The Mech Touch - Chapter 2983: Third Round of MeChapter Design Projects

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Chapter 2983: Third Round of Mech Design Projects

The excitement surrounding Blinky died down. Since Gloriana accepted the Star Cat into her family, not even Lucky could shoo away the new addition anymore!

After a good night's rest, Ves and Gloriana freshened up and strode into the main design lab with much more weight in their steps. Their pets quietly followed after them, aware that this was a special day for the Larkinson Clan.

Ves no longer paid too much attention to Blinky. Now that he had gotten what he wanted without any further repercussions, he could fully focus on the next major priority of the Design Department.

As for Gloriana, she strode forward as if she was on a mission. She had waited so long for this day. After several delays, she could embark on the projects that she had dreamed about for a long time.

Four Journeyman Mech Designers stood together and faced the crowd of assistant mech designers.

Ves had been absent from the design lab lately, so he had to reacquaint himself with the familiar faces.

He first noted the presence of Dr. Perris. She stood out from the rest because she was primarily a biomech designer. While she possessed sufficient knowledge to work on conventional mech designs, she obviously wouldn't be as passionate.

He briefly swept through notable Apprentice Mech Designers such as Miles Tovar, Oscar DiMartin, Dukan French, Moltar Ringer and Catherine Evenson and tried to gauge their progress by studying their spiritualities.

None of them particularly stood out. Now that Ketis had left the ranks of assistants, Miles Tovar was the closest to becoming a Journeyman, but it was hard to say whether the former scion of the Tovar Family could advance within a couple of years.

From what Ves recalled of the man, Miles and the rest of his Tovar relatives were steady, thoughtful mech designers. They possessed more solid foundations and were quite good at learning and applying knowledge.

Yet this measured approach also caused them to lack the fire and passion of more emotional mech designers like Ketis. This was good for an assistant, but Journeymen weren't meant to be lackeys. If someone wanted to cross the gap and become a mech designer that was fully qualified to lead projects on their own, they had to develop a bolder and more proactive mindset!

Ves briefly glanced at his fellow Journeymen, each of whom exuded a different presence that unquestionably made them stand out from low-ranking mech designers.

"I already have enough Journeymen for now. I'm not in a hurry to welcome more to the fold."

Ves was not inclined to pay as much attention to his assistants anymore now that he assembled a sufficient core of lead designers. He would just let the Apprentices struggle without giving them any special attention. If someone still managed to become a Journeyman under these circumstances, then they deserved true respect.

Before Gloriana began the meeting, Ves briefly met with an assistant mech designer and received some updates on one of the side projects he started.

He hadn't forgotten about his goal of repurposing the Sanctuary from a pure battle mech to a more treatment-oriented version. The design teams that worked on his project performed a lot of research and came up with numerous possible proposals on how to develop a more ornamental variant that didn't have to be maintained so meticulously.

"Good work." Ves nodded in satisfaction as he briefly studied the different design proposals. "I can do the rest from here."

He did not choose to delegate the entire design process to his assistants. If he wanted his new Sanctuary variants to possess potent glows, then he had to get hands-on and make all of the final design choices himself.

Of course, that didn't mean he had to do all of the research and prep work himself. He received lots of relevant materials that could save him a lot of detours and design with a firm goal in mind.

"Hopefully I can squeeze some time in the next month so that I can finish this little side project." He whispered to himself.

Soon enough, Gloriana made her announcement.

"Everyone, our time has finally come." She smiled at the little minions who would soon be working as hard as slaves under her command. "After a long period of planning and preparation, we can finally commence our next round of mech design projects!"

Every assistant turned solemn when they heard this. They already knew that this moment was coming, but now that they finally heard these words, they felt as if it was a bit surreal.

Ordinary Apprentices could never get involved in expert mech design projects! Not only were they crazily high-end, but their designs were usually riddled with military secrets.

Fortunately, the Design Department wasn't a part of a state-affiliated military organisation. Neither the Mech Corps nor the Hex Army had any jurisdiction over the expert mechs of the Larkinson Clan.

The problem was that Gloriana made a decision that imposed some limits on the Design Department.

"Now, before we begin, you need to read and sign some new confidentiality forms." Gloriana said as she waved her hand. A projected document appeared in front of everyone's faces. "After a lot of contemplation, I have decided that it is best for us to make use of Hexer-developed components to piece together our upcoming expert mech designs. The Hexer mech industry has built an entire infrastructure around developing expert mechs and specialized component developers have designed a wide range of high-end mech parts. As you all know, our clan is lacking in this department, so it is best for us to look for external partners to address this shortcoming."

While it was technically possible for them to license high-quality components from the MTA, they were expensive and not quite suitable.

One of the biggest issues was the lack of tech support. These exclusive components were of a different breed from other parts. Their finicky nature, extremely tight tolerances and other complications made it very difficult to adapt and adjust them to an individual expert mech design.

