The Mech Touch Chapter 897
895 Rulebound Tradition
The CFA never really saw eye-to-eye with the MTA. Both claimed stewardship over humanity after the dark days of the climax of the Age of Conquest, yet one always thought they were better over the other. One organization represented the most powerful weapons of war known to man, while the other organization pushed for a new hope.
Their ideological clashes regularly divided human space. Their rivalry also kept them in check against each other, preventing any single organization from becoming the only hegemon of human civilization. Yet hostilities became so heated in some cases that extremely destructive 'incidents' occurred from time to time!
Therefore, as soon as Ves declared he wanted to take the recruitment test for mech designers, Virtual Lieutenant Baskanson immediately threw him the stink eye. The AI may act like a bot sometimes, but its programmers pretended to give it some personality.
[Commencing recruitment test in ten seconds. Chosen profession: mech designer. Please stand by. Warning: cheating is not allowed. Violators will be disintegrated!]
Ves took that last warning extremely seriously. With all the high technology the Starlight Megalodon revealed so far, he knew she possessed a thousands ways to kill him in the most horrific way possible.Find authorized novels in Webnovel，faster updates, better experience，Please click www.webnovel.com for visiting.
The entire surroundings morphed into an extremely well-equipped workshop and design studio. Ves looked around and noted his metallic surroundings and peculiar markings. It seemed as if he entered one of the Starlight Megalodon's many mech workshops!
Virtual Lieutenant Baskanson appeared into view again. He stared at Ves with a cool glare before raising his palms.
A projection of a timer appeared on one palm. It started at 5 minutes but already started counting down!
The test had already begun!
From his other palm, a data pad appeared.
[Please read the mission contents and complete the assigned task within the alloted time.]
Ves picked up the data pad and felt the weight and shape of it through the feedback from his Earth Ant. "So this is the fabled physical projection!"
The projection technology common in the galactic rim conjured up realistic illusions. People could easily distinguish fake from real when it came to cheaper projections. More premium projection systems lacked this flaw and could easily project a convincing environment. Combined with a positional sound projection system, it was as if two speakers light-years away from each other were right next to each other!
The only flaw was that poking your hand through a projection instantly broke the illusion. No matter how realistic a projection appeared, it was ultimately a product of sound and light without any ability to interact with touch.
Yet physical projection technology broke this rule! Through some means which Ves didn't understand, a physical projection system possessed the ability to resist force. While such systems inevitably possessed a limit, preventing it from projecting a deadly mech or an unbreakable object, such a development still provided a lot of potential, expanding the applications of virtual reality.
[Task: design an original spaceborn light skirmisher mech with the following parameters…]
The first task demanded that he design a fully-fledged mech. He didn't have to design it from scratch as the virtual workshop offered him a library of in-house component designs. Ves figured the mech type and the parameters he needed to meet would be randomized each time he repeated the task, because the demands the task set sounded extremely eccentric.
"What are these demands?!"
The specific demands on the shape and performance metrics of the mech prevented him from designing an existing light skirmisher design from memory. Obviously, the recruitment test already foresaw such possibilities.
The problem was that the minimum performance of the mech that the task had set was way too high! Not only that, he had less than five minutes to fulfill this task!
With his current capabilities as an Apprentice Mech Designer on the verge of advancing to Journeyman, he might be able to rush his design in two or three hours. However, even with the advantage of 'future knowledge' in the perspective of the time period of the Starlight Megalodon, his design would only be able to perform sixty percent from the task requirements.
That forty percent performance gap was too massive as the law of diminishing returns came into play!
"This test is impossible to complete in the allotted time!"
Perhaps it would have been possible for Ves to take his time and spend an entire year to design a mech that met all of the design and performance requirements. The main reason why a hasty design fell short on performance was that Ves didn't have the time to weigh his design choices carefully and optimize his mech through numerous iterations.
Yet did the task care about that? No! It demanded Ves to complete a year's work of design work in just five short minutes!
"Not even a Senior Mech Designer can complete this task! Only Masters can comfortably complete such a design this fast!"
Ves suspected that the CFA and the Starlight Megalodon deliberately made things difficult for mech designers. While his knowledge of technological advancements over the last three-hundred years since the Starlight Megalodon got cut off from the rest of the galaxy helped him out quite a bit, that advantage was ultimately trivial in the face of this task.
He wanted to curse in front of the virtual officer's face, but refrained from doing so. He didn't want to trip some hostility alarm, and considering that he was a mech designer, the battleship wouldn't hesitate to disintegrate him if he crossed the line.
The next four minutes or so proceeded exactly as he expected. He raced through the library of component designs and slapped a mech together as fast as possible. Yet a mech design consisted more than puzzling together some parts. He barely had the time to unify the components before he reached the ridiculously short time limit.
[The mech design is incomplete. Verdict: task failed! The recruitment test ends now.]
With those merciless words, Virtual Lieutenant Baskanson immediately kicked him out of the physical projection. He turned his head until he faced Ketis who seemed similarly distressed.
