The Mech Touch Chapter 1034
1032 The Allure Of Advancemen
"I'd like to be sole lead designer for our design project." Ves firmly declared. "I want to design a mech that for the most part conforms to my vision. However, I would also like to take advantage of your assistance in solving some of the more nitty-gritty design problems and help in optimizing my design so that it can reach its greatest potential. In effect, I would like for you to play the role as a contributing designer to the project."
"Good choice, though you will need to have the skills to back up your ambition. However, I like your confidence." Professor Ventag evaluated. "How much contribution do you expect from my end?"
"Hmm" Ves tried to imagine how much would be acceptable without severely impacting the cohesion of his design's X-Factor. "How about a seventy-five to twenty-five percent split? I will be responsible for the majority of the design choices, but I will leave you with the smaller and more difficult ones."
Professor Ventag smiled ruefully at Ves. "You're not leaving me with much autonomy. Do you know that this is a rather disrespectful way to treat a Senior?"
"This is the best way for my company and I to gain something from the experience. I hope I can rely on your assistance in this form." Ves replied boldly.
He knew that this was an exceptional circumstance and where the usual rules didn't apply. Ves would be a fool to forgo greater benefits in favor of making a better impression of the professor.
Fortunately, Ventag was in a generous mood. "I will indulge just this once, Ves. Just be aware that this is an exceptional privilege and a unique opportunity for you. Not just any Apprentice as a Senior at their disposal who can refine their work and polish it into a greater design than they are ever capable of producing themselves. I'm actually rather intrigued whether your bold gamble will succeed."
The Senior did not exaggerate when he described the collaborative design project as a gamble. It depended heavily on whether Ves could set an inspiring vision and make the correct design choices during the design process.
In a collaborative project where Professor Ventag would only be responsible for twenty-five percent of the design work, he would not be able to steer the design too strongly in a different direction.
If the Senior received a good base for a mech design, then he would be able to elevate it into an excellent end product.
On the other hand, if Professor Ventag received a trashy design from Ves, then no matter how hard he worked the end product would never be able to be more than junk.
Even with these perils, Ves still maintained confidence in himself. His various advantages and experiences were no less than most Journeyman Mech Designers!
He believed he could already design a mech that surpassed the Crystal Lord in design excellence by himself! Drawing upon the bountiful expertise of a Senior Mech Designer to increase the performance of the joint design while retaining all of the major traits set by Ves would only result in a mech that embodied the strengths of both designers!
Ves already envisioned if the joint project led to success. He'd be credited with designing a mech that exhibited most of the technical excellence from the work of a Senior while carrying the spark of life that only a unique mech designer like Ves could bestow on his mechs!
Such a great mech was worthy to represent the LMC and NORA Consolidated!
Of course, it wouldn't be easy to reach such a height. Ves' mood sunk back from the clouds as he started to consider the practical decisions associated with the joint project.
"So you accept my proposition?" Professor Ventag reiterated.
"Let me consider for a few more minutes."
Even though it wasn't an entirely good idea for Ves to accept the offer and thereby throw his lot with the DCTI and the Tovar Family, he simply couldn't resist any longer.
If there was one activity a mech designer loved the most, it was designing a new mech! Right now, Ves not only received the opportunity to do so, but also take advantage of the expertise, resources, experience, backing and reputation of a genuine Senior!
Ves was well aware that Professor Ventag held ulterior motives when he threw out this piece of bait. Yet the professor crafted this bait specifically to attract someone like Ves. He swallowed the bait knowing that he'd be reeled in by the fisherman.
This was because he believed that if he swallowed this bait, he would very likely be able to transform from a tiny goldfish into a majestic carp!
A major collaborative design project like this that resulted in a mech design for the market had very major implications! It might even be a bestseller in the best-case scenario! Achieving such a wide impact would very likely push him over the threshold that always held him back from advancing to Journeyman!
As an Apprentice who had been stuck at this rank for only a couple of years, he already felt the numerous limitations associated with this status.
The Mech Corps, the Bright Republic, the Komodo Star Sector, the frontier, the mech market, the mech industry, the MTA, the CFA, Senator Tovar, Professor Velten, Professor Enoch, Professor Ventag, the Skull Architect and everyone else all treated Apprentices like kids!
As soon as he advanced to Journeyman, Ves would be able to experience a sea of change in the way those people and organizations treated him. He would finally be able to join the ranks of adults within the profession and be able to take part in very consequential decisions.
When Ves imagined the power, wealth and influence wielded by Kadar and Neyvis of the KNG, he always aspired to reach the same height.
Even though Ves was pretty sure that he'd be able to advance within five years if nothing hugely adverse happened to him, advancing earlier rather than later immediately improved his circumstances.
At the very least, Senator Tovar, Flashlight and the Mech Corps wouldn't treat him as a disposable pawn anymore! This would at least be able to guarantee his safety and security during the remainder of the war, assuming the upcoming peace talks went bust.
