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Chapter 1988 Sweet Spo

The Mech Touch
     Chapter 1988 Sweet Spo

    After handing his two pupils with a pile of homework, Ves waved his hand to dismiss them. Maikel and Zanthar scurried off to their own corner in the design lab in order to start their essays on how they viewed the meaning of mech design.

    He watched them go with a wistful expression. It's not easy to adopt the mindset of a creator.

    Speaking of creation, it wasn't enough to talk the talk. He also had to walk the walk.

    After sorting out his thoughts, Ves turned back to his work and continued to do his part in fleshing out the draft design of his upcoming striker mech.

    Since it was a team effort, Gloriana and the other assistants had already made strides in turning it from a sketch into a workable design. Much needed to be done, but their progress was quite quick in the initial days.

    Most of that had to do with his new implant. The Archimedes Rubal not only increased his memory and processing abilities, but also sped up his thinking to an extent!

    All of this resulted in less wasted time and far more accurate results. His productivity had effectively doubled, and this was only the start!

    Gloriana.

    Ves. She greeted.

    He sat down next to her and held her hand.

    Tiny electric signals transmitted between their neurons and through their flesh and skin. The moment they established a semi-hardline connection between their implants, their attention no longer resided in the material realm.

    Instead, a private virtual realm formed by the efforts of their implants began to host a facsimile of their bodies. Ves and Gloriana ended up in the backyard of a magnificent mansion on a planet with two dazzling red moons lighting up the night sky.

    What an interesting setting. Ves commented.

    I can take you to the real site if you want.

    Ves looked around and immediately noticed the six-sided table, the bushes cut in the shape of hexagons and other objects that shared the same distinctive design style.

    No thanks. I think we would both enjoy experiencing settings that neither of us have experienced.

    Her face dropped. If you say so, Ves.

    Let's not waste any more time on these distractions. We're here to work, not play. Come on. Show me your progress.

    They soon began to work on their design in the virtual setting. Due to the very advanced capabilities of their implants, time flowed faster in the setting than in real time. Though their implants could run the virtual simulation at unimaginable speeds, their organic minds couldn't quite keep up as well!

    Still, both possessed some means of raising the limit. Ves was already filled with biological augmentations that increased his brain's ability to handle strain. The CFA's gene optimization treatments were especially tailored to improve this capability!

    As for Gloriana, her Erestal-015 comprehensively elevated many mech design-related abilities. Even if she wasn't able to elevate her brain's raw thinking capacity, she was able to outsource much of her thinking to the robust and extensive processors of her implant!

    Essentially, all of this meant that on a good day, they could achieve five days of work in a single day!

    In practice, their gains were usually lower than that. It depended on the complexity and difficulty of the problems they faced. Some problems could easily be solved as long as Ves and Gloriana performed enough calculations and deductions.

    Other problems required raw imagination and ingenuity. No amount of processing power could solve these kinds of conceptual problems. The most the pair could do was speed up their subjective perception of time to accelerate their lateral thinking processes.

    Whenever the two finished a mental design session, they continually impressed their subordinate design teams.

    None of the Novices and Apprentices were able to work this fast!

    In fact, even if they installed a comparable implant in their heads, they still wouldn't be able to reach this level of productivity!

    The special nature of this method of collaboration allowed for Ves and Gloriana to directly exchange their thoughts and internal calculations with each other.

    Though Ves had to get used to this method of direct data transfer, he soon got the hang of it. With Gloriana guiding his usage of his own implant, they developed an approach that took more and more advantage of the possibilities their mental design session enabled to minimize delays and facilitate their ability to synergize with each other.

    The fact that they were able to get more in tune with each other's design philosophies and increase their synergies was a very big advantage!

    By exchanging their thoughts directly along with some accompanying emotions in digitized form, they understood each other's perspectives on mechs a lot better than any explanation could provide.

    Ves gained a much closer insight on what drove Gloriana to strive for perfection, while his girlfriend experienced his passion for the vibrancy and potential of life first-hand!

    It wasn't always good, though. Sometimes, their views clashed against each other. Sharing their thoughts and emotions could easily lead to a backlash as their design philosophies strongly repelled the foreign thoughts and emotions!

    To Ves, Gloriana's insistence on reaching perfection and her overall conception of the perfect vessel leaned too much towards determinism.

    On a philosophical level, the perfect and most optimal mech design for a certain purpose existed. All Gloriana had to do was to become good enough to be able to make that possible!

    Ves disagreed. To him, mechs were alive, and therefore subject to the whims of a living existence. Perfection could never be attained due to the existence of the cycle of life and death.

    Anytime someone designed the 'perfect' mech, only a single generation had to go by for any competent mech designer to be able to design something that surpassed it in performance!

