The Mech Touch Chapter 1119
1117 Avatar Commander
Four more gold label Aurora Titans emerged from the Hanover production line. After Ves and his crew fabricated the Shield of Samar, they became more and more familiar with the quirks of fabricating this model.
Each Aurora Titan carried a strong aura. The X-Factor that the copies possessed each possessed a lively touch that resembled the one on the Shield of Samar.
However, unlike the first production mech, the other four copies lacked the super gem that spiced this quality up. Their auras were not so dramatic as the one on the Shield of Samar, and while the test pilots noticed plenty of unusual sensations, it did not result in anything drastic other than a yearning to keep piloting the Aurora Titans.
This last quality proved to be rather problematic. While Ves claimed that he excelled in designing mechs that provided mech pilots with a comfortable experience, the effect was very strong when it came to his handcrafted mechs!
Concerns popped up from those who observed the abnormal reactions of the test pilots. Specialists persistently inspected the mechs and particularly their neural interfaces for anything amiss.
They found nothing, of course.
"These mechs are the Aurora Titan sent to the MTA for validation." Ves argued tirelessly. "If my mech has a brainwashing component built inside of it, then the MTA would have rejected the design."
The MTA generally took their time to validate the mechs that they received on account of how many they received. Still, they usually returned their results early if they found a serious defect. Why bother testing the full range of parameters of a mech when a disqualifying feature rendered the mech unsuitable for sale?
So much time had passed and while the MTA hadn't given their approval yet, the lack of rejection thus far should be a hopeful sign. Ves and Professor Ventag weren't the kind of mech designers who submitted a sloppily-designed mech, so they saw no reason why the MTA would ever reject their design!
As the LMC and NORA Consolidated continued to prepare for the product reveal, the venue of the announcement had been fixed.
In order to attract as much public as possible, they chose to announce the Aurora Titan at the Grand Skyward Exhibition Hall.
"The Grand Skyward!" Ves uttered with surprise when he received the message. "That's one of the best places to introduce a spaceborn mech!"
The Grand Skyward was a prestigious exhibition hall situation in the Old Commercial District in downtown Dorum. The octagon-shaped hall resembled a huge octagon, and while its capacity may not be the biggest among convention centers and exhibition halls, it featured one exceptional feature.
It could launch into space.
Although its ascent was not the fastest, the enormous structure had an excellent track record of lifting off into space with a combination of thrusters, lightweight construction and prolific use of many, many antigrav modules.
This made the Grand Skyward Exhibition Hall a popular venue for revealing spaceborn mechs. Even though it cost a lot of money to book a slot in the Grand Skyward, its ease of access from the city center and its ability to bring many bystanders in space was practically essential to mech designers who wanted to attract big crowds at their product reveal.
"Crowds are a measure of success. A product reveal that is crowded with people can foster a lot of hype."
It was much more difficult to attract a crowd if the product reveal took place in space from the start. For security reasons, working mechs weren't allowed to operate near or inside a space station. Shuttling random visitors and commuters at those space stations to one of the specialized venues in space was a lot of hassle.
The Grand Skyward could also land back down in Dorum with ease. The operators of the flying exhibition hall already received all the permissions they needed from the local government.
"If we had more time to prepare, we could have sent out invitations ahead of time." Ves muttered.
Even so, the Grand Skyward consistent attracted huge crowds for every product reveal that it saved them both a lot of time and effort.
With the venue set and the four gold label mechs shipped to Bentheim ahead of time, Ves only had a couple of days left before the start of the product reveal.
He decided to check up on Melkor at the headquarters of the Avatars of Myth.
"Ves. What brings you here?" Melkor said as he looked up from his terminal.
"I'm just stopping by to check up on the security arrangements." Ves said while he took a seat at a nearby chair. "I've shared my concerns about Bentheim before. How many Avatar mechs will you send this time?"
"It helps that we know about the event in advance. Also, a detachment of Avatars recently completed a small mission, so we have more mechs on hand than before. I'll be able to allocate a full squad of twelve mechs to your security detail. They're all geared towards urban combat and protection duty, so they can help secure the surroundings of the Grand Skyward. Our mechs won't be able to follow it in space, but I've been told that the exhibition hall has made their own security arrangements in that regard."
Ves nodded. "That's great to hear. I don't expect any threats to arise during the product reveal. NORA Consolidated and the Grand Skyward are both very accustomed to arranging these matters that the Avatars likely won't even be needed. It's just the time before and after the event that I'm worried about. I will have to stick around in Bentheim for a few days to promote the Aurora Titan and attend some interviews."
As the lead designer of the Aurora Titan, he could not just show up once and disappear right after. As Ves and his company grew more prominent, the impact of media appearances increased. News portals devoted much more time and attention on famous and notable mech designers. Just the involvement of Professor Ventag alone was sufficient to elevate the standing of the Aurora Titan!
