The Mech Touch Chapter 732
730 Research And Developmen
Ves enjoyed trying to figure out the underlying workings of stealth tech. It different remarkably from his study in ultracompact energy storage systems in that his previous side project entailed a deep dive into extremely narrow scientific subjects.
To develop his ultracompact batteries, he needed to become proficient in extremely advanced science that was way over his head in ordinary circumstances.
This was also why he suffered from so many headaches. The deeper and more profound he dove into the science, the more facts and substantiated theories made way for bold assertions and insufficiently backed beliefs.
While Ves eventually found a way to cope with the threat of mental contamination, he still would have liked to do without it hanging over his head.Find authorized novels in Webnovel，faster updates, better experience，Please click www.webnovel.com for visiting.
Understanding stealth technology required a different approach.
Instead of diving in deeply in one or two very specialised subjects, Ves instead needed to read through a broad selection of shallow topics.
'Shallow' being a relative term here, because better applications of stealth tech utilized more profound sciences not inferior to the level utilized to make ultracompact batteries work.
The best way to view stealth tech was to see it as a fusion of different functions, each of them geared towards nullifying a different detection method. To get the most basic form of stealth tech working, they didn't need to be sophisticated, but they absolutely had to be able to work together in unison without a single hitch!
After all, what was the point of using optical camouflage to hide a stealth shuttle from plain view when an observation platform could switch from optical sensors to heat sensors?
To counteract this easy means, the stealth shuttle needed to incorporate heat absorption technology, so that it didn't radiate its heat like a furnace when it activated its stealth.
Yet even if a shuttle managed to hide itself from both optical and heat sensors, an observation platform would still be able to detect it by using other means, from sound pressure to detecting its mass.
While Ves and Avanaeon slowly became familiar with the standard solutions to solve each means of detecting something under stealth, the true difficulty revolved around stuffing it all in one small package.
Tying them all together involved a lot of auxiliary technologies such as miniaturalization and even a bit of energy compression!
Ves possessed a big advantage over Avanaeon in that he had access to much of the relevant literature from the Skull Architect. The chief engineer had to make due with scouring the local textbooks and academic journals in the ship's local database.
Because stealth technology was a restricted tech in the galaxy, the local database didn't allow any random person access to all of the core technologies needed to reproduce an application of stealth tech. Avanaeon encountered many roadblocks in his own research that he simply gave up his research and dedicated most of his available time to analyzing the salvaged fragments.
In this, the chief engineer found more success. He managed to decipher the structure and layout of the individual components. Even if he didn't understand the underlying theories why they were built that way, Ves stepped in at that moment to provide the missing link.
Still, even if they eventually managed to build up their base of knowledge, they still needed to fix up the fragments into a working product.
They quickly met with another problem when they tallied the exact condition of all the stealth plating, which was the most important component of the stealth shuttle.
"We don't have enough salvaged plating to reconstruct the original shuttle." Chief Avanaeon declared with a grim expression. "Initially, I thought we gathered more than enough duplicates to build a complete shuttle and have some fragments to spare, but if you look at their condition, then some of them are far worse off than others. If we cut out all the unrecoverable portions, then the healthier fragment that remains isn't enough to constitute sixty percent of the original shuttle."
The two of them stared at each other in silence.
"Then why not build a smaller shuttle?" Ves posed. "The Masters of Combat employed the original stealth shuttle as an assault vehicle meant for hostile boarding attempts. It's bigger and sturdier in order to convey as much
The chief engineer shook his head. "I already thought about that, but it's far harder than it sounds. The stealth plating is just one of the core components of stealth tech. There's all these other components that are buried in the guts of the shuttle that are essential to the systems as well. We can use less plating, but we can't skimp out on all the other necessary components. They're already as small as they can be, and it's impossible for us to compress them into a smaller size."
"What does that mean for us?"
"Well, if we design a smaller shuttle, it's going to come out with the internal makeup of a typical aircar. There's barely enough seating space for a couple of people while the rest of the shuttle frame is taken up by the power reactor, the sublight propulsion, the fuel tanks, the energy cells, the stealth components and you name it! The more we shrink the design, the less and less cargo and people it can actually carry."
That did sound like a significant problem. What was the point of a stealth shuttle if in the end it only possessed enough passenger capacity to transport a single dog?
Both of them knew that the original stealth shuttle model already did their best to miniaturize its components. A massive research and development team would be required to squeeze them into even smaller packages.
"Let's design a mockup of how this shuttle will look like." Ves proposed. "Even if we have to cut back on the cargo and passenger space, it doesn't really matter because we aren't looking to replicate a fully functional assault vehicle."
Ves actually bent the truth there. One of the biggest reasons why he was researching stealth tech in the first place was to create a potential means of escape.
