The Mech Touch

 
 

The Mech Touch Chapter 371 Rabant Clearwater


His recent foray to the Joe System and his subsequent translocation to the planet that hosted crystal city drained all of his DP.

Ves did not regret the spending. Besides upgrading his Physics Skill to a ludicrous level for his age, he also cracked some of the secrets to alien technology and obtained a highly capable handheld multiscanner.

However, it didn't change the fact that his latest splurge left him in an awkward situation. Even with the help of two third party manufacturers, generating 40 billion credits in revenue could not be accomplished with a single wave of his hand.

"Do I really have to go back to designing a virtual mech?"

It would be the most expedient way to milk some quick DP, but only if he designed his virtual mech fast enough.

If he sped up his design process too much, he'd be liable to cut too many corners and publish a subpar design. All of his care and attention into building up a reputation for quality would go down the drain by then.

"A good reputation is hard to erect but easy to tear down."

He practically cornered himself in terms of delivering consistently high quality products. If he slipped up a single time, his fans and the critics would eat him alive.

The dilemma kept him paralyzed for a couple of hours as he took a break in his private office at the top floor of the headquarters.

"It's awfully empty here."

Lucky had wandered off ever since he left the labs, but he came back after a while. Still, even with the presence of his pet, the office seemed too large for the purpose. Initially, Ves was impressed by its grandiose enormity, but after time he found he missed his old office back at the now-abandoned workshop.

"How things change."

The LMC moved up and Ves had advanced as well. The changes happened a bit too quickly for him to adjust. From worrying over earning several million credits, to raking in a billion credits each month, a lot of things had changed in a matter of two years. Other mech designers needed a least a decade to growth their businesses to this extent.

A sense of alienation momentarily welled within him. He missed the days when his ambitions only encompassed running a successful mech boutique.

Instead of selling a couple of mechs a month, he sold hundreds of them if he included the third party manufacturers. Each of them sold for at least 60 million credits, well into the upper range of the local mech market, which was an incredible accomplishment for Ves.

"Yet all of this wealth and fame doesn't allow me to do what I want anymore."

Industry insiders watched his every move, waiting to see if he could go further than what he had already achieved. Ves truly couldn't afford to show any signs of weakness. Unlike Michael Dumont, he didn't enjoy strong backing who was willing to hold his hand if he somehow stumbled on his feet.

Only after he calmed his mind did he figure out an appropriate solution.

"If I can't publish a quick and sloppy design in my own identity, then I'll just use another one."

The galactic net was home to trillions of different aliases and identities. It was fairly hard to be completely anonymous on the galactic net, but it could be done as long as he paid the price. Setting up a second identity on Iron Spirit that had nothing to do with his original Chasing Clouds account required a bit more finesse.

"Iron Spirit is very strict with regards to checking the identities of its designers."

According to their regulations, it was to make sure that the virtual mech designer received the proceeds to the sales of his virtual mechs. In reality, they wanted to keep track of the designers and prevent abuse.

For Ves alone to try to circumvent these identity checks, he'd have to go through a lot of trouble. Luckily, he could turn to other sources for a more convenient solution.

Ves activated his desk terminal and logged into the Clifford Society's virtual portal. His virtual avatar emerged in the city before the mountainous landscape, and he quickly entered the shop region where he scoured for a provider of various shady services.

He eventually found the same shop which previously hacked the Dortmund's processors for him. Ves remembered that the shop offered a lot of other dubious services. He approached the bored-looking man sitting behind a shop counter.

"Hi. Can you arrange a secure second identity for me?"

"For what purposes do you wish you use your second identity?"

"To browse the galactic net and open a second account in Iron Spirit. I don't want any of it traced back to me."

The shop attendant yawned and waved his hand, summoning up a small list of relevant options. "Take your pick and pay up. You'll get your new credentials immediately."

Ves browsed the short list of options and realized that establishing a second identity came with a number of different origins.

The simplest ones consisted of completely faked identities. These would essentially be persons that some shady organization faked into existence by hacking the databases of a planet or state. Most of the time, the hacked planets or states consisted of backwaters with a poor level of monitoring, such as the Mancroft Independent Harbor.

These identities would be extremely shady and easy to mistrust. Many organizations on the galactic net even blanket banned anyone who claimed to hail from some of these places, or implemented rigorous background checks that his new account would almost certainly fail.

The next step up would be to assume an identity of a deceased citizen of a reputable state. These individuals mostly disappeared in ship accidents. Whenever a ship's FTL drive failed or went astray, the occupants wouldn't be heard from ever again. Officially, they'd be designated as missing, and over time they would be marked as deceased.

