The Mech Touch Chapter 1109
1107 Excessive Prudence
The unusual sensations that the test pilot experienced upon activation were so odd that they immediately derailed the first testing session.
Concerned that the neural interface might have been tampered with, the test pilot quickly received orders to halt the test and shut down the mech.
Even though the test pilot only described some vague feelings, the station manager did not feel relieved to proceed with the tests.
Ves wanted to say that the test pilot wasn't in danger, but the testing facility was way too professional to gloss over any unusual observations.
Various specialists scoured the prototype from top to bottom, paying particular attention to its cockpit systems and its neural interface. Hackers and software engineers manually scoured through the programming of the neural interface in order to make sure that no one tried to slip in any nasty surprises!
"We aren't suspecting you of sabotaging your own prototype." The station manager stated to Ves. "It might be that a spy sent by one of our competitors managed to infiltrate the transport ship and upload a virus in the mech's operating system."
Ves nodded in understanding. Although he felt upset that his work was being questioned, he knew that this wouldn't be the last time his work might attract alarm. The Farund Affair made mech designers and mech companies a lot more sensitive towards mental tampering!
Predictably, even after several hours of intense inspections, the specialists found nothing wrong. While Ves implemented a lot of innovations in his mech design, even he did not dare to tweak its neural interface.
Even if he could apply some minor tricks courtesy of his experiments on Aeon Corona VII, he was no longer in the deep frontier where he could get away with anything. Now that he returned to civilized space, Ves needed to pay more than lip service to the rules and regulations of the MTA.
After the specialists had their fill of excessive precautionary measures, the test pilot boarded the prototype once again and activated it with a hint of reluctance.
She immediately encountered the same sensations yet again. "I am still subjected to various influences on my mind. I can't accurately describe them, but it still feels as if I'm piloting an exobeast in a way. It is faintly.. Disturbing."
The station manager threw a glance towards Ves before moving over to some experts who specialized in neural sciences.
Eventually, the experts determined that none of the telemetry they received signified anything that hinted at foul play.
"We can state with confidence that the prototype does not exert any permanent mental influencing on the mech pilot. Both the hardware and the software of the mech's neural interface are completely standard and have not deviated from the MTA-mandated specifications in any way."
Of course Ves didn't tweak the neural interfaces. Without the requisite permission from the MTA, Ves would be committing a major crime if he changed even a single line of programming in the standard neural interface programming provided by the same organization.
Only a small number of mech designers received permission from the MTA to work with altered neural interfaces, and Ves wasn't one of them. When he performed some experiments with neural interface designs on some dwarves, he learned that the MTA's restrictions on this matter was for a very good reason.
After all, a neural interface wasn't supposed to cause a mech pilot's head to explode!
"I think we're making a mountain out of a molehill here." Ves said in an exasperated tone. "None of the telemetry indicates anything amiss. As far as I know, none of the sensors and monitoring systems are malfunctioning either, so there's no reason to question the data. Can we just proceed with the first tests?"
"Very well, Mr. Larkinson." The station manager agreed. "Proceed with deploying the prototype!"
This was the moment of truth for Ves. As the mech walked up to the hangar bay hatch, it slowly unfolded its flight system. A radiant golden glow surrounded its wings, increasing the presence of the mech by at least twice!
The prototype of the Aurora Titan engaged its flight system to the fullest and pushed off into space, passing through the energy screen that kept the air inside the hangar bay.
The mech flew slowly. With its golden wings propelling it forward, the prototype attracted so much attention that some of the specialists took their eyes off the readings they were supposed to monitor. The Aurora Titan was simply too compelling to look away!
"Wow. Hardly any of the professor's designs look so impressive."
Ketis, who had remained quiet all this time, finally grinned. "Looks like you did it again, Ves. Out of every mech designer I know, you're the only one who always manages to wow the people who look at your mechs."
"A good product always exceeds expectations. The wow-factor is an indispensable tool in changing people's misconceptions about super-medium mechs." Ves stated.
Visiting Renny's Outfitters and browsing through its extensive catalog of high-end artisan products reaffirmed his artistic outlook. A weapon as beautiful as the Peaceful Repose would have never attracted his attention so strongly if not for its lavish appearance.
As the Aurora Titan began to accelerate harder, putting more strain on its flight systems, the mech began to take on an imposing air. The mech looked like a king advancing staunchly on the battlefield!
"Ah, damn! I knew I forgot something!" Ves palmed his face.
What did the Blackbeak and the Crystal Lord incorporate that the Aurora Titan lacked?
The Festive Cloud Generator!
This frivolous module may not serve any purpose except to emit colored vapor in the air, but the visual effect it brought to his designs had practically become his calling card. As long as he succeeded in making his mechs look more impressive with the use of the Festive Cloud Generator, then it wasn't a waste to incorporate it into his designs!
