The Mech Touch

 
 

The Mech Touch Chapter 467 Gearing Up


Ves experienced too many close shaves with death. Some of those incidents wouldn't have been so bad if Ves just made some better preparations beforehand. Therefore, after the Glowing Campaign, he began to setup several contingency plans.

One of his plans entailed obtaining many different equipment designs. If he ever needed something urgent, and possessed access to the galactic net, he would always be able to retrieve his database of designs and put them to use whenever he had access to a workshop.

Normally, acquiring such a vast database of designs was hard. Equipment manufacturers dearly prized their best designs and did everything they could to keep them out of circulation. Ves had to ask Dietrich to utilize his connections to the black market to obtain this valuable catalog of illegally obtained designs.

"Illegal or not, it hardly matters when my presence in the Detemen System is already an affront."

Ves started to select some choice devices to fabricate. His choice list included a decent-quality comm, an aircar that integrated a couple of stealth and ECM systems and a set of light combat armor.

He only hesitated on which backpack module he should choose. The light combat armor suit featured a modular slot in the back that could fit all kinds of auxiliary systems, from smoke generators to a powerful communications array.

"Right now, the most important priority for me is to go from A to B. I need to reach the Vandals, preferably without getting shot by my own side."

Ves was acutely aware of his current state of dress. His shabby outfit marked him as one of the many hoodlums that prowled the alleyways of Neron City. It was hardly an appearance that befit a mech designer.

"Getting a communications array will help me get into contact with the survivors of the Stubby Growler's destruction."

After a moment of consideration, he reconsidered and went for a poor man's version of a stealth module.

He truly wanted to pick the communicator, but other doubts stayed his decision. Trying to communicate with the Vandals risked being intercepted by the Vesians. That was why he didn't try to contact the Vandals through the galactic net either. The Vandals didn't care too much for the galactic net, and it was far too easy to be mistaken as a prankster.

Considering that he had to traverse across the entire city, some of it by foot, then a stealth backpack made more sense. It was nowhere near as effective as the stealth augment of his old comm, but it would help him hide from unfocused scans and weak recorders, making it a little bit more difficult for the Vesians to hone in on him once he entered a more densely populated area of Neron City.

The only problem now was that even if he picked the most basic versions of these designs, the workshop still lacked too many critical materials to fabricate them all. Ves scowled at Filkis.

"Your stock of materials is so poor. What have you been fabricating your mechs with? Most of your inventory is filled with junk!"


"I can't work with anything more expensive! They're harder to shape and too expensive for me to obtain."

"Show me your designs."

"Pardon?"

Ves extended his hands. "I want to see how good you are. Let me see your designs."

Filkis obviously didn't wish to embarrass himself in front of a more superior mech designer, but Ves was the one with the gun here. Filkis unwillingly displayed his complete design schematics through the command console's projector.

Ves studied the handful of designs. All of them fell in the light weight class, and consisted of variants of the same base model. However, the biggest thing to note was that the design actually depicted a felinid bestial mech.

Basically, it looked like a light and lean mech-sized cat.

Though its lines looked elegant, underneath it all he spotted several crude modifications to its internals. The base model originally came with sharp alloy claws, but for some reason Filkis wanted to replace them with heated blades. This required an extensive overhaul of the limbs, something which even Ves needed to be careful.

Filkis seemingly didn't know the meaning of care in the way he brutally ripped away important portions to the functioning of the limbs.

"Did the MTA even certify this variant?"

"Uh, not yet. It's my latest version and I'm still working on it…"

"If you want my advice, drop this variant now. It belongs in the trash can. Stick to the base model instead and understand how it works before you make an attempt at messing with things beyond your understanding."

Ves did not feel the need to spare the feelings of a Vesian mech designer. Out of professional courtesy, he gave Filkis the best advice he needed to hear.

The Vesian did not look pleased. "Am I really that bad?"

"You should have pursued another career instead of chasing to become a mech designer."

If Ves continued putting Filkis down, he had no doubt he could drive the Vesian to suicide. It was just that Filkis was just so bad as a mech designer. He wasn't someone who had recently entered the industry and still had much too learn. The man toiled in the most awful conditions and had never been able to elevate himself to a higher tier.

Ves even started to pity Filkis.

"Alright, since it seems like you don't have the materials I need, I'll just have to get them elsewhere. Where is the nearest warehouse? Do you know any mech designers that stockpile a lot of raw materials?"

"I know of one guy who's better off than most. He operates the mech workshop down the street. There's also a small depot at a nearby crossroads that sells some of the rarer materials for mech designers in a pinch."

"Great! Lead the way!"

The next hour, Filkis led Ves towards a handful of promising locations that held the things he needed. This time, Ves did not feel inclined to waste any time, and straight up smashed through the facilities and overpowered every obstacle in his way. The Amastendira's awesome power completely dominated his opposition.

