The Mech Touch Chapter 685
684 Creation Vs Replication
The files on ultracompact batteries had not come in the pure and neutral form as he had hoped. The core part of the virtual documents consisted of slightly outdated but exceedingly complex research papers written by experts and to be read by their peers.
The difference between a textbook and a research paper was profound. The former sought to elevate the understanding of their readers in a particular field, while a research paper published cutting-edge research results that pushed the envelopes of that field.
Certainly, Ves was no stranger to research papers. He read a whole bunch of them back in school, but they usually consisted of classic seminal publications that exerted a historic influence on the development of mech design. His teachers carefully selected the least profound among the papers to bestow to their students, and sometimes even went the extra mile and censored the higher-level concepts that would have broken the prospective young mech designers.
Ves enjoyed no such coddling now. These papers, at least a decade or two old, should have been read by researchers with at least five decades of experience in the field of electrical engineering and the like.
While Ves himself upgraded his Electrical Engineering Skill to Journeyman-level himself, that was far from adequate to decipher the papers written by researchers who dedicated their entire scientific career in advancing the capabilities of capacitors, batteries and energy cells.
The writing style of research papers reflected their dedication and mastery of the field. The dense paragraphs was filled with jargon, resulting in content that contained an extremely high information density.
An average fictional novel was like a feather. Their authors aimed to provide their readers with a pleasurable and comfortable reading experience.
A textbook was like a blanket. Their authors and editors gently eased those new to the contents into the fold.
A research paper was like a brick. The scientists who wrote them simply couldn't be bothered with the long-winded process of using a feather or a blanket to educate their fellow peers. They instead used the bluntest object they could find and smack them against each other's faces.
Those with a big head could take the blows without sustaining any damage and dish them right back with the same amount of strength.
Unfortunately, the people who lacked the smarts and theoretical background to understand the brick would just get their teeth smacked out. Many even sustained worse injuries.
This was the reason why he called these research papers a trap. The Skull Architect meant to torment him with knowledge that was in his grasp yet locked behind a metaphorical mob of angry researchers armed with bricks!
"It's an insidious trap, alright." He muttered with a glowering expression. "He's testing me again."
The Skull Architect had taken some of his measures, and bequeathed him with a test that corresponded to the man's expectations of Ves. It was patently ridiculous because even a Journeyman Mech Designer would get lost in these research papers!
"In the end, I showed off too much of my capabilities. He probably mistook me for a fast learner."
Ves could handle the jargon. He could handle the dense and packed academic writing. What he might not be able to handle was the mental contamination inherent in the papers.
"If mech designers crystallize the essence of their customs, principles, aspirations and biases into their design philosophy, then scientists and researchers have adopted something similar called their research philosophy."
The rules and dangers concerning design philosophy were much more severe than those related to research philosophy. However, even if research philosophy ended up a little milder, it could still be lethal to an immature and undeveloped mind if exposed at full blast.
Ves found to his dismay that even with the advantages of his heightened Intelligence, Concentration and Spirituality Attributes, he still sensed he was subject to mental contamination from the research philosophies buried deep within the contents of the papers.
They were like whispers in the back of his mind. They tempted him to leave mechs aside and devote more research into developing better batteries.
They urged him to side with the different camps that bitterly divided the researchers. One camp advocated that the best batteries were those with the absolute highest capacities. Every other concern could be shoved aside as long as the batteries lasted forever.
Another camp favored maximum energy transmission. They wanted to make batteries and capacitors be able to load and dump as much energy as safe and practical as possible. Maximum capacity could take a backseat in their eyes.
Doctrinal and ideological conflicts divided every field of science. If a theory existed, there were tons of advocates and detractors arguing in favor or against its merits.
Casually stepping in the middle of this debate without any expectation of taking a side was like navigating through a minefield. No matter where he stepped, he would eventually get his by a blast.
In short, Ves estimated that he needed to expend a substantial portion of his mental energy merely to digest a tiny fraction of the knowledge hidden within the research papers.
It required hard work, extreme concentration and a willingness to torture his mentality to get anything useful out of the academic literature.
"At the very least there's a great benefit to be gained at the end."
What Ves obtained were the keys to acquiring a shallow but undeniably broad theoretical foundation into the field of energy storage.
The versatility of mastering such knowledge far surpassed the act of learning a ready-to-fabricate ultracompact battery blueprint!
Mastering the theory allowed him to design any battery according to his precise set of demands and limitations. He could design a cheap ultracompact battery that barely did the job when he was facing many restrictions, which aptly described his current situation. He could upgrade to better battery later on when he returned home and had access to the full resources of his mech company.
Mastering a single blueprint only allowed him to fabricate a single battery without even truly understanding how it worked or if he made a mistake somewhere. It also didn't take into account his context. For example, he could only cry if the design schematics demanded the use of an exotic that was only available on the other side of the galaxy!Find authorized novels in Webnovel，faster updates, better experience，Please click for visiting.
