The Mech Touch Chapter 1167
1165 Endless Depth
Throughout his stay in the Terran Confederation, Ves experienced some of the breadth and depth of Terran mech design.
It was as if scarcity didn't exist here. Mech designers faced much fewer limits with regards to cost, resource scarcity and manpower constraints.
This meant that mech designers could easily dump a lot of expensive parts into their mechs, jacking up their prices to insane levels and elevating the difficulty of piloting to inhuman levels.
Yet such insanely overperforming mechs still sold in droves!
Mech buyers in the Terran Confederation were some of the most affluent people and organizations in the galaxy. The mech pilots they hired exhibited capabilities that far exceeded their lesser peers in the galactic heartland and the galactic center!
It wasn't an exaggeration to say that mech designers in the Terran Confederation engaged in the very forefront of mech design!
The innovations they developed in the pursuit of greater performance slowly trickled down to the less-advanced regions of human space. Ves already foresaw that many trends in the Terran Confederation would spread to the galactic rim in time.
The current mech duel between Axelar Streon and Waltz Nexbern was a case in point! In this battle between an old-style hero mech and an ultramodern multipurpose mech, the latter showcased exactly why they became the dominant mech type in the most advanced states!
The War General piloted by the Haspel mech athlete shed its exterior armor plating and parts like taking off a coat! A much slimmer light mech emerged from underneath which flourished its Destroyer Halberd in an energetic manner.
A multipurpose mech possessed endless depth!
It took a lot of effort to exhaust their entire bag of tricks!
When the War General turned from a heavy mech to a light mech, Ves felt like puking. Terran mech designers were very creative with their mechs!
The technical challenges to design a mech within a mech were exceedingly difficult to resolve. To make both forms perform optimally in combat without negatively impacting each other required a lot of creative solutions!
"Whoever designed the War General is a great mech designer!"
Observing the War General in battle was like seeing a masterpiece of mech design up close. Ves wasn't sure whether the War General was designed by a Senior or a Master.
With the population base of the Terran Confederation, the latter possibility could not be ruled out!
Yet despite knowing that Ves faced a mech designed by a Master, he did not believe that defeat was inevitable!
Despite being designed with the aid of an auto designer, the Ouroboros consisted of very high-end parts and exotics. Axelar's status as a Streon clansman was not for show! The mechs he routinely designed and materialized may be crappy, but their sheer performance still elevated them into the upper ranks of mechs!
Therefore, from a material and technological standpoint, the Ouroboros and the War General stood roughly equal. Neither side used more superior materials and technology. The War General may have started off bigger and employed more sophisticated modules, but none of them gave the mech a decisive edge against its current opponent.
Only two factors really mattered in deciding the outcome of this mech duel.
First, the mech pilots.
Having fought so long, Ves gained a good measure of Axelar Streon and Waltz Nexbern's piloting skills.
Each of them stood head and shoulders above any non-expert pilot from the galactic rim. The genetic and biological augmentations they received accelerated their minds and strengthened their bodies firmly into transhuman territory, allowing them to mentally and physically keep up with extremely high-performing mechs!
Due to his high birth, Axelar attended the best mech academies in the Terran Confederation.
Although he hated every second of it, the mech instructors made sure that Axelar squeezed the most out of his A-grade genetic aptitude. He possessed very solid fundamentals and his operation of his mech was clean and efficient!
Waltz Nexbern did not possess the raw talent or privileged upbringing of someone like Axelar. Instead, he grew up from humble roots and managed to make a decent start in the mech games.
After decades of fighting and dueling, he grew up to become a considerably wily and tricky mech athlete! Age, experience and constant training allowed Waltz to hold a considerable edge over Axelar!
Although the mech athlete's piloting style incorporated a small amount of unnecessary flashy moves, Waltz was still superior to Axelar in every aspect aside from reaction speed!
If Axelar wanted to achieve victory, he needed to put his faith in the design concept of his mech!
Although the Terrans considered hero mechs to be overly simplistic, Axelar already witnessed first-hand that the Ouroboros took full advantage of this aspect!
The Ouroboros not only managed to withstand the overwhelming attacks of the War General, but also retain much of its battle effectiveness in the process!
Certainly, the War General's close-ranged plasma discharge inflicted serious damage to Axelar's mech. Most of the detailed reliefs of creation and destruction lost definition due to being subjected to a destructive shower of plasma.
In fact, the entire front of the mech lost its original two-toned color scheme and took on a scorched and bedraggled appearance!
"It's mostly surface damage, though. The internals of the Ouroboros is still in good condition!" Ves avidly noted.
The thick and resilient armor plating of the mech might look awful, but it did its job in protecting the more vulnerable parts of the mech from damage!
From resisting neutron beams to bouncing off gauss rifle projectiles, the considerable investment that Ves had put into the armor system of the Ouroboros paid off in spades! A regular multipurpose mech of its weight class would never be able to remain standing after suffering through so much hell!
While the Ouroboros didn't appear very fancy anymore, the audience nonetheless stopped regarding it with contempt. As Terrans, they weren't stupid, and they could recognize the inherent advantages of the mech type.
"Believe in yourself and believe in the Ouroboros your other self designed." Ves mentally spoke to Axelar. "You aren't piloting a mech, you are embodying a god of creation and destruction! One hand creates, the other hand destroys! No other power is required to defeat your opponent!"
Ves kept encouraging the mech pilot in order to keep his spirits high. If not for his constant pep talks, his host would have defaulted back to his cowardly ways!