The companies that developed these components knew their products the best. Ves and Gloriana would be able to save a lot of time and increase the integration of these high-end parts if they could directly consult the developers.

This was why Ves ultimately agreed with Gloriana's choice. The relationship between the Hexers and the Larkinsons had already grown close enough that the former didn't mind lending a hand to the latter.

It didn't matter if those high-end components were originally designed for female Hexer expert mechs. He only cared if they were powerful, efficient and practical enough to fit his expert mech designs.

Once they got this formality out of the way, Gloriana proceeded to present her overall vision for the six projects. She waved her hand, causing six vague projections of their possible future work to appear.

Though the expert mech designs she sketched lack a lot of details, their overall shapes and contours already provided every knowledgeable mech designer with a good impression of what Gloriana had in store.

The woman at the center of these projects grinned. "In the coming months or maybe year, I want you to give your all into realizing these expert mech designs. It is an extremely rare privilege for any mech designer to be able to work on the vessels of demigods. You will be challenged. You will have to study a lot of new knowledge. You will be tasked with a lot of tedious assignments. Yet all of this is worth it as long as you are able to complete your assignments. The lessons you are about to learn and the experience you stand to gain will become invaluable to your future development as mech designers. When you have become involved with designing the best mechs, normal mech design projects won't seem as challenging anymore."

This caused a lot of Apprentices to look even more forward to working on the expert mech design projects. Ves was quite relieved to see that his wife paid enough attention to their design teams. Motivating them was very important because the workload on expert mech designs was far higher than usual due to all of the powerful parts and systems running through their frames.

Gloriana eyed the projected expert mech designs with increasing passion.

"Before I detail the proposed expert mech design projects one by one, let me explain their overall philosophy and direction. First, let me remind you of what our Larkinson Clan needs. Ves, how many regular mech pilots do we have at the moment?"

"20,000, though only a fraction are assigned to dedicated mechs."

"Is that a lot?"

"It's a lot." Ves smirked. "We have more than enough mech pilots to defend our fleet. As long as we fabricate enough Bright Warriors and other Larkinson mechs, our comprehensive military might will soar!"

Gloriana turned to face the audience again. "Do you hear that? Our mech forces are not lacking mech pilots anymore. They can fully hold their own against other opponents, even if they have military roots. Yet that is not enough to round us out. The Battle of Reckoning has clearly shown how lopsided battles can become when expert mechs join the fray."

The assistants here hardly needed to be reminded of that bloody battle. Each member of the Golden Skull Alliance lost a lot to take down the enemy expert mechs.

"I don't think that anyone in our clan wants to see a repeat of that tragic battle. Even if we are able to outnumber an opponent by ten-to-one, as long as we face a handful of expert mechs, our mech forces are guaranteed to suffer painful losses. Expert mechs are so powerful that every attack they inflict can easily tear through the armor of ordinary mechs and butcher the mech pilots inside. If these expert mechs are allowed to continue their killing spree without getting blocked, then our clan will suffer at least a hundred mech pilots if not more to take any of them down!"

This was not the only downside to lacking expert mechs. Expert pilots and their powerful machines were able to exert drastic changes in morale. They were such notable presences that their appearance on the battlefield could even swing the outcome of massive battles between mech divisions!

"I believe you can understand what I am conveying to you." Gloriana continued. "Our second-class expert mechs must excel in dueling and fighting against other expert mechs. They need to demolish the heroes and pillars of the enemy as quickly as possible in order to decrease the pressure on our men and push our enemies to their breaking points. In concrete terms, this means that our expert mech designs will incorporate more powerful weapons that excel at penetrating high-quality armor. This means there is less room left to integrate weapons that are geared towards inflicting destruction on a wider scale."

There were always tradeoffs, and Gloriana had already made her first one. Ves fully agreed with her decision to design expert mechs that were expressly designed to fight against equal opponents. This was the standard choice for anyone who was about to design an expert mech, and neither Ves nor Gloriana saw any reason to buck conventional wisdom.

It was still easy enough for this kind of expert mech to destroy lots of regular mechs. Their efficiency wouldn't be as high, though.

Gloriana also announced another global design choice. "In pursuit of maximum power, we must also sacrifice the endurance and running time of our expert mechs. The nature of our fleet and the battles we tend to fight leads me to conclude it is not critical for us to design expert mechs that can last twelve or twenty-four hours straight onto a battlefield. While this decision makes sense for the military, we tend to get caught up in pitched battles most of the time. It is more important for us to solve the most critical elements quickly than to wear down our opponents over time."

This was another decision that made sense. While Ves couldn't rule out the possibility that his clan would participate in a longer battle, for now he felt it was best to allow his expert pilots to burst out all of their strength at once.

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