Identity forgers paid off certain local bureaucrats to quietly remove some individuals from the list of passengers. Officially, the passengers had never boarded the ship that disappeared into nowhere. On the record, they were still alive and well. They just decided to take an extended holiday to some isolated asteroid or something.

While the shop sold even more elaborate identities, Ves didn't have a use for them. After all, he only wanted to do some business on the galactic net. He wasn't planning on selling a physical product, which normally necessitated a much more rigorous false identity.

"I'll take the deceased ID option for a mech designer." Ves said.

"That will be five merits."

The shop actually overcharged Ves for the service. Each merit held an incredible amount of value that couldn't completely be expressed in credits. He doubted that forging a false identity of a missing individual cost more than a hundred-thousand credits.

Still, Ves could at least trust the shop to deliver on its promises and be describe. Otherwise, the Clifford Society would have done something about them by now.

If Ves decided to be stingy and asked for a black market referral from Dietrich, it would be a complete guess whether the forger stuck to the agreement.

A few minutes later, Ves gained the unremarkable identity of Rabant Clearwater, a novice mech designer who disappeared when the passenger ship he traveled on had been chased into FTL by pirates in pursuit a decade ago.

The identity forgers picked out his identity and made sure that no trace of his presence aboard the passenger ship remained in any databases.

The shop promised the identity was foolproof. Short of Mr. Clearwater showing up himself, Ves would not have to worry about the Republic or anyone else besides the shop getting wind of his identity.

"Does the Clifford Society know about my identity as well?"

"Of course." The bored man answered in a tone that made it clear he repeated the same words more than a thousand times. He waved his hand around the entire ship. "This entire virtual space is under constant monitoring by the Clifford Society's AIs. Every transaction is laid bare to them. If you wanted more privacy, then you should have at least visited our physical shop in the Leemar System."

Ves had no time to travel to Coalition space. "I understand. Maybe I'll pay a visit if I need a more solid identity. This one will suffice for now. Thank you for your help."

"You're welcome." The shop attendant said while closing his eyes again. Under his breath, he grumbled some words. "Why am I sitting here by myself. A bot could do the same job ten times better."

With a new identity in hand, Ves felt as if he liberated himself from an invisible cage. The weight of expectations didn't affect him as much anymore now that he could assume the identity of Rabant Clearwater.

To be sure, Ves scoured the galactic net for any traces and indeed found nothing outwardly suspicious. He studied Mr. Clearwater's past and memorized a handful of important details, such as his place of birth, his former residences and the schools he attended.

Everything looked boring and normal, exactly the way Ves liked it. "I can utilize this identity for more than publishing virtual designs."

Perhaps he could also engage in other virtual activities that would be too inconvenient for Ves to attend in his own identity.

After he set up his Rabant identity on his own comm, he went to work. He opened a second Iron Spirit account and rerouted a few million credits through an untraceable method.

Ves didn't need to resort to someone else to do that for him. Compared to falsifying an identity, sending money to another account in an untraceable way was trivial.

Once Iron Spirit finished their automated background check and came up clean, Ves received a prompt to name his account.

He only had to think for a moment before inputting something random. "Crazy War Criminal."

He half expected the name to be used already, but surprisingly enough Iron Spirit actually let Rabant take on this pseudonym.

"Huh, maybe the other mech designers are wimps."

He chose the word crazy because he wanted to use his second account to try all sorts of unconventional designs. He included the words war criminal because he had technically designed and fabricated a taboo weapon.

The others in the game would probably think of his nickname as shameless boasting. Only he knew how true those words described his singular stain in his mech design career.

Now that he took care of all of the hassle, he could finally start to design a quick and easy mech. Ves already formulated some ideas while he arranged his second identity.

"This new account doesn't enjoy any of the renown and reputation of my Chasing Clouds account."

The downside to assuming a new identity was that he couldn't use his public renown to use. His second identity came free of all of his entanglements, both good and bad. Starting over with a blank slate meant that Ves essentially returned to the bottom.

"I already knew I have to pay a price for all of this convenience."

Ves already thought about how to attract enough attention despite his second identity's lack of reputation. He would design something that was both good and crazy. As long as his design attracted enough attention, he would easily be able to sell enough mechs to earn a measly 20,000 DP.

He only cared about accumulating a set amount of DP in the fastest way possible. After he achieved his goal, he couldn't care less on how his crazy design performed in the virtual market. He would leave his second identity alone and go back to it whenever he needed to earn another batch of DP.

"Let's see. Since my real identity is involved with designing knights and rifleman mechs, I shouldn't go for these archetypes. It's probably not a good idea to stick with medium mechs either."

His first choice would be to design a light or heavy mech. Both came with their own pros and cons.

"Which one will I go for?"

 
 


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