The Mech Touch Chapter 1147
1145 Surprising Initiative
While Ves mulled over the implications of accepting a commission to design a hero mech for Madame Cecily Curin, he decided to address some other matters.
"Where is Lucky and Ketis?" He frowned.
The moment the Barracuda touched down at the Mech Nursery, Ketis grabbed Lucky and quickly absconded to parts unknown.
Normally, Ves didn't pay too much attention to the comings and going of Ketis, but he was starting to miss having Lucky by his side.
Lucky was his cat! What right did Ketis have to monopolize his pet?!
After making use of the monitoring system, he finally tracked the errant pair down at his private laboratory floor.
Finding out that Ketis and Lucky barged into his private workshop and laboratory immediately alarmed Ves! That was his private sanctum! He never gave anyone permission to enter his lab because he required completely concentration when he designed his mechs!
Only one other entity besides Ves received permission to enter his lab, and that was Lucky!
"What are they doing there?!"
The monitoring system only tracked their progress up to the entrance of the lab. Paranoid as he was about being observed, the entire lab and workshop floor did not contain any sensors and recorders that could give Ves a remote view of what the pair was doing at the moment.
Ves rode the elevator deep underground and stormed right through the entrance. Hearing sounds of active machinery at work, he immediately barged into the workshop section to see Ketis operating a small 3D printer by herself!
As for Lucky, the lazy cat was munching on a pile of valuable minerals that he got from who knew where!
"What is the meaning of this?" Ves announced.
His abrupt arrival and interruption caused Ketis to jump! She almost ruined her ongoing work!
"This isn't what it looks like, Ves!" She awkwardly laughed.
Ves continued to glower at Ketis. "This lab is my personal workspace. While I would have opened it up for you in time, it's very rude of you to use Lucky to squirm your way inside. Do you think I wouldn't have found out about your intrusion?!"
"Oh, come on, Ves. You trust me, right? I never intended to do anything bad to you. Can't you forget about it?" She pleaded while employing her puppy eyes.
The effect fell flat. Ves remained completely unmoved. "Tell me what you're up to. What are you working on that's so important that you need access to my lab facilities?"
"Well, I didn't originally want to use your lab, you know. When I went to the manufacturing floor and asked the chief technicians there to reserve a 3D printer for me, they all said no! They said that all the production lines are working in full capacity and that their use is carefully managed!"
Ves did not suffer from the same problem, obviously. He could borrow whatever production equipment he wanted with no questions asked. Whatever scheduling arrangements the chief technicians had made, they were forced to readjust their planning whenever Ves wanted to hog a production line to himself, as was the case when he fabricated five gold label Aurora Titans sometime earlier.
This was his privilege as the boss of the company!
As for Ketis, her position within the company was largely toothless. Despite bringing her in as one of the first members of his design team, Ves mostly handed a lot of homework for her to sink her teeth into. He still considered her a bit too raw and fresh to embark on actual mech design work.
Perhaps he had been belittling her too much, though. With all the textbooks she devoured during her months of study, she had become a lot more knowledgeable than Ves had been when he initially started with designing his first variants!
"I apologise. I've neglected your development lately." Ves sighed. "It's always my intention to make you feel at home at the LMC. Considering your current level of competence, I'll order Gavin to give you permission to make limited use of the LMC's production equipment. In the meantime, you haven't answered my question yet. What are you fabricating?"
Ketis still stammered in her response, so Ves simply decided to step up and inspect the interface of the 3D printer with his own eyes.
The object that Ketis tried to make turned out to be a scale model of a swordsman mech that shared a strong resemble to the Blackbeak!
Ves remembered that he taught Ketis how to work with precision tools by having her play with mech miniatures. From what he could observe, her proficiency with working on small details progressed so much that she had no issues with controlling a 3D printer to fabricate a fairly intricate mech miniature!
"Is the design of this miniature your own work?"
Ketis reluctantly nodded. "It's my first work. I'm much further ahead than you think. Enough that I feel confident about my first variant. I know it's not up to your standards, but I did the best I can to apply the lessons I've learned into its design. I figured I'd surprise you with a miniature instead of some boring design schematics!"
While Ves could already glean a lot of details from the data on the 3D printer's interface, he was willing to entertain Ketis this time. Despite her shifty behavior, Ves felt very pleased that she showed some initiative when it came to expressing her urge to design a mech.
She was making her first formal steps into the mech industry!
Everyone could study all day and night. That did not make a mech designers any better necessarily. Too many mech designers spent way too much time in the library and not enough time in their design studios or workshops.
A mech designer needed to balance their time between fulfilling their responsibilities, accumulating more experience and expanding their knowledge base.
