The Mech Touch

The Mech Touch Chapter 856 A Heavenly Match

Word of Ves designing a peculiar breakdown-proof mech spread around the camp. Many Vandals expressed various opinions about what they heard even without Ves showing them the draft design.

"Did you hear about the new design?"

"I heard it's a huge failure of a light mech. What is Mr. Larkinson thinking? Whoever heard about a four-legged frontline mech? On top of that, it's as slow as a turtle but as fragile as a bedsheet!"

"Enduring Protector? How can it endure anything? It's awful in close combat and bad at long-ranged combat. Forget about protecting anything else, it can't even protect itself!"

"Well, I heard that it's particularly good at not breaking down in the middle of a battle."

"So what? A couple of lasers hitting our mechs will destroy this new toy far faster than the breakdown effect ever could!"

Obviously, opinions abounded. Ves had to admit that the Enduring Protector did not make a stellar impression upon the Vandal mech pilots. If Ves listed the estimated parameters on a spec sheet, it would have been in contention for the worst light mech in the galaxy!

Yet Ves paid little attention to the criticism, especially when it didn't offer any way to improve his mech. While the criticisms all had a point, it was human nature for people to complain. They wanted perfection but always got something far short of such an impossible standard.

He knew what he wanted to design. The Vandals now knew as well. They expressed opinions. Ves gathered them all up and tried to see if anyone pointed any valuable nuggets.

Besides the small but meaningful feedback from the mech pilots assigned to rifleman mechs, Ves hadn't obtained anything particularly useful. Frankly, the peanut gallery didn't know what they were talking about.

Still, the overwhelming doubt he received from the men caused him to doubt his work as well. Did he go astray somehow? Had he made a bad design choice?

"Compared to normal mechs, the Enduring Protector is an awful mech. Yet how much better can a mech be if they have to work next to the very source of the breakdown effect? I can scarcely imagine anyone coming up with substantially a better mech design than mine, especially in field conditions."

The last qualifier was an important one. Every force seeking to plunder the Starlight Megalodon only brought a limited amount of expertise, equipment and supplies. The Flagrant Swordmaidens should be better off than the pirates, but the Vesians should be even better prepared.

Ves frowned a little bit at the thought of the Vesians. What little glimpse the Vandals gained from their long-ranged sensors in the previous star system showed that their biggest rival came in even greater numbers.

In a stroke of luck and happenstance, they suffered significant damage from the ambush attempt by the Church of Haatumak. However, the backstabbing cultists underestimated the trump cards of a fully-fledged military unit and hadn't taken into account the possibility that the Vesians fielded an expert pilot who single-handedly snatched victory from the jaws of defeat!

"We'll definitely encounter that Vesian expert pilot on the ground." He murmured.

The question was whether the Vesian expert pilot chose to deploy in the so-called red zone that ranged a hundred kilometers from the Starlight Megalodon. If so, then the expert pilot would have to give up all the advantages of a powerful expert mech because these kinds of machines simply couldn't withstand the breakdown effect.

"If there's anything good about the weird conditions on Aeon Corona VII, it's managed to put everyone on an even starting line. The forces who came better prepared will have an edge over the forces who neglected logistics."

The Flagrant Swordmaidens already struggled trying to stay afloat. How much worse could it be for their rivals? Ves didn't believe that scum like the Caged and the Red Tongs brought a lot of mech designers and exobiologists to their expedition.

Besides soliciting the mech pilots for feedback, Ves also approached a mech designer. He didn't approach Mayra due to political considerations, but he didn't see the harm in showing off his draft design to Ketis.

The Swordmaiden mech designer puzzled over the Enduring Protector. "I heard about how bad your design is, but I know what you're like. You never design anything bad. Still, I can't help but feel it's awful."

Ves smiled at her. "Do you think you can do better under the circumstances?"

"Heck no!" She playfully stretched out her tongue. "I really don't envy you and Mayra for trying to design a decent mech that doesn't malfunction under all of that spacetime distortion."

"It's easy to throw shade on other people's designs, but when it's your turn to produce something better, you'll realize it's far harder than it sounds." He said.

While the public did have a right to express any opinion they wanted, a mech designer shouldn't necessarily value every voice. Ves knew that some mech designers listened to every piece of feedback and tried to please all of them, to the point of losing their own design style.

You couldn't please everybody.

Not every opinion was valuable.

You shouldn't lose your vision.

Ves knew exactly what kind of mech he wanted to design, and he remained confident even in the face of negative feedback. As far as he was concerned, he only needed to stay on the good side of a single client. As long as Captain Byrd didn't pull the plug on his design project, he didn't have to pay so much attention to the crowd, unlike if he wanted to design a mech for the market.

Any mech designer who wanted to publish a design for the mech market depended heavily on good PR. A flood of negative opinions could spoil the commercial success of any design regardless of its technical merits.

When Ves explained what he planned to incorporate in the Enduring Protector design, Ketis understood his intentions, though she doubted its effectiveness.

