouse housed the underground offices. Backup systems ensured that almost any data stored in the offices above would be copied down below. In the event the structures above the ground got bombed, the survivors could still pick up their work in the underground offices.

"This floor can easily accommodate thousands of office workers." Jake boasted. "For now, we won't be able to fill this office up to capacity if we're chased underground, but hopefully it will be a different story a couple of decades later."

The office floor did not contain anything of interest to Ves, so they moved to the next and most important floor.

"This is where the bulk of our manufacturing will take place. The halls are extra wide and deep, and each production line will be segregated in their own halls to prevent any unforeseen accidents from spilling over."

Ves looked at the empty halls and its alloy-plated walls. "All of that cladding doesn't look cheap."

"It isn't, but it's necessary to safeguard the production lines and prevent any vibrations and signals from propagating into the other halls. They're well worth their cost."

"I love the abundant amount of space. A single hall alone takes up more space than double my old workshop."

This would massively ease the fabrication process and ensure that materials could be delivered promptly without bumping into each other.

A special jumbo-sized cargo elevator directly connected the manufacturing floor with the warehouse floor above. It was large enough to transport two heavy mechs side by side.

"The cargo elevator is stable and robust, but its speed leaves something to be desired." Jake said sheepishly.

"That's okay. Instead of making lots of smaller trips, we'll just have to make do with a couple of larger hauls."

Once Ves had his fill of the manufacturing floor, they moved downwards yet again. This time they arrived at what Ves had intended to be his private holy land.

"I'm sure you don't need a description of this floor. It's much smaller than the floors above because only a handful of people will ever make use of the facilities here."

They arrived at the lab and workshop floor. This would be the place where Ves produced his future designs. Even though he didn't necessarily need a lot of space and toys to form a new design, it always helped to have more tools at hand. He shouldn't rely completely on the Mech Designer System to do his design work.

Ves planned to fill half of the rooms with some basic lab and workshop equipment. This alone would cost at least 100 million credits, but both the LMC and Ves wouldn't lose any sleep on such a trivial amount of spending.

The costs only ramped up hard when Ves filled up the other half of the space. Ves had composed a very extravagant shopping list that would cost several billions credits to obtain. This was because the best equipment could only be imported from the Firday Coalition.

Even though the lab and workshop floor took the least amount of space, it featured some of the highest level of defenses. Only the final floor below featured even more extensive security features.

"Let's stop by the last floor before we go."

They had to enter a special, highly secure elevator to go down to the last floor. A massive alloy gate stood before their sights.

"This is the vault. As you can see, the front vault gates alone can withstand a typical mech squad for an entire day. The sheer amount of alloys incorporated in the construction makes it fairly troublesome to open it. Right now, many of the locks and security systems are not yet in place, so I won't be able to show you how it looks inside."

"That's a shame, but I've seen enough." Ves nodded. "Let's return to the old workshop. I have work to do."

Ves planned to utilize the vault to store anything of value that would have been stolen if he placed it on the warehouse floor. For now, he mainly planned to store any high-grade exotics and rare mechs that fell into his possession.

More than an hour later, Ves left the construction site and flew back to the outskirts of Freslin. Compared to the massive undertaking in the forest, his older workshop resembled a doll house. The two couldn't be more different.

Even if Ves was about to retire his old workshop, he would always remember it fondly. He started his business here, and produced his first mechs from these modest halls.

Change was inevitable. Ves and the LMC had to adjust with the times. A modest workshop couldn't keep up with the pace of their growth.

Once Ves arrived at his office, Gavin awaited him in front of the door. He flexed his feet up and down as he seemed anxious for some reason. The moment Ves came into view, he smiled like a glittering sun.

"Ves! I've been waiting for you for months! Do you know how agonizing it is to be without you?!"

"Haha, you don't need to be so happy. I don't swing that way."

The mood suddenly turned a little awkward. "Ahem, the reason why I'm here is because public is interested in you."

"Let's talk about it in my office." Ves said, and turned around to dismiss Melkor and the guards. "Come on in and take a seat."

Once they took their places, Gavin began to babble about the public's interest in Ves. "You're growing into a household name in Bentheim. Even the other major planets in the Republic such as Rittersberg has started to take note of you! You can't imagine how many news portals and publications have knocked on our doors with a request for an interview. You already missed the hottest period!"

Ves regretted missing out on these prime opportunities. Several prestigious publications at the level of the Rimward Star Herald had approached the LMC for an interview or profile piece when the sales of the Blackbeak started to explode.

These opportunities disappeared after the publications found out that Ves took part in the Republic's expedition to the Glowing Planet. It was as if they expected that Ves would perish on the hostile, wartorn planet.

"Can we approach them for another chance?"

"That's not something we can do. They'll ignore us if we approach them on our own initiative. They can be petty like that, and some of the hype has died down by now."

Gavin offered him a list of publications that still showed some interest in him and his company. Most of them consisted of regional and planetary publications.

"I don't see any major names on this list."

Ves sounded disappointed.

"Even if they don't have a wide reach, it's still very useful to engage with the publications that are highly circulated in our target segments. For example, the Bright Republic edition of Mercenary Central is the premier news magazine for mercenaries. Many mercenary commanders avidly read their weekly issue or catch their daily broadcast."

Even Ves had heard a lot about the mercenary publication. "Mercenary Central is a fine choice. Let's add for consideration."

After that, Gavin suggested a couple of other publications. Ves rejected most of them because he didn't believe they would benefit his profile or boost his sales.

"Mech Mothers is one of the more widely circulated news portals in the Republic. It's widely aimed at the parents of mech pilots, and exert a significant influence on the mechs they pilot."

"No. I'm not going to engage with a bunch of parents, even if it's one of the most popular publications."

"Ah here, what about Junior-"

"No."

After rejecting a bunch of tangibly related publications, Gavin finally gave up. Besides an interview with Mercenary Central, Ves rejected every other option.

"Gavin, I don't have the time to grandstand in front of the public. A couple of interviews are enough to put my name in the public sphere. A mech designer should let his designs do most of the talking. My Blackbeak is doing excellently in that regard."

His publicist and assistant sighed in defeat. "Very well, boss. I'll take that under advisement. Do I have permission to allow your officers to be interviewed about the company? Many publications are happy if they can get a hold of your chief operating officer or chief financial officer. These are mostly the dry and boring ones that focus on business, of course."

"That should be okay as long as they keep their mouth shut on certain topics."

"That's great! You can send me a list of the things you don't want them to say, and I'll pass that on to Mr. Altern and Mrs. Mackarie."

Ves fobbed off most of the interviews because he only had a limited amount of time to design his rifleman mech. He wanted to devote his full attention to completing it in three months.

"I don't even know if I have that much time. The war will break out very soon."

 
 


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