    This constant progression proved that mechs were dynamic instead of static. They changed and improved over time. From the beginning of the Age of Mechs, an uncountable amount of mech designs emerged that constantly built from the accumulation of mechs published before!

    Mech design had no more meaning once the perfect mech was designed. What else was there for people like Ves to do if he couldn't design anything that could surpass the perfect mech?

    To her credit, Gloriana's design philosophy was slightly more nuanced than that. She based her design philosophy around designing the perfect vessel for a specific mech pilot, and that always looked from customer to customer.

    Still, Ves fundamentally couldn't bring himself to accept all of her views. Life wasn't perfect, so mechs shouldn't be perfect. Simple as that. The best he could do was to strive close to it, but like Icarus flying towards the sun, ascending too high would only burn his wings!

    Of course, he didn't share this analogy with his girlfriend. An enraged Gloriana was not something he ever wanted to experience!

    So far, they had performed a lot of early work on the mech design. The striker mech took on a basic appearance, though much of its internals still had to be defined.

    Their work was enough to form a decent expectation of the performance of the end product.

    So far, Ves wasn't entirely impressed.

    The capacity problem is very difficult to deal with. He tapped his finger against his wrist. If we try to increase its capacity a tiny bit further, the effectiveness of its armor will instantly nosedive. If we try to increase the thickness of its armor, its capacity and mobility can easily drop to unacceptable levels!

    After a lot of iteration and experimentation, the pair managed to find a sweet spot that offered a very decent balance between capacity, protection and mobility.

    Capacity in this case pretty much correlated to offensive power as it determined how much energy cells and heat sinks the mech was able to carry into battle.

    While finding a sweet spot sounded nice, not every one of them were necessarily good!

    Some sweet spots landed at a position that sat below his minimum expectations! Right now, Ves found himself unsatisfied with the level of defense and capacity of his striker mech.

    It ran out of propellant just a bit too quickly to make it through most battles.

    In addition, its armor was not at a level that would allow it to comfortably confront multiple melee mechs up close. In fact, one of the best counters of striker mechs, ranged mechs, would probably have a field day pelting his striker mech with a flurry of lasers!

    This is the best we can achieve with the limitations we are working under. Gloriana told him. I've explored this configuration extensively. I'm sure that a Senior or Master may be able to come up with something better, but.. it wouldn't be our design. To us, this sweet spot is the best we can obtain. I think we should find performance improvements through other means. We're only in the early stages of this design project. A lot is still subject to change, and we can always find other components to license if we need different solutions.

    This was the only way to mitigate this difficult issue. Despite their increased affinity for mechs and Gloriana's meteoric progress of her own design philosophy, it was very hard to wiggle around with absolutes.

    I have a feeling we are approaching the technical challenges of this design from the wrong direction. Ves suggested as he studied the projection of their current project from every angle. It's as if we are treading on a road that leads to a dead end. What we are doing right now is trying to dig a hole in the wall blocking our way forward! That's not an efficient response to a problem of this nature!

    Then what would you have us do, Ves?!

    In order to reach our destination, perhaps we might need to turn back to a crossroads and take a different route instead! Who knows, maybe the alternative won't lead to a dead end!

    I understand your point. Gloriana crossed her arms and directed a stern expression at Ves. However, this is the way that all spaceborn striker mechs are designed. Their design principles are simple, which means there isn't a lot of room for variety. In fact, I think you will find that striker mechs is one of the mech archetypes that exhibit the least amount of variety on the market!

    Ves partially agreed with her statement. Striker mechs were so simple that it was very hard to justify a deviation from the standard formula of this mech type.

    There was just.. something frustrating about their current direction! If Ves stripped it of its glow, the striker mech wouldn't be able to make a compelling splash in the market.

    That was not what he wanted to see! He wanted to validate his own approach towards mech design by creating an appealing product that provided value both from its basic functioning and its unique glow!

    He didn't want to create another mech like the Desolate Soldier where the average and exceptional performance of his design was carried entirely by its glow!

    Such an approach would slowly corrupt and invalidate his determination towards designing well-performing mechs! Ves had already started slipping ever since he resorted to throwing money at his problems.

    Designing a commercial mech for the third-class mech market was a test for himself. He needed to restore his ability to design efficient mech designs that were able to do more with less!

    So far, the striker mech design did not meet his standard!

    This is not enough. Ves spoke in a dissatisfied tone. Perhaps he carried over a bit more of Gloriana during their mental design sessions than he thought! I am tempted to scrap our current progress and go back to the drawing board, because this mech is not something that I want to sell under the LMC brand name.

    Gloriana frowned. I.. don't necessarily disagree with you, but if there is one thing that you've taught me, it's that we can't allow our needs to get in the way of what is truly necessary! This is probably the best design we can come up with. There is no way we can do any better!

    I don't believe that! There has to be a better solution! We just have to think outside the box!