The Mech Touch Chapter 1158
1156 A Protagonists Mech
What was a hero mech?
From a technical perspective, a hero mech was simply a mech that occupied the role of both a rifleman and a swordsman.
Sounded simple, right?
Yet when Ves tried to come up with a vision for a great hero mech, he felt that this answer didn't encompass the full range of meaning behind a hero mech.
First, the name. Why not call it a musketeer mech or a dragoon mech or something?
"Because those names don't describe the usage of the mech." Ves' consciousness mentally mused inside Axelar's mind.
He tried his best to ignore the hammering of Axelar's weak core consciousness.
The name of the mech type conjured up a specific image. Anyone who heard the phrase would think of the many action dramas broadcasted throughout the galaxy of adventurous young mech pilots who performed many heroics with their versatile mechs.
Whether it was to save a galactic princess from the clutches of nefarious pirates, or buy time for a beleaguered colony fleet to flee from a horde of astral beasts, a hero mech always managed to save the day!
The hero mech archetype couldn't be separated from its public image as the iconic mech of a protagonist!
Even in a first-rate superstate like the Terran Confederation, before the advent and popularization of multipurpose mechs, hero mechs already gained a reputation for achieving the impossible and fighting in a flamboyant manner.
From the perspective of a show maker, Ves knew that pairing up the main character with a hero mech was initially out of convenience.
If the protagonist piloted a knight mech, then they'd be toast if they encountered an aerial ranged mech.
This was why the early action dramas that incorporated mechs predominantly paired their main leads with ranged mech. A rifle-bearing mech looked much cooler.
Yet that was not enough!
What about facing threats up close? What is a light skirmisher stabbed a dagger into the back of the main character's mech?
There was nothing cooler than to see the main character's mech whip out a sword and fend off the fatal blow and turn the tides on its attacker!
Initially, the portrayal of a mech that excelled at both melee and ranged combat excited the audience!
At the same time, the mech designers in the early days of the Age of Mechs experimented with pairing mechs with both close-ranged and long-ranged solutions.
The results were rather mixed. The technology wasn't quite there yet to make both of them effective at the same time in a single mech.
Yet the popular emergence of hero mechs in fictional dramas led to a spike in demand for such a mech!
Business-savvy mech designers smelled an opportunity. If they succeeded in developing a viable mech that matched the unrealistic capabilities depicted in the action dramas, then they stood to make a lot of money!
A lot of mech designers poured a lot of time and effort into making hero mechs practical, and eventually they succeeded!
The early hero mechs did come with a lot of caveats. The tech to make hero mechs possible was a lot more advanced and expensive than normal, as long. As customers could bear the price, they got themselves a mech that was much more versatile than anything else on the market!
Eventually, the hype died down when the new mech pilots learned that it was really hard to be skilled in both modes of combat at the same time. Most baseline mech pilots could forget about mastering both marksmanship and swordsmanship in their lifetimes!
"A hero mech is only suited to be piloted by a hero!"
Only the hero of the story who possessed a high genetic aptitude or possessed some other advantage could make full use of such a complicated mech!
Soon enough, many mech pilots learned this lesson the hard way! Stuck with expensive mechs that only exhibited half of their potential in most cases, these fancy investments led many mech pilots and outfits to ruin!
Aside from some exceptions, hero mechs were thoroughly derided as an impractical mech type only fit for entertainment!
"Yet that's a rather outdated perspective now, especially in the more developed regions of human space."
Four-hundred years after the start of the Age of Mechs, both humanity and technology advanced by leaps.
The Terran Confederation already surpassed hero mechs and moved on to true multipurpose mechs for some time! Why settle for two weapon systems when a mech designer could stuff ten weapon systems in a single mech frame?
The more weapons, the more versatility a mech possessed! Not only that, but destroying or depleting the ammunition of one weapon system would not instantly cripple the mech's offensive capabilities.
Mech pilots in advanced states also kept up with progress. Through the help of genetic and other biological enhancements, mech pilots became more skilled in the operation of multiple weapon systems.
"All of this is very expensive, but as long as a state can afford it, it's definitely worth it! Who doesn't love a mech that's useful in every situation?"
Right now, the galactic rim fell behind on this trend due to limited resources. Without a sufficient amount of wealth, the conditions to make hero mechs and multipurpose mechs practical simply weren't there yet. Ves estimated it would take at least a couple more centuries to make them affordable and usable in his home state.
The current landscape of mechs never stood still. While some mech designers saw it as a detriment, true mech enthusiasts always looked forward to innovation.
"Let's get back to my mech design."
Recalling the history behind the hero mech type provided him with much-needed context. No matter if it was the galactic rim or the galactic center, hero mechs always played a controversial role.
