The Mech Touch Chapter 1080
1078 Phase 2
Ves stared at the crates of nutrient packs in dismay. Aside from them, he retained nothing else from the Aeon Corona Mission!
He lost his CFA shuttle with its amazing ECM systems. He lost his XV-99 Squalon field engineer armor with integrated minifab system. He also lost his CFA officer-grade comm!
His heart ached with the losses. Even though Lieutenant Stimmons would have likely taken them away anyway, he still felt awful that Lucky got to be the final benificiary.
"Tell me, Calsie, how can you let Lucky get away with eating my stuff?"
"We didn't know. I think Lucky was too hungry for valuable exotics." Calsie looked apologetic. "Back when times were good, we followed your instructions and fed him a steady diet of ores. However, when we needed to cut back on expenses, every million credits counted, so we reduced the value of ores we supplied to Lucky. He must have been frustrated at the years of deprivation, so he sought alternatives."
"So he went straight to the vault?"
"You know as well as I do that no barrier can stop him. This vault is surrounding by meters armor plating! Nothing ought to be able to burrow inside! I transferred your CFA equipment in the vault with the reassurance that no one would be able to breach it without setting off an alarm. Somehow, Lucky avoided getting detected while he snuck inside. At that point, he held free reign to do whatever he wanted! It wasn't until months later when I needed to retrieve something else from the vault that I came upon the remnants of the shuttle. The bite marks instantly made it obvious who was responsible."
"Lucky.." Ves grumbled resentfully.
His willful cat became more and more unbridled. His ability to turn intangible not only made every physical barrier a joke in his eyes, but now his ability to sneak became much stronger due to the ECM abilities he somehow assimilated from his meals!
Lucky's Communications, ECM, Gravity Manipulation and Sharp Senses all seemed to stem from the shuttle, armor and his comm. Even his Gem Excretion had been upgraded to the fifth tier, perhaps by incorporating aspects of the minifab system.
And while the System sight did not list out how much more resilient Lucky's exterior shell became, it must have received a substantial boost as well.
"This was supposed to be my gear when I chose to go on an excursion in the frontier." He lamented. "I would have been assured of my safety if I could make use of them. Now, I no longer have the confidence to enter the frontier anytime soon."
As much as he pined over his losses, Ves slowly recovered. That Lucky ultimately benefited at the CFA's expense was not a major misdeed. A more capable Lucky would be able to substitute for the role his CFA gear played in a much more inconspicuous package.
For example, he wouldn't be able to bring his CFA shuttle with all of its features everywhere, particularly indoors. However, he could bring along Lucky wherever he went. He could even develop a purposeful habit of doing so whenever he visited somewhere. Once people got used to seeing him with his cat, they would just mentally shrug it off as a quirk.
Plenty of mech designers possessed unusual habits, so Ves wouldn't be any different for bringing his mechanical cat along.
"Please leave." Ves stated to Calsie after a short moment of contemplation. "Just leave me with my nutrient packs."
"Okay, sir… if that's what you want."
He didn't blame Calsie for her oversight in this matter. Who knew that Lucky would pull off something like this? The gluttonous cat ate almost everything made of metal and composite materials, leaving only the nutrient packs alone due to their organic content.
Ves walked up to the strewn crate that had spilled a bunch of nutrient packs on the floor. He bent down, picked up the crate, and carefully stuffed the spilled nutrient packs back into the crate.
"Worthless, huh?" Ves smiled sardonically. "To me, they're treasures."
After stuffing all of the packs back into the crate, he put it down and moved towards the other crates. He lifted the top crates and put it aside. He repeated the process until he came to the bottom-most crate.
After opening it, he reached down his arm through the pile of nutrient packs and searched for something buried in the middle. After his fingers touched upon a small box, he grasped it and took it out.
"Hahaha. At least I still have this!" He laughed as he opened the small box, revealing the Archimedes Rubal organic brain implant held in perpetual stasis. "It's surprising how many people look right past a bunch of nutrient packs."
When Ves witnessed Lieutenant Stimmons calling down some penetrating, wide-area scans from the corvette up in orbit, he made a prediction.
He guessed that as powerful as the wide-area scans appeared, they didn't offer much detail! It would be too exaggerated if a small corvette, even of CFA make, could scan an entire terrestrial planet and expose every dirty little secret down to the nanometer!
A modern CFA battleship might possess the capacity to do so, but Ves refused to believe that the CFA would invest so much resources in outfitting a mere corvette with such a powerful scanning system!
While the Archimedes Rubal was of indeterminate value right now, Ves held high hopes for it once he found a means to double-check its biological programming.
"It's always better to improve my own core capabilities than to outfit myself with gear."
Ves was a mech designer, so anything that directly improved his ability to design mechs took precedence over anything else.
After he became reassured that he still retained the Archimedes Rubal, he returned it to the crate and put everything back in order. Right now wasn't the time to make use of what remained in the vault.
