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Chapter 1964 Oriental Fashion

The Mech Touch
     Chapter 1964 Oriental Fashion

    Ves 'sat' down at one of the half-walled wooden 'desks' with a book in his 'hand'.

    It was interesting to perceive a virtual setting through this fashion. The partial digitization of his mind allowed him to perceive virtual environments with much more fidelity than he thought!

    It wasn't perfect, though.

    Although the MTA did an excellent job, the virtual immersion still lacked some very subtle details that he couldn't quite describe.

    At some points, Ves had an uncanny feeling that he was trapped in a false setting.

    This kind of discomfort didn't go away. He always found at least one reason to feel disturbed.

    It spoiled the novelty of his first virtual immersion experience. Ves wasn't sure whether he wanted to enter the virtual library through this method again. It was a lot more straightforward to browse the portal through a traditional projection.

    He looked down and opened the book. He flipped through the pages and ignored his slightly-off sense of touch.

    Since the flamethrower was critical to his striker mech, Ves decided to start his search by looking through various models of flame-spewing projectors.

    In general, the fundamental mechanisms of flamethrowers weren't complicated. Each and every flamethrower model that Ves encountered in the book shared the same delivery methods.

    The ingenuity in them came from how the weapon designers tried their best to make their weapons as robust and controlled as possible.

    Flamethrowers had to contain a lot of potentially-volatile substances. Their ability to contain the propellant and oxidizing agent, the amount of heat they were able to bear and how well they prevented the heat from leaking to the mech all distinguished one model from another model.

    Certain flamethrower models specialized in channeling the fiery output as far as possible. Others attempted to widen the flames so that the striker mech could block every approach from the front in an instant!

    All of these aspects and more provided Ves with an endless amount of choice.

    After browsing a few dozen different models, he gained a very good sense on what he could choose from. Aside from the weirder flamethrowers that tried to achieve something exceptional, Ves still had a lot to choose from. Many of them delivered identical performances, so he was free to choose according to his preferences.

    He eventually settled on a flamethrower configured for more close-ranged action.

    By default, the 34F Enison Spreader featured a wide but short-ranged delivery method that was quite good at occupying a broad front with burning substances!

    While the flamethrower could be set to narrow its cone of flames, it wasn't as good as increasing the range. More specialized flamethrowers were able to reach double or triple the range, but in exchange they made a lot of punishing tradeoffs.

    Ves couldn't get everything. Considering the main purpose of his striker mech as a defensive mech, he figured that range wasn't an exceptionally high priority to the mech.

    His striker mech didn't necessarily have to defeat a mech in order to fulfill its purpose. As long as the enemy stopped advancing forward, that was already enough to justify its addition to a mech roster.

    The large but fairly dispersed spraying pattern of the Enison Spreader might not concentrate a lot of thermal energy in a narrow area.

    Still, as Ves watched the footage of the weapon in action, it looked incredibly impressive, especially to enemy mech pilots who were expected to pass through the flames!

    The Enison Spreader was a fairly hefty flamethrower. It was also a sizable one. Wielding it properly required a striker mech to hold it with both hands.

    All of these materials added to the cost of the weapon.

    In exchange, the flamethrower not only possessed a high heat capacity, but could also resist a few hits without falling apart or exploding in the striker mech's face!

    As an extra, while the maximum range of the flamethrower wasn't very great, concentrating the outward spray into a narrow beam still increased its lethality to an incredible degree!

    All in all, the Enison Spreader checked all of his essential boxes and a couple of the less important boxes as well.

    The only caveat was that it was a fairly expensive addition to his mech design.

    Gloriana probably won't like how I've taken such a considerable chunk out of our budget. He muttered.

    He believed it was worth it. While a striker mech had to be fitted with plenty of armor due to its role and its place on the battlefield, Ves didn't feel it had to be as tough as a knight mech.

    Neglecting the striker mech's offensive power in favor of increasing its defensive power was the wrong approach.

    That said, armor still mattered a lot as striker mechs simply didn't possess the mobility to rely on evasion to negate incoming attacks. Their heavy reliance on capacity and their defensive-minded roles called for them to stand their ground and take the hits on behalf of more vulnerable mechs.

    Well, I can't have everything. He shrugged.

    Striker mechs weren't supposed to be punching bags, but they could take a few hits. It didn't matter if they weren't as tough as knight mechs because they never acted by themselves.

    The one of the underlying reasons why he wanted to design this mech was because his forces needed to address a shortcoming that their current mech rosters weren't up to the task.

    In many other areas, mechs like the Bright Warrior already fulfilled the necessary functions. Adding his striker mech model to the mix would round out the Larkinson Clan's capabilities a bit further.

    It was vitally important to patch one of the holes in the mech rosters in order to prevent needless deaths from occurring again!

    Once Ves settled on his choice, he recorded the component license in order to discuss its merits with Gloriana.

    He stretched his body, only realizing a second later that the sensations of his body were fake.

    He looked down at the book. He could return it to its shelf by activating a command, but he figured he might as well see this ritual to the end.

    He sought out and retrieved the book the old-fashioned way, so he rose from his chair, picked up the book and walked the short distance to the right shelf in order to put it back.

