The Mech Touch Chapter 666
665 Sanity Is Overrated
"What kind of mechs does the Skull Architect have in his lineup?"
"Well, nothing like this, obviously." Ketis answered. "He's always known for his radically high-performing mechs, though a lot of mech pilots love to complain about them. You can buy five decent mechs for the price of one of his mechs, so he doesn't sell that many mechs. According to Mayra, he still makes a decent killing, and a lot of pirate mech officers favor his mechs. The real reason why he's such a big deal in the Faris Star Region is because he designs some of the best custom mechs that pirates can get."
"For expert pilots? Do the pirates even have those?"
"It's rumored that the big pirate alliances all retain their own experts, but no. At least we don't have any." Ketis shook her head. "Mayra's mentor is merely the best place to go if you just scored big and want to waste it on the best mech you will ever be able to pilot. Each of the Skull Architect's custom mechs have shown off strong fake resonances."
This explained the Senior Mech Designer's success formula in the frontier. With a severe deficiency in higher-ranking mech designers in the frontier, anyone with the ability to design a custom mech was a valued asset to pirates. Excelling in this aspect meant that some of the best neutral pirates in the Faris Star Region wanted to maintain friendly relations with the man.
This desirability gave the Skull Architect the grounds to remain independent. If Ves had learned one big rule about surviving in the frontier, it was that friendships and relationships worked better than any laws or agreements.
Backstabbing someone was hard if that person could call up a dozen outfits to retaliate!
"How far up does he rank among the top-level mech designers in the Faris Star Region?"
"He's among the biggest hitters, if that's what you're asking for, but he's on his own. Both the Dragon Alliance and the Ravienne Alliance each have three or four Senior Mech Designers on retainer, though that's what they say in public. Every pirate is guessing they are holding a couple more Seniors back."
The two pirate blocs of the Faris Star Region sounded really domineering, but there were actually way more independent pirates lurking in both the Faris Star Region and the Komodo Star Sector. Pirates were notoriously independent and unruly, so utilizing too much force against these fierce and headstrong bunch of people would only provoke a backlash.
Ves counted the Skull Architect among their ranks. If he wanted to, the Senior could have easily taken a highly desirable position at the design teams of either alliance. That he stuck it out alone and tried to stand on his own two feet spoke of his resolve to be unaffected by factional strife.
A pure researcher wouldn't be interested in the pursuit of luxury or wealth!
As the Swordmaiden and Vandals slowly browsed past the mech stores, Ves became increasingly depressed at the mechs on sale. Most of them seem to have been designed by listless, robotic mech designers who designed the simplest and cheapest mechs possible.
And that only applied to the brand-new mechs! Much of the stores devoted more of their space to used mechs and salvaged mechs!
"Is this the kind of mechs that are popular among the pirates and the treasure hunters? No wonder pirates always fold so easily. Some of these mechs are literally walking junk piles!"Find authorized novels in Webnovel，faster updates, better experience，Please click for visiting.
"Don't look down on these mechs, big boy. There are three advantages to these mechs that make them worth it. First, they're really cheap, and I mean super cheap. The second advantage to them is that their designs all come with high tolerances. It's extremely easy to modify them, and nothing will break down even if you don't have a mech designer to design proper modifications. The third advantage to them is that they're extremely easy to service and maintain in the frontier. This is the most important point as the frontier is seriously a desert when it comes to places where you can service your mechs."
His low opinion towards the mechs on display reverted a little once Ketis enumerated her points. As much as Ves wanted to close his ears, she mentioned valid arguments in favor of these low-quality mechs.
It was hard. Their designs grated against his design sensibilities. The demands Ketis mentioned imposed a particular way of designing mechs that treated them even more like commodities than they ought to be. Their drab appearances, blocky mech parts and lackluster performance fostered no affection from their new owners.
They were merely mechs, built solely for the purpose to be abused as much as possible before being thrown away or recycled down to their base materials like pieces of trash.
"No wonder the Skull Architect focuses on premium mechs. It's probably unbearable for him to design mechs that go beyond his lowest standards." He muttered.
It also illuminated him more of the Senior's intentions for suggesting collaborative projects as a way to repay his debts. While the Skull Architect was certainly out for the variants due to their research and comparison values, the pirate designer could also earn a tidy sum of K-coins by entering the middle segment of the pirate mech market.
He doubted that any of his variants could be dumbed down to the point of competing with these trash models. However, selling them in the price segments above the budget tier should be doable if he was allowed to replace the more expensive components with cheaper ones.
It was a step in the right direction, but it didn't fully solve the Skull Architect's giant void in his mech catalog.
Since he originated from the Friday Coalition, a prosperous second-rate state in the Komodo Star Sector, Reno Jimenez never felt the pressure to design low-tier mechs. There were plenty of buyers for his high-quality mechs!
The mech market of the frontier was the exact opposite of the mech market of a second-rate state. Thrown from paradise to hell, though the Senior did his best to carve out his own niche in the untamed stars, it remained a fact that his design philosophy inherently clashed with what the vast majority of the pirate mech market demanded.
"Let's go." Ves sighed. "I've seen enough."
