The Mech Touch Chapter 684
683 Instant Dinner
The older structure worked when the entire Vandal mech regiment moved in a single fleet. Lower-ranked mech designers could turn to plenty of Apprentices or Journeymen for assistance.
It worked best with better-funded mech regiments. Unlike the Vandals, the other mech regiments employed an ample amount of mech designers. With up to a hundred higher-ranked Apprentices and up to twenty Journeymen employed at a time, a mech regiment did not lack for design muscle.
Even if most of them would spend their time on tinkering with actively developed mech designs, that much mech designers may still be useful even as tech support from a distance.
Besides, Ves bet that the other mech regiments also employed a lot more lower-ranking mech designers as well. Perhaps ten or twelve of them might be assigned to each combat carrier. If they were allocated in a clever manner, their diverse specialties enabled their team to cover a wide spectrum of possible problems.
"Something like this simply isn't possible with the Vandals. We don't have enough mech designers."
Every combat carrier in the Vandal fleet hosted a handful of lower-ranking mech designers. They were barely competent enough to propose and apply some rudimentary modifications. The real work needed to be done by Apprentices who were actually competent, of which the Vandals barely had enough to go around.
With only one high-ranking mech designer stationed aboard most ships, this meant that the variability of mechs between each ship would only diverge over time.
Perhaps one ship hosted a mech designer who knew how to work a flight system like magic. However, he was bad at everything else. The mechs aboard that combat carrier would therefore degrade in performance over time as that mech designer made a mess out of things. The only part about the mechs that didn't suffer a slide in performance was the flight system, which performed significantly better after he had a hand in their improvement.
Ves drew up an entirely new allocation scheme for his subordinates. His solution was simple. The mech designers needed to rotate to different ships every once in a while.
"The low-ranking mech designers can stay. Their adaptability is much more limited. They won't be able to adjust to their new working conditions so easily. Keeping them there will also enable some portion of continuity among mech designers to persist aboard each ship. Replacing one batch of mech designers with an entirely new batch of strangers will lead to too much wasted time in getting them all up to speed."
By rotating the higher-ranked Apprentice Mech Designers, Ves ensured that everyone's specialties would proliferate among the entire fleet.
For example, that expert in flight systems already finished his work on upgrading the flight systems of the mechs aboard his current posting. One day later, that mech designer transfers over to another ship.
She immediately came face-to-face with a different set of mechs with upgraded armor and an improved internal structure. The previous mech designer obviously emphasized their durability, but the ripple effects of his changes affected many other parameters as well, mostly in a negative direction. The entire flight system of these heavier-protected mechs strained to keep them moving agilely in space.
The flight system needed an entire overhaul to keep up with the changes to the rest of the mech, and that recently transferred mech designer came at the right time.
"Moving around the mech designers with different expertises and specialties will prevent the mechs from transforming into one-dimensional variants that is only good at one thing but bad at others."
The fundamental problem at work here was that most mech designers employed by the Vandals didn't possess the foundation or experience to design a mech by themselves. They spent so much time in design teams or collaborative projects that they neglected to shore up their complete ineptness towards certain areas of mech design.
"Every independent mech designer has to be an all-rounder to a degree. Their weakest link can literally drag down their career through the mud."
This was also why collaborative projects became the norm when it came to mech models with higher sales volume. The mech manufacturer that sold the mechs had to guarantee that they could fight and win, and to do so they needed to employ additional mech designers to cover the blind spots of their lead designers.
As Ves only possessed real experience with designing mechs by himself, he looked down on this dependence on others to cover for your weak points. He understood the logic and the merits of these methods, but he figured that the lead designers could easily become complacent about the gaps in his design skills.
A mech designer that became complacent was a mech designer that stopped advancing to a higher rank.
"All these mech designers have gone off the beaten path." Ves shook his head.
His disapproval aside, his fellow colleagues needed to eat too. Starting their own businesses may be a step too far for them, and Ves would have probably failed as well in his own attempt if not for the gift that changed his entire life.
Ves drew up a chart that listed out the available higher-ranked Apprentices at his disposal. He attached their names to their current berths, then shifted them around.
"Hmm, that's too simple. There are some cases where mech designers with similar specialties are visiting the same carrier."
He shuffled the allocation around and developed it into an increasingly more detailed periodic transfer schedule. After at least seven different transfers, each vessel received a mech designer that covered all of the major specialties that their mechs could benefit from. Not a single blind spot in their designs would remain if everything worked as planned.
After finishing this transfer schedule, he wrapped it up into a proposal where he explained the reasons why he thought was necessary to implement. Once he prettied up the words, he sent it on to Major Verle for him to decide whether to go through with it or not. This decision was way too big for Ves to unilaterally decide upon.
Ves smiled and leaned back in his chair. "Now that I've done my work for the shift, the rest of the day is mine."
