The Mech Touch Chapter 1140
1138 Elevated Status
Throughout the week of interviews and celebration, Ves also received a very important call. As soon as he read the name of the person calling him, he immediately took a break.
"Ves Larkinson. Congratulations on your successful advancement to Journeyman."
"Thank you, Master Olson."
Although his Master hadn't been very present during his formative years as an Apprentice, he still enjoyed some of the halo she bestowed on him. Ves was very cognizant that Master Olson didn't pay too much attention to Apprentice Mech Designers like him unless she nurtured them to inherit her design philosophy.
It was different when it came to Journeymen. Even in the prosperous and highly-populated Friday Coalition, Journeymen were valuable resources that could be employed in many areas as long as their loyalty could be assured.
The problem that Master Olson faced in this situation was that she probably did not expect Ves to advance to Journeyman so fast!
This threw her calculations on him completely out of whack, though she did her best not to show any of her doubts to Ves in this comm call. By all appearances, Master Olson genuinely looked pleased at his turn of fortune.
"Now that you have become a de facto Journeyman, it won't be long before you receive recognition from the MTA. Are you aware of your obligations once you reach that point?"
Ves nodded. "I'll have to travel to the MTA's sector headquarters."
"There are some important ceremonies and rituals that you have to go through. Advancement to Journeyman not only means your ability to design mechs has matured, but it also means you have become a true galactic citizen. The MTA will outline all the benefits a Journeyman like you is entitled to. They will also reveal some very important secrets about the true meaning of our profession."
That sounded as if his impending visit to the MTA's headquarters in the Komodo Star Sector wasn't just a regular meet and greet.
"I look forward to my upcoming visit." Ves said, even though he felt anything but enthused.
His relationship with the MTA was admittedly mixed. Ves flagrantly broke their rules and ran roughshed over their taboos several times. Like a crook visiting a police station, Ves didn't want to be close to them at all, especially considering that his body was marked by gene optimization treatments from the CFA!
Even so, as far as Ves was aware of, every Journeyman went on a pilgrimage to one of the bulwarks of the MTA. The Mech Trade Association might possess an innocuous name, but they were very adamant on keeping every mech designer in civilized space under their control!
"Your visit to the MTA's headquarters come first." Master Olson emphasized. "After that, I would like you to pay a visit to Leemar to inspect you on your progress and impart some knowledge to you. I will also be offering some opportunities to you that are well worth your time. I advise you to clear your schedule and arrange matters at home before you embark on your visits."
It sounded like Master Olson already wanted to put Ves at work. "What are these opportunities you talk about?"
"Do you know the meaning of the word Journeyman?"
"A Journeyman is a craftsman who has matured. They are competent in their craft and can be trusted to deliver a sound product by themselves."
"One of the historical customs of journeymen in ancient crafts was that they traveled from place to place after graduating from apprentices. This allowed them to move beyond their hometowns to experience different approaches to their own craft. A Journeyman Mech Designer is not obligated to travel around, but it is generally a good idea to broaden your horizons."
This sounded rather big to Ves. "You want me to travel around?"
Master Olson smiled. "Have you ever traveled beyond the Komodo Star Sector?"
"I have." Ves admitted. "Several missions brought me to the Faris Star Region."
"Then you must be very much aware that different customs exist for mechs depending on the region they operate. A resource-poor region like the frontier cannot sustain the existence of high-quality mechs. Each star sector exhibits their own nuances when it comes to the prevailing mech doctrines. I'm very glad you've already taken a step to expand your horizons, but it would do you well to explore what more prosperous star sectors have to offer as well."
It seemed to Ves that Master Olson was trying to encourage him to accept the opportunities she wanted to present to him during his visit to Leemar.
Since he was quite intrigued by the prospect of travelling to another star sector, he expressed some enthusiasm.
"I look forward to what you have to offer."
In any case, he could neatly fit a possible excursion in his schedule as long as it didn't take too long.
After he designed his fifth original mech design, he wasn't under very much pressure to design another mech.
With the next generation of mechs about to arrive in five years or less, any mech he designed in the waning years of the current generation would quickly be devalued. While his Aurora Titan model exceed its initial sales projections, Ves would not be able to spiritually empower his other mech designs with something as strong as Qilanxo's spiritual fragment.
Without possessing the critical element that allowed him to elevate the X-Factor of his design to A-rank, his subsequent mech designs would never match the Aurora Titan's splendor. Rather than spending his time on designing lackluster mechs, Ves would rather go on an excursion to expand his horizons and improve his ability to design mechs for the upcoming mech generation!
After a bit more chatting, Master Olson finally ended the call. While she wanted to impart a lot more information to him, he would visit her soon enough at Leemar anyway.
"A Journeyman really receives different treatment from everyone." He sighed.
It kind of made sense as Journeyman Mech Designers technically enjoyed the same status as expert pilots. Nonetheless, the MTA treated high-ranking mech pilots with much more reverence than high-ranking mech designers. It was as if they believed that expert pilots needed extra protection while Journeymen Mech Designers could take care of themselves!