Even if Senator Tovar succeeded in establishing an early end of the war, his early elevation to Journeyman would definitely be able to boost the prospects of the LMC. Even as debt-laden as it was now, there was a huge difference between a mech company led by and Apprentice and a mech company led by a Journeyman!
The sooner he righted the ship of the LMC, the sooner he could begin to accumulate a war chest in preparation for the impending introduction of the new generation mechs and mech technology.
Another consideration was that the sooner Ves advanced, the more his standing within the mech industry increased. Someone who advanced before reaching thirty standard years would definitely be earmarked as someone with high potential.
Ves considered it to be a vain competition within the mech industry. A Journeyman who just advanced at fifty years old could design a mech just as good as a mech designed by a Journeyman who recently advanced at thirty years old.
Yet because the latter enjoyed more growth prospects and possessed a higher chance to advance to Senior and Master, these younger talents received a lot more preferential treatment from their colleagues, various institutions and even the mighty MTA.
What did this mean? Thirty years was an important if highly arbitrary dividing line! If Ves somehow took his time and advanced at thirty-one years old, he wouldn't enjoy any preferential treatment! This was because he was a fossil compared to the younger and nimbler talents who already became Journeymen while they were twenty-five years old or so. This was how the mech industry worked!
Ves did not feel completely confident in advancing to Journeyman before reaching thirty. Reaching Journeyman was a very difficult chance to grab at the best of times. Nobody could predict how long it took. Yet this collaborative project might make a huge difference in securing this elusive chance.
Even if Ves could always fall back on the System to help him advance his career somehow if he failed to stand out in the mech industry, he would rather rely on his own achievements!
In the end, he closed his eyes before opening them in a determined glint. "I am certain of my decision now. I accept your offer. I'd like to collaborate you with a design."
"Good! We can sign the contract and paperwork later." Professor Ventag jubilantly declared before settling down. "Now, while you are still drafted by the Mech Corps, I can easily ask Senator Tovar to arrange for you to be assigned to me and my company for the duration of your recovery from the injuries you've sustained from the assassination attempt on you. That's pretty much the excuse that the Mech Corps has already adopted when they allowed you to take part in his peace delegation."
Ves nodded in understanding. "How much time do I have?"
"I am a very busy man, so while I am willing to collaborate with you, let us not linger too long on it. Six months. That's long enough for you to produce a good design without any major flaws."
"I'm good with that. Shall I work on it immediately?"
"You can work on it whenever you are not fulfilling your original obligations to Senator Tovar. As long as the peace talks are still ongoing, you should put your full effort in advancing Senator Tovar's interests."
"I understand my priorities." Ves nodded again. The peace talks wouldn't stretch for months and contact wouldn't take place every moment, so Ves was sure that he could sneak in some design work during his breaks. "How do you wish to split the profit gained from sales?"
It was best for them to set the money matters at the start. Leaving it for later would only lead to disputes.
"It depends on our relative contributions, the value of our contributions and which companies will be responsible for production. I highly suggest you leave the production of the mech model to NORA Consolidated. My company will be able to insure that quality will be maintained even at a high rate of production."
Ves did not entirely agree with the Senior there. Perhaps it would be okay to do so for the bronze and silver label editions of his mech, but he still wanted to retain the right to fabricate the gold label edition of his mechs in his own facilities by hand.
He negotiated for this possibility as well as a variety of other terms. Although they only made verbal agreements right now, they both recorded the conversation and Professor Ventag would make sure to put them into a formal contract.
A Senior wouldn't stoop so low to fudge the terms of the contract to his advantage, though Ves resolved to read the entire contract carefully later on to make sure.
Overall, as the weaker party who greatly took advantage of the help offered by Professor Ventag, Ves inevitably had to give up the majority of the profits.
Eventually, they settled for a relatively 'generous' split for Ves where the LMC received twenty-five percent of the profits while NORA Consolidated ate up seventy-five percent of the profits!
This was basically the reverse of their level of contribution in the joint design project. While it sounded incredibly unfair, in actual fact the split heavily undervalued the huge amount of assistance provided by a Senior Mech Designer and his huge mech company!
Ves believed he absolutely gained a bargain with such a profit split! This was because if the design lived up to everything he hoped for, it wasn't impossible for sales of his mechs to reach tens of thousand or even a hundred-thousand units sold per year!
Grabbing a smaller piece of the pie was acceptable if the pie was big enough. Of course, in order to bake this huge pie, Ves needed to put an incredible amount of effort in designing the best mech he could ever produce as an Apprentice!
He immediately arrived at his first major design decision.
"What type of mech do you wish to design?" Professor Ventag asked. "A landbound mech? An aerial mech? A spaceborn mech? Do you wish to design a light skirmisher, or a medium knight? Do you wish to reiterate your old work or break new ground by designing a mech type that isn't part of your existing mech catalog?"