"Your frontline mech design is something of a glass cannon. It packs a decent punch, but it can't take what it dishes out. I can see how it's effective against melee mechs when it has a clear line of fire, but how in heck can the Enduring Protectors win a firefight against a group of other ranged mechs?"

This was the most valid and poignant critique against his draft design. Ves tried to work around the restrictions as best he could, but he failed to provide his design with any meaningful defense measures!

A mech on the battlefield either relied on armor or mobility to survive on the battlefield! Heavier mechs leaned more towards the thickness and quality of their armor while lighter mechs overwhelmingly relied on their speed and evasion to avoid getting hit.

This was an iron-hard rule that applied to almost every modern mech in existence!

Of course, some argued that mechs that relied on stealth, camouflage and misdirection formed a third category of defense.

Yet the Enduring Protector, despite what its name suggested, fell outside these three main categories!

Ves was very well aware of these flaws. "If I design the Enduring Protector as a medium mech, it will run out of energy three to four times as fast. It will also be so slow that I doubt it can move faster than our walking speeds!"

Such a slow mech would be virtually useless because they'd never be able to reach the Starlight Megalodon from the edge of the red zone before they ran out of energy!

"Yeah, but how are you expecting it to fight? Do you intend to pair it up with Mayra's new design, only to use her mech as their meat shields?" Ketis frowned.

She cared deeply about the Swordmaiden mech pilots. If Ves ever expressed his intentions of doing so, he'd immediately put her in a difficult position. Ves expected that for all he had done for Ketis, she would still side with the Swordmaidens over a mech designer she only knew for less than a year.

He did not intend to put her in a difficult spot. He grinned. "Did you forget about the big lizard that's tagging along our ground expedition?"

"Qilanxo?" She widened her eyes. "So that's your plan! You never intended to field the Enduring Protectors by themselves!"Find authorized novels in Webnovel,faster updates, better experience,Please click for visiting.

Ves loudly clapped his gauntlets together. "No mech can win a battle by themselves! The whole point of specializing a mech is because mixing and matching different mech types can achieve greater synergies. One mech's strength can cover another mech's weakness. The Enduring Protector is good at offense but terrible at defense. Qilanxo is excellent at defense but her offensive power is limited to attacking with her body at close range. They're a match made in heaven!"

"Really!? Ah, I see now!"

He always factored in the presence of Qilanxo. As a living organism, she wouldn't be affected by the spacetime distortion that normally wreaked havoc on any mechanical equipment. The exobiologists couldn't fully explain why this was so, but most people just shrugged and accepted this pattern as a fact.

In any case, given Qilanxo's formidable strength as a sacred god, the Flagrant Swordmaidens would be fools to leave her behind.

Ves intended to make use of her formidable space barrier to cover for the critical weakness of his upcoming design!

"While we haven't made any decisions yet on how to deploy Qilanxo, she's far more useful inside the red zone than outside of it. Just think about the power of her space barrier. It can withstand an hour's worth of artillery bombardment and only cracked when we basically threw the equivalent of three tactical nukes at it! In the red zone, there's little chance that Qilanxo and the Enduring Protectors will face a threat that can break the space barrier!"

Ketis nodded, but quickly frowned. "What about other sacred gods and wild gods? We shouldn't be the only ones who thought about substituting mechs with the god species."

"I've considered that." Ves said. "It's far harder than it sounds. We only managed to complete the beast rider project because I happen to dabble in neural interfaces. Do any of the other forces possess the same expertise? Out of every possible rival, only the Vesians can match or exceed our research capabilities."

Even as he said that, he didn't completely discount the other rivals. Who knew what kind of trick they came up with to beat the breakdown effect.

"Designing a mech on your own is really hard." Ketis remarked. "I don't envy you. Everyone has a bad word about your design."

Ves shrugged. "Most of them haven't figured out yet that it's not meant to be deployed by itself. By the way, have you heard how Qilanxo and the beast riders are doing lately?"

Her eyes immediately glowed. "I heard that Captain Orfan and Lieutenant Dise are having the time of their lives! Their bond with Qilanxo is so strange. It's as if the sacred god is directly bestowing her strength on the two. There's even talk of trying to rotate other mech pilots in as beast riders to benefit from the transformation induced by the man-beast connection. Qilanxo refused, though."

"Everything has a price. Besides, Qilanxo isn't a slave we can exploit on a whim. To sacred gods, their bonds with their chosen is a solemn affair."

While Ves no longer paid close attention to Qilanxo and the beast riders, he still heard plenty of stories about them. Qilanxo began to see the Flagrant Swordmaidens in a better light, while the two beast riders slowly started to find out how their addition strengthened the sacred god.

The god species had always been engineered to work together with compatible human minds! When exobeasts and humans combined their minds, the result was greater than the sum of their parts!

The exobiologists continued to study what made the man-beast connection between the two so powerful. It was as if they had touched upon a hidden fundamental force. This force had always been present among humans, but rarely did they ever get in touch with such a strong and obvious application of this hidden force.

Only Ves knew that this strength was the power of spirituality!

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