A couple of days went by as Ves tried to get over his losses. He supervised the planning around the upcoming transformation of the LMC.
In order to make it clear to the workforce that the company would be undergoing a major transition, the planners came up with a name for it: Phase 2.
Phase 2 signified that the LMC at its current state was only the first step in its evolution. The LMC at Phase 1 only served as a starting point for the company in its first years of existence.
"The LMC is only five years old." Ves muttered. "It is remarkable how much it has grown. From operating a single second-hand 3D printer and assembly system to operating seventeen entire production lines at once, hardly any starting mech designer in the Bright Republic can compare to my growth."
He stated this with confidence because he knew it was true. Aside from some aberrant mech designers such a Patricia Schneider and Edwin McKinney, hardly any mech designer under thirty stood a chance at advancing to Journeyman before their thirties.
Phase 2 revolved around the assumption that Ves would succeed in advancing when he was still young in the eyes of the mech industry. The boost that he and his company received from his new status as a truly capable mech designer would definitely lead to a rapid growth in brand recognition and reputation! These factors in turn resulted in vastly higher sales for any mech designs he published as a Journeyman!
Naturally, no one knew for sure if Ves would be able to advance to Journeyman or remain stuck at the bottleneck that stifled the vast majority of Apprentices. Even though Ves knew for sure that would be able to pass this barrier with his abundant Spirituality, no one else possessed this information, so many people reserved their judgement.
"That's fine. I'll show the mech industry soon enough that my growth is limitless."
Phase 2 aimed to transform two different aspects about the company. The first and most technical one would be to streamline its operations and to rearrange its governance and corporate structure to better cope with the growth.
Different departments and divisions of the LMC gained more autonomy and clearer instructions on what they should work on. The hierarchy became clearer and everyone knew where they stood within the company.
Of particular note to Ves that he personally pushed to overhaul the entire Production Department. As the department responsible for operating the production lines, its importance to the company was pivotal, yet there weren't enough checks to prevent abuse and waste in his opinion.
Having learned a thing or two from the KNG, Ves pushed for added controls. Though this came at the expense of chief technicians, Ves simply found it far too risky to make them have the final say on certain matters.
"As long as several people keep an eye on each other, they won't be able to pull off anything shady without the company's say-so."
There were good chief technicians and bad chief technicians. The problem he encountered at the KNG that he also spotted at the LMC was that too many people put their faith in the integrity of the chief technicians. Just because they were older and possessed more qualifications didn't mean that they could do an incalculable amount of damage if they went rogue.
Even though the chief technicians howled and some of the managers expressed concerns, Ves still pushed through with these specific reforms.
Ves was way too paranoid to allow a nefarious organization like the Bentheim Liberation Movement to repeat the same tricks on his own company!
Aside from these necessary organizational changes, Ves also paid close attention to the effort to instill the LMC with a clear corporate identity.
With the help of various experts from within and without, the LMC gradually began to indoctrinate the workforce with the principles of the company.
The new company motto appeared everywhere. From the front of the headquarters to the letterhead of official documents, the LMC constantly reinforced that they were more than just a mech company!
"We are creating partners that our customers can depend upon."
Even if the majority of the LMC's workforce lacked the capability to understand the profundity of the company's motto, all the mandatory indoctrination sessions they went through at least put them on the same page. All they needed to know was that the LMC revolved around designing and selling mechs that enabled mech pilots to exhibit their full potential!
"Our products may not be the flashiest, most cost-efficient or the most high-performing mechs on the market, but they are the most dependable partners to our mech pilots. Our customers recognize the effort and care we put into our mechs, from the start of their design all the way to production. We should take pride in working for a company that produces mechs that truly come alive when partnered with mech pilots!"
Each employee witnessed the reactions from their most enthusiastic customers. There were already a handful of Blackbeak and Crystal Lord mech pilots who came to love their mechs. Showing off their appreciation to the people that made it possible for these mechs to be produced and sold to these mech pilots always managed to lift everyone's spirit!
Their work had meaning!
Naturally, it would take a lot more effort than company-wide indoctrination sessions to fully align the workforce to the principles derived from Ves' design philosophy.
Nonetheless, with the top of the company largely onboard with this initiative, Ves became assured that the company was on the right track of implementing the most important changes.
With nothing urgent on the agenda anymore, Ves wanted to resume working on his design. In order to do that, he still needed to upgrade one more aspect about himself.
After making sure he delegated everything that needed to be addressed for the foreseeable week, Ves retreated back to his private lab and prepared to go on another time-bending trip into the past.
However, before he did so, he encountered a meek and apologetic Lucky.
Ves stared flatly at Lucky floating in front of him. "It's rather late of you to beg for forgiveness."
"Don't you meow at me. You ate my stuff! It's one thing to snack on the company's inventory of exotics. It's an entirely different thing when you ate an entire CFA shuttle down to its FTL drive!?"