"This test is ridiculous! There's no way that anyone can design a mech in five minutes!"
The Vandals and Swordmaidens all laughed at their distressed states. It was a rare form of entertainment for those left behind in this safe zone. It was better than wallowing in their pity and anger for not being able to take part in the battle against the Vesians.
Some time later, Ves sat at a bench next to the park as the others resumed farming. Ketis went off to explore the empty structures in boredom.
He went over the details of the first task and tried to think of a way to complete it with his current capabilities. Even if the Starlight Megalodon worked with outdated mech standards, the gap in technology wasn't so wide that Ves could simply snap his fingers to come up with a suitable design.
"The CFA is far too biased against mechs and mech designers!"
Yet even if the CFA conducted the test impartially, Ves would still fall flat due to the abnormally high standards it imposed to those who wanted to join their ranks.
The Common Fleet Alliance regularly received the accusation that they were ancient dinosaurs who refused to get with the times. Despite their high degree of technological innovation, they were infamously traditionalist and conservative in their social and ideological evolution.
"The CFA still clings to the glory of the Age of Conquest."
At the most fundamental level, the CFA never gave up on warships and tried to redeem their awful reputation. The tyrannical admirals and naval officers who engaged in reckless slaughtering and genocide in the past caused the CFA to doubledown on discipline and adherence to its rules and regulations.
Anyone who broke a rule received strict punishment!
It was no surprise that they gained a reputation for being heavy-handed, not just against outsiders, but also against themselves. Yet it was through this harsh and uncompromising regime that human civilization slowly lost their paranoia and suspicion against one of the Big TWO.
Since the four-hundred years or so since the Age of Mechs commenced, the Common Fleet Alliance thoroughly built up a reputation for harshness but fairness, possessing only a bias for spaceborn humans. This was a forgivable quirk of theirs and nobody minded them as true spaceborn generally stuck to themselves.
"Still, all of their inertia makes them slow to accept mechs."
At the time of the Starlight Megalodon's disappearance, the CFA only recently accepted that mechs were there to stay. In the Age of Mechs, how could they miss out on this newfangled war machine?
Yet even if they felt pressured to work with mechs, they certainly dragged their feet when it came to implementing them into their force structure. The CFA believed in the primacy of warships, so the more powerful mechs became, the more they felt threatened by this recent invention!
However, it wasn't in their nature to deliberately cripple technological development. The only reason they maintained an edge with their warships was because they constantly improved their design and underlying technologies.
Therefore, Ves and many people involved with the mech industry considered the CFA to be an inherently contradictory organization. They pursued breakneck technological innovation but remained stagnant when it came to ideological and societal adaptation and shifts.
The MTA that Ves aligned with was a new organization that didn't inherit the trappings of the past. Mechs didn't exist in any meaningful way during the Age of Conquest.
This enabled the founders of the MTA to develop a new set of rules and regulations from scratch. In addition, due to their newness, they constantly needed to adapt and change those rules when they fell flat. They were much faster to adapt to the times and didn't insist on sticking to old conventions when they no longer held any relevance.
One organization wanted to go back to the glory days of the past.
Another organization wanted to pave a new way for the future.
They both had their good points and bad points. Even Ves admitted that the MTA wasn't a perfect organization.
As Ves mused about the CFA, Captain Orfan suddenly appeared next to him and sat on the same bench as his with a grin.
"Don't let the recruitment test get you down, Ves. The CFA have always been rat bastards against outsiders. Nobody is supposed to pass the tests for non-CFA personnel in the first place."
"I know that. I haven't taken it personally." He replied.
"Then don't look like a beaten dog. We'll manage something. I'm sure of it." She smiled.
"I admire your ability to smile in the face of these depressing circumstances."
"It's not as if grouching and thinking suicidal thoughts will get us anywhere. No matter how hopeless we seem, I don't want any of us to drag each other down. We owe it to our fallen comrades to fight to the end. Engaging in self-destructing will just be giving the Vesians what they want."
She had a good point. As the senior surviving Vandal officer on the ground, Captain Orfan shouldered a huge responsibility. From a force consisting hundreds of mech pilots and thousands of support personnel, the Vandal ground expedition abruptly diminished to a hundred people.
Any mech officer would despair at these conditions! Yet Captain Orfan looked at imminent doom in the face and responded with a confident smile. Whether she truly felt this way or merely presented a facade to prop up everyone's morale, Ves admired her proactive leadership at this sensitive time.
Unfortunately, Captain Orfan didn't have much to smile at as soon as she spotted something in the distance.
"A new mech is being dragged over from the safe zone!"
While the surviving Vandals and Swordmaidens occasionally saw Vesian mechs and transports entering the safe zone, this time was different. This was because the Vesians didn't send in a normal breakdown-proof mech.
This time, the mech the Starlight Megalodon tractored over was the infamous Belisarius! Captain Orfan widened her eyes as she recognized the unique appearance of the expert mech from the battle footage provided by Ves!
"We're in trouble now."