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Chapter 1958 Fear Pulse

The Mech Touch
     Chapter 1958 Fear Pulse

    After settling for Zeigra as his striker mech's design spirit, Ves obtained a lot more direction for his mech design.

    He let his imagination run wild. As he faced a projection of the draft design, he began to alter its appearance to align with its design spirit.

    He didn't transform his striker mech into a tiger mech or anything as radical.

    He wanted to theme his striker mech design in the same way his Aurora Titan design was themed around Qilanxo.

    The humanoid mech form was still the most versatile mech type, especially in space. There was also an inherent advantage in keeping the flamethrower weapon system separate from the frame of the mech.

    Due to all of the heat and energy the weapon channeled, they degraded incredibly fast. Unless mech technicians performed top-notch maintenance on the weapons, it was inevitable for them to malfunction or break down in battle.

    If the flamethrower weapon system was attached to the mech, then it was pretty much impossible to repair it in battle!

    If the mech merely carried a flamethrower, then it shouldn't be a problem for it to discard the broken weapon and pick up a spare one as soon as it returned to its mothership.

    Besides, while striker mechs were often known for wielding shotguns or flamethrowers, they were also able to stow away their primary armaments and pull out a sword in order to fend off enemies up close!

    This was an important feature of striker mechs. Since they always fought against mechs at a close distance, they inevitably had to fight off mechs that succeeded in getting close.

    Ves left all of these details for later. For now, he continued to make the draft more distinct.

    It was a lot like drawing concept art. It didn't matter if the exact proportions and outer components were subject to change. What Ves mainly sought was to create a powerful impression of his next mech design.

    Just like the Devil Tiger, Ves coated the mech in a rust-brown shade. He took paints to make sure its shade wasn't identical to the Devil Tiger's shade.

    There was no need for him to draw trouble to himself!

    He played with the contours of the striker mech and turned it a bit more angular. He made sure to add his signature look to the head before surrounding it with Gloriana's hexagon.

    The striker mech immediately took on a very different character with the addition of the signature looks.

    Just like with his Deliverer and Bright Warriors, the third eye and the hexagon added a mysterious quality to their designs.

    Normally, Ves appreciated this change, but now it looked rather incongruent with the intimidating theme of his striker mech.

    Maybe I should vary their appearances for this design.

    He lifted his fingers and modified the projected appearance of the head.

    Instead of keeping its third eye white, he transformed it into an ominous red-and-black cat eye. He also changed its glow from white to red!

    To make Gloriana's hexagon fit, he experimented with various tones until he settled for a brighter shade of red.

    Once he stepped back and studied his alterations, he became a lot more satisfied with its appearance.

    The mech looked like it dipped out of hell in order to exact judgement on the living!

    It's reddish coating and its intimidating red third eye conveyed a very aggressive impression.

    When Ves imagined the mech wielding a flamethrower that spewed out a copious amount of flames, he believed the combination already achieved a substantial amount of deterrence solely due to its appearance!

    Once he imparted it with a glow based on Zeigra's aggression and intimidation factor, the striker mech would definitely strike fear in the hearts of its enemies!

    What about the mech pilot?

    Ves remembered that he had gone rather crazy when he designed the Devil Tiger. He incorporated it with an illegally-modified neural interface that came with very loose safety restrictions.

    The purpose of this design choice was to give the design spirit an opportunity to mess with the mech pilot of the Devil Tiger.

    Obviously, he couldn't do that again for his upcoming mech design. His commercial products not only needed to be safe, but also had to earn the MTA's approval!

    The most Ves could do was to make use of the new high-capacity neural interface model he incorporated in his Bright Warrior design.

    Even then, he still doubted whether it was a good idea to deepen the connection between the mech pilot and the design spirit.

    This might be a case where it's better to keep them at a distance. He murmured.

    He added a note to the draft to make sure it incorporated a more standard neural interface model in its cockpit.

    Unlike his other mechs, the glow of his striker mech shouldn't contain any friendly elements.

    It was only meant to be directed towards the enemy! If the glow intimidated its own side, then the mech was a liability instead of an asset on the battlefield!

    I should make sure that the glow affects the mech pilot and any friendlies as little as possible.

    This required some spiritual tinkering, but Ves was confident he was able to keep its glow directed against the enemy.

    Ves didn't mind that the striker mech did not possess any uplifting aspects. The Desolate Soldiers and the Bright Warriors already specialized in this role.

    By imposing a lower limit on the immersion of the striker mech, there wasn't as much room for a skilled mech pilot to excel in piloting the mech.

    That was fine to Ves. Striker mechs didn't possess much skill expression to begin with. As long as the enemy stayed out of melee range, the mech pilot only had to aim the flamethrower in a vague direction in order to fulfill the mech's primary function.

    Striker mechs were deliberately designed to be easy to pilot. Its weapon was easy to use and while there were a lot of advanced nuances, it was completely possible for someone unused to piloting this mech type to make effective use of it. Whether they were melee specialists or ranged mechs, anyone could point a flamethrower in the right direction!