"The difference between creation and replication is vast. If there's a viable choice, I would always choose the former over the latter!"
The tech underpinning ultracompact batteries possessed broad applications. Learning how to design a tiny ultracompact battery meant for man-portable equipment was no different from learning how to design the same battery but scaled for mechs.
Of course, such a battery would be prohibitively expensive and wildly inappropriate for commercial mechs in the galactic rim. Ultracompact batteries were rare in the Komodo Star Sector for a good reason.
"Well, it's not like I have to pull all the stops and design the absolute best batteries and energy cells for my mechs."
Even an energy cell that applied ten percent of the theories he mastered from the research material might be enough to boost its energy density by a significant proportion!
Overcome with the potential for greatness locked within the research papers, Ves began to cackle uncontrollably. "Kukuku.. Hahahahaha! HAHAHAHAHAHA!"
He abruptly stopped once he realized how stupid he must have looked. The mental contamination from reading the research papers already started to get their hooks into his mind!
Ves violently shook his head, trying to clear away his current thoughts. "I have to be more vigilant about this matter! Riches and rewards are intertwined with risk and danger. I won't be able to obtain these goodies so easily without paying a price."
He put the research materials aside for another day. Right now, he didn't trust himself to fend off the encroaching mental contamination if he continued his studies.
"I should only study the materials in short bursts of time. I have to bleed off the mental contamination over time."
He decided to turn in for the night, as sleep always worked great in cleansing the mind.
The next day, he fell into a new routine. He received a message from Major Verle about his proposal.
Surprisingly, the mech officer rejected it straight out of hand without any opportunity for Ves to argue for his case.
"Why?" Ves asked, befuddled and a little angry for his idea to be shot down like that.
The brief message stated that Verle found the arguments plausible, but other concerns prevented him from taking it into consideration.
Right now, the highest priority of the Vandals was to maintain the highest state of information security! Shuffling mech designers around every once in a while severely increased the difficulty of keeping a lid on their secrets! The fleet already minimized inter-ship shuttle traffic to an absolute minimum. The more stuff flew in space, the higher the odds of someone discreetly left behind some breadcrumbs.
Another reason why Major Verle rejected the scheme was that both the mech designers and the crew faced too much disruption if they had to become accustomed to new faces. It was especially harsh for the mech designers to leave behind their comrades and acquaintances they befriended over the course of their posting.
One particular line in the message stood out to Ves.
[As we go deeper into the abyss of the frontier, our men and women need anchors to keep them grounded and content. Do not belittle the strength that can be gained from knowing your comrades have your back. Fleet-wide morale is expected to deteriorate over time. Let us not hasten its descent by disrupting the familiar.]
In other words, Ves basically had to suck it up and figure out another solution to the long-term bias problem affecting the mechs aboard different carriers.
"Well, I guess it's back to the status quo."
With most of the quantum entanglement nodes down and inter-ship communication restricted to essential movement orders to keep the fleet together, Ves had no way of transferring the specialties of one mech designer to another ship that desperately needed them. In fact, the only solution that he could think of that might work was to take over the job of his deputies and rotate among the different carriers in person!
"So much for delegation."
Visiting the different carriers in person to wipe the butts of his incompetent mech designers consumed way too much of his time. How would he have any time left to spend on his side projects if he spent most of his nights aboard other starships?
Therefore, after a long moment's thought, he turned to the next best thing. He would personally comb over the designs of all five-hundred mechs from the comfort of his desk. After casually fixing up the most egregious faults, he would attach his corrected design to the delayed data burst the Shield of Hispania sent out to her sister ships at a fixed interval.
"It won't be possible for me to have a conversation with the mech designers who designed such atrocities." He furrowed his brows. "If I don't hammer in the point of how stupid they are, they might not even accept my suggested corrections."
Mech designers were confident of their own designs to a fault. Many took criticism of their work badly, and to see Ves run all over their baby like it was a piece of trash affronted them emotionally like nothing else.
Whenever someone gently provided constructive criticism to their work, they instantly turned into raging mothers who believed their sweet little child could do no wrong. Never mind the kids were actually devils who wrecked the family's aircar.
Ves sighed. "They'll just have to deal with it if they know what's good for them. The current state of our mechs has a lot of room for improvement."
Managing over five-hundred mechs was hard work. The fundamental problem behind their difficulties was that the Vandals simply lacked too many mech designers. The Verle Task Force had always been muddling along for the last half year or so. However, the cracks that slowly built up only started becoming visible now that the issue grew into a major problem.
He was already taking notes of this situation. If he ever became in charge of an independent unit, he would be sure not to repeat the mistakes he witnessed here.