The Mech Touch Chapter 1146
1144 Dynasties Of The Protectorate
Gavin presented three interesting commissions to Ves.
The first one was to design a dueling mech for the team captain of the Mosville Fireflies.
The second one was to design original and more practical versions of his Young Blood and Old Soul virtual training mechs for the Astreya Mech Academy.
The third one was to design a hero mech geared towards ceremonial guard duty for a powerful and wealthy foreign leader.
Each of them had their pros and cons.
While more commissions doubtlessly existed, Ves trusted Gavin to act as his gatekeeper and filter out the more frivolous and insincere requests.
The personal power of a gatekeeper was not that impressive. While Gavin was effectively a nobody, his access to Ves and his responsibilities as a personal secretary to serve up the information that his boss required to make very impactful decisions turned him into the second-most important individual in the LMC!
This was a lot of power to put into the hands of a single person. Gavin was effectively able to shape Ves' decision-making by manipulating the options he brought to the table. The power of an executive assistant sometimes even surpassed that of the Chief Operating Officer or the rest of the top management team!
Yet even if Ves knew all of this, he could hardly do all of the secretarial work himself. He'd be stuck behind a desk all day while he juggled various schedules and requested various pieces of information from the various departments of the company.
For better or worse, Ves couldn't properly exercise leadership over his company without an executive assistant by his side.
If that was the case, he preferred having someone who stood by him at the beginning of his career. An added benefit was that Gavin originally studied marketing, so he possessed a very keen commercial mind that Ves could use as a sounding board.
Right now, Gavin showed his value yet again. "It's a shame you don't want to consider the commission from Astreya. Getting your hooks into the mech cadets while they are still in their formative years is one of the surefire ways to pave the way for the LMC's future dominance in the domestic market. If all the mech pilots that graduate in the next ten to twenty years have drunk much of the LMC's milk from birth, they'll become loyal customers for the rest of their lives!"
Obviously, the prospect of indoctrinating impressionable mech cadets into loving the mechs of the LMC was a marketer's wet dream.
It didn't help that each successive mech that Ves designed became more and more pronounced into converting mech pilots into adoring the LMC's products!
"The time constraints are really thorny." Ves repeated with a frown. "Working on two designs is a serious commitment. I only have the time to design a single mech. Although this opportunity sounds like a great way to secure greater market share in the domestic market, I don't think it fits with the current direction of the LMC."
This time it was Gavin's turn to frown. "You want to orient the company towards foreign markets?"
"That has always been the strategy the LMC pursued. As you know, I have a penchant for designing odd mechs that fill a narrow niche. The Blackbeak and the Aurora Titan stands out in this regard. While designing mass-market mechs is definitely on my agenda, I don't think it's a good idea for the LMC to put too much emphasis on the Bright Republic's mech market."
"You have some great advantages in the Bright Republic, though. Your fame and your exploits has turned you into one of the most promising debuting Journeyman Mech Designers! If you take advantage of your public profile and work together with Jarle Brenthill or the Astreya Mech Academy, you can convert your momentary fame into enduring brand equity!"
The kind of attention that Ves and the LMC attracted recently all consisted of short-lived news. While they were very noteworthy, the public didn't instantly recognize the LMC as a mainstay mech company in the Republic.
Although the scale the LMC had reached in recent years definitely propelled them into the ranks of major mech manufacturers, Ves had seen that there was much more to go. The old KNG and NORA Consolidated both dwarved the LMC's relatively modest output. The larger and older mech companies also offered at least twenty to fifty times more mech models!
Therefore, if the LMC wanted to become as revered as the old KNG in the Bright Republic's mech market, it needed to become a lot more involved in domestic affairs!
Partnering up with a celebrity or a mech academy were some of the surefire ways to improve the LMC's brand equity!
Yet having seen the wider galaxy, Ves no longer believed there was anything special about the Bright Republic's mech market. Why limit himself to a single market when he could cast his gaze further?
"With our current product strategy, I think it is best to develop the LMC as a true sector-wide mech company." Ves stated. "Although most of my mech designs are unlikely to capture significant market share in any single mech market, as long as my company maintains a presence in fifty mech markets at once, it's fine if we only sell a couple of hundred mechs in each state!"
"I don't know, boss. That sounds dangerous. What if we are suddenly cut off from all of those markets? The LMC at least needs to have a strong presence in our domestic market to serve as our fallback point."
"I don't want my company to become too dependent on the Bright Republic." Ves shook his head.
"Ah, but that's the beauty of the third commission, I suppose." Gavin replied with a smile. "As long as we fulfill the request posed by the Ylvainan leader, we can expand our presence in the Ylvaine Protectorate without restrictions! It'll be our second home base!"
The third commission intrigued them the most. It offered the most bountiful rewards for the LMC. The only problem to Ves was that it sounded rather too good to be true!
"Tell me more about the background of the Ylvainan client. Who is she and why is she offering such generous terms?"
"To explain her position, I'll need to explain how the Ylvaine Protectorate is run. Do you know their history?"
Ves nodded. Of course he did. "The basic story is that during the latter days of the Age of Conquest, some guy called Ylvaine emerged from the galactic heartland and believed himself to be a prophet. He was charismatic enough to convert billions of people into his followers while he issued all kinds of wild predictions. His burgeoning Ylvaine Faith started to become a major force to be reckoned with, so much so that the local states felt threatened and launched a huge attack on the new religion!"
