The Mech Touch Chapter 1107
1105 Custom Products
Ves stayed at Renny's Outfitters a little longer. While the store prepared his main orders, he also browsed the other items in order to get a sense of products made by other high-end craftsmen.
The sightseeing certainly opened the eyes of both Ketis and Ves. While Ketis only appreciated the thorough effort put into crafting unique and distinct gear, Ves noted the nourishment they received from the love and attention of their makers.
Not every piece of gear received such attention, and only a handful of them stood out as works of passion.
Nonetheless, the higher quality goods generally tended to convey more meaning. They were also some of the most expensive pieces in the store.
The amount of gear held in Renny's Outfitters quite frankly surpassed Ves' expectations. Professor Ventag didn't refer him to any regular store, but one that might be offering the best and most extravagant selection of gear on Bentheim!
"You'd never find this kind of gear in the frontier." Ketis remarked as they viewed a selection of hunting rifles specifically geared towards killing exobeasts. "Even treasure hunters don't use guns like this. They'll just employ a mech that costs five times cheaper than that railgun in the center."
Ves nodded. "These are toys for the rich. No one would ever equip a regular unit with gear worth this much. It is good if you buy one or two sets, but it quickly gets unaffordable if you want to splurge on your bodyguards."
He didn't realize until now that alongside the expansive mech industry, a lot of other cottage industries existed on Bentheim. The gunsmith and armorsmith communities held significant sway.
"Mechs are kind of made in this way too, right?" Ketis asked.
"Yep. They're called custom mechs. If a specific client likes your design style a lot, they might contract you to develop a custom mech for them. This doesn't mean you'll design a mech from the ground up. You can just take one of your existing designs that your client picked out and develop it into a variant. The only issue is that the amount of time you need to invest in the development is significant. That's not a big problem to Novices or Apprentices, but higher-ranking mech designers value their time a lot more."
Apprentices and Journeymen tended to take the lion's share of the custom mech market in the Bright Republic. Their time wasn't as valuable yet so most clients would still be willing to fork out the amount of money needed to get their chosen mech designers to tailor a mech to their needs.
On the other hand, many Seniors only designed custom mechs for expert pilots. Designing an expert mech not only allowed Seniors to work with the best technologies and the best materials at a much higher budget than usual, but they could also apply their design philosophies in the best conditions possible.
Ves was still too far away from getting involved with expert mechs, but he hoped he would get the opportunity to design some custom mechs once he advanced to Journeymen.
Although he had a laundry list of mechs he needed to design in order to expand the LMC's mech catalog, Ves believed that designing custom mechs was an essential part of his design philosophy.
"Ketis, do you remember the motto of the LMC?"
"Living Mechs. Partners for Life."
"There is no better way to provide a customer with a mech that they value as a partner than to develop a custom mech." Ves said.
"Did you get any offers to design a custom mech?"
"I did. I rejected the offers. Designing the Aurora Titan and filling out my mech catalog takes precedence over working on vanity projects."
Ever since he rose to fame, some potential clients reached out to the LMC to inquire on the possibility to design a custom mech for them. Most of the people wanted to brag about owning a custom mech designed by a war hero or a famous mech designer.
However, Ves did not believe that his clients would be able to fully appreciate his work. Ever since his disastrous experience with Vincent Ricklin's codpiece mech, Ves made a rule to himself that he would stop taking offers from spoiled brats and insincere clients.
"Our new gear should almost be ready."
Some time later, Ves, Ketis and Lucky left with their purchases mounted upon a mobile lifter bot. While their new suits of armor took up a lot of space, they had both been designed to fold up into a more compact suitcase-like shape when not in use. This function only worked as long as the armor hadn't sustained major damage, of course, and it still left the two with a conspicuous burden.
Nonetheless, Ves bore with the sight of the trailing lifter bot following behind him. With the murky undercurrents running through Bentheim at the moment, he would rather have some armor ready at hand.
"You're really paranoid, huh?" Ketis teased.
"With my track record for trouble on Bentheim, I can never be too prepared."
Now that they finished their shopping, they exited the exclusive shopping street and boarded the armored shuttle that took them to the outskirts of Dorum. The four mechs of the Avatars of Myth surrounded the slow-moving shuttle, attracting quite a bit of attention to the procession.
Fortunately, no trouble occurred during the trip. They reached Professor Ventag's high-end workshop without incident. Upon arrival and after going through some security checks, they were finally allowed to enter the personal workshop of a Senior Mech Designer.
A myriad of tools, lab equipment and production equipment greeted Ves. While Master Olson's workshop had impressed him the most, the one he was in right now was not too shabby.
"I'll have to spend some time familiarizing myself with the equipment." Ves said to Ketis. "You should read the manuals as well. Even if you won't use these machines, it helps to know their uses."
Both of them spent an entire day in the workshop. While Lucky grew bored and wandered off to explore the surroundings, Ves and Ketis quietly rushed through dozens of manuals.
Once Ves grew comfortable with using each and every relevant machine, he began to fabricate the prototype in earnest. With his mind connected to Qilanxo's spiritual fragment and focused on the vision, he entered a partial state of immersion.
