The revelation of an alliance to administer sublicenses of new generation component designs excited Ves to no end.
After the professor returned to his own duties, Ves stewed over the implications of this ambitious scheme.

”Professor Ventag never mentioned the cost incurred by the states, but it must be extremely hefty. ” Ves murmured to himself.
”The alliance is in effect licensing a whole set of component designs five-hundred times under special conditions.
Even if they are able to obtain a bulk bargain from the MTA, the discount won ’t be disproportionately large or else everyone else would have already made use of sublicensing schemes. ”

Another issue with regards to expanded licenses was that the MTA clearly didn ’t hand them over willy-nilly.
Ventag already remarked off-handedly that the Bright Republic and the Vesia Kingdom acquired them in exchange for various non-monetary favors to partially offset the huge sums involved.

Ves guessed that these favors came in the form of increased MTA intervention in the mech industry, the right to set up more military bases in their territories and perhaps a crackdown on behavior that the MTA frowned upon.

In the perspective of galactic geopolitics, this essentially meant the Bright Republic and the Vesia Kingdom aligned themselves closer to the MTA.
Of the four most powerful trans-galactic influences, the Big Two and the first-rate superstates all vied for influence throughout the rest of the galaxy.

It was generally a good idea for distant, unimportant states to balance their relations with all four of these powerful entities.
In this case, however, the decision of the two states implied that they inched closer to the MTA at the cost of distancing themselves a bit from the other three influences.

”The CFA won ’t be pleased their main rival managed to worm their way further into the two states. ” Ves predicted.

None of this concerned Ves.
Instead, he would rather much think about the implications to his medium-term business plans.

Once the war ended, he always intended to find a way to earn huge sums of money to afford some of the cheaper new generation component licenses.
He was always aware of their pricey licensing fees, so he never aimed to acquire a full set.
It was much more realistic for him to license a couple of core component designs to form the nucleus of his new designs.

”This opportunity is even better.
Instead of picking and choosing among the cheapest and poorest new generation component designs, I ’ll be able to gain the rights to make use of the full set without going bankrupt! ”

The terms offered by the alliance sounded generous to him.
Even though his mech company, which would be the legal entity which sublicensed the component designs from the alliance, owed a continuous flow of fees while selling mechs based off the sublicenses, it was a win-win arrangement for everyone involved.

He knew that only a handful of entities possessed the muscle to refuse the temptation offered by the alliance.

”Perhaps the biggest companies led by the most successful Seniors can skip the alliance and use their own financial muscle to gain more favorable component licenses.
As for every other company, it just makes more sense to forgo the massive upfront fees and ease their entry in the new generation by spreading out the costs of sublicensing the new component designs. ”

Ves did not envision making use of the new generation licenses forever.
Usually, a decade into the new generation was enough to allow other component designers and developers to catch up and offer better alternatives at cheaper prices.

However, by then, the first entrants into the market for new generation mechs already captured large swathes of market share and earned a killing.
As long as those first entrants didn ’t publish too many flops, they would certainly be able to hold onto the advantage they gained at the start of the new generation!

”The important point is that mech designers have to hit the ground running.
Use the new generation component designs to design amazing mechs.
Use the earnings from selling those fantastic new mechs to license evolved versions of those component designs.
Rinse and repeat. ”

Like a snowball rolling down a mountain, the scale of earnings grew larger and larger as long as each design was a solid success.
However, just climbing up the snowy mountain took a lot of effort in itself.
It was unreasonable for most mech designers to be able to make it all the way up to the top, and even Ves doubted he could go beyond halfway.

The alliance was like a shuttle that picked him up from the base of the mountain and flew him all the way up the top without putting in his own effort.

Naturally, he needed to pay the alliance back for the shuttle ride in other ways, but it beat climbing the enormous mountain with his own two legs.

”This solution solves one of the biggest problems facing my company in the next ten to twenty years. ” Ves sighed.

All he could say that Professor Ventag knew his condition and the condition of his company extremely well to offer this kind of opportunity to him.
While it was predicated upon his advancement to Journeyman, both Ves and the Senior knew very well that this wasn ’t a difficult hurdle to overcome in this case.

A more concerning implication was that Ves needed to continue to cosy up with his current backers in the Bright Republic.
With Senator Tovar as the principal backer from the government and Professor Ventag as his backer from the mech industry, Ves would be assured of a quota despite being one of the youngest and least-experienced Journeyman Mech Designers eligible for this opportunity.

Flashlight might also throw in their support from behind the scenes.
They would love it if a mech company under their sphere of influence became a part of the exclusive club of quota owners.

On the flipside, Ves also predicted that he would draw the attention of a lot of jealous Journeymen.
He could not ignore the political implications of making use of a backdoor into this new sublicensing system.

