The Mech Touch Chapter 412 Heckler
"I have a question!" A thirty-something year old woman with curling blond hair and a stylish beret stood up and asked.
The way she spoke with force and gravitas somehow pulled everyone's attention to her. Ves instantly recognized the training put the manner she modulated her voice. She meticulously trained to achieve this effect.
"Go ahead." Ves replied simply, trying to appear as unruffled as possible even as he recognized he faced a tough customer.
"I do not doubt the craftsmanship of these admittedly impressive copies, but they are from your top-of-the-line label, are they not? How many of them will be made available, and what are the differences between these mechs and your readily available offerings?"
Ves may have been able to dazzle most customers, but the woman spotted the loopholes in his presentation. Against this line of questioning, he had no choice but to tell the truth.
"The Living Mech Corporation's gold label mechs all come with a guarantee that they have been handcrafted by myself. Therefore, they are only available in limited quantities. Of the nine mechs you see before you, five is made available for auction while the other four is reserved for internal use. For the time being, the LMC will not be releasing any gold label mechs, for obvious reasons."
The mech insiders nodded in understanding. Many mech designers already disappeared from Bentheim, making it a much less livelier place. Once the Mech Corps called up the second wave of mech designers, the only ones who remained would be the elderly and the special cases.
With regards to the limited quantity of gold label Crystal Lords, the news benefited the collectors the most. The rarer the model, the more valuable their investment, though they also had to be prepared to bid high in order to get their hands on a copy.
"There are differences between the three labels." Ves continued. "The gold label version is the most complex design in this product line and features the largest chest crystal that has received special treatment that makes it more effective. The silver label Crystal Lords that my company produced in-house is nearly identical to the gold label version, but incorporates very small amounts of simplification in its construction and will also host a smaller chest crystal, but will similarly benefit from special treatment."
"What's the performance difference?!"
"Both the silver and bronze label chest crystals are unable to hold as much energy, so they will reach their saturation at roughly half the amount. Their output will be similarly affected by the same proportion."
This put a slight damper on everyone's enthusiasm. A single beam with twice the power of a laser cannon was very impressive because it outputted a very high amount of thermal energy at once. This helped a lot in terms of penetrating heavily-armored opponents.
With a half-strength beam, this effect would be much less pronounced. Unless the mech pilot possessed supreme control, it would be impossible for two half-powered laser beams to hit the same spot on a moving target. The damage would certainly be spread out over a wider surface area.
Therefore, even if they outputted the same amount of energy, the effective damage differed remarkably. On the battlefield, these differences could become a matter of life and death.
"What's the use of this gimmick then?"
"Do not forget that it offers a remarkable amount of defense against directed energy weapons. The beams unleashed by the bronze and silver label Crystal Lords are still extremely powerful and can deliver a sucker punch to any opponent regardless of the expenditure of their laser rifles."
Ves thought about this problem and before and delivered a prepared response without any hitchups. Since most of the Crystal Lords made available consisted of lesser quality mechs, it was important for the LMC to highlight the usefulness of the smaller crystals.
In any case, Ves mainly spoke to the mech insiders in the crowd. As long as he won them over, he achieved his goal.
Sadly, the woman wasn't done. "Do you have a physical copy here so we can compare their differences?"
"We do not have one on hand, but we can provide something even better." Ves replied and snapped his fingers.
A large amount of carrying bots emerged from a back entrance. They all carried high-quality portable simulator pods supplied by Marcella's brokerage. The bots brought over a hundred of these pods at a time.
"Any potentate here is free to try out the virtual copies of each version of the Crystal Lord for fifteen minutes at a time! You may opt to test out the mech in a number of prepared scenarios, from empty sandboxes to complex battlefield environments."
A substantial portion of the crowd lit up at the appearance of the simulator pods. Though they only worked for potentates, a significant part of the crowd actually consisted of active duty or retired mech pilots.
"Is there any multiplayer available, or will the simulations serve us with AI-controlled bots?" The woman asked.
This was important, because the LMC meticulously placed the setpieces in the simulations to bring out the Crystal Lord's potential. Allowing the attendees to bring the Crystal Lord design in an online competitive environment might lead to awkward situations where the design failed to demonstrate any value.
As a design that thrived in longer engagements, the Crystal Lord did not favor the high-intensity combat inherent in mech duels.
"From tomorrow onwards, the LMC will release all three labels of the Crystal Lord onto Iron Spirit and other virtual games. Those present here will be allowed to experience our new products in a variety of situations."
Ves admittedly dodged the issue, but did it in the best way possible. People would still be able to test out the Crystal Lord in more dynamic combat situations, they just needed to wait another day.
