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Chapter 1956 Limited Capacity

The Mech Touch
     Chapter 1956 Limited Capacity

    Striker mechs predominantly served a defensive role in combat. They stacked up almost as much armor as knight mechs. Sometimes they carried a shield, but usually they didn't bother with one in favor of carrying a large and powerful area of effect weapon.

    Shotguns and flamethrowers were the most basic and iconic weapons associated with striker mechs. Higher classes of striker mechs even wielded more advanced weapons such as gravity manipulators or high-powered heat projectors.

    Though their mobility was almost as bad as knight mechs, as long as the enemy had to come to them, these mechs formed an effective deterrent against any melee mech.

    Compared to more traditional ranged mechs, striker mechs were much more proficient in close-ranged combat. They traded punch and penetration for wide-area denial.

    While they were fairly decent at attacking offensive melee mechs such as swordsman mechs or spearman mechs, they were far more suited at countering light mechs.

    Compared to medium mechs, light mechs possessed much less armor. Compared to other mechs, their armor might as well be as fragile as skin!

    In compensation, their mobility was the highest out of all of the weight classes. They survived on the battlefield despite their paper-thin armor by evading attacks and using their superior mobility to maneuver in complex environments.

    Yet for all of their fancy flight maneuvers or footwork, if their opponent was able to blast an entire area with weapons fire, how could they possibly dodge?

    Tougher mechs may be able to withstand the flames or shotgun pellets for a time, but light mechs didn't have that luxury most of the time!

    Ves knew that striker mechs performed differently in space than on land.

    On the ground, distances were much smaller. It was much easier for striker mechs to make an impact on the battlefield as light mechs didn't have as much room for maneuver.

    However, Ves and Gloriana considered designing a striker mech for space combat. This was a lot more difficult as the larger distances and additional degrees of freedom made it much more harder to deny an area.

    Once light mechs got close, they could approach an enemy from the front, left, right, rear, top or bottom!

    Still, any melee mech still had to get close in order to make good on their threat. The closer they got, the easier it was to narrow down their angle of approach.

    Even though striker mechs were too slow to chase after light mechs, that wasn't necessarily important. As long as they deterred a melee mech from moving close, they wouldn't be able to inflict any meaningful damage!

    If this lasted long enough, then the defending side would surely be able to gain an advantage because their enemies were unable to leverage all of their mechs!

    The mech concept that Gloriana proposed had to do all of this, and more.

    Right now, Ves agreed with Gloriana that they needed to have a solution ready to resist masses of low-quality mechs.

    Even if it wasn't possible to destroy them en masse right away, just pressuring them and blunting their momentum was enough to give his mech forces a much-needed reprieve!

    For this reason, they started sketching a striker mech that started off with a flamethrower as its primary armament.

    We need to reserve plenty of capacity. Gloriana explained as she sketched out a large and armored tank on the rear of their draft design. Landbound striker mechs usually operate in standard atmospheric conditions, so their flamethrowers can draw on plenty of oxygen in the air to feed their combustion reactions.

    There was no air in space. That meant there wasn't any oxygen in space.

    Under these conditions, how could someone start a fire in space?

    The simplest answer was to bring your own oxidizing agent. It didn't necessarily have to be oxygen. While oxygen was rather cheap, there were denser and more efficient substances available.

    The same went for the propellant. When they were laced with potent exotics, the energy they unleashed in the form of heat could reach extreme levels!

    The only issue was that more effective substances cost a lot more money. Operating a striker mech could get very expensive as their propellants and oxidizing agents quickly ate in someone's budget.

    However, this also gave their owners a lot of choice. If an outfit had to tighten their belts, then they could settle for cheap fuel and oxygen.

    If the Avatars added a striker mech to their roster, then Commander Melkor would definitely invest millions of hex credits in enhancing its firepower!

    Ves never designed a striker mech before. He had seen plenty of them in action, both on land and in space, and understood how they worked and how they were put together in theory.

    It turned out that they were a lot more complex to design in practice.

    It wasn't a matter of complexity. Striker mechs were very simple by nature. Just like knight mechs, they weren't required to perform any fancy moves. Third-class mechs also didn't contain a lot of extra functions.

    The only problem was capacity.

    There's too little room! Ves complained as he petted Lucky's back.

    Meow!

    He looked down at the cat lounging on his lap. No matter how many exotics you eat, it all seems to disappear in your stomach. I can't say the same for our draft design.

    Even if the propellant and oxidizing agent came in a compressed and compact state, striker mechs could go through their reserves at a frightening rate!

    Compounding the capacity problem was the need to manage their heat. The flamethrowers and striker mechs themselves had to channel and contain an immense amount of heat.

    Even if most of the energy was projected outwards, plenty of it still washed over the mech itself.

    As mechs were unable to shunt away as much heat in space than on land, this could pose a very serious problem if the design of the mech did not sufficiently cope with its own heat!

    Perhaps the only mitigating factor was that the mechs usually ran out of propellant before their heat reached critical levels.

    Miaow.