He could tell that it was working. Axelar continually shed his apprehension and no longer doubted or second-guessed himself. His connection with his mech continued to deepen, and his operation of his mech became smoother and more fluent.
Unlike with Eloise Pelican, nothing exceptional happened. The conditions to elevate Axelar and his mech into something even greater simply weren't present.
Still, Ves sensed that the man-machine connection between Axelar and the Ouroboros grew increasingly more intimate. And due to his presence in Axelar's mind, Ves was also starting to feel a faint connection to the mech he designed!
The Ouroboros contained a piece of Axelar! It also contained a piece of Ves! It was like a child who just reunited with its parents after a long period of separation!
A three-way spiritual connection took place that united the mech, mech pilot and mech designer into a single formless identity!
Axelar acted as the main controller while the Ouroboros was the executor of his decisions. Ves played a very small role as he did his best to hide his true nature from Axelar. Only a faint connection tied him to Axelar and the Ouroboros, but it was enough for him to pass on some of the deep technical insights he gained on the strengths and weaknesses of the Ouroboros and the War General!
Right now, the slimmer version of the War General utilized its high mobility to its fullest potential! The mech flitted and darted around the slower and damaged Ouroboros and delivered fast and powerful strikes with its halberd that Axelar struggled to block with the sword of his mech!
A Destroyer Weapon was incredibly destructive, and with the damaged state of the Ouroboros, it could not withstand too many direct hits!
If that wasn't bad enough, the recently-emerged light mech also employed integrated weapon hardpoints built into the shoulders and torso of the mech! They fired a constant stream of projectiles at the Ouroboros which slowly degraded its damaged armor even further!
Even as Axelar did his best to withstand the onslaught, Ves kept analyzing the latest form of the War General.
"Don't be fooled by its high exertion and its overwhelming offensive power. This light mech is peaking its performance. As long as you can withstand its attacks for at least twenty minutes, it will run out of steam! The War General's endurance is substantially less than our Ouroboros!"
"I don't think I'll be able to last that long!" Axelar gritted his teeth. "Waltz is insanely skilled in wielding a halberd! I'm constantly being pushed back!"
That was true! Despite being the lighter mech, the raw force and momentum employed by the War General forced the Ouroboros back again and again! If this pattern continued, the Ouroboros would eventually be pushed into the corner of the arena where the active shields would block Axelar's mech from exiting the arena boundaries!
Once the Ouroboros was pushed into a corner, it lost all of its maneuvering room, allowing Waltz to beat it up with impunity!
"You aren't using the Ouroboros to its full potential, Axelar." Ves retorted. "You're caught in your opponent's rhythm. Don't forget that your mech wields both creation and destruction! Right now, you are only making use of the destruction side of your mech. Have you forgotten that you wield the power of creation as well? Bring out the positron rifle and wield it alongside the Destroyer Sword!"
A hero mech employed two weapons simultaneously for a reason! Why should a hero mech limit itself to using a rifle against a ranged mech and a sword against a melee mech? That was like attempting to compete against an opponent on their strong points!
Even though the War General was constantly peppering the Ouroboros with its numerous integrated weapon hardpoints, the damage they inflicted were fairly low! A light mech was already small, so the weapon modules integrated into the War General's second form didn't pack a lot of punch!
"No matter how fancy the War General appears right now, it's mostly for show. Its basic engineering remains the same. Light mechs are fast and mobile, giving them great offensive power, but they're also fragile and susceptible to damage! Just one good hit can cripple the War General!"
"That's easier said than done!" Axelar replied to his other self. "The War General isn't sitting still long enough for me to make a counterattack!"
"Then pin it down or shoot it down with the positron rifle!"
"I can't! It's too big and unwieldy! The War General's halberd will cut it in half as I take aim!"
"The War General isn't the only object in this arena that can transform! The positron rifle that I've added to the Ouroboros possesses a second form as well!"
As Ves transferred some details on the weapon to his host, Axelar immediately acted on the information!
The Ouroboros drew out the partially-damaged positron rifle from the small of its back and activated a single command that caused it to shed its front half and some other components.
The positron rifle turned into a small and compact positron pistol!
Although its power, accuracy and energy capacity took a substantial hit, the pistol was small enough for the Ouroboros to make use of it in a close-ranged cash!
The Ouroboros began to fire back at the War General whenever it blocked another halberd strike!
Axelar realized that each time the War General attacked and got repulsed, the light mech momentarily paused in place. This presented him with a critical window of opportunity for him to nail a shot on the War General!
After five exchanges, Axelar managed to land three solid hits on the War General, burning three serious-looking holes in the latter mech's exterior!
"This is it, Axelar! This is how a hero mech should be employed!"
The Ouroboros looked unprecedentedly daunting as it slowly started to gain the upper hand against the War General!
"Do you think you can beat my War General with a mere pistol?! Think again!"
Waltz quickly abandoned his current strategy when he saw that the tide was turning against him. He piloted his War General away from the Ouroboros and rapidly built up a lot of distance!
Once he gained several kilometers of distance, Waltz activated a command that caused the Destroyer Halberd to shed its powered blade and spike!
The War General then inserted the hollow shaft of the weapon perpendicularly into a small hollow that opened up from its chest plating.
The tip of the long and narrow muzzle began to take on an ominous glow.
"If I can't take out your mech up close, then I'll just have to finish the job from afar!"
The War General unleashed a radiant beam!