The Mech Touch

 
 

The Mech Touch Chapter 383 Personal Kingdom


Ves derived a fair amount of the technology used in his design from studying the remains of the crystal builders. His design's appearance and hunched posture faintly echoed the long dead race's appearance. It was clear that the design formed something of an homage to the alien race.

He did not do so because he worshipped the aliens, but because he wanted to please the crystal golem. The spirit inside his head had always nudged his design choices in this direction, and Ves found it best to accommodate its wishes in order to maximize the chances of strengthening the X-Factor of his design.

A thrilling sense of anticipation ran through his body as he thought about the end product. Besides its specs and its technical aspects, his design also excelled in the spiritual sense. It could in fact be one of its strongest point.

Ves couldn't wait to complete his design and experience its X-Factor in full force.

"The Blackbeak may be better put together as a mech, but its X-Factor simply can't compare against this rifleman mech design."

Still, the success of his design in terms of X-Factor depended on the mood of the crystal golem. Ves attempted to please it in any way he could without setting back the performance of his mech.

As for the Festive Cloud Generator, Ves decided to integrate it into the head of his design. He hesitated on the exact appearance of the head, but in the end chose to imitate the crystal builder's strange head shape.

Just like the alien race which inspired this mech, Ves designed the head to be a roughly humanoid shape but without any defined eyes, ears, nostrils or mouths. Instead, he spread a random amount of pin-shaped holes throughout the front, sides and back of the head. He only filled a couple of them with sensors, leaving the rest of the holes plugged at the very end.

The head looked unsettling, and added to the threatening nature of his rifleman mech. Due to the strange shape of the head, Ves found it to be the perfect outlet for the Festive Cloud Generator. He integrated the module inside the neck and connected it to the holes in the head via dedicated channels.

As for the color of the vapor, Ves decided to use the same understated brownish color as the exterior coating for his mech.

"My Blackbeak either releases black or red phoenix flames, depending on the edition."

In order to add some flair to those who requested it, Ves added in a soul blue shade as an alternative. This would turn the head into some kind of horrific entity that resembled a skeleton that came back to life. Ves thought this would give his design a much better visual impact compared to vapor dyed in earthen tones.

"I don't think many people will go for this option though." Ves considered. "Rifleman mech pilots aren't eager to call out attention for themselves. If the heads of their mechs suddenly burn in bright blue, they're liable to attract a lot more enemy fire."

The Blackbeak could afford to be focused on by enemy mechs, but his rifleman mech fared poorly if put in the center of attention. Even though both mechs shared the same same armor system, one had been designed as a damage sponge and the other had been designed to dish out the damage.

After adding in the cloud generator, Ves essentially finished iterating his design. After this, he would no longer add new features and functionalities to his mech. From now on, he would proceed to optimize his design and smooth out its flaws until he ended up with a polished rifleman mech that wouldn't shame itself on the battlefield.

"I'm almost finished!" He celebrated to himself, though the only one who heard his words was a bored Lucky who lounged around above his head. "Getting these laser crystals to work is a bit of a pain, but it's well worth the effort."

These gimmicks did not change the game entirely, but they provided a substantial amount of benefits, so long as Ves could actually turn them into reality. That was still in question, as Ves had never fabricated crystals up to this scale.

The hardest part was already over. After completing his rough and polished design, Ves no longer needed to strain his mind on making difficult design choices. All that remained was correcting any inefficiencies that Ves had inadvertently introduced in the design.

Ves proceeded to throw his design in a large number of elaborate simulations. Through the use of complicated mathematical models, Ves crunched the numbers and tested whether the armor coverage contained any hidden weaknesses or how many times the laser rifle could fire in quick succession before it malfunctioned or blew up.

All of this was relatively boring work. Any results the simulations spat out prompted Ves to make minor tweaks such as thickening a plate of armor by a couple of millimeters or shifting one component to the left by a similar margin. This was precision that entailed a lot of repetition.

"The bigger design teams have dedicated analysts to process these simulations."

It was a waste of time for mech designers to concern themselves with this kind of work. While it demanded a high understanding of mathematics and physics, it also involved relatively little design judgement, so the work didn't have to be done by a mech designer.

"If I work alone, I can finish a decently optimized design in a little over three months. If I have an entire team to back me up, I can either shorten the time by half, or get much more work done in the same amount of time."

The tedium of taking care of every single detail brought a great burden to Ves, and it would only get worse over time. As his designs grew more complex, the amount of details that needed to be taken care of increased as well. Eventually, it was a lot more efficient to offl-load the less essential tasks to assistants.

"They don't need to be as good as me in terms of design ability or mathematical understanding. They only have to be good at their assigned task."

Many larger mech companies as well as the state-backed militaries relied on the works of design teams. The work of a single person always took longer to complete. The lack of involvement of others also made the mechs designed by a single person very insular in nature.

This meant that such mechs possessed very pronounced strengths and weaknesses. This didn't sound so bad, but sometimes a mech designer was so myopic that he overlooked a critical weakness in his design that would instantly plummet its value once revealed.