"Well, with how difficult it is to extend the lives of expert pilots and how often they are subjected to combat, it's really hard to insure that enough of them are around at any single time."
Mech designers were more than capable of taking care of themselves. Journeymen and higher were guaranteed money-making machines. It was impossible for them to go bankrupt and starve on the streets unless they pissed off the state or the MTA!
As long as someone had enough money, they could convert it into different forms of power and influence. Ves happened to be flush with money right now, so much so that he didn't know what to do with it other than to invest in the Avatars of Myth.
"The Avatars are growing stronger every day, but it's still a slow process."
Throwing more money at the Avatars at this stage would do more harm than good. Melkor was very clear about the need to grow the Avatars organically rather than by brute force. A rapid growth would introduce too many unstable elements in their ranks.
As the days of interviews and celebrations came to an end, Ves finally had the opportunity to pay a final visit to Jannzi.
He arrived at the same military hospital which he had been treated for the injuries sustained by his last assassination attempt with Lucky in tow. While the guards looked at his cat with askance, they let them through anyway.
When Ves and Lucky entered the hospital room where Jannzi recuperated from her arduous breakthrough, they encountered an extra guest!
"Grandfather! You're here!"
Benjamin Larkinson amiably smiled at his exceptional grandson. "I took the fastest corvette to Bentheim in order to catch you before you returned to Cloudy Curtain. I'm very proud of what you've achieved, Ves. Your sudden advancement has completely upended the family!"
"Are there any changes in store?"
"Now that you've become a Journeyman, you carry real weight in the family. As far as I'm concerned, you have the right to stand equal to the expert pilots in the family! While it will take some time for me to convince the other elders to respect you in this fashion, it is undeniable that you are a leader of the family!"
That.. was pretty big news to Ves. While the Larkinson Family did not specifically obey the orders of their experts unquestionably, they still had a lot of say in how the family was being run.
Most of Benjamin's leading influence in the family came from his past status as an expert pilot! Even though his battle injuries took away his strength, Benjamin was still an influential leader in the family!
For Benjamin to suggest that his grandson enjoyed the same renown was to suggest they now stood as equals when it came to decision-making within the family!
"I'm honored you feel that way." Ves responded mildly. "I'm not really chasing after power in the family, though. I'm already occupied with my own work."
"I know you aren't interested. Ghanso Larkinson isn't interested in exercising his power either. The day-to-day operations of the family will still remain in the hands of old geezers like me. The only important point to keep in mind is that if you really want something that requires the support of the entire family, it's a lot easier to get our backing now. For example, the recent moves you've made to align ourselves to the Tovar Family has long been met with resistance from many conservative Larkinsons. That's different now."
This was what it meant to be a leader in the family. The Larkinson Family didn't know what to do with the first Journeyman Mech Designer in their ranks, so they defaulted to treating him as an expert pilot.
Both of them turned to the patient in the room. Jannzi looked a bit better than Ves had thought. She already looked as if she could be up and about after a few more weeks of recovery.
"How are you, Jannzi?" Ves asked gently while placing Lucky on her bed.
The cat playfully climbed up to Jannzi and allowed himself to be petted by her hand.
"The doctors say I'll have to make a long recovery. They've been pouring over the telemetry and they've all been scratching their heads over why my breakthrough was unusually violent."
Ves had a good idea why, but it was best to keep his thoughts to himself. "Will you be able to regain your strength?"
"I think so. The Apocalypse Heralds will help me recover. Thank you for letting me keep the Shield of Samar, Ves. I know it's a very expensive mech for you to give away."
"As far as I'm concerned, you're the true owner of the Shield of Samar. I already arranged Gavin to transfer the ownership of the mech over to your name. It is truly yours now!"
Jannzi looked very ecstatic at the news! She brightened up instantly and spontaneously hugged Lucky to her chest.
"Thank you for this gift, Ves! I don't know how I can repay this favor."
"I'm just paying you for your services, Jannzi. The stunt you pulled off during the demonstration has already inspired many people to buy a copy of the Aurora Titan. The earnings I've made from those extra sales are more than sufficient to cover the value of your mech. Besides, we're family."
Ves, Jannzi and Benjamin all enjoyed a happy moment. Benjamin was glad to see that Ves was generous to Jannzi. Family needed to stick together and help each other out.
"Are you happy with joining the Apocalypse Heralds?" Ves asked.
"To be honest, I would rather join a heavy assault regiment that likes to take the fight up close." She said. "Still, my Shield of Samar is a lot more useful protecting the slow-moving artillery mechs of the Heralds. Their static, defensive-oriented mech doctrine fits well with a low-mobility mech like mine."
She'd be able to fulfill the core purpose of her mech to the utmost with the Apocalypse Heralds. With all the murky signs that another conflict might be on the horizon, Jannzi would have plenty of chances in the future to distinguish herself in battle with the Heralds!