The Mech Touch Chapter 419

Chapter 419: Different
The next days, the Mech Corps began to perform a lot of tests. They wanted to know everything about the capabilities of their mech designers.Physical tests only formed the start of it. Due to his endowments, Ves breezed through examinations that sought to test his strength or endurance. However, once he moved on to examinations that tested his coordination and how well he played certain sports, he fell flat on his face due to a lack of practice.His strange performance instantly distinguished him among the crowd of hundreds of mech designers in training unit. Even his bunkmates had to reassess his existence."Why are you such a freak, Ves?" Bart asked with goggling eyes."Bad luck from a mission gone wrong at the frontier.""Wow, if can call that back luck, then you are more than welcome to pass it over to us!""Haha! I wish. It's mostly my own fault for accepting the mission in the first place."Besides finding out their physical limits, the processing center also stressed out their cognitive limits. The entire training unit went from examination to examination where they needed to perform specific actions such as memorizing as much pages of a random book in a short amount of time.While performing a single test wasn't that big of a deal, the Mech Corps seemed keen on carting them off from test to test without any time to rest. This quickly led to a lot of protests from many mech designers."Our treatment here is outright disrespectful!""Are we training to become commandos or something?! I'm almost falling apart at the seams!"They mostly complained at empty air, as the Mech Corps never sent out any human face to conduct the tests. Instead, they relied on bots and projections to corral the mech designers as if they were guinea pigs.The strange methods all added to the illusion that they somehow ended up in a prison instead of a training center.A lot of mech designers carelessly uttered their frustration at the inane treatment they received. Many of the Apprentice Mech Designers who got called up in the second wave all enjoyed a certain amount of success in their careers.They expected to be treated with a measure of respect. Instead, the processing center went out of its way to make their lives more difficult.A lot of mech designers attributed this behavior to the mech pilot-centric focus of the Mech Corps and the wider society.Only a handful of people such as Ves knew the truth. As a Larkinson, Ves already possessed a lot of awareness on how the Mech Corps worked.The grumbling of the mech designers couldn't compare to the harsh training every mech pilot endured before they were allowed to enter the cockpit. To Ves, they acted like a bunch of babies.Out of his bunkmates, only Morgan appeared to be aware as well. "They want to break us down and shave off some of our egos. Who among us doesn't possess a net worth of at least a couple of hundred million credits? It would be hell if they put us all in a base without attempting to adjust our attitude."Ves nodded. "It's more than that. It's pretty clear that Journeymen are receiving different treatment from us. They're probably being groomed in a different way, possibly to lead over juniors like us."Even if they knew what went on, it wasn't as if they could become immune to the constant manipulation. Humans didn't work that way. Attitude and behavior came from the mind and body. Both could be manipulated in a million different ways.If some smart alecs thought they could endure the annoyances without becoming affected, they had another thing coming.Over the next couple of weeks, Ves and the others finished their tests and moved on to actual training. Each mech designer trained together but received individual goals they needed to achieve by the end of the training session.Failure to comply led to very severe punishments.Ves pretty much fell into the illusion that he went through a boot camp. The exercises pushed him harder than anyone else. Where as one person only needed to lift a boulder the size of a child, Ves had to lift a boulder the size of an adult.The training program also sought to push the limits of his cognitive functions. His exercises would be ten times harder than anyone else. Sometimes, the disparity would be even wider.His superhuman intelligence caused him to excel in brute force cognitive functions such as memorizing a raft of texts or performing mental calculations that might have stumped an average mathematics professor.Ves also seemed to excel in more creative aspects such as sketching out a mech described in a single page that was filled with abstract words. His ability to visualize a mech from vague and fanciful concepts actually caused others to look like him as if he was a freak."Ves Larkinson is a monster. He simply isn't human!""Don't get close to that freak.A single handshake of his will break every bone in your hand!""Do you think he prefers tall women? Drat, if I knew a hunk like him was here, I would have undergone a treatment to shorten my stature!"It came without saying that Ves did not enjoy all the attention he was getting from the training unit. While some of the mech designers exhibited exceptional cognitive functions, they couldn't be compared to his own abilities. On top of that, he also possessed an abnormally strong physique.As his performance became increasingly exceptional, his bunkmates started to distance themselves from him. No longer could Ves walk up to them as an equal and talk about what they thought about mechs.Even Morgan admitted his inferiority in front of Ves. In his mind, though