The Ylvaine Faith suffered immensely at the attack from the local states! Prophet Ylvaine himself succumbed to the attacks along with the entire Ylvaine Dynasty that consisted of his harem and descendants!
Even though Prophet Ylvaine married hundreds of wives and conceived thousands of children, the assassins and bounty hunters employed by the states were very thorough!
Practically overnight, the entire Ylvaine Dynasty that lay at the heart of the powerful and expansive Ylvaine Faith had been rooted out from existence!
Stunned by the concerted attacks of the states and devastated at the loss of their visionary and his entire line, the remnants of the Ylvaine Faith suffered blow after blow!
At some point, the three most powerful surviving dynasties decided they had enough! They gathered their ships into a hasty refugee fleet and gathered their most pious and fanatic followers and made a bee-line towards the galactic rim!
Their flight coincided with the start of the Age of Mechs and the opening of the Komodo Star Sector. While they had too little strength left to contest the best colonization sites, they eventually managed to settle down at a decent region of space next to the newly-emerged Bright Republic.
Ever since then, the three surviving dynasties, scarred from the betrayals and the loss of their prophet and his descendants, adopted an isolationist posture over the centuries that followed.
Although a lot of tensions existed between the Ylvaine Protectorate and the neighboring Star Faith Collective, the Ylvainans generally kept to themselves.
"The three leading dynasties that brought the Ylvainan survivors from the galactic heartland still rule over the Protectorate to this day." Gavin reiterated.
"I'm aware of them. Each of them wield more power than the founding families of the Bright Republic or the ducal houses of the Vesia Kingdom!"
The Kronon Dynasty, the Protectors of the Faith.
The Poxco Dynasty, the Attendants of Ylvaine.
The Curin Dynasty, the Shepherds of the Flock.
Their titles spoke for themselves.
The Kronons became responsible for protecting the followers of Ylvaine and the state they founded.
The Poxcos led the Faith and curated the many claims, predictions, tenets, customs and rituals of Prophet Ylvaine.
The Curins provided secular leadership to the masses. They became responsible for managing the internal and external affairs of the state.
"So which dynasty does the client come from?" Ves asked. "The Curin Dynasty?"
Gavin nodded and summoned up a projection of a pretty but shrewd-eyed woman. "A new scion of the Curins rose up from obscurity last year. While it's difficult for us to map out the Curin Dynasty, all of our investigations so far suggests that Madame Cecily Curin is highly ambitious and destined for greater heights."
"What is her current position in the Protectorate?"
"The moment she joined the Protectorate's Ministry of Industry and Trade, she's been assigned as the Director of Strategic Mech Development."
"What the hell does that mean?"
"It basically means that Madame Cecily is responsible for setting a direction for the development of non-military mechs." Gavin succinctly explained. "With the power the Curins wield over the Protectorate, they have more than enough pull to put Madame Cecily into this very influential position despite her obscurity and lack of experience."
Ves equated the Ylvaine Protectorate's Ministry of Industry and Trade to the Bright Republic's Ministry of Economic Development.
Regardless of how they named themselves, they both existed to manage and meddle into the affairs of foreign and domestic companies that did business in their states.
Having experienced how powerful the MinEcDev had become and how they were more than willing to throw their weight around, Ves expected the Ministry of Industry and Trade to be a major force to be reckoned with. The title and position of Director of Strategic Mech Development was likely not a toothless appointment!
"So this Madame Cecily is a big fan of my mechs?" Ves frowned. The more he thought about it, the more this situation started to reek. "With the influence of her dynasty and the vast amount of power she wields in her current position, why does she want to work with a foreign Journeyman like me instead of one of the Protectorate's many Seniors?"
The Protectorate was a fully established third-rate state with a strong mech tradition of their own.
"It's not entirely clear to me, boss." Gavin admitted. "From what I have gathered, the Protectorate closed their mech markets from foreign competition for a very long time. Only in the last century did they decide to loosen up and open their markets to foreign entrants a little bit. Evidently, that isn't fast enough for Madame Cecily's liking. One of the first moves she made since she took up her position was to loosen up some of the most restrictive trade barriers that held foreign mech companies like the LMC back from expanding our businesses in the Protectorate."
"That must have pissed off a lot of domestic mech companies who have grown fat and lazy from maintaining their oligopoly in the mech market." Ves pointed out.
"This is also why Madame Cecily doesn't want to bring her commission to any of the Protectorate's domestic mech designers. Her new policies have made her an enemy out of all of them. How could she entrust her safety to the mechs from people who want nothing more than to get rid of her and place a more pliable Curin in her position? There are plenty of lesser scions in the Curin Dynasty who can't wait to become the new Director of Strategic Mech Management!"
The jostling for power in the Curin Dynasty reminded Ves of the infighting among the Vesian nobles. The Curins were very big and very powerful, but that also led to an even greater degree of infighting!
To Ves, it seemed that Madame Cecily was playing with fire. Working with such a controversial client would definitely pull him and his mech company into a very nasty political struggle.
Yet the rewards made it difficult for him to turn away from the request.
"Let me think over this commission." He said. "Continue to gather more information. Tell the analysts to estimate how much the LMC stands to gain if the Protectorate's mech market is no longer closed."