The Mech Touch Chapter 405 Agen
The only problem was he needed to appoint someone he could trust with an incredible amount of power. After all, the LMC was a growing multi-billion credit mech manufacturer with bright prospects. It only took one power-hungry madman to topple everything that he built in the past two years.
As Ves tried to wrack his brains for possible candidates, he started to get a headache. "Carlos would have been a perfect agent for me."
He knew his friend inside and out and knew that he didn't enjoy the backing of anyone else. As someone who benefited hugely under Ves, Carlos could certainly be trusted to value his interests over those of the other Larkinsons.
A significant shortcoming of Carlos was that he never excelled in any of the business courses, so he probably wouldn't be able to steer the LMC as well as Ves.
Naturally, a bigger problem was that the Mech Corps already snatched Carlos up along with a deluge of other low-ranking mech designers.
After he ended up in the clutches of the military, Ves hadn't received any word from Carlos since. His friend completely fell off the radar, which was to be expected.
The military took communications with the outside galaxy very seriously. Even taking the time to say hello to your parents through the galactic net could leak out an enormous amount of sensitive data to any eavesdroppers.
Thus, even remotely, Ves could not expect Carlos to be available to act as his agent.
"Who else can I turn to?"
As the temporary chairman of the board, his agent held the power of life and death over the LMC. That was really something that could not be belittled. Ves himself was too busy to revel in the amount of power and wealth at his fingertips, but that did not mean he was unaware of their deathly allure.
He mentally went through several candidates, but he found to his dismay that most of the people he knew shared a connection with the Larkinson Estate. Even Chief Cyril, who knew the most about mechs in the company outside of Ves, never hid his roots as a retainer.
After going through more than a dozen different names, Ves ended up with two possible candidates. Each of them possessed their own merits and shortcomings. If he picked the wrong person, the consequences for the LMC would be very dire.
The first candidate who Ves tentatively took into consideration was Melkor. Although he was a Larkinson as well, his youth and his inexplicable estrangement with the Mech Corps insured he didn't fell into the established factions of the Family.
"In a way, he's kind of a failure, or the Larkinsons would have never let go of him to serve as my bodyguard."
Putting Melkor in charge of the board, if only temporarily, would make it clear to the rest of the board that Ves still kept a pulse on what went on there. Melkor's possessed a firm but understated personality that would likely lead to a restrained atmosphere in the board. After all, from what Ves gathered from his cousin, Melkor brooked no nonsense.
The downside to putting a mech pilot in charge of the board was that Melkor knew nothing about designing mechs or conducting business. He possessed no relevant knowledge that allowed him to make informed decisions, or understand the topics being discussed in the meetings.
Another problem with Melkor was that he would have to put his foot down in front of their grandfather. Despite his job as a military advisor, Benjamin always took the time to be present at the board meetings. As the temporary chairman, Melkor should be able to hold more sway than their grandfather.
"Will Melkor be able to stand up to grandpa, though?"
That was a very pertinent question. Benjamin Larkinson enjoyed a vast amount of prestige in the Larkinson Family. Not only did grandpa work for the influential Ministry of Defense, he also used to be an expert mech pilot. Practically the entire younger generation of the Larkinsons worshipped him as one of their gods.
From what Ves gathered of Melkor, his cousin did not enjoy a close relationship with the rest of the Family. Neither did he seem like someone who revered their grandfather.
Still, Ves always had the sense that Melkor hid a lot about himself to everyone. He never showed anyone his true nature. His habit of wearing a big visor that covered the entire upper half of his face made it extraordinarily difficult to read his expressions.
In the end, Ves could never pin down where Melkor stood. He may be a disaffected Larkinson looking to spread his wings outside of the umbrella of the Family. He might also be hidden Larkinson loyalist who had secretly been assigned to keep an eye on Ves and push him in the right direction once in a while.
"I've already entrusted him with some responsibility. What does it hurt to add a little more to his plate?"
Ves already tasked Melkor with leading and expanding the Avatars of Myth. That reminded him to arrange some matters for his personal force as well. He still needed to hear back from Captain Silvestra and make plans for expanding their fleet.
Compared to picking a mech pilot like Melkor, Ves found the alternative to be a little more attractive.
During the early stages of his business, Ves relied on Gavin and Calsie to do a lot of things on his behalf. As the LMC formally came into being and hired hundreds of professionals, the role these two former students played in the company became less and less. That did not mean that Ves had sidelined them entirely.
It was easy for Gavin to adjust change his role. Not only did he let Ves keep tabs on what the Marketing Department was up to, he also acted as his personal assistant in many other areas. If not for his current responsibilities and his strange opinions in some areas, Ves would have no qualms about appointing Gavin as his agent.
"Calsie might be a better choice."
She was a dutiful worker who possessed a deep understanding of the local issues. Ves always relied on her reports on the local situation to keep himself abreast of what went on in Cloudy Curtain.
Ves honed in on her law background. While that didn't turn her into an expert concerning mechs or business, she should be able to possess a sufficient understanding of the discussions in due time. She also wouldn't be vulnerable to clever wordplay or dirty tricks.
