Complexity in a mech design came with many implications.
Often, both mech designers and the market believed that more complex mechs possessed a higher potential to perform better than ’simpler ’ mechs.

This was generally the case.
However, this rule was a lot more muddier in practice because of the difficulty of maximizing the potential of a mech.

Many mech pilots, particularly those with below-average genetic aptitudes, often struggle to make full use of standard mechs.
Some even never improved beyond the basics when piloting a frontline mech which heavily automated many features such as its targeting system and its locomotion system.

If basic knight or rifleman mechs were already too complex for ordinary mech pilots to fathom, what about advanced mechs?

Each feature or gimmick added to the functionality of a mech design increased the number of variables that mech pilots needed to take into account.
They already needed to pay attention to hundreds of variables, such as their energy reserves, their armor condition, their damage states, the local air pressure, the environmental temperature, the heat levels of different mech components and much, much more.

Adding additional features on top might very well overwhelm these mech pilots and cause them to either mentally shut down or force them to pick up the bad habit of outright ignoring some variables.

All was not lost, however.
While most mechs came with a substantial learning curve, mech pilots who persisted in training with the complicated mechs would increasingly become more proficient in drawing out their strengths.

It just took a lot of time and effort.
The more complex the mech, the higher the learning curve.

One thing was for sure.
The design Ves had in mind came with a rather steep learning curve despite being based off one of the most simplistic mech types.
Knight mechs and their spaceborn cousins were known as one of the most easiest mechs to pilot.

That wasn ’t the case this time.
The super-medium space knight envisioned by Ves brought a lot of new options to the table.

”Will it be a hit in the market? ”

Without performing extensive market research, he truly didn ’t know.
Yet his experience so far told him that it occupied a strong if narrow niche in the mech market.
Considering how necessary space knights played a role in many spaceborn mech forces, the actual market demand might surprise him.
His design offered very compelling possibilities to discerning mech buyers not afraid to deviate from standard mech doctrines.

As Ves contemplated on the increasing complexity of his mech concept while he finalized it, time continued to pass until the negotiators finally settled all of the terms of the peace treaty.

Everyone had been invited to attend the closing ceremony of the peace talks.
Secretary Lowe forced him to be garbed in a full dress uniform, which was the fanciest and most formal version of his military uniforms.
All of his medals were on full display and shone or glowed in eye-catching ways.

The secretary smiled at him.
”Recordings will be made of the closing ceremony.
All the news portals will run them when the peace treaty is finally being made public.
Remember that this is an event for the history books.
Maintain your composure and act like you belong.
Your impressive array of medals will look good in the historical archives.

”So I ’m basically there as a medal stand in order to make the footage more impressive. ” Ves smiled ruefully.

”Don ’t say as if you don ’t benefit.
As a young man in a sea of old people, you ’ll attract a lot of attention.
Just the fact that you are a part of Senator Tovar ’s delegation is enough to enhance your reputation. ”

”Am I entitled to more medals? I recently earned a lot of merit.
That should count for something, right? ”

Secretary Lowe shook his head.
”Unfortunately, Senator Tovar has exhausted his connections to the higher ups of the Mech Corps.
It will be difficult for him to arrange additional awards to you when you already earned several major distinctions very recently.
Some generals and officials might accuse him of padding your accomplishments for political aims rather than genuine merit. ”

”My merit should not be in question! ”

”I ’m not arguing with you, but the generals won ’t see it that way.
From what I have gathered, Senator Tovar will make sure the Mech Corps will grant you some form of recognition after we return to the Bright Republic.
It is very difficult for him to make his case while we are many lightyears away from New Foundation V. ”

While Secretary Lowe made it sound like Senator Tovar fought hard for the awards that Ves deserved, the truth was probably less glamorous than it sounded.

Ves figured that Senator Tovar was too busy trying to shape the peace treaty and arranging the political turmoil that resulted from the botched attacks on his person and the peace talks to divert any attention to anything else.

He tried hard not to feel bad about the stalled opportunity to pad his row of medals.
Ves did not consider himself a gloryhound who chased after awards and recognition from the military like his uncles and aunts once described.

While he felt honored that he received all of those awards, many regular servicemen performed their utmost and never received anything more than a pat on their back each day.

A decoration conferred honor and recognition, but when it came down to it, a medal was merely a piece of metal tied to a ribbon.
The social value ascribed to these pieces of metal tied to ribbons was considerate, but was it essential to Ves?

Not really.

Therefore, Ves dropped the topic and allowed Secretary Lowe to adjust the fitting of his full dress uniform.
When he looked at his appearance in the mirror projection, he did admit he looked rather dashing.
If not for his green-tinged mech designer uniform, he might be mistaken for a mech pilot instead!

”Alright Mr.
Larkinson, you are ready for the show.
Go out and make the Republic proud by appearing as your best! ”

Once everyone dressed to the nines, they filed into the conference chamber, which the Reinaldans rapidly repaired and reinforced after the previous attack, and stood to the sides while Senator Tovar and Prince Colchester stepped forward in unison.

They approach an exaggeratingly large data pad and signed the electronic document contained within with their own names.

