The Mech Touch Chapter 1137
1135 Private Celebration
Ves basked in the glory of his successful advancement to Journeyman. After several years of toiling, he managed to succeed just before he reached thirty years old!
"While it's rather close, the fact that I succeeded will mark me as a notable Journeyman!" Ves laughed while he held Lucky above his head.
For once, his cat did not show any annoyance at being handled like a doll. Lucky shared his jubilation and his tail playfully whipped about as if he already envisioned Ves becoming rich enough to feed him billions of credits worth of mineral.
The only snag was that even though he advanced for real, the Mech Trade Association would not see it that way. They maintained a very strict demand that mech designers should design at least five original mechs before they applied for recognition.
The professor explained the reasoning to Ves succinctly earlier in the day.
"The process of becoming a Journeyman is very opaque. You happened to have the benefit of a Senior like me being present to confirm your breakthrough, but what about other mech designers? There are many Apprentices who get high on stimulants and mistake it as a process of grand enlightenment. All of these Apprentices can't approach a Senior so easily, so they go on and knock straight at the doors of the MTA, who have to waste the valuable time of their own Seniors to confirm whether they were really serious or simply crackpots who didn't know any better."
"There are Apprentices who actually do that?" Ves frowned. It sounded absurd!
"Enough that the MTA has implemented a strict policy." The professor smiled. "Design at least five original mechs of significant importance before you apply. This rule alone stops most arrogant Apprentices from trying because the original mechs need to meet a minimum quality standard that only serious Apprentices can surpass."
"Why five? It sounds a bit arbitrary."
"It's actually well below average. Most Apprentices need to design more than a dozen mechs before they even get close to advancing to Journeyman. You're something of an anomaly that you've designed four original mechs before you broke through. This is quite remarkable and speaks highly of your adaptability. Cases like yours happens every now and then, but not enough to make the MTA change their mind about this rule."
"So what do I do?"
The professor shrugged. "Just design another mech. You don't have to be too thorough compared to the effort you put into the Aurora Titan design. As a Journeyman, you will find all of your design capabilities improve in a significant capacity. I'll let you explore that on your own. The point is that de facto Journeymen like you really shouldn't have any problems designing another original mech."
The professor was right. Ves shouldn't be making a big deal out of the fact that the MTA wouldn't recognize his new status yet. Due to the role the MTA played in verifying Journeymen, the Bright Republic also didn't recognize him either, at least in a formal and legal sense.
If Ves wanted to be recognized as a true Journeyman, then he needed to quickly design another serious mech. He also needed to do it in a few months before he turned thirty so that he would still get that achievement under his belt.
There was a difference between a Journeyman who advanced before their thirties and those who advanced after their fifties. Though both mech designers should be somewhat close in skill by the time they advanced, what about the next step?
Time was a very valuable resource for a mech designer. Each year missed meant one or two mech designs less! Added up to twenty years, then that meant the older Journeyman in his fifties would miss out on designing twenty mechs before he reached the end of his lifespan!
That twenty-mech disparity might mean the difference between advancing to Senior or dying as a capable but bottle-necked Journeyman!
The mech industry's approach to talent also played a large role in evaluating mech designers. Those who advanced to Journeyman early in their career could be expected to advance to Senior fairly early as well.
For example, it would be a great achievement for Ves if he managed to advance to Senior within fifty years!
Those who took a long time to advance to Journeymen might not necessarily take a long time to advance again. There were plenty of examples of late bloomers in the mech industry. Nonetheless, the odds of such cases happening was not very large. Therefore, it was almost always better to advance sooner rather than later.
While Ves disliked the idea of rushing his next mech design, he disliked finishing it before he reached thirty standard years even less!
"I guess I'll have to whip up something quick and dirty." Ves sighed.
So far, Ves designed four original mechs. The MTA officially credited him in playing at least a major contributing role in the Blackbeak, the Crystal Lord, the Enduring Protector and now the Aurora Titan designs.
This was an important distinction as playing an assisting role in the design process like Ketis had done for the Aurora Titan's sword didn't count.
Nonetheless, even if Ves did not receive official recognition, he received plenty of unofficial recognition! The press and the mech industry already recognized him as a de facto Journeyman!
Ves already received hundreds of letters of congratulations from the various Journeymen and Seniors of the Republic!
He even laughed a bit when he received a letter from Professor Norman Pendleton as well. The Ansel mech designer's gesture showed that despite their differences, Ves' ascension to the ranks of Journeyman was still a good addition to the Bright Republic.
"We can still come together despite our differences."
Ves felt as if this was a recurring theme in the Bright Republic. Even though different factions constantly struggled against each other, they could still join hands in order to present a united front against their common enemy.
This stood in stark contrast to the Vesia Kingdom, where infighting reigned supreme!