    Their low skill floor was already accompanied by a relatively low skill ceiling.

    This basically meant that a great mech pilot didn't perform much differently from a bad mech pilot in a striker mech.

    Certainly, there were many ways to express their skill. Striker mech specialists were intimately familiar with the limitations of their mechs and weapons. They efficiently regulated their firing patterns and skillfully managed their energy and heat levels.

    When an enemy arrived at point-blank range, the striker mech pilot should be able to exchange the flamethrower for a sword and neutralize the threat.

    Still, compared to other mech types, striker mechs were not expected to play a starring role in battle.

    Sometimes, outfits assigned random mech pilots to these mechs if other mechs weren't available!

    This is a good way to give my landbound mech pilots something to do. Ves realized. Since I'm spending lots of time in space, it will be a shame to let all of those mech pilots fiddle their thumbs while their colleagues are doing the heavy lifting.

    He already provided his landbound specialists the option to contribute to a battle in space with his Desolate Soldiers.

    The problem was that while his Desolate Soldiers performed decently against the sandmen, they were very inadequate against human opponents!

    Their Sandbreaker rifles exhibited a very low muzzle velocity compared to railguns and laser weapons. This shortcoming hampered their long and medium-ranged accuracy.

    Therefore, their effective range was a lot lower, especially in the hands of a mech pilot who didn't excel in marksmanship!

    This problem isn't nearly as bad with striker mechs. Ves predicted.

    The Avatars of Myth and Living Sentinels still separated their mech pilots by environment. Ves wanted to transition away from this division, but in order to accomplish that he needed to provide his mech pilots with much better learning facilities.

    Just like second-class mech pilots, they not only had to receive excellent tutelage, but also required several augmentations that enhanced their intelligence and combat instincts.

    All of this meant that Ves became more determined than ever to realize this mech design!

    His desire fueled his passion. As his passion burned brighter, Ves felt the need to be more inventive with regards to his vision for his mech.

    What else could he do to spice up the rust-red striker mech?

    Maybe I can add some special features.

    His Deliverer achieved fame through its Guided Aim ability. His Bright Warriors possessed the very valuable Ancestral Possession ability.

    Though his Bright Warriors didn't have an opportunity to display the latter, Ves had high hopes for it in the future.

    His striker mech should come with a special ability as well in order to keep up with the standard of his latest mech designs.

    It shouldn't be too powerful. It wasn't appropriate to make his commercial mechs too exceptional. He should reserve his big guns for his custom mechs and commissioned mechs.

    Besides, with a design spirit as hostile as Zeigra, it was a very bad idea to give him too much agency!

    Ves thought for a moment before settling on a possible answer.

    Since my mech is all about intimidation, why not find a way to turn it up? A spike of intimidation can be very useful in the right circumstances!

    He called it the Fear Pulse. As long as the mech pilot timed the activation of this ability correctly, it was very much possible for a single striker mech to stall the charge of an entire squad of incoming enemy mechs!

    Of course, Ves wasn't sure right now how he could incorporate this ability into his mech design and how to regulate it so that it only affected enemies.

    Still, as long as Ves figured out the spiritual mechanics and made sure that it was powerful enough, it could definitely achieve a very significant effect on the battlefield!

    This is brilliant! Ves grinned.

    After he added this feature to his list, he tried to see whether he could add something else to his mech.

    He thought back on his intentions to experiment with imaginary mechs and spiritual networks.

    Both possessed a lot of potential, but Ves didn't see how he could make them relevant with his current mech design.

    Maybe I have better luck applying them to my upcoming second-class mech design.

    He grimaced for a moment. He felt rather mixed about fulfilling DIVA's commission. He didn't look forward to abiding by all of the restrictions that constrained Hexer mech designs.

    In any case, considering how distinctive his vision had already become, he was already satisfied with what he came up with. As long as he realized all of its features, it would definitely sell as much if not more than his Desolate Soldier model!

    When Ves returned to Gloriana and explained his vision, he received a positive reaction.

    I love it! She smiled. You really turned our mech into something special!

    What do you think about the modifications to our signature looks? Turning them red was an impulsive decision on my part. Is there anything significant about turning the hexagon red?

    She shook her head. It's fine. While the hexagon carries a different meaning, I don't think it's bad. This rendition of the third eye looks very intimidating. Combined with the rest of your visual design, there is a lot of harmony between the intent, the performance and the appearance of the design!

    It felt good to receive her appreciation. He might lose out to her in terms of technical design, but when it came to the creative side of mech design, Ves refused to relinquish his throne!

    What did you come up with while I was working on the vision of our mech?

    Well, I was trying to see how we can give our mechs a technical edge. It's very hard to find a way to do so without exceeding the budget of our mech design, but I think I found a way to give our striker mech an advantage.

    Do tell.