The Mech Touch Chapter 852

850 Beating The Breakdown

The idea to design a new mech that fit better with the environment than their existing mechs appealed to Ves very much. He restrained his design tendencies for so long while he worked with the Vandals that he'd almost forgotten his true purpose!

While the brief opportunities he gained in the past to design a competition mech satisfied his thirst for a bit, it was like a single drop of water in a vast desert. Now that he found a chance, he didn't intend to let go.

Previously, the Flagrant Vandals already possessed an abundant amount of suitable mechs for the jobs at hand. While they made use of fairly random Vesian mechs they stole from their raids, the Vandals weren't entirely stupid and they prioritized older but serviceable military-grade mechs.

None of the designs that Ves could come up with could outperform these optimized mechs, even if he incorporated military-grade component design schematics.

Ves was just a single mech designer, while most of the other military-grade mechs were often designed by design teams led by one or multiple Senior Mech Designers. Therefore, from the start, there was no point in offering the Vandals to design a mech that didn't add any value to their combat effectiveness.

The situation changed once they landed on Seven and entered the storm lands. With the breakdown effect wreaking greater havoc the closer they got to the source of the phenomenon, the Vandals faced the unpalatable prospect of restricting their mechs to the periphery.

Even up to this day, the Vandals and Swordmaidens seriously considered sending their warriors and soldiers to the battleship on foot!

While they knew that they needed to secure the interior of the Starlight Megalodon with foot soldiers, what about the exits? There was no point in sending them in only for some other force that managed to field their mechs to wait outside and capture any infantry force coming out with valuable loot.

The Flagrant Swordmaidens deeply worried about securing their exit lanes. The problem sounded similar to spaceborn fleets maintaining orbital supremacy so that their landbound forces had a way out after finishing their business on the ground.

"The power disparity between a mech and a soldier on foot is too huge. Even the worst mech in history can easily crush a soldier in combat armor."

Due to the increasing strength of the breakdown effect, the Flagrant Vandals already realized that their tough, strong and heavy suits of exoskeleton armor suffered the same fate as the mechs.

Powered fully by a raft of servos and artificial musculature, the exoskeleton armors possessed way too many moving parts. The more moving parts a machine possessed, the higher the chance of suffering a failure. Perhaps one minute an arm would lock up. That was fine, because the exoskeleton armor could still fight even without a functional arm.

It would be bad if one of the legs malfunctioned next. That would practically immobilize the suit that could easily rival or exceed the mass of a cow. This incredible mass also exacerbated the exoskeleton armor's needs as they all needed to wear heavy-duty gravitic backpacks that expended its energy reserves within hours. This ultimately limited their applications, as they simply didn't possess the necessary reach to venture deep within the Starlight Megalodon.

Just like with mechs, the simpler the combat armor, the longer it lasted. The Vandals and the Swordmaidens already adjusted to this mentality and their armorers began to fabricate a raft of light combat armor.

Yes, light combat armor, which was the weakest and lightest possible protective suit specialized for combat operations.

This was because medium combat armor depended on internal motors and servos, all of which basically consisted of lots of tiny parts that underwent a lot of strain from lifting all of the weight!

"Since the same logic that applies to combat armor is also valid to mechs, I don't see why we shouldn't consider this option."

Ves thought too simply. When he put the arguments forth in front of Captain Byrd, she frowned.

"While I'm not a mech designer of a chief technician, even I know that adding a new mech model to our lineup is a huge undertaking. It's one thing to fabricate new combat armor. They're small, simple and don't take too much effort to mass-produce. It's an entirely different story when you're talking about something as large as mechs. Let me call in a specialist."

He waited as Captain Byrd called in Lieutenant Commander Soapstone. The logistics officer entered the meeting room aboard one of the heavy transports converted into a mobile headquarters.

"You called, captain?" She asked as she sent a curious glance towards Ves.

They hadn't interacted lately as they became preoccupied with their own issues. The ground expedition expended vast amounts of energy and supplies. Trying to make both of them last as long as possible tired her out continuously ever since she stepped foot on the ground.

"Please provide a judgement on Mr. Larkinson's proposal."

When Ves briefly summarized his plan to develop a breakdown-proof mech, Soapstone weighed the proposal seriously.

"What kind of materials are you looking to draw upon?" Soapstone asked.

"Nothing too fancy. I know our limitations. I'm not going for quality but simplicity. We won't be making use of the best alloys and exotics."

"That means your breakdown-proof mechs will inevitably be expendable. Is that a price that the Vandals are willing to pay?"Find authorized novels in Webnovel,faster updates, better experience,Please click for visiting.

"The mechs will be weak regardless of what I do." Ves stated simply. "Putting too much bling on the mechs is like putting lipstick on a dog. Most of the expense will be put to waste. It's much better to keep them cheap and simple as that makes it easy for us to produce a decent amount of breakdown-proof mechs in a short amount of time. We can even find a nearby ore deposit to avoid drawing upon our diminishing resource stockpiles."