"Let's talk about the future of the Avatars." Ves said. "Are you satisfied with your role as the Avatar Commander?"
Melkor frowned a bit. "What has brought this on all of a sudden?"
"I'm just curious. You've led the Avatars for a couple of years, but I don't really know whether you even like your job. You wanted to join the Mech Corps, right?"
The Mech Corps discharged Melkor from their ranks for a murky reason that Ves still didn't know.
"To be honest, I do regret the opportunity." Melkor spoke frankly. "Like most Larkinson mech pilots, I dreamt of joining the Mech Corps all my life. That dream is over now. The door is closed and the war has already started and ended without me. Yet there is more to piloting mechs than serving in the Mech Corps. Even though I'm not an outfit commander, I did my best to raise the Avatars from scratch. They are much my men as they are yours."
That was a very important admission. Even though Ves funded the Avatars, to most of the mech pilots that signed on, they were most familiar with following Melkor's orders rather than Ves' orders.
This might lead to problems if Ves and Melkor disagreed on a particular course of action.
Yet who else could Ves put in charge of the Avatars of Myth?
Ves would only exacerbate the problem of authority if he put an older and more experienced Larkinson in charge.
As for putting a complete stranger in charge of his own bodyguard force, Ves did not even consider that option. At the very least, the Larkinsons wouldn't do something like plotting the death of their own family members. The same couldn't be said for a mercenary commander who possessed no particular attachment to Ves or the Avatars of Myth.
"Are you willing to remain in charge of the Avatars of Myth for the long haul, Melkor?"
Melkor took a moment to formulate his answer. "If you trust me enough and if I think I can competently discharge my duties, then I would gladly like to stay with the Avatars. With all the funding and mechs you're willing to provide for my men, they can become something great. Trying to raise the Avatars of Myth into one of the most premier private outfits in the Bright Republic is not an impossible dream!"
"It's good to hear you're ambitious, Melkor. As long as I advance to Journeyman and continue to progress my career, I'll do my best to facilitate its growth. The star sector is becoming more and more unstable over the years. In such cases, all the money and business relationships in the galaxy won't be of much help to me. I'll be counting on a solid mech force to keep me safe during these turbulent times."
"I'll do my best, but keep in mind that it is hard for us to do anything other than protecting you and the Mech Nursery."
That reminded Ves that he also wanted to broach another topic.
"I want to expand the ranks of the Avatars of Myth. I'm thinking of adding landbound and spaceborn mech company. The money is already there." He said.
"That's a little hasty. Why now?"
"Now that the war has ended, a lot of mech pilots are about to retire from the Mech Corps. Those military veterans are excellent prospects. If we can manage to hire some of them, then the Avatars will be set for the next five years as the LMC continues to expand."
"I'm not too sure about that, Ves. Raising a mech force is harder than it sounds like. The Avatars of Myth is not completely stable as an outfit. It lacks the heritage, tradition and reputation to stand upon its own. We've barely started to raise our first spaceborn mech company and now you want to add at least eighty mechs and mech pilots to our roster. That's too fast."
"You don't have to expand the Avatars immediately. Go ahead and finishing raising our first spaceborn mech company first. I just want the Avatars to consist of four mech companies in total by the time the new mech generation starts. The transition to a new generation is always accompanied by upheaval. Having an abundant amount of protection at hand is essential for me to take advantage of the opportunities that arise."
Melkor nodded. "I will make some plans for the coming years. It will help me out a lot of I know what you intend for the Avatars."
"It's the same as before. As my personal force, the principal goal of the Avatars is to protect me. Protecting the company's assets come second. As for my other intentions for the Avatars, we can talk about that later when the Avatars are more established."
Ves eventually wanted to have the Avatars accompany him to any eventual excursions in the frontier, but at this moment of time that simply wouldn't be possible. Many of the mech pilots that agreed to join the Avatars did so in order to enjoy a stable posting on a single location so they could return to their families after the end of each shift.
For Ves to force them to accompany him to the frontier for weeks or months was too much to ask for most mech pilots in the private sector.
It frustrated him a bit that he couldn't snap his fingers and order his subordinates to do whatever he wanted, but that was the reality of the situation. Only military mech pilots could be ordered to undertake lengthy, risky missions far away from home.
A couple days later, the Greenfeather landed at the Mech Nursery and took in twelve mechs of the Avatars of Myth. The light carrier also loaded in the Shield of Samar.
In the meantime, Ves, Ketis, Lucky and Gavin all boarded the Barracuda.
Ves invited Jannzi to travel on his personal corvette, but she refused, opting instead to remain by the Shield of Samar during transit.
Both ships lifted off into space and traveled to the nearest Lagrange point in order to transition into FTL.
The time to reveal the Aurora Titan to the mech market was close at hand!