Unlike every other mech designer, the last was something that Ves did not concerned himself too much about. With the System at his disposal, he only needed to spend minutes or hours to learn what other mech designers took years or even decades to learn!
While Ves expected Ketis to require a few more months to develop a solid foundation to design a mech, evidently he underestimated her artificially-elevated intelligence and concentration attributes.
As long as she was motivated, it wasn't impossible for her to make great strides!
"I'll let you finish your little project." He said in a gentler tone.
"Thanks. It won't take too long. I think I only need an hour to put the finishing touches on the scale model."
Ves loved mechs. His entire life revolved around mechs. Even if he lacked the ability to pilot them, he never stopped adoring them. Mechs would always be a part of his life.
To design mechs was a dream to him. To become so successful in this job that he had advanced to become a de facto Journeyman in a scant few years was an amazing opportunity to work with mechs on a higher level.
Therefore, Ves couldn't help but feel happy when he was present with other people who were passionate about mechs. He enjoyed his recent interactions with Professor Ventag and he enjoyed seeing Ketis becoming more and more capable of designing mechs on her own.
Both of them loved their craft!
As Ves stood a few paces away in order to give Ketis enough room to work with, he casually studied her work ethic.
For some reason, he felt like he saw echoes of himself in the amount of diligence she put into her work. Having observed Ves at work plenty of times, it appeared that Ketis acquired some of his habits.
Ves didn't know how to feel about that. The amount of concentration she put into her work was so much that she even stopped registering his presence after a few minutes!
In fact, as long as Ves could nudge her in the right direction, she might even be able to imitate some of his methods with regards to shaping the X-Factor of her creations!
The notion of passing along some of his extremely valuable and exclusive knowledge on the X-Factor popped up in his mind.
It quickly left his mind soon after.
How could Ves reveal such secrets so easily? Even if he trusted Ketis by quite a bit, it wasn't to the point of sharing everything yet. For now, Ketis would be best served with focusing on developing her own specialty rather than inherit a limited version of his own.
A few more minutes passed by until the small 3D printer finally spat out the last scaled-down parts of her variant. Ketis did not skimp too much on the materials she used to present her design in the best possible light!
She moved over to a workbench where she already laid out various precision tools. She picked one of them up and used them to assemble the parts into a complete mech miniature in the span of less than an hour!
The little mech was as tall as two palms and was very heavy for its size. When Ves stepped forward and picked up the menacing-looking mech, he had the odd sensation that he held a Blackbeak that shed its kite shield in order to dedicate itself to wielding a single sword!
"This variant bears a lot of resemblance to its base model." Ves commented. "Maybe a little too much."
"I didn't want to mess too much with its internal architecture. I'm not confident enough yet that I can rearrange them into something more suitable for swordsman mechs." Ketis admitted.
"Before we go into further detail about its expected performance, tell me about the concept and vision for this variant. What is its purpose?"
"I haven't named it yet. As you can tell, I started off with your Blackbeak design and attempted to turn it from a knight mech into a swordsman mech. The difference between the two mech types may be big, but they share a lot in common. It helps that your Blackbeak design is already geared towards offensive use. I got rid of the shield, slightly increased the size and strength of the arms and replaced its one-handed sword with a two-handed greatsword. I mostly kept its excellent armor coverage intact, though I shaved off some portions here and there to increase its mobility, agility and range of motion."
Aside from some other minor adjustments, the changes she described was pretty much the extent of her work. It didn't sound like much, but then again most variants never strayed too far from the parameters of their base models.
"First off, I'm very pleased to see you go as far as to attempt to change the mech type of an existing mech design. Usually, mech designers who want to develop a swordsman mech variant will just license an existing swordsman mech design and work from there as all of the essential elements are already in place."
"I know. I wanted to do that as well, but your library of licenses isn't very extensive. Since I don't have the means to license an existing swordsman mech design, I thought why not work with one of your own mechs? The Blackbeak design is a great design for my purposes!"
"That sounds great and all, but what is the overarching concept behind this design?"
"I guess it's my attempt at designing a premium swordsman mech. It adopted much of the same defenses and endurance of its base model. While it is not as tough as the Blackbeak, it possesses enough brute force to hack aside most opponents standing in its way!"
Ves shook his head in disappointment. "Is that all? You just wanted to design a swordsman mech so you made some adjustments to the Blackbeak design before handing it an oversized swords?"
"So you haven't set any distinct vision for your variant? Have you forgotten my teachings already?"
It appeared that Ves had been a little remiss in his teaching. It became quite clear that despite the amount of concentration she put into the design of her variant, she did not have a clear picture of what she wanted to design from the start! The variant she eventually came up with was just a collection of various ad-hoc decisions without any overarching strategy in mind!