Since Ves didn't need to borrow their machines, he didn't hold any qualms about killing them. Filkis watched horrified as the corpses of his former rivals lay dead on the floor as Ves proceeded to ransack their storerooms for the materials he needed.

Bots continued to bring more and more materials to Filkis' workshop. The line of bots occasionally attracted attention, but Ves decisively shot his Amastendira at anyone who thought they could get a piece of the action. Eventually, the scorched and fallen bodies deterred any other opportunists from messing with his looting operation.

With the collection of a handful of junk exotics, Ves proceeded to fabricate the most essential piece of gear for him. A comm geared towards hacking.

While Ves wasn't a hacker, Melkor taught him how to hack simple machines using automated scripts and software. With the help of these tools, he should be able to hack some easy gear.

It took only fifteen minutes to complete the delicate wrist comm device. Ves needed to exert a fair amount of precision to maintain control over the fabrication of such a small and delicate device.

While Ves mainly fabricated mechs, that didn't mean he wouldn't be able to fabricate anything smaller. Mechs used plenty of tiny, delicate components so fabricating a comm was still within his skillset.

The only trouble about this particular model was that its hacking modules demanded several high-quality trace exotics to be able to work at its best. Ves needed to raid four different locations before he finally gathered all of the requisite materials.

Ves kept his original comm on his right wrist, but put his hacking comm on his left wrist. He grinned as soon as he turned it on and installed a custom operating system that came with the design. "Now I'm in business."

Obtaining the hacking module made his life ten times easier. Ves immediately entered the other workshops and unceremoniously hacked whatever bots survived his initial intrusion. Their outdated models and simple programming provided zero challenges for his hacking comm.

With the appropriation of so many bots, many more materials started pouring in Filkis' workshop. Ves rapidly made use of the abundant supply of materials by fabricating his next pieces of gear.

First, he formed his light combat armor. As none of the workshops he visited held an alloy compressor, Ves had to make due with an inferior variant that wouldn't be able to withstand a lot of hits. It was better than fabric, at least, so Ves made do with what he produced.

Next up, he fabricated a small and boring-looking aircar. It didn't look different from any vehicles that graced the skies of Neron City. Ves even took the time to tweak its outer appearance to ensure that it would blend in with the crowd.

The aircar actually hid some surprises underneath. Besides stuffing in some stealth and ECM systems, Ves also incorporated much better armor, enough to withstand a couple of projectiles.

The aircar obviously took the longest to finish. The skies already started to glow as the twin suns emerged from the horizon by the time that Ves put the finishing touches on the vehicle.

As Ves smiled in satisfaction at the products of his labor, Filkis let out a sigh of admiration.

"Impressive! You are truly impressive! You work so fast, but you never lost control. How did you do it?"

Ves only became this good due to the System, but he would never tell Filkis the truth. Instead, he spun a convenient line of nonsense.

"It's nothing. The main difficulty in upping your fabrication ability is to master your theoretical knowledge. This goes double for a dropout like you. Just because you've left your school doesn't mean you should stop learning something new. Achieving success in mech design is highly dependent on what you are capable of, and the only way to expand your capabilities in mech design is to keep studying. Even I never stopped learning something.

"Textbooks are too expensive." Filkis muttered. "I can't afford the good books that cost hundreds of thousands of sovvies to buy."

"Knowledge is expensive, you know. If your budget isn't big enough to buy a good book, then buy a cheaper one. I know for certain that there are many textbooks for sale that only cost a couple of hundred credits. Sure, their contents will be rather shallow, but a mech designer of your level won't understand the subtleties incorporated in the more expensive books."

This gave Filkis some food for thought. The cheaper books often contained very little material of substance, and were often written by Novices or Apprentices desperate for money.

FIlkis began to grow on Ves a little. The man seemed so unthreatening that Ves didn't feel inclined to kill him anymore. Perhaps he would make a name for himself one day after he finally moved beyond this difficult time.

As Ves loaded his aircar with a couple of supplies and other gear he scrounged from the workshops, Ves turned back to Filkis and waved goodbye.

"It was nice knowing you. Sorry about holding you at gunpoint, but needs must."

"I.. I hope you don't return."

"Haha!" Ves laughed. "Me neither!"

Filkis finally breathed a sigh of relief once Ves stepped inside the aircar and departed his workshop. As the aircar hugged the ground and hovered away, Filkis watched on from the ruined front entrance and contemplated the aftermath.

"He wrecked my bots and looted the neighboring workshops and didn't even have the decency to take responsibility!"

Too many signs led back to his workshop that Filkis felt highly unsafe. As much as he wanted to stick it out in this workshop he called home for several years, it was time for him to move on. He did not want to take the blame for anything the invader might have done.

"Damnit, where can I go?"

 
 


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