The Mech Touch Chapter 1070

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Currently, the LMC enjoyed a resurgence in sales. Helped by Ves' appearances in the news, Marcella Bollinger and the LMC's marketing department invested in multiple marketing campaigns in order to take advantage of the situation!

Although the marketing campaigns cost the LMC billions of credits, the investment was clearly worth it as the company gained substantial uptick in orders for its coveted silver label mechs!

"The LMC is sitting on a cash pile of 4 billion credits and growing." Calsie remarked. "Even without your intervention, we'll still be able to sustain the company for at least a year even if the spike in sales has passed."

Ves nodded in understanding. "You did a good job keeping the company afloat. While I'm resuming my position at the top of the company, I won't push you aside. I have a different job in mind for you, though I think you deserve a much-needed vacation for now."

"Thank you, Ves. I truly need a break. Running a mech company day-by-day is incredibly hectic. I don't know how you can deal with the criticism and doubts all day."

"That's easy. Just ignore them. Why should I pay any attention to the opinions of random bystanders? The only criteria that truly matters is how many mechs we're able to sell, and from what I see, you didn't do too badly in that area."

After he finished with Calsie, he moved on to Gavin. They didn't talk a lot. Ves merely wanted to know where the LMC stood in terms of brand recognition and reputation.

"It's kind of a mixed bag." Gavin shrugged. "Our brand is definitely a lot more famous than before, but it's still an obscure mech company to the public. Even if you've shown up a lot in the news lately, there's a limit to how much we can leverage that into boosting our brand. A lot of other mech companies are still pumping out new designs, and those are the biggest attention grabbers in the market."

Ves got the message. As much as the LMC became more prominent during his absence, the market would still think little of it unless it stopped resting on its laurels and expanded its mech catalog with new and exciting mech models.

"What about my own reputation?"

"Yeah.. uhh.. About that.." Gavin hesitated.

"I told you already, it's all lies!" Ketis suddenly shrieked, causing Lucky who rested on her lap to jump in the air in fright! "There's no way that Ves has fallen in love with that witch, right?!"

Not this again. Ves couldn't believe he needed to address this topic in front of his confidants. "Ketis is right. You people should know better than to believe the lies circulating in the news. I am not in love with a Vesian nor did I become a sympathizer for the enemy. Please drop this topic."

When Ves turned to Melkor, his cousin didn't have much more to add than what he already said during the previous hospital visit.

"The Avatars of Myth are well-trained and well-equipped." Melkor said with a slight tinge of pride, though his face-obscuring visor made it hard for Ves to read his expression. "We are able to field up to forty mechs at a time, all of which are at least midrange or premium quality. This is a very powerful fighting force and it has served us well in deterring many casual raids on the Mech Nursery."

"Yet you sound disappointed."

"You just heard Calsie state that the Mech Nursery is home to more than 100 billion credits worth of production equipment." Melkor mildly shrugged. "That's an astronomical amount of money we're talking about, and it's all concentrated in a single place. Many people are greedily eyeing our expensive production equipment."

"I agree that we need to expand the Avatars of Myth. We can't keep depending on Sanyal-Ablin Security Services to cover the bulk of our protection. Right now is not the best time to expand, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't plan ahead. Please draft a plan to expand the roster of Avatars of Myth with a full spaceborn mech company. I think we can put the light carriers that we've obtained to good use with the addition of a spaceborn mech contingent."

This was welcome news to Melkor. "I've already drafted a suitable plan. It's not like I had anything else to spend my time on all these years."

"Good. Send it to my comm account. I'll look over it later."

Once he finished discussing about the Avatars of Myth, Ves finally turned to Ketis. "So how are you enjoying Cloudy Curtain?"

"Boring." Ketis replied flatly. She seemed a lot more irritable than before now that Lucky jumped from her lap and leisurely floated above their heads. "There's nothing to do in this dirtball of a planet. Even though I did as you suggested and tried my hand at designing some variants for practice, I feel like I can't work very well without direction."

That was a common deficiency among mech designers who had been raised too closely by their mentors and teachers. Ves frowned as he considered this problem. Ketis needed to learn to be more independent, but how could he instill this quality in her by taking charge over her again?

"I'll give you something to do after I settle back into the company, Ketis." Ves promised. "In fact, I'm currently working on an exciting new design project with someone else. Right now, I'm not cleared to discuss the details with you, but I'll be sure to give you an opportunity to contribute on my upcoming design."

Everyone except Melkor looked excited when Ves mentioned that he was already working on another mech design. What did the LMC need the most right now? A new design!

As a mech designer herself, Ketis knew the best out of all of them how good Ves was at designing mechs. She already looked forward to participating in his design project, especially if it involved a sword-wielding mech!

The four of them discussed some other matters but Ves was starting to grow impatient. Now that he heard the essentials, the rest could wait. The hand stroking the thin band of his comm grew more and more insistent as if he couldn't wait to activate it again.

Eventually, he couldn't take it longer. He coughed. "Please, it's been a long day and I've only just returned. Let's adjourn our meeting for the day and come back tomorrow, is that okay?"

After Ves said goodbye to his confidants and packed them out of his office, he walked over to the imposing desk and seated himself on the formidable chair behind it. Only now did he feel as if he truly resumed his old position.