”Senator Camden Tovar and Prince Colchester of the Royal House of Vesia, on behalf of their respective states, have finalized the terms of the peace treaty! ” Someone announced in a loud and formal tone.
”The peace treaty is ready to be ratified by the administrations of the respective states! ”

Everyone applauded politely, mindful of how they would appear in later footage.
Absolutely no one acted outside of their station.
Even if Ves wanted to scratch his ear due to an itch, he resisted the urge to perform such an undignified action in public.

For the principal representatives of the two states to sign their names on the agreements did not mean it went into effect.
In fact, the battle had only just begun.

Ves knew that the next step after finalizing the terms of the peace treaty was to take them back to their respective states and have their governments ratify the entire treaty.

The confusing mess of Vesian politics aside, the Bright Republic ’s process for ratifying a treaty was relatively straightforward.
In theory, the Bright Senate were allowed to consult the peace treaty and consent to ratification.
Once they did that, the bright president went on to sign the treaty, formally ratifying it on behalf of the state.

Before the attack on Kester Hills, Ves always doubted whether the Bright Senate would give their consent at all.
The political factions that made up the Bright Senate all held varying positions about the war, but most were generally supportive of it.
How could they ever be persuaded to give up their opposition to the peace treaty?

Apparently, Senator Tovar had them by the balls.
By turning concrete evidence of foul play back to his critics, he possessed the leverage to shut them up lest he air their foul laundry.

Ves had to admit that was a pretty good way to stifle opposition to the peace treaty.
Even so, the Bright Senate did not speak for the rest of the Republic.
Would the average citizens be able to stomach an early peace with the Vesians?

The Bright Republic was always the more disadvantaged side of the wars.

Ves worried more about how the Vesians managed to convince their own subjects to swallow the peace treaty.
They were much more fervent about the war and would therefore likely resist a premature peace the most.

Prince Colchester had his work cut out for him.
It must be much more difficult for the prince of a weak Royal House to get every ducal house to come to a consensus on the peace treaty.

After signing their names on the virtual document, the two statesmen slowly departed after posing for the recording devices.
They were far too old to mingle with the crowd of rabble, after all.

In their place, both Colonel Xelven and Count Reginald retook their places as the lead representatives of their respective patrons.
Their heads were firmly reattached to their bodies again, and Ves hardly noticed anything out of place, though that didn ’t necessarily meant they made a full recovery.

Surprisingly, Colonel Xelven directly approached Ves with a smile.
Larkinson! I never got to thank you for saving me! I apologise for not expressing my gratitude earlier.
The operations I went through are not for the faint of heart, you see. ”

Ves chuckled.
”I understand.
Not everyone gets to experience what you went through. ”

”I believe you had help when you saved me, is that right? ”

”The presence of Venerable Foster did indeed prove useful in thwarting the intruders. ” Ves replied, though he did not add that he mainly used her as a meat shield to deter the traitors from shooting at him.
He needed to remain diplomatic, if only for posterity.
”I think this is a rare instance where a Brighter and a Vesian managed to accomplish something when they worked together. ”

That sounded good, right? Ves mentally padded himself on his back for coming up with something so positive.

However, Colonel Xelven smiled wider for some reason.
”Ah, perhaps we should reunite you with your Vesian partner.
I ’m sure she will be thrilled to meet her comrade-in-arms for one last time.
Come with me! ”

The colonel abruptly grabbed onto Ves ’ arm and practically dragged him over to a small gathering which included Count Reginald and Venerable Foster.

”Ah, it seems our honored Brighter guests have taken the initiative to approach. ” The Vesian count said with a pleased expression.
Larkinson, thank you for saving this poor old man ’s life. ”

”I was merely doing my duty. ” Ves replied with a stiff smile.
He tried hard not to look at Venerable Foster who stood next to the old count.
”Peace is too precious to allow some malcontents to spoil the party. ”

”Well said! ” Count Reginald complimented before he gently pushed Venerable Foster forward.
The expert pilot could have easily resisted the push or even knock the noble out cold, but she knew better than that.
”Venerable Foster, why not stand next to Mr.
Larkinson? The two of you are both heroes.
The both of you will look lovely in the recordings. ”

Venerable Foster looked as stiff at Ves at the suggestion.
”That might not be appropriate.
We serve in opposing militaries. ”

”This is no longer a time of war.
As far as we are concerned, a new time is dawning.
The time where Brighters and Vesians are forced to take up arms when they encounter each other is over.
How better to symbolize our efforts than to have the two of you stand in front of the peace treaty? ”

”What a splendid idea! Let us immediately make the arrangements! ” Colonel Xelven enthusiastically added.
”This is a peace treaty that is intended to secure the future of our younger generation! While the previous captures of Senator Tovar and Prince Colchester will look good for the archives, I ’m sure the news portals would love it if they can display an image of the peace treaty alongside a pair of young heroes! ”

Under the haranging of Colonel Xelven and Count Reginald, Ves and Venerable Foster proceeded to undertake one of the most awkward impromptu recording sessions they had ever gone through.

When Ves attempted to draw his arm towards Foster ’s back to look a bit more friendly, she growled under her breath.

”Touch me and you ’ll die. ”

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