Ves was not so conceited to think he could keep track of everything, including the things he didn't know.

"It seems like it's inevitable for the LMC to become more professional."

Ves would always treat the LMC as his own personal kingdom. He merely considered the act of expanding his design team akin to hiring a couple of court wizards. As long as Ves kept a tight leash on them, they would be unable to pose a threat to him and his kingdom.

Still, just because he resolved to create a design team didn't mean he could gather a number of people with the snap of his finger.

"Hiring a number of competent assistants is easier than done. The best people are claimed by the major players when they are a long way from graduation."

He needed to cultivate talent from the ranks. In that regard, calling any of his employees talented would be stretching it. The only way he could cut short the arduously long training process was to utilize the advantages of the System.

"Before I design my third mech, I better stuff Carlos with a bunch of Intelligence Attribute Candies and see what happens."

Ves doubted that Carlos possessed more intelligence than the average among humans. If his Intelligence Attribute happened to have shot up straight to 2.0, that was a different story entirely. His friend would experience a sea of change, and would be able to digest every textbook that Ves had gathered in a matter of days.

While Ves daydreamed about cultivating Carlos, an alarm suddenly interrupted his thoughts. A red light flashed for several seconds, long enough for the seriousness of it to set in. Ves forcefully halted his isolation and raced towards the terminal that connected to the outside world. He quickly called up Jake.

"What's going on outside?"

"It's bad. The Vesians have come!"

That was all Ves needed to know. His jaw dropped and his heart skipped a beat. Even though he made a lot of preparations for their possible arrival, Ves secretly hoped they never decided to come to the Cloudy Curtain System.

Out of all the rural systems around Bentheim, Cloudy Curtain was one of the poorest and least developed economies in the neighborhood. Despite the rising importance of the LMC to the planet, agriculture still remained the dominant export of this panet.

Even if the Vesians wanted to starve Bentheim of their food, the most a couple of mechs could do was burn some fields and destroy some processing plants. It would be impossible for an entire legion to scour the entire planet of all crops within a month.

And when they left, the farming consortiums could simply clean up the wreckage and plant another batch of crops.

No, the Vesians hadn't come to raid some farms. Their goal should be more than clear. Ves looked grimly at Jake's projection. "They're coming for us, aren't they?"

"Sanyal-Ablin thinks that's likely the case. The 3rd Imodris Legion is out in force and they're simultaneously hitting over twenty different planets at once. All of the targeted planets in question are hosting some kind of industry related to mechs or ships."

In other words, the Vesians definitely targeted his Mech Nursery.

"How many mechs are they bringing along?

"If you take into account the historical patterns as well as their usual modus operandi, they're likely bringing in one company of spaceborn mechs and two companies of landbound mechs. Mind you, these are full strength companies. They can't compare against the mechs and people employed by the private sector."

Leaving out the spaceborn mechs, Cloudy Curtain had to withstand the fury of more than eighty military-spec mechs.

"Can the Mech Nursery withstand such a force?"

"It's doubtful." Jake replied, revealing his own apprehension at the nearing fleet of combat carriers. "The defenses of the Mech Nursery can't even withstand a single company of Legion mechs. Two companies can absolutely overrun our base, although that doesn't take into account our mobile defenses."

The Mech Nursery still possessed a way to survive the Vesian fury by relying on their allied mechs.

"Talk to me about our mech disposition."

"We've just discovered the Vesians, so it's not clear how many mechs we can call up. Right now, Sanyal-Ablin has promised twenty-four high-quality mechs to our defense. These are top-of-the-line third-class mechs, so they'll be able to punch above their weight against the Vesians."

Ves nodded in understanding. Sanyal-Ablin Security Services was a subsidiary of the Konsu Clan. As a partner of a second-rate state, the Konsu Clan was more than capable of maintaining such an expensive force of mechs in the standard of third-rate states.

Still, even with the LMC's current earning levels, they could ill afford to expand their already hefty contract with Sanyal-Ablin. They couldn't rely on more than twenty-four mechs from the security company to defend their manufacturing complex.

"As for the Avatars of Myth, you should know more about them than me, seeing that they're under your sole command. As far as I'm aware of, your cousin Melkor has been drilling them non-stop in their current service mechs. Although they only bring nine mechs to the table if you include your cousin, their capabilities should be on par with the average Vesian squad."

That brought their side to a third of the amount of mechs the Vesians would bring to bear. They were still horribly outnumbered, but if they fought cleverly, they still stood a chance of repelling the raiding force.

"What about Walter's Whalers? Have they gotten in touch yet?"

"They have, but…" Jake hesitated a little. "They aren't exactly eager to come to blows with the Vesians. They'll do their part for sure, if only to meet their obligations, but we can't force them to hold their ground."

"That's a problem." Ves frowned deeply. If the Whalers chickened out, where did that leave him? "How about the mercenaries? Please tell me they're prepared to face the Vesians."

 
 


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