    Hello.

    Ves turned around to see a well-dressed woman in foreign fashion. It resembled a robe in the so-called 'oriental' style, but with a lot of decorative elements that spoke of class and wealth.

    This was not an average mech designer. In fact, those who were able to access the MTA's virtual library in this fashion were never mediocre.

    Hello. Ves answered back while studying the blond woman. Why did you approach me, miss?

    The woman smiled. Are you Ves Larkinson?

    I am. Do you know me? I don't recall meeting you. How do you know my name?

    Do you really have to ask? I watched your interview with the Rimward Star Herald. It is incredibly impressive that you've managed to obtain a masterwork certificate!

    Ah. His fame had already spread to the point where a random mech designer recognized him in a crowd!

    He couldn't help but feel a little flattered. He smiled back.

    I didn't do it by myself. I had my girlfriend to lean on, and an unnamed benefactor did most of the heavy lifting.

    The other woman chuckled. You don't have to be modest, Mr. Larkinson. If mech designers could coast on the accomplishments of a Senior or Master, they wouldn't have gotten a masterwork certificate. Only when your involvement is an essential component in the creation of a masterwork will the MTA grant you credit. I'm sure you would have been able to produce a masterwork mech by yourself sooner than later.

    Ves nodded. I don't like to boast too much, but you're right. Anyway, I haven't caught your name.

    You may call me Angelique Harcourt. As you may have surmised, I'm not a native to your star sector. I hail from the Heavensword Association, which is one of several second-rate 'states' of Majestic Teal.

    So his initial guesses were true! The woman came from a neighboring star sector, and a very specific one at that!

    This was his first time he talked to a native of Majestic Teal in person, just like how William Urbesh was his first acquaintance from Vicious Mountain.

    The star sector she called her home was rather odd in many ways. It's second-rate 'states' were rather odd in that they seem to change their territories quite very often without waging any full-blown wars. The customs there were so strange that everyone in the Komodo Star Sector simply didn't see any logic in their neighbor's territorial conflicts!

    Though Ves wasn't looking for conversation, his first meeting with someone from Majestic Teal was enough to arouse his curiosity.

    Miss Harcourt, since you are here, I suppose you are a mech designer. What's your specialization?

    I am a Journeyman like you, though my accomplishments aren't as illustrious as yours. She admitted with a soft expression. I specialize in designing swordsman mechs. In particular, I excel at designing the fencer sub-type of swordsman mechs. Rather than rely on momentum and brute force to hack an opponent, my mechs utilize a combination of speed and finesse to inflict targeted attacks onto the enemy weak points while evading as many attacks as possible.

    Ah. So you're designing something similar to light skirmishers.

    Fencer mechs were usually light mechs that performed a similar role to their more ubiquitous dagger-wielding counterparts!

    Angelique briefly frowned. Mr. Larkinson. Please do not equate fencer mechs to light skirmishers. The Heavensword Association would never tolerate your ignorance. Be careful in what you say. Fencer mechs are completely different from light skirmishers!

    The way she emphasized her last sentence hinted to Ves that he had touched a very sensitive nerve!

    Ves wanted to scratch his head. Fencer mechs were identical to light skirmishers. They were fast, light, melee-oriented and fought their enemies by poking at their weak points.

    The only meaningful difference was that light skirmishers often wielded dual daggers while fencer mechs made do with a single sword!

    Please forgive my ignorance, Miss Harcourt. Could you enlighten me what makes fencer mechs different?

    Certainly, Mr. Larkinson. Would you like to sit down at one of the tables?

    Sure.

    It didn't really matter if they stood or sat down since their physical bodies weren't there, but they sat down anyway.

    Harcourt stretched a delicate finger and projected one of her mech designs.

    I believe you are very familiar with light skirmishers. Please compare what you know of this mech type with the fencer mech I've projected. This is one of my latest works, and I'm particularly proud of it. I'm curious to hear what an exalted masterwork mech designer has to say about my efforts.

    Harcourt's fencer mech design certainly looked impressive. The second-class mech was largely a landbound mech, though it featured a light application of internal flight modules that allowed it to make large leaps or hops or fly in the air at a lower speed. It could also fly fairly proficiently in space.

    Still, it was obvious that the mech's main focus was to fight an opponent on solid ground. The machine immediately screamed dueling mech to Ves due to its focus on peak performance over endurace.

    Even though the mech only possessed a limited uptime, it was able to outshine other comparable light mechs! Its speed, strength and most of all precision were unparalleled compared to the likes of the Fliskin, though the comparison wasn't entirely fair since latter had to carry a flight system.

    Even so, Ves envisioned the fencer mech as a terror in the mech arenas! As long as the mech pilot was skilled enough to dance around his opponent, he could strike when the probability of suffering a counterattack was low!

    Still, Ves didn't see why this mech was any different from a light skirmisher aside from its weapon.

    He didn't want to reveal his ignorance, though.

    This is a very well-put together mech. He said. Though I'm able to envision how it performs in battle, won't you mind sharing some footage with me? Seeing it in battle will help me in evaluating your work.

    Certainly! While I've only released my product a short time ago, it has already attracted a following. Let me browse my database to find the most representative battle footage…