The Mech Touch Chapter 439

Chapter 439: Georgia
Georgia Lyall turned to the main recorder of the news program. "In our next segment, let us talk about the latest mech model that has upended the upper segment of the rifleman mech market.""Are you talking about the Gizlin Mark IV?" A fat pundit who proudly referred to himself as Osmon the Mech Sage probed.Another pundit on the panel shook his head. "That's the wrong price segment. We're not talking about that cheap piece of trash that falls whenever it encounters a breeze!""Professor Marklen is right." Georgia nodded. "The mech model I'm referring to is the iconic-looking Crystal Lord!"A projection of its design and some key specs started to appear from the table in the middle of the studio."Designed by Ves Larkinson, this premium rifleman mech model comes in three different variants, and are mainly distinguished by quality. The so-called gold and silver label mechs are produced by Mr. Larkinson's own Living Mech Corporation, while the more affordable bronze label mechs are left to various licensed manufacturers.""I do have to say that the bronze label Crystal Lord is barely representative of this excellent design!" The Mech Sage interrupted in a brisk manner as he swigged a glass of beer. "I've seen all three labels in person, and the only mechs worth a damn are the ones produced by the LMC and no one else!""Ahem," Georgia tried to wave the Mech Sage down. "As I was saying, the Crystal Lord entered the market with a minor stir due to its extreme features, many of which has elicited a lot of arguments over the galactic net."The news anchor proceeded to list the notable traits of the Crystal Lord, from its lightweight but resilient construction for a medium mech to the strange gimmicks incorporated in the chest and rifle of the mech. Lastly, she addressed the pricing of the mech."As of this moment, the gold label Crystal Lords are nearly impossible to obtain. As a variant that is prized for its exquisite quality and excellent performance in battle, the main reason why they are so hard to obtain is because it bears the privilege of being handmade by Mr. Larkinson.""A Larkinson, you say?" The Mech Sage popped up again. "Any relations to 'those' Larkinsons?""Ves Larkinson is indeed related to the famous military family. In fact, his grandfather is none other than Benjamin Larkinson!""Splendid! No wonder his mechs are so fantastic! The Larkinsons know their mechs, that's for sure! Did I ever tell you how I made a bet with Ark Larkinson back when we were in boot camp? We bet on who could last out in the cold out in the dark at night at our desolate training camp the longest! The winner would get all of the porridge the both of us received from the mess hall for a week. Did you know what happened?"Georgia sighed inwardly, but she maintained her smile because she knew the mech nerds that watched her program lapped up these kinds of stories. The Mech Sage wouldn't have been a mainstay of her news portal otherwise."What happened?""The drill instructors immediately put a stop to our bet, but afterwards immediately kicked us out in the cold for the rest of the night! We shivered and shivered and hugged each other's bodies to keep ourselves warm! It was one the most miserable nights I've ever spent in my life!"Imagining the famous Colonel Ark Larkinson as a scruffy young mech pilot spending the night out in the cold with nothing but another buddy for warmth must have sent the audience cracking. Georgia possessed a thin implant over her eyes that indicated that her audience indeed reacted positively to the anecdote.Sometimes, she wondered why she ever agreed to host a broadcast program about mechs.Still, lots of people watched those shows, and the pay was good, so Georgia maintained her smile and pressed on. "That's interesting to hear, but let us get back to the Crystal Lord. Initially, the models entered the market with a whisper. The specs looked attractive, but the pricing scared many people away. The initial sales came from those who attended the product reveal. All of them we've interviewed were ecstatic about the Crystal Lord models.""Who can blame them?" Professor Marklen interjected this time. "This dangerous line of mechs possess a powerful capacity to manipulate the judgement of any person that comes near one of these dangerous mechs. They are an abomination and should have never passed validation! I don't know what the MTA is doing these days, but whoever validated this monstrosity of a design should be executed for treason!"Georgia knew she had to intervene. "Now now, professor, let us not cast any blame upon the MTA here. The fine folks that keep human space in check are nothing if not thorough."Marklen obviously disagreed, but he received a quiet signal that he should firmly shut up about this topic. He had no choice but to comply.Professor Marklen was another regular guest to the program, though he didn't appear as much as the Mech Sage. He was a bona fide mech designer, but was merely an assistant professor to a small institution on Bentheim. His main value in the program lay in the fact that despite holding the title of professor, he possessed a lot of eccentrics thoughts."I still think the LMC has the ethical duty to pull the Crystal Lord from the market." Marlken persisted, this time making sure he didn't involve the MTA in his argument. "While by all accounts the neural interface is a bog-standard reproduction of a standard model that is prevalent in many designs in the Republic, we can still constitute that everyone who has ever piloted a Crystal Lord or came into viewing distance of it became strangely affected."The Mech Sage slammed his meaty palm against the table top while letting out a burp. "Maybe they just appreciate a good mech! With so many crappy designs being published these days, the young Larkinson's latest work is a breath of fresh air."Georgia nodded, seemingly in agreement. "There are even rumors percolating over the galactic net that the Crystal Lord design is even eligible to be nominated for the Best Mech Design of the Year in the Junior category. What do you say about this possibility?""It's outrageous!" Marklen screeched. "Safety studies have barely started on