"This is my seat of power." Ves declared as he ran his palm over the surface of his desk.

The entire interior of his huge office with its high ceilings and large empty spaces had been designed to be as imposing and impressive as possible.

He previously thought he overdid it on the theatrics, but now he felt he truly fit in his own office. No matter how you looked at it, a company that sold thousands of mechs a year could never be led by an average person!

"I'm becoming more and more exceptional by the day. The times where I have to quibble over a couple of thousands credits is long gone. Even earning a billion credits is as easy as waving my hand at this point."

All in all, Ves entered the big leagues now. As the lead designer of such a major company, he no longer felt as if he put too much attention on the exact sums the company handled each fiscal quarter.

"A mech designer should mainly concern themselves with designing mechs. Obsessing over money is only needed when money is hard to come by. Those days are long over for me at this point."

Novices and Apprentices routinely struggled over every single credit they could get their hands on. As for Ves, even if he threw a billion credits on the streets, he wouldn't cry too much over its loss.

"I've grown so much, but it's time to put that into high gear."

After three years of abstinence, Ves was finally reunited with the source of his success. No matter how much he wanted to pretend that it was his own hard work that carried him this far, the plain truth was that an average mech designer would have never enjoyed such a wild success!

"It's time."

Ves activated his comm. The device lit up and a projected interface popped up. All of it looked standard, and Ves remembered that he customized its interface to camouflage the exceptional software program held within.

He flexed his hand while issuing a diagnostics command to his comm. It quickly reported back that all of its functions worked normally and that the comm didn't degrade even a tiny bit.

Having upgraded his personal comm at least once, Ves expected nothing less from this remarkable comm. Aside from the secret buried deep within, the hardware itself was exceptional as well.

While he was tempted to proceed with the next step, he halted his fingers and looked around. The huge space and the large windows set behind his desk did not make him feel secure. Even if Lucky possessed the capability to squish every spy bug in the chamber, Ves did not feel completely reassured he could handle his deepest secret in such an exposed location.

"Come on, Lucky. Let's take a trip down to my personal lab." He said as he rose up from his seat.

The Mech Nursery encompassed both the headquarters and the principal manufacturing facilities of the Living Mech Corporation. With Lucky materializing on his shoulders, Ves took a number of elevators reserved for his own use and travelled all the way underground to his personal lab and workshop floor.

Nothing except Lucky and some cleaning bots entered this floor in the past three years. When Ves entered his most important sanctuary on Cloudy Curtain, he breathed in the clean sterile air and beheld the various lab and workshop equipment that had remained unused for so long.

He frowned a bit. "I should get around to upgrading my lab. Most of this stuff is too cheap or inadequate to keep up with my current capabilities."

Today was not the day for him to resume his work on his current design project.

No, today was the day he reunited with the System.

Ves and Lucky entered a small, enclosed room that had been designed like a vault.

With meters of thick armor all around him, Ves felt pretty confident that not even the best spy bugs could listen in from afar. As for any spy bugs that had the temerity to sneak into this small space, they didn't stand a chance against Lucky and the Privacy Shield.

When Ves called up his comm interface once again, he first activated his Privacy Shield, and then activated the long-dormant Mech Designer System.

A pause ensued.

[Welcome to the Mech Designer System. Please design your new mech.]

A familiar message greeted Ves.

[Deep scan complete. Current user detected. Welcome back, Ves Larkinson.]

"It's good to see you too, System." Ves smiled.

Another short pause ensued.

Then, his comm flooded him with a deluge of messages!

[Design Evaluation: New Sentinel…]

[You have received 1000 Design Points for completing an original design that has no other equivalent.] 

[You have received 100 Design Points for designing a mech with a trace of X-Factor.]

[Design Evaluation: Leiner Grey…]

[You have received no Design Points for completing a test.] 

[You have received 100 Design Points for designing a mech with a trace of X-Factor.]

[Design Evaluation: Evaporating Spear…]

[You have received 1000 Design Points for completing an original design that has no other equivalent.] 

[You have received 100 Design Points for designing a mech with a trace of X-Factor.]

[Design Evaluation: Enduring Protector]

Model name: Enduring Protector

Original Manufacturer: Ves Larkinson

Weight Classification: Light

Recommended Role: Laser Frontline Mech

Armor: E-

Carrying Capacity: F

Aesthetics: D

Endurance: B

Energy Efficiency: C+

Flexibility: F+

Firepower: E+

Integrity: A

Mobility: F+

Spotting: E

X-Factor: C++

Cost efficiency: A

Project involvement: 100%

Original component composition: 12%

Overall evaluation: The Enduring Protector is a barebones laser frontline mech intended to serve a very specialized purpose. It requires a minimum amount of maintenance to remain operational.

[You have received 1000 Design Points for completing an original design that has no other equivalent.] 

[You have received 500 Design Points for designing a mech with a moderate presence of X-Factor.]

"Who cares about my old designs!" Ves admonished the System cheerfully kept bombarding him with outdated announcements. "Gimme the good stuff! What's my current Status!"

After his System finished its lengthy queue of messages, it finally presented him with his Status.

Ves widened his eyes in astonishment as he immediately honed in on his DP earnings. He grinned and laughed. "I'm rich!"

Not even tens of billions of credits could make him feel so rich!