”This is a direct shot across the bow to all of the Ansel mech designers. ”

A quota to Ves, who appeared to be connected to Rittersberg, the Tovar Family and the DCTI was one quota less to a promising and talented Ansel mech designer.
In fact, considering the recent KNG Affair, Kadar and Neyvis might miss out on a quota despite their robust design skills and abundant experience!

”It ’s not really fair, is it? Yet that ’s life. ”

The main concern that Ves had to keep in mind that all of this political support did not come for free.
Nothing ever came for free.
Aside from the financial obligations built into the sublicensing agreements, Ves also needed to continue to maintain relations with his current backers.

While Ves was rather leery of being taken advantage of, especially in light of the depth of Senator Tovar ’s schemes, it wasn ’t as if he took advantage of the situation as well.
Both of them won in this arrangement.
It was just that Senator Tovar won enjoyed the last laugh.

Perhaps one day, Ves would be able to lean back in his comfy chair befitting his status as an overlord and laugh as he occupied the lion ’s share of any win-win agreements he brokered.
That day was very far away at the moment.

It was enough for him to be the junior partner of such an arrangement.

As for the whiners? Who cared.
Ves shouldn ’t have to pay attention to the criticism that accused him of occupying a quota that a better Journeyman Mech Designer deserved more!

”I ’ll make the critics shut up with the quality of my upcoming designs.
I can be just as good as those older Journeymen with decades of experience under their belt. ” He grinned.

Ves strongly felt that all of the hardships he suffered so far recently had been worth it.
You just couldn ’t buy this sort of leg up.
If Ves spent his entire time during the war locked inside some research base performing unimportant work, then he would have never been eligible for such a magnanimous reward.

He was well aware that Senator Tovar and Professor Ventag wanted him to feel grateful and appreciative of this opportunity.
The expectation was that Ves would continue to serve on their behalf.
For now, that was fine.
All of the caveats did not detract from his good mood at all.

As the negotiations progressed, the professor came back again to inform him that the structure of the new cooperative venture had been fixed.
If all went well and both states ratified the peace treaty, they would collectively start up the BV Alliance for the sole purpose of administering the expanded licenses obtained from the MTA.

Ves didn ’t need to guess what the letters B and V stood for.
In fact, he found it surprising that Senator Tovar and Prince Colchester dared to be bold enough to allude to the names of the two states with the word ’alliance ’.
Was this some kind of hint of what the future had in store?

”Impossible. ” He shook his head.
”It ’s probably a sick joke of theirs.
There ’s no way our two states will agree to join hands in a military alliance. ”

Portend of the future or not, the BV Alliance seemed to be set in stone according to the Senior.
That only left the ratification of the treaty in order to insure the BV Alliance came into being.
Ves still felt uncertain whether the two states would actually do that despite the strong animus of support it enjoyed right now from the two delegations.

On his end, Ves needed to hurry up and advance to Journeyman in order to truly secure a quota.
Nepotism only went so far, and the influence of the Tovar Family alone was not enough to dictate the entirety of the Bright Republic.

When Ves went back to his fourth original mech design, he refined his mech concept into maturity with the occasional help from Professor Ventag.

Although the man was awfully busy, even a few minutes worth of advice was sufficient for him to realize some improvements over his sketches for a super-medium space knight.

Ves held off on working on the images that would support the design ’s X-Factor for now.
He already had his hands full trying to make the design feasible and effective from a technical standpoint.

As he worked on refining his vision for hours at a time, the only image he really needed was Qilanxo.
Thinking about the Sacred God and her amazing feats guided his design work towards a certain direction.

In its current form, the vision for his upcoming mech entailed a heavy reliance on its polarization ability.

”It ’s bigger and more massive than an ordinary medium space knight, but the drop in mobility does not quite make up for its increase in protective power.
It will have to make up for that shortfall with clever use of well-placed polarization fields. ”

This added to the burden of piloting the mech.
Ves knew it could get very intensive trying to calculate the optimal placement and size of the fields during pitched battles.
This was an advanced mech design aimed squarely at advanced pilots and specialized space knight pilots.

As a cherry on top of the cake, Ves added another gimmick to his design as well.
Inspired by the god crystals embedded throughout the surface of bodies, he planned to reuse the alien crystal technology that he previously used in the design of the Crystal Lord.

By embedding various amounts of small crystals throughout the exterior of his space knight design, it became even more resilient against energy damage.
Extremely skilled mech pilots would be able to take advantage of their positioning to absorb a limited amount of incoming laser fire and fire off a weak light beam in return when they accumulated enough energy.

Naturally, their offensive power wouldn ’t be as exaggerated as the large crystal embedded into the chest of the Crystal Lord, but every little bit helped even if it seemed like a marginally pointless gimmick.

”This is probably going to be one of the most complex space knight designs that is ever published onto the local mech markets in recent times. ” He surmised.

If he wanted to stand out with his design, he would be sure to accomplish that.
His fourth original mech design was anything but generic!

The only concern that worried him right now was whether there would be enough mech pilots who could make use of the added possibilities of his design.

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