In fact, Gavin proposed to delay the release of the virtual mechs by a single day for several reasons. First, it stopped the naysayers from pointing out that the LMC lacked confidence in their own designs. If the female heckler continued to ask, Ves could easily put out an excuse that they delayed the release due to technical or legal reasons.
Secondly, a delay of a single day might not sound like a big deal, but it would be way too late for the reporters who raced to publish their pieces on the press conference by the end of the day.
The news portals all prided themselves on delivering up-to-date news. It made no sense for them to wait another day just to test out the Crystal Lord a little more. After all, Ves already brought out a sufficient number of readily available simulator pods. Who cared if he manipulated the the scenarios?
The reporters that attended the press conference came here to cover a product reveal. Reviewing the mechs could be done by specialists at a later date.
The woman very obviously looked unresigned. Ves made ample preparations this time. The previous instance where Ves allowed himself to get caught up in the moment when Michael Dumont challenged him to a design duel wouldn't happen again.
Ves couldn't read any hesitation in her eyes, but he figured that she might be adjusting her plans right now.
"Fair enough." She said. "Yet you still have all of these working, physical copies on display. Why not showcase their capabilities in a live duel?"
That caused the crowd to swing back in her favor. Her argument sounded very compelling. No matter the benefits of experiencing a simulation, they all lacked the raw, visceral impact of real mechs fighting against each other in front of their eyes.
"The Crystal Lord is not a duelling mech. Its a high-mobility premium rifleman mech that maintains its strength for hours at a time whereas many other mechs might reach their limits at that time. Unless we reserve the largest arena on Bentheim and let the duel format stretch for hours, you won't be able to appreciate the Crystal Lord's true value."
A lot of people looked disappointed. Suitable or not, everyone loved to watch a mech duel. They found it rather disappointing that Ves did not plan on showcasing the power of his mech in any duel.
His answer also precluded any challenges. Cowardly as he might seem, Ves left little means in which others could challenge him to a design duel.
Ves figured that the woman who asked the questions might be a mech designer. Otherwise, she wouldn't have been able to hone in on the holes in his presentation. He smirked minutely at her, as if he was confident he could defeat all of her tricks.
Right now, the only thing that could lead to a lot of trouble is if someone insisted on a duel. In fact, it looked like the woman still possessed a means to pressure Ves.
"I have a friend who is a mech designer. He happens to have designed a similar mech in terms of performance. Why not accept a challenge from my friend?"
"Hahaha!" Ves laughed. "Does his mech sell for upwards of 90 million credits? Has he incorporated an energy-absorbing light crystal in its chest? Is his laser rifle as light as mine? I doubt it unless your friend is a Journeyman Mech Designer!"
Not a lot of mech models sold for 90 million credits in the first place in the Bright Republic. They mostly consisted of customized designs that incorporated a rudimentary level of resonance.
His retort left the woman with little openings to pursue her challenge. Whether her friend was at the same level as Ves or not, the chances of coming up with a mech that was similar to the Crystal Lord was minute.
Although the crowd would still enjoy a duel between mechs of different configurations, it didn't serve that much of a point in the context of a design duel.
An ordinary mech duel tested the skill of the mech pilots and the qualities of their machines. It was primarily a contest between the pilots. The designers played second fiddle in that regard.
A design duel on the other hand tested the skill of the mech designers in designing the best mechs possible. If the mechs shared little in common, then the influence of other factors such as the matchups between different types of mechs and the skill of the mech pilots became more relevant.
Such duels still went on, but the person being challenged would generally be regarded as a genius or a fool.
The woman appeared to open her mouth once again, but Ves forcefully forestalled her words by holding up his palm. "There are other guests who want to ask a question. Let them have their turn."
Raising his palm in this way was actually a signal for someone in the backstage to muffle the woman's words. As she attempted to utilize her compelling voice yet again, no sound escaped her throat. Hidden machines embedded into the convention hall dampened the sound of her voice just as they left her mouth, preventing anyone else from hearing her voice.
This was one of the benefits of renting an upscale convention hall. The cheaper ones lacked this convenient feature, forcing organizers to resort to more disruptive means if they wanted to silence a troublemaker.
Still, many mech insiders recognized what went on. His solution had been fairly discrete, but the smart ones in the crowd couldn't help but lower their impression of Ves and the LMC. As acidic as the woman might have been, she asked a lot of questions that they should have brought up in the first place.
Ves didn't care.
As Ves continued to answer questions from others, the earlier harsh questioning became less acute in everyone's minds. That was not to say that the reporters didn't challenge him on certain points, but they obviously didn't care whether the Crystal Lord succeeded in becoming a hit.
All they wanted was more material to add to their articles, and Ves largely obliged.