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Chapter 1976 Education Conundrums

The Mech Touch
     Chapter 1976 Education Conundrums

    After issuing his request, he left this project aside until he received an update from Calabast. It was relatively pointless for him to work on a mech project that was still subject to massive changes.

    A tense day went by as the relationship between Ves and Gloriana grew a little cold.

    They still slept in the same stateroom and on the same bed, but a very wide gap had formed in the middle!

    Meow.

    Miaow.

    With all of that open space, their cats made their home in this valley. The organic and mechanical cats comfortably napped and groomed each other in the night while their owners slept at the edges of the bed.

    The awkward state didn't last for long, though. This wasn't their first bump in their relationship. Both of them were very much accustomed to ignoring source of friction.

    While their argument hadn't been resolved, Ves and Gloriana simply decided not to talk about it. Instead, they turned their attention to something more innocent.

    We've selected the components of our striker mech. Gloriana said over breakfast. She briefly paused in partaking her pancake to project a draft that included the components. From what I think, our striker mech can be quite a decent performer, especially with the little surprise I plan to incorporate. What do you think?

    Ves studied the supplemented draft design with an experienced eye. He noticed that Gloriana had already fleshed out the draft in some portions. All of this work gave him a greater idea on how the end product might look like at the end of the four-month project.

    As a mech that was supposed to revolve around Zeigra as its design spirit, the offensive power of the mech was crucially important.

    Ves was glad that the current state of the draft design reflected its offensive focus. Though the quality of its armor system was rather lackluster and its mobility was as bad as any mech that lugged around so much mass, the mech devoted ample capacity to sustaining its powerful flamethrower.

    It was no problem for this striker mech to engulf an entire region of space with hot and corrosive flames! No light mech would easily dare to cross the vast and immense sea of flames that the striker mech was able to project!

    The 34F Enison Spreader model also made for a decent close-ranged finisher. Its focused channeling mode was so potent that it could even overwhelm the defenses and heat capacity of a space knight after a dozen seconds of pummeling!

    Its endurance in combat was rather average and depended heavily on the frugality of the mech pilot. A skilled and knowledgeable striker mech pilot would be able to make much more efficient use of the flamethrower. They could easily last twice or thrice as long as a mech pilot who wasn't specialized in piloting this mech type!

    Therefore, Ves didn't worry too much about the mech's endurance and capacity.

    Of course, that was not enough to make the mech stand out from the competition. Ever since the MTA unveiled the new generation, a lot of mech designers had already flooded the market with their own interpretations of striker mechs.

    Ves didn't have to spend more than a couple of seconds on the galactic net to know that tons of mech designers had already designed a mech with the same configuration.

    Even if the components possessed slightly divergent properties and even if the individual designs looked different, their performance was probably similar!

    The only way to differentiate their products from the competition was to rely on his own inherent advantages. Gloriana had to pitch in as well.

    Fortunately, Ves had a much easier time in distinguishing his products than other mech designers. His design philosophy was practically a free ticket to success as long as Ves put in enough effort.

    That was no reason to grow complacent, though. Leaning on his specialty to do all of the heavy lifting while ignoring his foundation would only lead to ruin in the long term.

    In addition, just as Ves relied on his glows to give his mechs some extra oomph, other mech designers possessed their own tricks to elevate the performance of their products!

    Therefore, it was never a given that his mechs would succeed! There was too much uncertainty when it came to the mech market. Ves left the predictions to the experts.

    We can proceed with this draft. Ves issued his verdict. I have high hopes for our striker mech. Despite the capacity problems, it's not a very complicated mech to design.

    Gloriana cautiously nodded. The problems we'll be facing is of a different nature than the problems we encountered when we designed the Bright Warrior. In fact, I kind of prefer the latter. Back when we designed our modular mech platform, the potential of our product was incredibly high because we had a lot of options at our disposal. The challenge was figuring out the most optimal solutions.

    In contrast, our striker mech is so simple in nature that it is actually limiting our options. There is no easy way to engineer ourselves out of the fundamental problems related to capacity.

    Without access to dimensional technology and miniaturized components, Ves and Gloriana would have to work very hard just to free up a small amount of capacity.

    It was impossible to fill up a single cup with two cups worth of liquid. Sure, you could resort to tricks such as compressing the liquid or manipulating the temperature, but that was the equivalent of resorting to high technology in mech design.

    Neither of them looked forward to tackling these problems over the course of their work. Let's head to the design lab.

    Okay.

    They finished their breakfast and brought their cats to the design lab. Their two design teams had already arrived a few minutes before.

    After handing out some assignments, Ves did not immediately begin with fleshing out the draft design.

    Instead, Ves addressed an issue that he had been ignoring for a time.

    The four Larkinson seeds had grown a little taller and older the last time he had seen them. Due to all of the excitement that took place in recent months, Ves and Gloriana hadn't been able to guide them that much.

    It's been rough the past few months. How have you been faring? Ves asked.

    Maikel, Maisie Ann, Rennie and Zanthar Larkinson all looked at each other.

