en in an assisting capacity.
The price of such mechs often matched the cost of raw materials and production, meaning Ves would never be able to make any profit even if he handcrafted the mech in his own boutique.

On the other hand, newer models also presented a few problems to Ves.
The more current the mech model, the stricter its license.
Only trusted mech designers and large commercial enterprises received approval to buy them.
In addition, newer designs incorporated more advanced technology that required special machines to fabricate.

His 3D printer was just a run-of-the-mill currentgen product with no special features.
It was capable of printing almost any of lastgen ’s specialist components, but if it came to the current generation ’s fancy tech, then he may need to acquire millions or even billions of credits worth of production lines.

The pagoda finally stopped its lumbering spin.
Ves ’ stomach sunk as he recognized the white, medium-sized mech on its front-facing wall.

[Congratulations! You have received a 10-year production license of the following mech: National Aeromotives Caesar Augustus CA-1.]

”…Shit. ” Ves muttered as all of his excitement drained from his expression.

His comm burst up as Ves received a new mail.
He numbly tapped the message.
It came with a lot of legal bullshit from the so-called ’Future Sons Technology Institution ’.
Ves skimmed through the lengthy texts.

[…We hereby grant you with an unlimited production license of the Caesar Augustus CA-1, valid for a duration of 10 years from the signing of the included contract.]

No matter how many misgivings Ves had about the CA-1, he was stuck with it.
He quickly signed all of the contracts to get the paperwork out of his sight.
He received another message a scant few minutes later, showing that the local had successfully approved of the contract.
Ves now possessed a legal license to produce the Caesar Augustus.

”Fucking double shit. ” Ves felt like he wanted to cry but had no tears.

The Caesar Augustus had a colorful history.
Ves happened to be familiar with it, because it had been a lesson in college on what not to do.

The story started fifty years ago, when National Aeromotives, a renowned manufacturer of aircars and shuttles decided to enter the mech market.
They adopted a two-pronged approach.

The first approach was to license a couple of mainstream designs, retool a couple of factories, and pump out loads of shoddy quality but cheaply priced mechs.
The sheer quantity of mechs they made allowed them to figure out the intricacies of mech production quite rapidly.
The quality of their mechs improved with each new production run.

The second method was to allow Jason Kozlowski, the son of NA ’s CEO to learn how to design mechs.
He directly attended one of Estelon ’s premier mech design program.
An important thing to mention was that Jason had been a spoiled brat.
As could be imagined, Jason spent much of his time on Estelon attending parties and getting drunk off his ass.
Only his superior genes enabled him to perform well enough in class to graduate.

Once Jason returned home, he made a high-sounding announcement to the galactic press.
He claimed that he would take just one month to design a fully original mech that would outperform all of that period ’s current generation mechs.

Many industry insiders scoffed at such a boast.
Forget about outperforming a current generation mech, many freshly graduated mech designers weren ’t even capable of designing a model that could outperform a lastgen mech.
It took years of experience, learning many skills and acquiring many new technologies to even be capable of producing such a stellar mech.

In any case, the public hung onto Jason ’s every word.
A face this handsome wouldn ’t renege on his promise, right? After the announcement, a couple of black-suited men quickly brought the prodigal son away from the press conference and he was never seen again for a month.
Some conspiracy theorists guessed that National Aeromotives wanted the public to forget about Jason ’s pledge.
They received an unexpected surprise when Jason showed up to the press exactly thirty days later.

A slightly disheveled but attractive young man then proceeded to introduce his month-long effort.
He domineeringly named it after the first Ancient Roman emperor, for it was indeed capable of outperforming most mechs of the current generation.
Just its majestic posture and stately head design showed that Jason spent quite a lot of time matching the mech ’s aesthetics to its superb offensive power.

The Caesar Augustus offered supreme offense and supreme defense in the medium weight class.
By far the most expensive component was National Aeromotives ’ proprietary armor plating, originally designed to protect its most luxurious line of space shuttles from direct microasteroid impacts.
Though expensive and difficult to produce, the armor offered superior protection that approached nextgen standards at the time.

The CA-1 also provided a variety of offensive options.
Its main weapons were its two wrist-mounted laser cannons.
Missiles mounted on its shoulders provided some long-ranged indirect firing options while a classic sword and shield built out of the same excellent material of its armor made the mech a monster in melee range.

While Jason showed off a holographic model of the white-painted mech and its admittedly impressive capabilities, the experts combed over its specifications.
They quickly couldn ’t hold in their laughter.

The Caesar Augustus hid a bevy of issues underneath its perfect exterior.
Jason crammed the CA-1 with so many gadgets that it affected the frame ’s integrity.
Any damage that got past the armor could easily damage five essential subsystems, either crippling the mech or at least take it off the battlefield.
In order to save space, many of those subsystems got tangled together, making it a pain in the ass for any technician to replace even a single faulty power line.

The mech also lacked endurance.
It peaked early but had no staying power.
Its missile capacity could be emptied in seconds.
Its wrist-mounted laser cannons built up an alarming amount of heat that Jason had done almost nothing to mitigate.
And even if he did, the mech ’s average energy capacity meant it couldn ’t feed the weapons long enough anyway.

Fortunately Jason hadn ’t been conceited enough to add a flight system to the already over-engineered mech.
Its energy would just drain faster in that case!

All of this meant that Ves was now stuck with one of NA ’s biggest commercial flops in recent times.
The CA-1 was a white elephant that was difficult to produce and required constant babysitting.
The most troublesome thing about producing it was that its special armor plating required a dedicated machine to produce.
Ves ’ 3d printer wasn ’t advanced enough to produce it on its own.

It was impossible for Ves to produce the stock model of Caesar Augustus in two months.
He lacked the time, money, skill and equipment to accomplish such a clusterfuck of a production.
And even if he did managed to cobble up a model, it was a question whether it would sell.
However, the System awarded him with only just one production license, and for better or worse, Ves was stuck with the elephant.

”It ’s not like I ’m stuck with the stock model.
I still have the Mech Designer System. ”

If Ves could use the System to redesign the CA-1, he might be able to come up with a less demanding version of Jason ’s first masterpiece.
He wasn ’t ready to give up.
A tentative plan already drew in his mind.

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