The Aurora Titan was by far the most complicated mech he fabricated on his own. The polarizing module incorporated a fair amount of sophisticated components, some of which Ves failed to get right the first time.
Aside from that, Ves didn't fully understand the principles behind the mech's internal architecture. This lack of understanding hindered his attempts at reproducing the exact configuration. He needed to match the parameters of the design schematics even if he sometimes questioned a couple of points.
While Ves encountered plenty of setbacks over five days of trial and error, this was only his first time. The lessons he learned this time would shorten his next attempt at fabricating the Aurora Titan by at least a day.
"The learning curve of the Aurora Titan isn't too steep. As long as a production line keeps working on the same mech, it's not impossible to lower the fabrication time to three days."
Not so surprisingly, the Pisaro armor system posed little challenges to Ves. The Pisaro only made use of one compressed alloy formula as opposed to the more complex Veltrex armor system which layered three separate alloys on top of each other.
"The Veltrex armor system is better in terms of protection, but the Pisaro wins in cost effectiveness and ease of maintenance."
There was only one downside to fabricating his mech on Bentheim. He did not have the best equipment at hand to fabricate the alien crystals and activate them with the crystal relic.
"It's a good thing I already thought about that issue."
Ves already fabricated the eight crystals beforehand and shipped them to Bentheim. It only took a single word for SASS to ship the crystals to Professor Ventag's workshop.
As he put the finishing touches on the Aurora Titan, Ketis had been watching at the side all this time. To her, watching Ves at work was like observing a wizard perform magic. She witnessed far too many feats that completely went over her head!
Even so, she did not lose heart at the disparity between Ves and herself. Whenever she thought of her recent mental augmentations, she developed a burning ambition to catch up to Ves and design a mech that could stand equal to his own designs!
Once Ves finished applying the coatings on the Aurora Titan, both of them stepped back and admired the finished product in its full splendor.
"It's big." Ketis uttered.
"It carries a lot of presence." Ves noted with satisfaction.
Its predominantly white coating mixed with various blue stripes allowed the mech to stand out in the dark of space. Its larger-than-average size and its masculine contours conveyed a sense of strength and indomitability to the mech.
Paired with its broadsword and its tower shield, the Aurora Titan looked supremely capable of fending off against even the most powerful blows!
Mingled with its imposing physical appearance, its hollow but very present X-Factor amplified the impression the Aurora Titan conveyed.
If the prototype already felt so visceral to Ves, what about when Qilanxo's spiritual fragment finally moved out of his mind and inhabited the design?
However, until that happened, the prototype would not be capable of expressing the full potential of its beastly X-Factor.
"Some presents are best enjoyed at the end."
Once Ves and Ketis got over their admiration of the prototype, they spent an extra day subjecting the mech to various scans. The scanning equipment at the workshop was capable of penetrating right through the entire mech. This enabled Ves to develop a detailed schematic of the prototype which he subsequently compared to its theoretical design.
A number of discrepancies popped up. No matter how careful Ves fabricated the prototype, he was still only human. Even if highly-tuned AIs took over the production processes, deviances would still pop up. Raw materials were almost never completely uniform and even the best fabrication equipment exhibited limitations when it came to precision and consistency.
Ketis looked disappointed. "You worked so hard on fabricating the prototype. It's a shame that it's still different from the design schematics."
"Nothing in the galaxy is perfect." Ves nonchalantly shrugged. "Only materialization technology can reproduce a mech down to the exact placement of atoms. Yet mechs produced in such a fashion are soulless copies of each other. In fact, I like it that every mech comes with small inconsistencies. Each mech is unique. The design, the time, the place, the mech designer or mech technicians involved in fabricating a mech all leave their own marks behind, giving the finished product an individual identity that isn't matched by anything in the galaxy."
"You care a lot about that stuff." She said. "It's never about the physical product to you. It's all about the touch you put on a mech."
"I'm not pursuing perfection in my mech designs. Instead, I'm trying to give each of my mechs their own identity."
"This is your design philosophy, right? It's very hard for me to understand."
"I know. You don't have to understand it entirely. I'm sure you'll be able to recognize the benefits as long as you continue working by my side."
While Professor Ventag was too occupied at the moment to pay a visit to the workshop, he did spend half an hour studying the finished prototype from remote. After viewing the mech through projections and studying the results of the deep scans, the Senior expressed a lot of satisfaction.
"I'm glad to see that you have been able to use my production equipment proficiently. I would have thought you still needed some more time to master their use. They are not exactly the most standard equipment out there."
"I have a lot of practical experience in fabricating and servicing mechs." Ves stated simply.
"Right. Well, I'm glad you finished the prototype without any major hiccups. I will arrange for it to be shipped to my space testing facility in the Green Nebula region. You can leave for my testing facility whenever is convenient."
"I'll depart immediately." Ves replied.
Who would want to stay on Bentheim while the threat of the BLM continued to hang over the planet's head?! Ves couldn't wait to leave this dreadful place and avoid getting caught up in the storm that might erupt very soon!