The Mech Touch

 
 

The Mech Touch Chapter 742 An Extreme Worth Pursuing


After she finished uttering her design philosophy, she closed her eyes and basked in the aftermath of her mental enlightenment. She had dug into the deepest core of her being and discovered the very essence of what she subconsciously pursuit in her designs!

Ves let her process her newly gained feelings and thoughts. With regards to design philosophy, many mech designers didn't have too much trouble formulating one that suited their interest. Some even found their groove before they even graduated from school.

Such mech designers possessed absolute confidence in their mission and their beliefs. These gifted, strong-willed mech designers had a bright future ahead if they didn't screw anything else up. Ves always envied such figures, which included the enigmatic classmate who always seemed to be a step ahead of the rest.

"She was always better than us from the start. It was obvious that she had already found her design philosophy and focus long before the rest of us finished our fundamental courses."

Still, when it came to discovering one's design philosophy, speed may not always be to their favor. What did a mech designer really know if all they designed so far consisted of a few practice assignments?

Truly focused individuals who knew right from the start what kind of mechs they wanted to design only popped up once every cohort of students at a large institution as most.

To most mech designers including Ves, their philosophies became shaped by their experiences and their design work after they graduated. Only after jumping off the cliff and spreading their wings would they truly be able to tell which direction they wanted to fly towards. What paradise lay at the end of their flight journey? Every bird preferred to reach a different island!

As Ves looked back to Ketis as she gradually recovered her wits, he thought she should feel lucky to find a direction in her life and career so soon. She picked a good one as well, one that resonated with her very being!

He knew that some mech designers never found the right philosophy, or only manage to discover it a decade after they began their careers.

Yet the real danger came from picking the wrong design philosophy! Some made their choices in haste. Others formulated their philosophies without exploring the full range of possibilities that they might be able to design.

The classic example came from mech designers who only possessed practical experience with landbound mechs and formed a design philosophy related to them. Later in their careers, they came in touch with spaceborn mechs and found to their surprise that they worked better with space-capable mechs than machines bound to the land!

Yet it was too late for them to change their minds!

While they could bend their original design philosophy out of shape in order to accomodate spaceborn mechs, that was not how the growth and adjustment of design philosophies worked.


The progression of design philosophies revolved around a refinement of methods and approaches.

In most cases, the design philosophy grew more narrow and specific as a mech designer advanced. Sometimes, their philosophies made a leftward or rightward turn, but they unceasingly progressed forward.

A turn too drastic might turn their progress backwards. That would be an absolute disaster for mech designers because a regression inflicted enormous damage to a design philosophy.

Once it bent too much, it broke, causing the mech designers to lose everything that distinguished their designs from the competition!

To be honest, Ves had never met someone who foolishly broke their own design philosophies, but by all accounts they lived miserable life as no one wanted to purchase their listless mechs whose designs were completely devoid of inspiration.

"Ah, sorry for spazzing out again teacher." Ketis apologized to him after she pulled herself out of her afterglow. "I.. I kind of lost my mind there.. but this design philosophy! It sings to me in a way that nothing else can! It's been there all along but I was too blind to see it up to now! I've been fascinated with sharpness ever since I received my first practice sword!"

Ketis abruptly reached behind her back and grabbed her floating scabbard. With one smooth, practiced movement, she unsheathed her greatsword and held its blade in front of her face. Her powerful servo-enhanced maneuver whipped up the air and added substance to her move.

"Do you know that upon completing their graduation ceremony, every new Swordmmaiden gets to receive a full-fledged greatsword by the commander herself? She commissions them from a renowned swordsmith who set up shop in Malligan's Pitstop. These aren't regular swords, as you can see. They're integrated with several systems and are forged with both exotics and metals. Did you know what I love the most about the sword that marks me as a Swordmaiden?"

"They're sharp?"

"That's exactly what impressed me! They're sharp! Sharper than the sword I wielded in my hunt, sharper than any practice sword I've ever gripped! Look at what I can do!" She grinned, and abruptly turned her blade until its tip pointed down and drove it straight through the deck!

Not again!

"Ketis! Don't poke the deck whenever you feel like it! Repairing that slit is a big pain in the butt for the crew!"

She looked rather unrepentant for her impulsive action. Ves didn't know how the Swordmaidens kept their ships together if they kept stabbing their swords everywhere like they pleased!

Obviously, she remained enamoured by her recent enlightenment. It was like she shot herself up with a half-dozen stimulants. Nothing could shake her happiness right now!

A few minutes passed as she slowly digested the influx of feelings that burst out from her heart. Various emotions roiled through her body while her mind gained an unprecedented amount of clarity. It was as if a persistent fog suddenly cleared up from her mind!

At some point, she managed to regain her composure. She jerked her sword out of the abused deck plating and happily returned it into its floating sheath where it belonged. After she chucked it behind her back, she turned her gaze at the swordsman mech resting silently in front of them. After taking one last look, she turned around and moved towards the exit.