    While Lucky was taking a break, Clixie was cheerfully eating a bowl of freshly-prepared cat food. Gloriana's chefs weren't just good at cooking human food, but they were also proficient in satisfying the taste palates of cats!

    Hehehe. Gloriana smiled and rubbed Clixie's belly.

    Miaow!

    Oh, sorry!

    While playing with their cats cheered them up, neither Ves nor Gloriana felt very good about their draft design.

    No matter how ingenious they tried to be, striker mechs were brutally straight and simple from a design perspective.

    They needed to fit in too much stuff. It was already bad enough when it came to landbound mechs, but the spaceborn versions were much more burdened in this aspect!

    A lot of capacity had to be reserved for armor. As high-priority targets, striker mechs often attracted a lot of firepower.

    Unlike rifleman mechs, mobility warfare was not an option due to all of the propellant, oxidizing agents, heat sinks they carried.

    On top of that, their flight system also took up a substantial amount of capacity! Flight systems took up a lot of space, demanded a lot of energy and generated a considerable amount of heat!

    From a technical standpoint, these weren't very complex elements. They just took up a lot of space, and there were very limited ways to mitigate this issue!

    Gloriana furrowed her brows as she studied their current draft design.

    Since Ves gained a bioimplant, he was finally able to keep up with Gloriana's mental calculations. Even though the projected design was just a draft, its technical precision and accuracy already reached a very advanced level!

    Yet despite its beauty, the draft design didn't convey any notable advantages compared to comparable products on the market.

    Third-class spaceborn striker mechs are much more limited than I anticipated. His girlfriend pressed her fingers against her head. No matter how much we adjust its configuration, we can't gain any additional advantages.

    More propellant and oxidizing agents resulted in less armor and heat sinks.

    More heat sinks resulted in less propellant, oxidizers and armor.

    More armor resulted in less propellant, oxidizers and heat sinks.

    Such tradeoffs were ubiquitous in mech design, but the problem was that no amount of ingenuity could offer a better tradeoff!

    Gloriana was particularly annoyed with the limited tech base and material availability. She didn't shy away from the challenge, though. She knew she had to utilize her recently-improved mech affinity and the countless insights she gained from the Bright Warrior and Quint to design her most efficient third-class mech to date!

    As for Ves, he was already starting to think how he could increase the value proposition of a commercial spaceborn striker mech when he couldn't rely on superior technology, expensive materials or design ingenuity.

    How good are the second-class versions of this mech type? He asked.

    They're totally better. Everything takes up less capacity as their degree of miniaturization is much higher. They can also use more effective means of area denial such as creating localized gravity wells that don't rely on ammunition or propellants. Even if they utilize a classic flamethrower, the quality of propellants and oxidizing agents are so powerful that they can pose a threat against any melee mech, not just lightly-armored ones!

    The more advanced striker mechs even made use of dimensional storage, allowing them to carry a lot more charges than their frames allowed!

    In other words, they were just like Lucky and his bottomless stomach!

    Ves sighed. After designing something as fantastic as the Bright Warrior, he felt incredibly constrained now that he was back to his old haunt.

    It was as if he returned from living in Gloriana's opulent mansion to his rickety wooden shack with a leaky roof.

    If Ves designed this striker mech for his mech forces, then he wouldn't care that much about the budget of the mech. Any insurmountable problem could easily be solved as long as he threw enough money at it! This was exactly why the Bright Warrior performed so well during the Battle of Kesselling VIII!

    Yet who could spend as much money as Ves? Not many. Mechs sold on the market had to perform their functions as efficiently as possible.

    A mech that could do the same job as a competing mech but at half the cost would certainly take the crown!

    When was the last time he designed a true commercial mech? Too long, it seemed, because Ves didn't feel very willing to abide by these restrictions!

    He knew that this was not a good development. Third-class mech designs was his root. For years, he tried to work around their many limitations. The more he felt constrained, the more he felt pressured to innovate and develop brilliant design solutions.

    If he continued to come up with expensive designs such as the Bright Warrior, Ves feared losing his efficiency edge.

    In the mech market, mech designs had to be cost effective. Ves wouldn't be able to compete as effectively if he forgot how to design an inferior mech with superior value!

    As long as he regained and maintained this edge, he could carry it over to second-class mech design and gain a lot more advantages over the competition!

    Gloriana herself already recognized how useful it was to practice with designing these kinds of limiting mechs. How could Ves possibly fall behind his own girlfriend?

    As a bona fide man, he refused to be worse than her in designing the mechs that formed his design roots!

    I don't want our upcoming product to become a forgettable addition to the mech market. Ves declared. The LMC needs a bestseller in order to invigorate its brand and I need to prove that my previous commercial mech designs aren't outliers. I think we should increase the value of our striker mech design in two ways. First, we need to develop a good mech concept that synergizes with its glow. Second, we need some way to make its technical performance stand out. One of the two is not enough. We need both to deliver a product that can sell throughout the entire star sector, no star cluster!

    His ambition wasn't limited to the Komodo Star Sector anymore!