The Mech Touch Chapter 1012

1010 Senior Woes

Obtaining the first round of life-prolonging treatment may be out of reach for the average people, but a Senior Mech Designer was never hurting for money.

Seniors normally spent an inordinate amount of time, money and resources to progress their research. At this stage in their careers, many Seniors valued their research over their companies. However, it took an extremely long time for them to obtain any breakthroughs.

Most never managed to achieve any breakthroughs in their lifetimes. Therefore, they diverted some of their efforts into earning huge amounts of money to be able to afford the first round of life-prolonging treatment from the MTA.

While expensive, a Senior possessed enough earning power to pay for the treatment within their lifetimes. Such expensive treatments were normally out of reach to Journeymen.

Of course, this situation only applied to third-rate states. In a second-rate state like the Friday Coalition, certain wealthy Journeymen or those who possessed powerful backers got to extend their life by a century without sacrificing too much.

This essential difference in earning power strengthened the mech industry of the Friday Coalition because these Journeymen gained an additional century of lifespan to advance to Senior. This in effect gave second-rate states a much higher proportion of Seniors, so much so that the rate of Masters emerging from the crowd subsequently increased as well!

However, if there was one flaw about Seniors who advanced late, it was that they usually held very little promise. Seniors based in the Republic who advanced through their own hard work under less-than-ideal circumstances were not inferior than the Seniors based in the second-rate states!

Seniors wished above all else to realize their design philosophy and turn the impossible into reality. In pursuit of their advancement to Master, the longer they lived, the greater the chance they accomplished their greatest desire.

Yet to obtain the second round of life-prolonging treatment required them to pay an exponentially greater amount of compensation. In general, no Senior based in a third-rate state would be able to afford the opportunity to live up to three-hundred years!

Even the Seniors of the Friday Coalition encountered many difficulties in trying to pay for such a luxurious privilege. In truth, Ves didn't fully know what the MTA demanded in exchange for the third round of treatment, but he heard that they didn't solely ask for a huge bag of money.

"Anyone who wants to obtain the subsequent rounds of life-prolonging treatment has to meet some other conditions."

Everyone figured that the actual supply of life-prolonging treatment was very limited. If the MTA didn't put up more barriers to halt the influx of requests, they wouldn't have enough to extend the lives of their own key personnel!

In short, no matter where a Senior based himself, he would easily be able to scrounge up the money to extend his lifespan to up to two-hundred years.

The only two Seniors from the Bright Republic that Ves interacted with was Professor Velten at the Flagrant Vandals and Professor Enoch at Frozen Point Research Base. Both of them differed remarkably as the former had reached a very advanced age.

In fact, Professor Velten was outright senile, and had already resigned most of her former duties. Ves found her life trajectory to be fairly tragic, yet he also knew that most Seniors led similar trajectories in their life.

He hadn't forgotten her final warning to him back at the Wolf Mother.

"A Senior already enjoys a great status in the Bright Republic and elsewhere in the galaxy. They are flooded with opportunities. Yet compared to advancing to Master, most of those offers are nothing but distractions."

Without advancing to Master, a Senior would always reach the end of their lives filled with regret!

Those who advanced to Master relatively fast like Master Olson were truly fortunate! Even those who advanced well into their second century of life also thanked their luck. Far too many Seniors never found the opportunity to advance and turned into footnotes in the mech industry.

A lot of local mech designers memorized the names of every Master Mech Designers based in the Komodo Star Sector. Yet they never bothered memorizing the names of every Senior except the ones from their own state.

In any case, Professor Ventag that Senator Tovar somehow roped into the peace delegation possessed some hope of advancing to Master.

"Even so, most Seniors who are based in third-rate states never advance to Master." He frowned.

Masters emerged only rarely. Even the Friday Coalition didn't have enough to go around. It simply came down to lacking enough money to fund their expensive research endeavors.

This was why at some point, some Seniors who still possessed a decent hope of advancing to Master within their lifetimes moved to the Friday Coalition.

Ves didn't know the exact figures, but the Bright Republic and many other third-rate states actually lost over half of their Seniors this way!

The only problem was that the Seniors who all decided to make the move never received a warm welcome in such a tough and unfamiliar environment. Their status as outsiders always distinguished themselves from the native Seniors.

In practice, the Seniors that decided to move to a more prosperous state hadn't led to a greater increase in the chance of advancing to Master at all!

People came up with various reasons to explain why. The general consensus was that all the distractions and difficulties surrounding the relocation burdened the foreign Seniors so much that they failed to enter their best state when performing their research.

"That's probably not the full story, but it's definitely one of the main factors." Ves silently judged.

Therefore, plenty of Seniors still remained with their current states even if they seem limited. It wasn't as if they sold their mechs to a single state at this stage. Many companies such as the Kadar-Neyvis Group and NORA Consolidated sold mechs across states and even star sectors!