he would certainly be having the last laugh, he should do his best to keep his head down while he was weak."It must be really nice to have a Master looking over your development." Jim sullenly said after a brutal round of training one day. All of them felt physically and mentally exhausted. "She must have stuffed you with all of the latest genetic boosts. How many did you get?!"Ves frowned as he lay on top of his bunk. He was in no mood to argue. "I only got one. As I mentioned before, all of my other changes are a result of my own actions. There are many wondrous things in the frontier. It's dangerous to wander outside of human space, but that's exactly where the last treasures of the galaxy reside.""You're hiding something!" Jim burst out and pulled himself into a sitting position on his bunk. "I heard from the others that you shouldn't have even passed through the first inspections! You only got through because you ran to mommy for help!""Now that was uncalled for!" Ves barked back. Using that particular word in that manner wore down his patience. "I won't deny your words, because it's true, but what does it matter? I came here to do the same thing that everyone else is doing. I am here to serve the Republic.""Hahaha! Keep your stupid drivel to yourself! All I'm seeing is someone who is better than us trying to act like he's one of us. Let me tell you, it's useless! You trying to fit in with us is like a wolf pretending to be a sheep among a herd. The only ending that's in store for us is you putting all of us down!"Ves did not get angry at Jim's outburst. Everyone was tired, and some even held a lot of accumulated resentment. In these kinds of situations, people often said things they didn't really wish to express if they possessed a sober mind.His mother taught him to avoid such arguments by not getting into them. Therefore, Ves merely rolled around in his bunk and tried to go to sleep.Unfortunately, Jim took that as an affront. "Are you ignoring me, Ves? Answer me! Why are you here!?"His raised voice caused the other two bunkmates to add their own voices."Shut up, Jim." Bart wearily frowned. "Ves is on a different level than us. That's got nothing to do with us."Morgan held a very different opinion. "You know, maybe Jim is on to something. I keep thinking why Ves is slumming it out with mortal men like us. Then I realized the truth. He's not an Apprentice Mech Designer. He's a Journeyman!"His outburst caused the other three to jump. What?!"Think about it! In every single exercise that the Mech Corps is subjecting us to, he's head and shoulders above the rest. He's beating us up so badly that even our mothers can't recognize us anymore! A monster like Ves fits in more with Journeymen than Apprentices!""B-B-But-But-But Ves only started designing mechs two years ago! How could he jump from Novice to Journeyman in that time?!""Do you really need to think about it? A Master Mech Designer is capable of doing anything as long as she's willing to spend a lot of resources. My take is that Ves has a 'special' relationship with Master Olson, if you know what I mean.""That's slanderous!" Ves retorted back to Morgan. He felt obliged to defend Master Olson's honor. "My relationship with my Master has always been cordial and proper!""Says the boytoy!" Jim taunted to Ves. "I don't know how a hick like you got lucky and caught the old hag's eyes, but you aren't a real mech designer! All your achievements are due to the gifts you received! You never accomplished anything by yourself!"This impacted Ves a lot more than he thought. He felt deeply affronted by the way that this loser of a mech designer accused him of having everything handed to him. Even if he benefited from the System his father had left him, the thing hardly allowed Ves to breeze through the ranks. He worked hard to get to this point!"Really, it's obvious now that I realize it." Morgan uttered as he pointed an accusing finger at Ves. "The only reason why the people upstairs placed here is because you're here to stir us up! Smearing all of our faces with your inhuman level of performance is another form of torture to us!"Jim cursed and jumped to his feet. "Bastard! Go back to your masters and tell them to sod off!"Before Ves could utter a defense, Jim bolted towards the bunk where Ves was resting on with remarkable haste. His exhaustion didn't seem to be a factor as his outburst lent him a lot of strength."Get off me!"Jim started to punch, kick and claw at Ves. It might have been very severe if not for his pathetic amount of strength.His attacks did nothing to Ves. His body was like a sponge that absorbed Jim's mindless attacks as if it soaked up water.Though Ves really wanted to punch Jim in the face, he withheld his body and remained on the defensive. He already knew what would happen next.A loud tone sounded out in the room. Moments later, a massive electric shock ran through all four occupants. Even Ves became paralyzed, in part because the shock mainly targeted at his nerves, which still remained fairly vulnerable.The shock succeeded in stopping Jim from lashing out. His body shook and shivered as his body completely went out of control.Half a minute later, the door opened and a couple of black-coated armored bots hovered in. They clawed at Jim who was sprawled on the floor and hauled him out like a sack of meat.The door closed and locked after the departure, leaving the remaining three occupants to deal with the after-effects of the shock attack.Ves was really beginning to hate this experience. He had a feeling Jim wouldn't be the last designer to be carted off.