The press of people on the streets grew increasingly more crowded as Ves neared the bank office. Something up ahead formed a powerful attraction that drew the visitors of Mancroft like a moth to the flame.
Even his bulky security guards experienced some trouble in keeping the riff raff from coming too close.
"What's going on?!"
"Haven't you heard? A grudge match between Deathless Rowland 'Deathless' Ryke and Sonora Hellvoice' Bridges is about to take place in the mech arena! Hurry up, we can't miss this!"
Ves turned to Ketis again. "Who is this Deathless and Hellvoice?"
"Two famous pirate mech champions from rivalling pirate gangs. The Deathless is from the Castle Breakers and the Hellvoice is part of the Omen of Misfortune. Both of their names are among the ranks of famous mech duellists. I'm a fan of the Hellvoice myself." She replied as she perked up her head. "Can we skip the shopping? I really want to witness this grudge match!"
Ves almost moved his arm to whack her head. "No. Absolutely not. We are here on business, not pleasure, and I have plenty of business to conduct. We aren't here for a sightseeing tour. Our comrades back at our combined fleet is waiting for us to finish our errands quickly and return to our ships."
"Oh, come on, I've been stuck on that boring ship you call a flagship with nothing to do the entire week! I deserve some fun, you know!"
"If I recall, you spent the last week working on the test I've handed out to you. Hasn't tinkering with the Caesar Augustus design been enough fun for you?"
"ARRGHGH!" Ketis practically wanted to tear her hair out right now! "You call sitting behind a desk all week fiddling with schematics and numbers for hours on end fun?! What is wrong with you?!"
Ves stopped and turned to the recalcitrant girl. "I'm a mech designer. Someone who designs mechs for a living. While I understand that many people don't enjoy their jobs, it is one of the basic requirements if you want to go far in this profession. Let me tell you right now, I have never seen a Journeyman Mech Designer who doesn't love their job! Each and every mech designer I've met that's at least Journeyman is so driven about mechs that they can work for years on end on a single design for fun if the circumstances allow it!"
"T-That's crazy! How can these mech designers stay sane?!"
"You're asking the wrong question." Ves retorted calmly. "The question you should ask instead is if every higher-ranking mech designer is even normal. At some point, sanity can become a hindrance to progress."
Ves left the young woman with her gaping mouth as he turned around and resumed trying to press through the crowd. Ketis quickly caught up but she still appeared stunned by his radical statement.
He had thought long and hard about this matter ever since he first touched upon the Leiner Grey design. Talking with its designer for almost two straight hours had solidified his suspicions.
A good mech designer needed to let go of their sanity.
Of course, that didn't mean they should all bash their skulls with a hammer. The argument that Ves put forth was that great design could only be shaped by extreme beliefs, which in mech designers was expressed by design philosophies.
A design philosophy was a mental construct that contained the crystallization of a mech designer's rules and preferences for designing mechs. A strong, distinct and unique design philosophy could only be formed by strong, distinct and unique thinking patterns.
To put it simply, a boring and normal mech designer would never think of taking risks. Their designs firmly adhered to common sense and did not deviate too much from the norm. Their thoughts and experiences subsequently shaped their design philosophies into a weak, generic shape that might as well not exist for all the difference it made.
Perhaps this might be the key reason why unadventurous mech designers never advanced to Journeymen.
Normality and common sense served the common people fine, but transformed into hindrances when it came to designing mechs that were outside the norm. For a mech designer to design an exceptional mech, they needed to take risks as well as step outside the comforts of common sense.
That old quote about genius and madness being separated by a thin line rang more true than ever in this theory! Ves even considered them the same thing, only separated by what outside common sense deemed acceptable!
"This may even be the universal root to human advancement!
What separated beasts and bots from humans and their alien rivals? Sentience! Ves believed that Spirituality was intrinsically involved in the advancement of all kinds of professions, not just mech designers and mech pilots.
Whatever differences they may carry, the unifying factor in both was that it required one's mentality to undergo a transformation!
In other words, they needed to depart from the mundane and shift their thinking patterns into becoming something extraordinary!
"Mech designers are like wizards, and mech pilots resemble gods in their evolutionary paths! Different roads lead to similar outcomes!"
This slow and gradual process of retreating from the norm could be regarded as a managed descent into madness!
The key was to retain control over which pieces of sanity a mech designer let go, and which ones they absolutely had to retain!
This was why each higher-level mech designer was so eccentric in various matters. Their unusual thought patterns bled through their normal way of life, and turned them into freaks. Some just hid their abnormalities better than others, but Ves had no doubt that each had been touched with the twin jewels of genius and madness.
"Someone like the Skull Architect has lost grip of his morals, while the rumors surrounding Master Olson make her out to be a spendthrift. That moon-sized Titanium Garden of hers can't be cheap. Compared to them, I haven't even noticed anything weird from other mech designers such as Horatio and Professor Velten."
These differences illustrated that some mech designers controlled their abnormalities better than others. It also suggested that certain mech designers were able to channel their worst sides into more innocuous disorders. After all, between the Skull Architect and Master Olson, casually ordering the killings of thousands was a lot worse than spending too much money!
"If those are the possible excesses resulting from advancing into a higher state, then what is my excess?"