As long as the reach of their products extended to more and more markets, the amount of money flowing in grew respectfully large. This gave Professor Ventag enough money to fuel his ongoing research.

The Seniors who relocated to the Friday Coalition often faced very steep competition from the large amount of Seniors who already carved out their places in the state's prosperous mech market. Native Seniors possessed a much stronger foundation into some of the more advanced tech that catered specifically to a second-rate state's development level. This gave native mech designers an edge and foreign mech designers an inherent disadvantage.

In short, Any Senior entering the market of the Friday Coalition for the first time needed to build their company back from the ground up. This usually took a very long time as the competition was too intense! By the time their companies reached a certain scale, they might already be nearing two-hundred years old and with very little time left to work towards their advancement!

In the end, the fate of a mech designer strongly correlated to their origins.

Those born and raised in third-rate states inevitably hit a ceiling that was nearly impossible for them to break.

Those born in second-rate states inherently received more privileges and opportunities, so it was no surprise that they possessed the ability to pump out Masters every now and then.

"It's unfair, but nothing in the galaxy is truly fair." Ves concluded. "The disadvantaged just have to work a little harder to achieve their dreams."

None of this dynamic concerned Ves too much because the System formed a very powerful tool in overcoming the various hurdles in his career if they stymied him. Just because he didn't want to become dependent on the System didn't mean he purposefully turned away from it whenever it offered him a way to save years of his life spent on fruitless work.

However, understanding the situation facing Seniors helped him understand Professor Ventag's position. While the Felicitous Remembrance blocked all outside access to the galactic net, Ves still received permission to access her internal database, which stored huge tranches of data.

Ves managed to read up on the Senior. NORA Consolidated truly cooperated a lot of the government and military. Professor Ventag received a reputation for being particularly cozy with some government institutions.

While the market didn't care about that, the mech industry and in particular the other Senior Mech Designers faintly opposed him for that reason.

After all, unlike most of the other Seniors who originated from the AUMD, Professor Ventag came from the Dorum Center of Technology and Innovation.

Widely considered as the second-best mech university of the Bright Republic, the DCTI always stood in Ansel's shadow. If not for the fact that some of its graduates occasionally managed to advance to Senior, it would have been completely obscured by many of the other run-of-the-mill institutions of the Bright Republic.

Even so, a lot of mech designers who didn't think they'd be able to get accepted by the AUMD all applied to study at the DCTI in droves.

He laughed a bit. "I was one of them in fact."

Back when he didn't obtain the System, he had never excelled in his studies. He certainly hadn't become good enough for the likes of Ansel or the DCTI. He had no choice but to attend the Rittersberg University of Technology.

"Even then, I think the Larkinsons gave me a hand in getting accepted there. It's not that easy to get into the RUT either."

While the universities on Rittersberg never managed to produce any particularly talented mech designers, many of them went on to work in the military or the public sector. A lot of officials and policymakers that regulated the mech market had actually graduated from the RUT or other schools located in the capital.

This also happened to give the Ansel alumni a lot to complain about. They detested the bureaucrats from Rittersberg and disparaged them as failed mech designers who went on to pursue a middling career in the government.

Ves shrugged. He could have been one of those petty bureaucrats as well if his mech business failed and he wasn't able to accumulate new knowledge quickly enough.

As he continued to perform research on Professor Ventag, Secretary Lowe rang the bell outside his cabin.

"Mr. Larkinson?"

"What is, secretary?"

"Professor Corus Ventag has extended an invitation to visit him at his stateroom aboard the ship."

Ves looked up from his terminal. "He did?"

"If you wish to accept his invitation, please go on your way as soon as convenient."

"I'll be right outside!"

He half-expected Professor Ventag to ignore Ves. Outside of his wartime accomplishments, Ves shouldn't have attracted the Senior's attention. As a lowly Apprentice, Ves wasn't worth befriending. Ventag would be completely justified if he decided to ignore the only other mech designer in the peace delegation!

Even so, Ves smiled at the summons. Every Senior Mech Designer he met enriched his understanding of their class even further. From the senile Professor Velten to the obsessive Skull Architect, talking to each of them gave Ves valuable insights of the higher echelons of the mech design profession.

He quickly sorted out his uniform and appearance and stepped outside his cabin, where Secretary Lowe swiftly guided him to the Senior Mech Designer's stateroom.

"Professor Ventag is an honored guest of Senator Tovar. I don't think you need the reminder, but please be respectful when you meet with him. The Tovar Family also has ties to NORA Consolidated."

Ves nodded. "I understand. I won't do anything that annoys the professor."

After a brief walk, they emerged in front of a hatch guarded by four security guards from the elite mech regiment that took responsibility for protecting the peace delegation.

After a fairly thorough security check where Ves had to temporarily relinquish his comm, he entered through the hatch where he entered a slightly smaller and less luxurious compartment than Senator Tovar's stateroom.

"Ah, Ves Larkinson. Please come inside. I have been expecting you." A deep and intense voice called out from within.