A day after the product reveal, Ves decided to hold a private celebration at an upscale restaurant in Dorum's entertainment district.
As food and drink kept pouring into the luxurious dining room that the LMC reserved, Ves celebrated his success with some of his friends and family.
Aside from bringing Lucky and Gavin, Ves also invited Marcella Bollinger. In addition, he also arranged for Raella and Melinda Larkinson to be present.
While Lucky blissfully munched on a bowl's worth of low-grade exotics, the two female Larkinsons stared at each other with visible animosity. They followed completely opposite career trajectories and if they weren't family, they would have never tolerated each other's presence.
"A Journeyman is a big deal." Melinda said while smiling to Ves. "Having worked on Bentheim for a couple of years, I've learned how important they are to the Republic. There's way too many Apprentices, but so few of them managed to become a Journeyman. The family will get a massive boost now that you've become a big deal!"
"Becoming a Journeyman is just the start." Ves boldly claimed. "Although I won't make any promises, I don't think advancing to Senior in a couple of decades is out of reach!"
He had the confidence to make such a claim due to the possession of the System. Although Ves was confident that he could advance to Senior even without making use of the System, making use of it would likely speed it up, thereby saving him a lot of valuable time!
Out of all the people in the crowd, Marcella looked the most sober. She was the oldest adult in the room, after all, and she had interacted with many different mech designers.
"I wouldn't rest on my laurels so easily, Ves." She said even as she sipped a glass of wine. "This is a great moment for you, but you need to temper your confidence. There are so many Journeymen who have gone so caught up in their new status that they stopped putting their full effort into designing mechs."
Ves nodded seriously. "My motivation for designing mechs hasn't abated. I'm very much aware of the pitfalls of neglecting my job."
He could not forget the instance where Professor Velten shared her many regrets in her life. The old and decrepit Senior Mech Designer presiding over the Flagrant Vandals could have achieved much more in her illustrious life if she didn't waste so much time on distractions.
"I have to admit your advancement still surprises me." Marcella continued. "When I initially decided to work with you and invest in you, I never conceived you would grow this quickly. In the span of five years, you've grown from a pipsqueak who needs my help to sell individual mechs to a respectable Journeyman who can sell a 100 million credit mech with a wave of your hand!"
"Does that make me your main client?"
Marcella chuckled. "All my other clients are Novices and Apprentices. I've partnered with some of them for over twenty years, but none of them have the combination of drive, talent and capabilities that you possess!"
At the start of his mech design career, Ves used to look up to Marcella as a giant in the Bentheim mech scene. Now that he advanced to Journeyman and his LMC grew into a behemoth, he realized that Marcella wasn't such a dominant entity anymore.
Even though Ves no longer needed her, he still intended to retain their business relationship. Not only were their companies intertwined with contractual obligations, but Ves also appreciated the help she provided him when he was still young, ignorant and poor.
Marcella was a true friend, and a useful one to boot. Her extensive connections to the local Bentheim mech community made life a lot easier for the LMC.
"I think you should consider moving your company to Bentheim." Raella suddenly suggested. "Not only will I be able to visit my favorite cousin more often, but I can also get the Blood Claws to put your company under their wing. Nothing will happen to the LMC while it's here, I swear!"
Melinda snorted from the side. "So Ves is your favorite cousin all of a sudden? I'm sure the main reason for that is the free mechs he gave you. Don't think the Planetary Guard is aware where the three new Crystal Lord mechs the Blood Claws have been flaunting lately came from. Ves is not a mech dispenser that spits out free mechs whenever you want to cozy up to your bosses!"
Ves held out a palm in a placating gesture. "It's fine, Melinda. I didn't give away my mechs for free. As long as Raella gains some benefits, I will benefit as well. As for the topic of shifting my company's operations to Bentheim, I don't have any compelling reasons to do so. While such a move would definitely simplify the LMC's logistics, a lot of other burdens will weigh down the company instead. At its current scale, the LMC is doing quite well on Cloudy Curtain."
"I think Ves has a fine point." Marcella said in support. "Just the taxes alone on Bentheim will negate most of the gains made in streamlining the company's supply chain. Frankly, there are too many mech companies based in Bentheim. The local government eagerly takes advantage of this by jacking up the local taxes, knowing that there will always be a new crop of mech designers who set up their companies here."
The small gathering continued to throw out ideas on what Ves should do next. He heard plenty of interesting suggestions, though he already had a firm plan in mind for the next couple of years.
"If only Melkor, Calsie, Carlos and Jannzi could be here." Ves sighed.
He only received a few sporadic messages stating that Jannzi required an extensive period of recuperation. Ves worried about her health. The unusual nature of her breakthrough left a lot of mental and spiritual scars behind that would take months or even years to heal.
Hopefully her continued exposure to the Shield of Samar would help her recuperate from all of that damage.