    Eventually, Zanthar Larkinson spoke first. We miss school.

    That opened the floodgates.

    It sucks now that we are forced to attend school remotely.

    I miss my friends.

    I don't like living on this ship! I don't like any of the other ships! None of them feel like home!

    The Larkinsons were still children in a way. Ves patiently let the teenagers vent before he raised his hands.

    I understand your difficulties. Our situation is anything but ideal. We all uprooted you from your familiar lives and have been forced to live and study on ships that were never meant to be treated as homes.

    We didn't mean to complain about how we are forced to live on ships, sir.

    Ves smiled. It's okay. Your complaints are all valid. I believe that many more Larkinsons and other personnel are likely chafing about their sudden transition to spacer life. I believe that your schooling is too important to be left as is. While I didn't attend the best mech university in the star sector, the lessons I learned and the values and principles my teachers instilled in me can only be acquired by attending a proper institution in person. I've been thinking a lot about how to address your schooling issues. All of you are nearing the age where you are ready to start studying mech design in earnest. As someone who has been in your position more than a decade ago, I know how crucial it is to your future development to attend the best school possible.

    The Larkinson seeds all looked eager at what Ves was about to say.

    Since I plan to travel throughout the star cluster for the next couple of years, it is quite inconvenient for all of us to drop you off at a mech design university and pick you up when you graduate. I'll have to reserve passage for you on the fastest passenger liner I'm able to afford to bring you back to our fleet. If you are willing to go through this ordeal, then there are several excellent mech design universities in this star sector that I can recommend to you. Maisie, you once asked if you could attend a Hexer mech design university, right?

    I still want to attend one if possible. She said, to the shock of her fellow seeds!

    I've talked to Gloriana about this and she can recommend any of you to one of the Hegemony's many mid-ranked institutions. Since you aren't Hexers or second-class citizens, it's not possible to get you in the best mech design universities, but that doesn't mean the ones that rank below them are awful. They're already ten times better than my own alma mater!

    Maisie looked hopeful. Does that mean I can start studying at a Hexer university soon?

    It's not that simple. Ves shook his head. If you or Rennie want to attend a Hexer university, then Gloriana and I will have to step up your tutoring in order to allow you to catch up with your future Hexer classmates. They're already learning twice or thrice as much as you in their high school years! The disparity between third and second-class citizens already begins at birth, so it will be very tough for the two of you to make up for that disparity. Fortunately for you girls, we have many means to allow you to catch up. I'm willing to let Dr. Ranya and the other specialists in my employ augment you with implants and gene boosts so that you won't be falling behind when you begin your first semester.

    Really? Yay!

    The young Larkinsons had all looked forward to augmenting themselves for years! They had heard many stories of how average students suddenly turned into geniuses after their parents paid for their upgrades!

    Ves inwardly shook his head at their reactions. Even though they already augmented their genes once, they still underestimated risks and repercussions of augmenting their genes and cognitive functions. It wasn't all roses and sunshine.

    So are the two of you truly willing to accept these conditions in order to attend a Hexer university?

    We are!

    Rennie came around quickly to the idea once she thought about it. Attending a second-rate university had been one of her greatest dreams!

    There is an extra caveat, though. Right now, the Hexadric Hegemony is in the middle of a war. Once the Komodo War swings in favor of the Fridaymen, you'll have to flee the state in a hurry. This will doubtlessly interrupt your studies and deny you your diploma for at least a year. Are you still willing to embrace this plan?

    The two girls hesitated, but they eventually nodded. We believe in you, sir.

    Haha. I hope your faith is not misplaced.

    Uhm, sir, what about us? Zanthar asked.

    Ves stared at the young Larkinson. Do you want to attend a Hexer university with Masie and Rennie?

    Uhh.. no.

    I thought so. Even if you said yes, I would have vetoed your decision anyway. As far as I'm concerned, no male member of our clan is allowed to undergo Hexer indoctrination! I have a different set of solutions for you and Maikel. The first option is to attend Rawlings University. It's a top university of the Sentinel Kingdom and produces bright and promising mech designers like Mayer Torto who I've recently hired on. Rawlings is not as good as a Hexer school, though, so you'll have to accept falling behind Maisie and Rennie.

    Neither boys looked pleased with that. Is there another solution, sir?

    Yes, but it is the most uncertain and risky solution of all. It can either work out better than what I've arranged for the girls, or it can all crash and burn.

    Ves took a deep breath. He didn't feel very comfortable about this solution either, but he owed it to the boys to offer them a more promising option than dumping them at Rawlings.

    You study directly under me and Gloriana. In essence, you'll become our apprentices of a sort. While we aren't able to provide you with a traditional diploma, you'll be receiving our personal guidance to a much greater degree than before. Just because you are my clansmen doesn't mean I'll be any less strict than the Hexer universities!

    The boys only exchanged a single look with each other before turning back to Ves and nodding their heads.

    We accept!

    Are you sure? You'll be missing out on a lot of essential experiences that define an orthodox mech designer.

    We are sure! We believe in you!