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They slowly returned to the office. As they walked through the corridors of the ship, Ves noticed she walked with a bit more confidence and purpose than before. While Ves doubted she would ever shed her absent-minded thoughts, she had definitely gained more direction now.

Compared to her old self, the difference was both subtle and profound. Finding her design philosophy laid the foundation for greatness. While she still had a way to go, at least she got off to a good start, which had been the entire reason why Mayra sent her protege to Ves.

He finally fulfilled his debt to Mayra!

Ves felt as if a weight lifted off his mind. Each debt and obligation weighed him down, and accruing more and more of them without being able to diminish them ate at him like a rotting disease.

Once they reached the office, Ves sat on his reinforced chair and leaned back as best his seat allowed. His student's accomplishments made him happy as well. Even if he hadn't completely defined a narrow vision, overall he considered his first attempt at designing a mech designer to be a success!

"How does it feel?" He asked as she started staring off into nothing. His voice pulled her back into the present. "Don't get distracted now. You've had your eureka moment. Now you need to reflect on it properly so you know what you are getting into. I know that articulation isn't your best suit, but it's necessary for you to translate the feelings your design philosophy gives you into words."

"What?" She gave him a puzzled look.

Ves sighed. Did she deliberately act so simple or was she truly so dense? "Just talk about whatever is on your mind when you think about your design philosophy."

"Hmm.." She trailed off a bit as she thought hard on her new feelings. "I feel like I want to take my greatsword, multiply its size by at least thirty times, and give it to a swordsman mech that moves just like me! I want to design a mech just like that!"

"That sounds like a good project to pursue, but perhaps not as your very first project." He carefully advised her. "Don't limit your imagination to your own physique and sword style. I bet that some of your sisters in the Swordmaiden favor different styles, is that right?"

"Yeah. Not every sister wants to wield a greatsword, though most of us do. Maybe I can copy their body structure and their sword style and adapt them to my other designs."

"You only have so many Swordmaidens to copy. Gaining some inspiration from the fighting styles of your fellow is a good way to get into the spirit of designing a mech, but this method may become a crutch if you depend on it too much. I suggest you do this a couple of times but try to divorce yourself from a specific style or body structure and expand your imagination."

"How can I do that, teacher?"

"Two ways. First, study battle mechatronics and become an expert in the way the internal frame and the artificial musculature affects the movement of a mech! Second, use your imagination! Design a sketch in your mind before you draw the actual lines!"

Ketis frowned a bit. "I get the first part. I've heard of battle mechatronics before. Mayra has some books about it stashed in her library. As for the other thing.. You always tell me to use my imagination, but I don't understand!!"

"Imagination is the canvas of our creativity." Ves explained succinctly. "It's an imaginary plane in your mind where you can conjure up any symbol, any shape and even entire designs in your mind. Just think about the following. How come good mech designers are able to design fantastic designs of rifleman mechs while being abysmal marksmen in their real lives?"

"Uhhh.."

"Just look at me. Up to this moment, I designed two original designs, both of which are commercial successes in their market segments. My first original design is a landbound medium knight optimized for offense while my second original design is a premium landbound rifleman mech that can do interesting things with lasers. Now, I never underwent close to the grueling training that you went through. So how come my mechs are so desirable?"

"Uhhhh… I guess it has to do with expertise?"

"Expertise combined with imagination!" Ves corrected her. "Imagination is the starting point to every design project. We construct a vision of our desired end product in our minds. While this is just the first step in any proper project, it is in fact the most crucial phase of all, because a good start can facilitate the other phases of the design process while a bad start can plunge the entire project into a dead end!"

"What does that have to do with designing a mech when you have no clue how to fight like that mech?"

"Imagination liberates you from the constraints of the human physique. Remember that while a humanoid mech is often based around the performances of peak human bodies, a mech is a machine, not a body of flesh and blood! Can a mech turn around its head by a full turn without snapping its neck? Many sure do! The same goes for rotating the torso. Most frontline mechs feature this freely rotatable torso in order to facilitate firing on the move."

Ketis started to get it. "So your point is that a mech can be so much more than a copy of the human body if I exercise my imagination?" 

"Yes! Remember you are not limited to a faithful human form. A mech frame allows for so much more, and it is your imagination that provides the room for your creativity to come up with a new and radical vision. Plenty of mech designers who have never wielded a sword have been able to design successful swordsman mechs before. Then there are the mech designers who design bestial mechs. It's not like they ever transformed themselves into a tiger or a centaur, right? It's all in their minds!"

"I understand now. If I ever want to go far with designing my mechs, I've got to transcend the human form and stop regarding my mechs as giant humans. They're machines that I can shape in every way I want."

Ves clapped his gauntlets. "That's the spirit of a true mech designer! Even if we aren't personally adept in fighting, we can still create the most impressive fighting machines in the galaxy, and it's all thanks to our imagination. Never forget this lesson."

He had given his final lesson to Ketis. While he had many more words of wisdom to share if he really wanted to, he deemed her to be ready enough to set out on her own.

 
 


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