The Mech Touch Chapter 918

916 Cfa Standards

The XV-99's minifab system added an enormous amount of utility to Ves, yet it did not come without a price. It was the most vulnerable component to the XV-99 and could easily break from sustaining a direct impact or a moderate shock.

Due to how much space its components took up, the minifab system could only be mounted on the back of the armor, taking up space that should have been occupied by a modular backpack of his choice.

However, due to the high level of integration and structural strengthening around the minifab system, it could take a lot more impacts and shocks than if it turned into a fully modular system. Right now, Ves still possessed the possibility of taking off the minifab system in the field, but only if he removed his combat armor and disassembled the rear portion with tools.

[While this suit of armor isn't the best in terms of protection due to its thin and light armor plating, the underlayer cushion is capable of absorbing a lot of shock. The XV-99 is most resilient against explosive damage, as it is often employed by our engineers during battle conditions to guard against equipment blowing up in their faces.]

Ves understood that rationale. The CFA almost always fought against aliens, pirates and rebels by pounding their assets with their huge, powerful guns from a very safe distance. The biggest threats to CFA warships was enemy warships with equally big guns.

There was no way any individual could survive a direct impact from a naval gun, but the real killer almost always consisted of being thrown into space or standing too close to a malfunctioning machine that blew up. Therefore, most non-security CFA hazard suits and suits of combat armor provided strong protection against explosions.

"What about its mobility?"

[The XV-99 makes use of small but very durable servos to assist in movement, but the boost they provide is rather limited.] Levitt explained. [The true gems are its EVA capabilities. The XV-99 is a popular model for engineers to take out whenever they need to perform external maintenance and repairs in space. Magboots allow you to stick to anything metallic, the integrated antigrav modules enables you to float under standard gravity, and a miniaturized flight system mounted along the limbs provide a non-grav means of propulsion in case you end up somewhere weird. In addition, it has a good integrated oxygen tank as well as a small water recycling system.]

"Are the antigrav and flight systems strong enough for flight on this planet?"

The virtual chief armorer shook his head. [Not for an armor of this caliber. Higher quality combat armor can do more, but we don't have many of them left and they're only available for redemption under exceptional circumstances.]

Well, that scratched off an escape route for Ves. He wouldn't be able to fly away from the Starlight Megalodon with the Squalon under heavy gravity.

"Alright, tell me about the other functions that are of interest."

[I've taken into account your wishes and upgraded the internal scanning and sensor systems. They can make much better scans and observations than any multitool, and I've also integrated the anti-stealth function you've requested. The Squalon's standard assisted targeting system is already good enough, and it's compatible with a range of CFA weapons as well as most junk weapons you can pick up anywhere in the galaxy. As for those silly homemade ultracompact batteries, they're shoddily made and a hazard compared to what we own. I took the liberty of recycling those pieces of junk.]

Ves adopted an awkward expression. When he researched and developed the ultracompact batteries, he felt so proud of his achievement. Yet it turned out to be nothing but pieces of junk in front of the virtual armorer.

"What about ECM?"

[Well, I can't stuff a stealth system in your Squalon. It's already packed with features. However, its standard ECM systems should suffice in hiding you from various scanners and sensors. I also integrated a proper replacement of that crappy signal jammer you cobbled up. It can block nearly every damn standard sensor, but it won't do much if someone performs a powerful directed scan at your location.]

"It's better than nothing." Ves murmured.

He knew that his new combat armor's ability to hide from mech sensors and the like had significantly improved, although it wouldn't do him much good against the Mark I Eyeball. He did not mistake his Squalon for an infiltrator suit.

[The Squalon is an armor for field engineers, so it is well-equipped with high-quality integrated precision tools. They're not suitable for any heavy-duty work, but they are good at their intended purpose. I've also taken the liberty of adding an armored toolbelt with a standard-issue CFA multitool and CFA multiscanner thrown in for completion's sake.]

Ves studied their specs and noted that all the integrated tools, sensors and scanners possessed considerable capabilities far above par of what any standard-issue gear from a second-rate state should be capable of. The CFA multitool and CFA multiscanner that Levitt threw in as a freebie performed a bit worse, but they were small and portable and allowed him to use the devices without equipping the XV-99 Squalon.

"All of the gear has been updated with the latest security suites, right?"

[Who do you think I am?] The virtual chief armorer frowned. [Of course I did! Even if the Intelligence Department got ahead of me and submitted all kinds of new security suites and software, I have to admit they're all pretty good. Mind you, a skilled CFA hacker can probably shut all of your fancy toys down within seconds, but you're probably good against any other kind of foe.]

As long as the Vesians or any of the other rabble from the Komodo Star Sector wouldn't be able to hack his gear, Ves had few complaints.

[As for what kind of additional loadout you can bring, the Squalon offers various small storage compartments. There is a dedicated data chip compartment that shields these fragile buggers against shock, impact, EMP and all kinds of other radiation damage. There are also other, less protected pockets for smaller bits and pieces. I tried fitting in those awful backup knives of yours into them, but they didn't fit so I threw them away along with the rest of your junk. However, that inert stiletto of yours is very interesting. Even if its material composition is rather basic, the craftsmanship of this weapon is worthy of recognition.]