Right now, the standard time reached the evening hours. The next shift came into force, freeing Ves and Ketis from their duties. Ketis pretty much ran out of the hatch of the office compartment as soon as possible, ostensibly to eat dinner, but really to escape her dreaded homework.
Ves shook her head at her eagerness to escape studying. "Mayra must have sat on her every time she tried to get Ketis to do her homework."
Many servicemen moved to the mess hall at this time. Ves decided to skip eating one of the mess hall's reconstituted meals this time.
"I'm way too short on time."
After some reluctance, Ves bent down and opened up the bottom drawer of his desk. He retrieved a nutrient pack he had stashed there some time ago in anticipation of this kind of event.
Ves looked at the nutrient pack with distaste. "Savoury chili flavor with chunks of imitation beef chunks."
Everyone in the galaxy learnt not to trust the flavor name by heart. Certainly, the nutrient packs tasted fairly similar to its description.. If they came off fresh from rollers of the biosynthesis plant.
Because nutrient packs tended to last for centuries, large organizations had a tendency to order an enormous batch of them from a massive trans-galactic enterprise to take maximum advantage of any bulk order discounts.
The newly-ordered batch was meant to be used up over a period of decades according to the bean counters who came up with these cost-saving deals.
Ves flipped the flat, rectangular package of the nutrient pack over and looked at its synthesis date. "Damn, it's over two decades old. It's gonna taste like dry sawwood at this stage."
With a grimace on his face, he tore open the package of the nutrient pack, revealing its extremely dry contents. Compacted biological nutrients and other weird substances formed a highly-dense bar of pure industrial food as black as coal.
He took a single bite and chewed with great difficulty. "Yeap. Dry sawwood."
He couldn't even taste a hint of chili, let alone the promised imitation beef.
Due to the extreme dryness of its contents, a nutrient pack should never be eaten without a readily available source of hydration. Plenty of starving people had actually died of thirst after frantically eating a nutrient pack without pausing to drink some water!
Water was always at hand, fortunately. Ves picked up an empty cup and held it in the air. A spout from the ceiling deck squirted some water into the cut. Hidden antigrav modules caused it to fall gently into the cup, preventing the liquid from splashing around.
"The things I do to survive." He sighed as he took a quick sip of water before finishing his nutrient pack within minutes.
The meal might not be very appetizing, but the entire routine didn't take up more than a couple of minutes.
"Let's get back to work now."
Many mech designers that wanted to exceed their quotas worked extra hours or entire double shifts in order to deliver an excellent performance for the week. Back when Ves first introduced the rewards they could gain for exceeding their weekly quotas, some had been very enthusiastic about pursuing these goodies.
"It's too bad that it's lost a lot of force by now."
Even the slower-witted among the mech designers found out that borrowing too many textbooks didn't help them out at all. They needed months to peruse and study a single profound book, so what use was there to juggle six of them at once?
Ves scratched his head. Motivating his subordinate mech designers to work overtime was harder than he thought. He needed to figure out a new reward to keep the chumps working like bots that didn't know how to rest.
"I'll figure something out another time."
Right now, with time pressing on his mind, Ves still had his side projects on his plate. "Right. At this moment, piecing together a working ultracompact battery is my highest priority."
Once he replicated a tiny battery the size of his tongue that compressed enough energy to fly an aircar from one continent to another, his ability to protect himself increased by a massive amount.
"A supercharged jamming device can act as a substitute for a stealth device, able to fry or blind even the most shielded electronics when put on maximum power. Such a gadget will help me remain discreet when discussing sensitive matters with other people. A supercharged stealth detector on the other hand will screw over those sneaky bastards from half a ship away with a single high-powered pulse."
He suddenly realized he neglected a crucial factor into the working of such supercharged devices. "My gadgets will fry and melt if too much power is pumped into them in a short interval. It would be like pouring a lake's worth of water through a fragile pipe made out of wood or something."
The pipe would burst instantly, splashing a humongous amount of water over anyone in the vicinity.
If Ves wanted to make full use of the ultracompact batteries, then he needed to go back to the drawing board and comprehensively strengthen the design of his existing gadgets.
More work on his plate. Oh joy.Find authorized novels in Webnovel，faster updates, better experience，Please click for visiting.
He spent the rest of the evening making a start on this project. He dove into the fragmented documentation that explained the science that underpinned their workings and understood perhaps five percent of the necessary information necessary to fabricate a working version of the batteries.
"This isn't going to be easy." Ves frowned deeper. Still, he needed to persevere. He always expected this effort to be a slog.
As evening turned into night according to the standard time, Ves rubbed his eyes and swiped away the projection explaining one of the many complex theories that he needed to master.
This was too much! His brain was already starting to pound. It signified that some of the theories involved higher concepts that Ves shouldn't be exposed to. This was far harder than he thought!
"The Skull Architect lied to me! This knowledge is filled with traps!"