the Crystal Lord, and already the mech industry wants to elevate it onto a pedestal? That is highly irresponsible! There are too many oddities with this mech, from the alien-derived crystal technology to the way it assimilates everyone it gets in touch with. I want to reiterate that I want to see this design banned!"The Mech Sage laughed again. "Hahahaha! That's the funniest thing I've heard in a week. There's no way the Crystal Lord will be taken off the market. You'll have half the market rising up in protest. For better or worse, the Crystal Lord is peaking in popularity. Everyone wants a piece of it, and the mech manufacturers aren't pumping them out fast enough.""Why has the Crystal Lord become such a remarkable success despite its tepid introduction? If you take away the magnetism of the mech and look at the numbers on the spec sheet, the mech provides poor value for money.""Ah, that is what everybody thought, but they were wrong." The Mech Sage waggled his fat finger. "Some of the features of the Crystal Lord don't sound very impressive on their own, but taken together, they are actually able to reinforce each other. For example, cladding a fast mech with a thin layer of compressed armor normally doesn't do too much, but the Crystal Lord is really, really fast.""Does that make any difference?""It makes a huge difference! The faster you move, the more damage you can spread out over your entire frame! The speed of the Crystal Lord is really unreal for a medium mech. It's almost like a light mech in a sense. Though its agility is a little worse, its fast enough to prevent any ranged mechs from focusing their fire on a single component of the Crystal Lord. That massively improves its survivability on the battlefield."Professor Marklen did not agree, or rather he was not willing to let the Crystal Lord become more attractive in the eyes of the audience. "All of that sounds great, but you are overlooking two important factors. All of that running around will wear out the Crystal Lord. For a design that is prized for its endurance and longevity, its parts can't keep up with extensive use. Already we are hearing stories about some parts fallen off the Crystal Lord after surviving a stressful engagement.""That's only the case with the bronze label variants! None of the silver and gold label Crystal Lords have reported any excessive wear and tear!""Not yet, but the designs for the three labels are functionally the same, barring a few exceptions. It's impossible for this problem to be absent in the more expensive versions of the Crystal Lord. As I was saying, the problem of accelerated wear and tear is compounded by the fact that this mech is really expensive to maintain. Much of the value from this design comes from its premium materials. Repairs on the field are impossible to perform because the components of the Crystal Lord require a whole laundry list of raw materials to reproduce."This was a problem that some ecastic owners of the Crystal Lord had just begun to encounter. From the Trailblazer engine to the crystals, from the Veltrex armor system to the HRF armor system, Larkinson's design utilized too many different raw materials in its construction.Mech technicians already started to hate the design for being so difficult to repair in the field."You know, back when I was making a name for myself in the previous war, a lot of repairs are improvised patchworks. Even the mechs that are designed in-house can't be restored to their original condition on any battlefield environment. The mech designers leading over the mech technicians have always made do with whatever they could get their hands on. Sometimes, to patch a hole in the armor, they even resorted to plain steel!""That does not disprove my original point." The professor persisted. "Even in times of momentary peace, it's a strain on logistics to supply all the raw materials to fabricate replacements parts. That reminds me, the second reason why the Crystal Lord is a burden to any outfit is the fact that its much-praised Trailblazer engine only accepts medium-density mech-grade fuel.""It's a fuel-efficient engine design from the Friday Coalition!""Just because it comes from the Friday Coalition doesn't mean it deserves an automatic seal of approval. The Trailblazer engine is not an engine design that has been formed by one of the Coalition's famous equipment designers or manufacturers. It has instead come from the hand of a single mech designer. It is inevitable that his biases have affected his design. The Trailblazer engine might be efficient if used in the Coalition, but here in the Bright Republic medium-density fuel is getting harder and harder to obtain.""The refineries are still up and running." The Mech Sage sullenly said."For how long? Fuel refineries are the number two or three highest priority targets that the Mech Legion always aims to destroy. If past trends holds true to the present, then we can expect the price of medium-density fuel to double or triple in the middle phase of the war."That was something that the Crystal Lord design couldn't do anything about. Every customer that bought the Crystal Lord for long-term value would eventually start to wince when they received their fuel bills.""Is this enough to take the Crystal Lord out of contention for Best Mech Design of the Year?" Georgia asked, spotting an opportunity to get back on the foreground of the discussion."This isn't a possibility. It's an ironclad fact." Marklen confidently spoke. "The Crystal Lord may be enjoying its time in the spotlight right now, but sooner or later the public will shake away the brainwashing and wise up to the truth!"Georgia smiled as she received another bit of news from the producer. "Well, I'm afraid you'll have to be disappointed, because word has just come in. The Bentheim Mech Court has just announced their shortlist of nominations for the Junior category of Best Mech Design of the Year, and Mr. Larkinson's Crystal Lord is in the list!"A groundswell of astonishment spread throughout the audience that watched the program. Other news portals and mech portals quickly released the same news, confirming the rumors that the Crystal Lord was in contention to receive a prestigious reward!