"Did you manage to upgrade the Cadisis?"

[Cadisis, eh? I don't get why you humans like to name your weapons. Well, I've been puzzling over a way to upgrade stiletto without destroying its essence. I ultimately decided to submerge it into a bath of liquid exotics, infusing its structure with extra strength, penetration and more importantly decreasing its passive stealth and signal dampening capabilities even further. It's damn near invisible against most sensors and scanners below CFA-standard. Of course, it's no use hiding it from the Starlight Megalodon's scanners. You owe me some extra merits for this service!]

Ves brushed his fingers against the narrow, straight blade of the Cadisis. Even looking at it with the naked eyes caused him to disregard it slightly. This was a mastercrafted weapon infused with a weak X-Factor by its craftsman.

"Don't worry, Levitt. I'll cover the difference. I've got merits to spare now." Find authorized novels in Webnovelfaster updates, better experiencePlease click for visiting.

The virtual armorer smiled at the thought of receiving more merits. [I know. You're the talk of the ship right now. There hasn't been a single human mech designer in the history of the CFA who earned merits more rapidly than you! The CFA would probably give you a commendation once we reconnect to the galactic fleet network.]

Ves snorted. "No thanks. I can do without the attention."

It wasn't as if the Starlight Megalodon would ever be able to reconnect with the rest of the CFA.

[I copied and adapted the wrist mechanism on your Earth Ant to the Squalon. You'll be able to draw and stow away the stiletto in and out of its sensor-dampened wrist sheath without anyone getting the wiser of it. Frankly, I don't know why you insist on adding this feature to your Squalon. It's always the infiltrator and commando types who request this feature.]

"It's better to be safe than sorry." Ves murmured.

[Trust me Mr. Longhorn, if you want to kill someone, don't do it yourself. Get someone else to do the deed. A mech designer like you ain't suitable for the battlefield.]

The advantage of the Cadisis was that hardly any non-CFA scanner and sensor detected its presence. This made it a worthy weapon to invest in as materializing the Amastendira could easily trip a weapon detector. His mastercrafted laser pistol might be an impressive piece of weaponry, but everything about it screamed for attention.

As for Levitt's advice, Ves directly disregarded his words. He went through way too many crises to believe he could always rely on someone else.

"Did you upgrade the Squalon's communication systems as well?"

[The Squalon already has a pretty good transceiver that will allow you to maintain communications even under moderate signal interference. It's difficult to obtain anything better without switching to a dedicated comm officer armor. If you didn't already opt for the minifab system, I would have been able to add a signal relay backpack to your armor. As it is, your Squalon synergises well with your upgraded junior officer-grade CFA comm.]

The armorer gestured towards a comm that looked almost completely identical to the CFA comm that Ves already wore on his wrist.

"What's the difference between this new CFA comm and the standard ones?"

[It's mostly better in terms of its software and security suites. The two junk comms you handed over are almost completely worthless apart from some innovations to its software. Together with the new data the Intelligence Department made available, I've comprehensively upgraded its ability to resist hacking. I also increased memory storage so you can stuff more data inside. That'll cost you more merits, by the way.]

Under Levitt's guidance, Ves transferred all the data and permissions from his standard-issue CFA comm to the upgraded version. Right now, Ves already felt a lot better for wearing a comm that wasn't as vulnerable to modern hacks.

Overall, Ves felt very pleased by his new loadout. "What's the downside to using the Squalon?"

[Compared to other CFA armor, it's less suited for direct combat.] Levitt knocked his fist against the chest plate of the Squalon. [Most standard-issue CFA weapons can chew straight through its thin armor plating. In addition, the minifab system is kind of a power hog. While the Squalon already comes with decent rechargeable ultracompact batteries, depending on what you do you'll easily be able to drain them within a day if you don't ration your energy supply.]

Ves acknowledged the warning. At the very least, it wasn't so troublesome to recharge these batteries. He could hook it up to any power supply to top them up. Really, the capabilities of these standard-issue CFA batteries put his so-called 'junk batteries' to shame.

"CFA standards sure are impressive!" He sighed in admiration. "This level of technology and wealth is centuries, if not millenia ahead of the rest of the galaxy."

[That's the perks of working with one of the most powerful organizations in human space.] Levitt grinned. [This isn't anything impressive as far as the Starlight Megalodon is concerned. It's too bad that our previous human crew used up all of our best gear and supplies. This planet is very poor in high-grade exotics so we've never been able to replenish our best equipment.]

Besides receiving the upgraded and customized XV-99 Squalon, Ves also received a standard-issue CFA laser pistol. It might not be able to match up to the Amastendira, but the weapon packed more than enough punch against any non-CFA opponents.

To the CFA, any opponent except for themselves, the MTA and some of the more formidable alien races could be disregarded entirely. This included much of the rest of the human race!

"Did you also prepare my promotion gift?"

[I did, though I'm surprised you opted to select this device.]

Levitt gestured towards the oddest device on the table.