Ves made this consideration after much thought. He figured that Captain Byrd and Lieutenant Commander Soapstone would be more inclined to reject his proposal if he insisted on designing an expensive mech that drew upon an excessive amount of expensive materials.

Everyone tended to favor cheaper options over more expensive options, especially in a time of scarcity. The Vandals had always paid an extreme amount of attention on their energy and resource expenditures and really wouldn't be pleased if Ves dumped a huge burden on their laps.

"It's doable, captain." Soapstone concluded. "If the mech is as simple and cheap as he claims, we won't have to make too many sacrifices to produce a squad of these breakdown-proof mechs. Is it possible to fabricate them on the move?"

"I can design them in a way that they can be assembled in a semi-modular fashion. This way, the mech technicians can first fabricate all of the individual parts separately that can easily be stored in containers until we have need of them. When we wish to deploy them, it will only take half a day of work for a single crew to assemble them into working condition."

Ves made his final pitch. "You can consider it as a contingency option, ma'am. I have experience with designing original mechs by myself, so I'm fully capable of taking on the design project by myself. Fabricating these mechs will take some effort but it won't draw too many mech technicians away from their regular duties because they can easily and quickly reproduce all of the parts. If the breakdown effect isn't as serious as we thought, we can simply keep the parts in storage or recycle them down to their base materials. Besides, the Swordmaidens aren't sitting still. They're already on the move."

Eventually, his arguments convinced Captain Byrd. "If you put it that way, it's worth a try. However, I don't want you pull away too many mech technicians from their regular duties. It's my understanding that they already have enough work on their hands. We can't afford to be delayed in our forward progress because our mechs take longer to be repaired."

"Good! I'll be sure to keep you apprised of my progress, captain. I think it will take roughly a month for me to design a breakdown-proof mech that's fit for our circumstances."

They began to discuss his choice for opting for a laser-armed frontline mech. Why go for a ranged mech instead of a melee mech?

"The simplest quadruped melee mechs are bestial mechs, and I don't have enough experience with their structure to design anything reliable. A frontline mech on the other hand is more like a humanoid mech with every redundant part stripped away. A ranged mech is much more mechanically simple than a melee mech that has to perform complicated movements to inflict damage."

Not to mention that Mayra already declared her intention to design a tiger-shaped melee mech. Allowing the Vandals to field ranged mechs neatly covered the weaknesses of the Swordmaiden bestial mechs and strengthened the synergy of their allied forces.

"Don't forget that we only have a limited pool of mech pilots to draw upon Mr. Larkinson. Any ranged mech pilot that we allocate to your breakdown-proof mechs is one less mech pilot in our main force. We both know that frontline mechs work best in greater numbers, but I'm not willing to weaken our main force."

"How many breakdown-proof mechs are you willing to support, ma'am?"

"We'll have to see once we arrive at the mission site. For now, let's assume that I want to have a squad of ten or twelve or so mechs."

According to their estimates, they were getting closer and closer to the Starlight Megalodon. It might take two to three months to finally get close enough to contest for control over the battleship.

This meant that Ves needed to have his new mechs ready by then. While this timeframe was rather tight considering their limited fabrication capabilities, Ves possessed enough confidence that he could finish the job in time.

"Leave it to me, captain."

Ves eventually left the meeting room and returned to the mobile workshop. He managed to obtain approval for his latest project, but only after he agreed to several provisions. They weren't anything unexpected. He was basically on his own during the design process and when it was time to fabricate his designs, he couldn't draw on more than two crews of mech technicians at a time.

"If I want to complete everything in time, I'll have to stick to my promises and keep my mech as cheap and mechanically simple as possible."

He considered this project a rare and valuable opportunity to showcase his design prowess after  a long time of dormancy. Properly speaking, this design project amounted to developing his third formal original mech design!

Even though the plan was to only fabricate twelve of them at most, with very little possibility of using outside of this mission, it did not take away the fact that Ves had the opportunity to design a mech for the purpose of serving his clients.

In the case of the Blackbeak medium knight mechs and the Crystal Lord medium laser rifleman mechs, Ves explicitly designed those mech models for the market.

This time, his third original mech design exclusively served the Flagrant Vandals and no one else, but that did not take away the sanctity of the designer-client relationship. Whether a mech designer developed a mech for the market or for a specific client, they both served their core purpose of their profession.

Mayra was no less of a mech designer than those who ran multi-billion credit mech manufacturers in civilized space. While the pirate designer mainly designed mechs for the Swordmaidens and a couple of allied pirate gangs, her designs did not lose out too much to those who designed mechs meant for sale in the brutally competitive mech markets.

"Well, since this is my first formal design project in a very long while, I'll have to start from the beginning. What is my vision for my third original design?"