If Ves put someone like her in charge of the board, then she wouldn't flinch from anyone, including his grandfather. She would be able to understand very well how much power she held in her hands and how much responsibility Ves had thrust in her. Since she didn't possess any relationships with the other members of the boar, he could trust her to avoid any favoratism.
"She's still awfully young though. She's also related to the Pioneers."
Calsie never hid her inclinations for the Pioneers, and believed that the LMC should seek for ways to collaborate with each other. Ves was not a fan of political entanglement.
He couldn't forget how the Pioneers revealed their true faces to him long ago.
Even if they turned a new leaf with their change in leadership, a leopard could hardly change its spots.
In this case though, it was not as if Calsie would be in a position to do a lot. It would be really obvious if she changed the direction of the company in a way that favored the Pioneers.
Instead, Ves worried more about her youth and lack of experience. Would she be able to handle the responsibility and stand up to a bunch of professionals who surpassed her in every aspect?
"She doesn't need to be an expert. She only needs to hold her ground."
To act as his agent meant it would be sufficient for Calsie to understand the broad strokes of every proposal.
Ves decided to go with Calsie instead of Melkor, because he thought that the influence of the Larkinsons was already bad enough. If she subsequently attempted to benefit the Pioneers, then at least they would be able to play as a counterbalancing influence within the internal politics of the company.
He activated his comm and called Calsie to his office. After a moment, she arrived at the top floor of the office and sat down on the other side of the imposing office.
"I have a job for you. I don't know if you are interested, but how does it sound like to take up the post of temporary chairman of the board?"
He subsequently explained the details of the job and what he expected of his agent. As expected, Calsie looked floored by the responsibility.
"I-I-I'm just a local girl. Boss, this job is way too big for me! I'm not qualified to be the chairman of anything!"
"Nonsense. The job isn't as hard as it sounds, and since you are taking charge in a temporary capacity, you don't need to know all the ins and outs. Still, I suggest you study some basic textbooks about mech design and how to run a mech business whenever you're off-duty. It's important for you to master the general gist of what goes on in the company."
Ves diminished the daunting nature of what it meant to be his agent by breaking it down into manageable chunks. She only needed to assume a limited amount of responsibilities at the start. Once her knowledge caught up, she could slowly expand the range of decisions she would be able to affect.
Naturally, Ves made it clear that she should never act in a unilateral manner in any proactive decisions. Basically, he wanted Calsie to act as a gatekeeper for every major suggestion proposed by others. Her job was to say no to any ideas that went against his interests.
"If you put it like that, the job doesn't sound so hard." Calsie's frown started to ease. "I still don't get it. Why me? Why not Gavin, or someone else you trust. Am I special in your eyes?"
She looked at him with a mix of bewildered accusation. Ves did not enjoy being stared at in that way, and quickly held up his hands.
"It's not that I trust you over anybody else, but out of every other candidate, you are the only one I know who doesn't work directly for anyone else. Your ties with the Pioneers is of little concern to me. You would be the only person on the board who comes from Cloudy Curtain. Maybe all that's needed to keep the LMC in the right direction is a local touch."
In the end, Ves had to put his faith into Calsie and hope she did not disappoint. To her credit, Calsie did not appear to be duplicitous in her loyalties, and Ves had a good feeling about her. After a little bit more persuasion, Ves managed to get her to agree to become his agent.
As Ves introduced her to her upcoming duties, Calsie quickly frowned when she got her hands on the amendments that Ves was about to propose at the next board meeting. "I can see why you want to close all of these loopholes, but the other directors are going to be pissed."
He shrugged. "I don't need to care about their opinions."
"Disaffected board members can do a lot of damage, you know. The worst thing that can happen is if they enter into an accord with your enemies or competitors."
"I already thought about that. In exchange for allowing these changes to come to pass, I'll agree to let the LMC issue a modest amount of dividends. I'll also throw in some stock to them so that they enjoy a direct benefit."
Bribing people always worked wonders. Ves mainly resorted to this method because he couldn't think of any other way to keep the board members somewhat on his side. After all, the amendments he was about to suggest would definitely impact their ability to influence the direction of the company.
After wrapping up the matters concerning the board of directors, Ves sent Calsie out of his office and worked through the list of things he needed to arrange.
"I still need to fabricate a couple of gold label Crystal Lords. I still owe a copy to the Oodis Mudriders, while the Avatars of Myth needs a bunch of them as well to form a strong nucleus of mechs."
Ves especially placed a lot of importance on the latter. It would be a shame for his own personal force to rely on inferior silver label products. Due to the growth nature of the X-Factor, it wasn't efficient for the Avatars of Myth to get accustomed with mechs that Ves intended to replace with superior variants at a later date.
The only problem was that Ves lacked the time to fulfill the needs of a force that numbered at least 40 mechs.
"If I want to meet all of their needs, I'll have to fabricate at least ten gold label Crystal Lords and several more gold label Blackbeaks."
That sounded impossible to fulfill in a short amount of time. Even if he planned to quickly wrap up his other work and spend the rest of his days as a free man on fabricating the mechs, he shouldn't expect to finish more than four or five handcrafted mechs.
"The Avatars of Myth will have to make do with what they can get." He shrugged.