The Starlight Megalodon attracted multiple different forces and possibly the sandmen as well. Ves envisioned a possibility in the future where they might be surrounded by enemies from without and within.
If the Flagrant Vandals and Lydia's Swordmaidens buckled under the pressure, Ves wanted to have access to a good means of escape, and what better than to board a shuttle that normal sensors wouldn't be able to detect!
In fact, the only sensors that could reliably detect the stealth shuttles were the stealth detection arrays that the Vandals built into their combat carriers and some of their Inheritor mechs.
While technically this meant that they'd be able to track down the escaping shuttle if Ves made off with it, if the fleet was already doomed then it hardly mattered anyway.
However, as Chief Avanaeon worked alongside for Ves on the same project for a while now, he eventually figured out why Ves showed so much enthusiasm. As opposed to Ves who considered it a matter of life and death, the chief engineer only treated it as an amusing distraction.
"Are you ready to desert us or something?" Avanaeon abruptly asked one day.
"No! Of course not!"
"Then why are you putting so much effort into getting this stealth shuttle to work?"
Ves knew he had to come clean to a point. "Because I'm rather insecure. You know this confidential mission stinks. How many light-years have we traveled from the Bright Republic? It's doubtful that we can even encounter a single Vesian in the deep frontier! Instead, we're off on a wild goose chase while contending against many other known and unknown threats. If you think about what we're up against, you'd want to leave an escape route out for yourself as well."
Avanaeon fell silent at that. He already knew subconsciously that the Flagrant Vandals engaged in an exceedingly threatening endeavor, but as a bona fide Vandal, his commitment to his fellow servicemen prevented him from harboring any cowardly thoughts.
"I can't blame you for harboring such thoughts. I don't want to agree with you, but…"
"Look, if nothing goes wrong, then the shuttle will remain here unused and untouched." Ves quickly added. "It's like building an extra escape pod. Building it will increase our chances and gives us extra options to survive a potential catastrophe."
"Alright, Ves. You've convinced me somewhat. Not entirely, but enough to let you proceed with what you're doing. I have a condition, though."
"Let me hear it." Ves requested.
"If you intend to build a working stealth shuttle as an escape vehicle, then I want in on it. We can co-design the shuttle and implement enough security locks so that it will take the both of us to activate it. This will allow both of us to get off the Shield of Hispania if she's about to fonder, while preventing either of us from lifting off prematurely before the other has made it to the shuttle. What do you think about this proposal?"
What Avanaeon offered was partially blackmail and partially a compromise. Ves hated to depend on others, and to put in the requirement that the stealth shuttle would only be able to start of both of them were physically present presented a major limitation in any possible escape plan.
It meant that the stealth shuttle would only be able to work if both Ves and Avanaeon made it to the shuttle bay alive!
Yet while Ves wanted to reject the proposal, he really had no choice but to accept. If Ves refused, Avanaeon could easily kick up a fuss and bring their project to the attention to Major Verle.
In addition, while Ves knew how to design a mech in his sleep, designing a shuttle was a different matter entirely. Avanaeon possessed a much deeper understanding of the inner workings of a shuttle.
He not only possessed the ability to reconstruct the original stealth shuttle if he had access to a sufficient amount of fragments, he also possessed the ability to reconfigure the original design in a smaller version that used up less fragments!
Ves valued the latter capability, but it was exactly this that no one else but Chief Avanaeon could accomplish!
For better or worse, they were both dependent on each other to complete the stealth shuttle project.
"Alright then, chief. You've got yourself a deal."
They shook hands on their little agreement.
With a mutual understanding between them, some of the barriers between their collaboration disappeared. The chief engineer even reshuffled his schedule and spent more time on the project in order to complete it in time.
After determining that they really couldn't proceed with the original shuttle design, they both pooled their skills together to come up with a rough sketch of a smaller version.
Their unique strengths meshed well with each other. Ves possessed an abundant amount of design experience which he used to guide the design process. Creating a new shuttle design based off an existing design sounded easy, but turned out to be an intimidating process to anyone else.
Avanaeon understood what each component did and how to put them together. However, just because he could explain the workings of a shuttle didn't mean he could design a new one. The act of designing required a special touch that only practiced designers possessed.
Therefore, the design that flowed from their hands truly couldn't have been put together by either of them alone. The draft design showed off a small, stubby shuttle that dealt with the limited amount of intact stealth plating in the most logical fashion possible.
"It kind of looks like a squashy cube." Ves remarked as they both took a step back to evaluate their sketch. "It doesn't even have a proper conal shape. I doubt this thing will even survive atmospheric entry."
Avanaeon shrugged. "While I admit it doesn't look very cool, it's structure is the most efficient configuration the simulations has found in terms of maximizing the amount of cargo and passengers it can carry."
"...You're not very good at art, are you?"