Unfortunately, when Ves thought about trying to implement the Festive Cloud Generator into the Aurora Titan, he realized to his dismay that it wouldn't work in space. The module had always been designed to operate in normal atmospheric conditions. It would almost certainly glitch or fail when subjected to the vacuum of space!
"No matter. I can just find another module that is capable of emitting particles in space."
Once he got over this realization, Ves turned his attention back to the Aurora Titan in flight. He had to admit that the glowing wings did a good job in replicating the effect of the Festive Cloud Generator. The huge mech looked so majestic in flight that Ves couldn't wait to see it flex its capabilities.
A number of hours went by as the test pilot performed a series of basic maneuvers with the mech. She tested the mech's range of motion, its mass distribution, its ability to change direction in flight and how it would move with or without equipping its sword and shield.
The heavy tower shield impacted the mech's center of gravity by a noticeable amount. Due to his recent Mastery experience, Ves already accounted for this difference. The stance of the mech automatically adjusted whether it carried a shield or not, though the mech pilot would easily be able to override the settings.
Only near the end of the first testing session did the test pilot engage the polarizing module.
A faint white field came into being on the front surface of the shield. At this point, the testing process did not call for putting the mech under fire to test the effectiveness of the polarizing field.
Ves found that to be a shame because he worked so long on getting the polarizing module to work well with his design that he couldn't wait to see if it performed up to standard.
After thirty seconds of maintaining the polarizing field, the mech shut it off and instead covered its chest plating with a contained polarizing field.
The mech was able to maintain the field and keep it contained to the chest plating, with caused Ves to let out a sigh in relief. Keeping the polarizing field in a specific shape was one of the most difficult engineering challenges he faced when he designed the Aurora Titan.
Sections of its back, arms, legs and even its head lit up in white without any hiccups. The success signified that the polarizing module was able to provide complete protection to the mech, which Ves had always aimed to deliver!
"Alright, that marks the end of the first testing session." The station manager said. "Please recall the prototype and have it undergo a deep inspection."
Ves groaned when he heard that. It seemed the testing personnel still suspected some sort of foul play. A deep inspection meant that the testing facility's mech technicians would have to partially disassemble the prototype in order to access its interior and inspect the internals of the machine up close!
More than an entire standard day passed by as the mech technicians did as they were told. Ves found it painful to see the Aurora Titan being cut apart in order to root out a nonexistent problem.
Due to everyone's unfamiliarity with the design, Ves needed to be on hand to instruct the crew in the best ways to disassemble and reassemble the mech.
Naturally, nobody found anything fishy. Ves even joined in on the inspections, but found nothing that deviated from his design other than the minute inconsistencies that he had already observed before.
To all intents and purposes, this mech was the most representative copy of the unfinished Aurora Titan design as it could get!
In the next couple of days, the Aurora Titan continued to undergo a cycle of continuous tests interspersed with extensive inspections. The testing facility seemed to be obsessed with tracking the structural integrity and any wear and tear the prototype accumulated.
"One of our main roles is to watch out for any accelerated deterioration." The station manager explained to Ves and Ketis. "The Aurora Titan seems to be a very fine design, but we all know that what works in theory might not work out in practice. It is our job to catch these potentially fatal flaws before you publish your mech design and allow your customers to suffer a catastrophic mishap."
Even if Ves didn't subject his mech design to any field tests, the MTA surely would. While not every design underwent the MTA's validation process, any mech designer who wanted to publish his mech design with an eye towards the market needed to provide the MTA with a physical copy of the mech for them to throw it around.
"Have you found anything disconcerting?" Ves asked.
"So far, no. Knowing that Professor Ventag is responsible for much of the mech's internal design, we are accustomed to encountering no major flaws at all. Perhaps some of his more complicated designs might exhibit some unusual quirks, but so far the prototype looks as if it can comfortably hold up for at least ten years."
The tests grew increasingly more burdensome to the mech and mech pilot. Ves watched on as the mech engaged in melee combat against a practice mech armed with a huge padded stick that replaced its sword.
While the Aurora Titan was able to deliver powerful blows that could crunch a light mech with a single hit, the mech predictably moved too sluggish to keep up with a light mech. It performed a bit better against medium mechs, but its overall performance wasn't very stellar.
"This mech is no good in melee duels." The test pilot remarked with a weary voice. "This mech should never be deployed on its own. Any cheap light skirmisher can easily dismantle this mech from behind."
Aside from that disappointing level of performance, the tests related to determining the prototype's defensive capabilities went a lot better!
Ves, Ketis and everyone else looked impressed as the Aurora Titan was able to fend off numerous laser beams with a polarizing field covering its shield. The polarizing shield was so effective in blocking laser damage that the shield suffered practically no damage at all!
"This is just the start. Let's see how the polarizing field can hold up against heavier firepower."