If Ves paired Axelar with a hero mech instead of a standard multipurpose mech, then he would definitely be raising a lot of eyebrows!
A very scary realization suddenly emerged.
"The challenge I issued on behalf of Axelar is going to be watched by billions or trillions of people!"
A huge proportion of the population of the Tyon System and the Haspel System would be watching the live broadcasts of the upcoming duel. Plenty more fans from other star systems would tune in as well to witness whether a scion of the Streon Clan could back up all of his boasts.
Along with the tens of millions of people who would be viewing the upcoming duel in person at the Cube Arena, Axelar practically became the star of an action drama!
"What better way to compliment his expectations by foisting a hero mech onto him? This situation is practically begging for it! I'm sure he'll love the attention!"
That last one may be a stretch, but pairing Axelar with a hero mech would make a very strong statement!
The thought of influencing the perception of trillions of Terran citizens with a hero mech designed by himself pumped him up! How could he not be excited to exhibit his creations in front of such a huge audience?
Even if he was designing a mech to display in front of stuck up Terrans, the thought of influencing the lives of so many people, even if it was just for a single time, appealed to his sensibilities as an artist!
Perhaps Ves could even shift the course of history in the Terran Confederation with his stunt!
"This is the perfect stage for a hero mech!"
That brought Ves back to his immediate problem of coming up with a vision and concept of his hero mech.
The main goal of this Mastery experience was for him to observe how a mech pilot operated a hero mech. The insights he gleaned from his observations served to sharpen his approach to designing this special mech type.
Yet what about now?
Even with the use of an auto designer, Ves struggled to come up with a direction for a hero mech.
"This is like putting the cart before the horse!"
In his previous Mastery experiences, Ves always got to ride in the minds of mech pilots who fought with existing mechs.
He essentially studied how mech pilots interacted with the products of other mech designers!
This time was different. Ves was in a rare position where he could design the mech and observe its usage up close!
This was a unique if daunting opportunity!
As soon as Ves wrapped his metaphorical head around this realization, he became excited.
Rather than work around the paradigms of other mech designers, Ves could start off with a clean slate and develop his own statement of a hero mech!
Due to the circumstances of his Mastery experience, Ves did not intend to hold back too much. As long as the mech put up a decent fight tomorrow, he'd be able to learn from this experiment and do better next time.
As for the other consequences? Ves didn't care! Let Axelar deal with the aftermath! The clansman deserved all of the trouble for being such an unproductive wastrel!
Since Ves intended to design a mech that deviated from the norm in this setting, he might as well run with it and shock the audience tomorrow.
"Two. My mech only needs two weapon systems."
The team leader of the Haspel Asps piloted the heavy cannoneer-like mech in their match against the Terminators.
That did not mean the same mech would appear again. Terran mech athletes could easily afford to change the configuration of their mechs before every match. It was always a completely surprise what mech configuration they fielded next.
Yet no matter what kind of multipurpose mech the Haspel Asps fielded tomorrow, a well-designed hero mech would be able to handle any variation in mech configurations!
"Two weapon systems are enough to deal with the vast majority of multipurpose mechs in existence!"
In the past, hero mechs used to mean that the mech pilot was exceptionally skilled in multiple competences at the same time.
In this current time and space, a hero mech took on a different meaning. It sent an undeniable statement of confidence! A mech pilot who brought a hero mech into a battle against a multipurpose mech basically stated that they only needed two weapon systems to win!
A vision for his mech emerged. It would be a mech that revolved around the concept of two. Two weapon systems. Two heads. Two wings. Two arms. Two legs.
Ves even thought of splitting up the torso into two discrete portions. Even if the left half of the mech got destroyed, Axelar would still be able to put up a fight with the other half!
"A mech like that sounds very interesting, but it's not something I want to design with an auto designer."
He pulled back his imagination a bit and settled for a single unified torso to keep all of the pairs together. Ves did not wish to deviate too much from the hero mech he was commissioned to design for Madame Cecily Curin.
To that end, Ves decided to pair his hero mech with weapons that resembled a laser rifle and a sword, but not exactly.
It would be too gauche for Axelar to pilot a mech that incorporated outdated and underpowered technology.
"Each weapon has to be enough to handle most possible threats."
Something overly complex and specialized may be exceptionally suited in some circumstances, but left glaring holes for the enemy to exploit if they brought the right mech.
Considering that he intended to incorporate only two weapon systems in his mech, Ves could opt for something simple but scaled very well if they didn't have to share any space for other weapon systems.
"If I don't have to insert a ton of gimmicks into the frame of my mech, I have more space on hand to improve its core capabilities. That will do my hero mech design a lot of good!"
Still, Ves hesitated a bit as he faced a seemingly endless amount of choices. The auto designer offered access to all but the most advanced, expensive and most exotic weapon systems!