I got caught up for a little bit. ” Ves reined himself in and offered the professor a modest smile.
”It ’s liberating to express my design philosophy without reserve to an open-minded organization like the MTA. ”

”Ah, yes.
Your design philosophy is certainly bold and forward-thinking.
I wish you all the luck in trying to realize your vision! ”

Ves could practically feel the skepticism oozing out of the professor.
The Senior probably made up his mind about the odd and eccentric Journeyman.

The impression that Ves left today would definitely help mark his record with descriptors such as ’superstitious ’, ’irrational ’ and ’CFA sympathiser ’.

Perhaps if Ves was lucky, the professor would even include the phrase ’religious nut ’ in his record, which was the most ideal outcome!

Each additional descriptor worsened the MTA ’s regards towards Ves! Even though he would doubtlessly receive much less care and attention from the Association, Ves didn ’t need their help anyway!

After Ves extensively described his supposed design philosophy, the professor quickly moved on.
After asking a few other questions, the man quickly wrapped up the meeting.

”Congratulations, Mr.
We ’re very satisfied with how forthcoming you ’ve been with us.
We ’ve heard enough to fill out the missing gaps in your record.
You are now cleared to be inducted as a Journeyman Mech Designer and a galactic citizen.
Please follow your assigned android as it will guide you to the Master Hall to conduct the ceremony. ”

While Ves was all smiles as he followed Delta-Gina out of the design center, he strongly suspected that this wasn ’t part of his original treatment.
Due to the awful impression that he left behind, the professor couldn ’t wait to shoo Ves away from his office!

From what Ves had guessed, the induction ritual should have been a solemn occasion where newly-advanced Journeymen developed the beginnings of an intimate bond with the MTA.

For the professor to skip his involvement in this ceremony and let a worthless android take it over was the strongest sign that Ves had succeeded in his plan!

This was why he freely smiled as he obediently followed after Delta-Gina as they stepped on a floater platform and traveled deeper into the bowels of Halcyon Citadel.

The space fortification ’s monitoring systems may believe that Ves was happy because he was about to be confirmed as a Journeyman and a galactic citizen.
In truth, he felt relieved that the MTA regarded him with the same fondness as a spoiled nutrient pack!

”The smellier, the better. ” He muttered, probably making himself appear more unhinged in Delta-Gina ’s company.

Ves quite enjoyed this experience, actually.
Even though he did not express his true thoughts, this was the first time he described the essence of his design philosophy to someone else.

Regardless if he distorted his explanation by dialing up the crazy, Ves truly felt sublime by releasing some of his repressed thoughts.

This must be what the new living prophet meant.
He did indeed feel cleansed by coming clean!

Of course, part of this was because he still wore the mask of a superstitious mech designer.
Ves did not plan to shed his mask until he left Halcyon Citadel!

Only until he left the inner sanctum of the MTA would Ves feel relieved to drop his act.
Until then, Ves needed to make sure to exhibit as little loopholes as possible!

After around twenty minutes of travel, the floater platform departed from the stream of traffic and descended next to a highly-secured section that was close to the core of Halcyon Citadel.

They waited a short moment in front of the huge double doors before a pair of mech designers and an android exited the hall.

The internal Journeyman guiding the newly-ascended mech designer looked oddly at Ves and his sole company before turning away dismissively.

[Please enter the Master Hall, Mr.
Larkinson.] Delta-Gina beckoned.
[The induction ritual will begin when you reach the end of the hall.]

Ves stepped inside, followed demurredly by his android.
He dropped his smile as soon as the double doors closed.

The Master Hall exhibited a number of mechs.
Each stood to either side of Ves as he slowly walked forward.
Ves instantly recognized that all of the mechs had been designed by Masters.

While they encompassed a wide variety of mech types and production dates, the mechs each exhibited a strong sense of power.
All of them were first-class mechs that showcased the pinnacle of what mech design could offer at their respective mech generations.

The oldest mechs were placed at the front of the hall.
As Ves walked further and further, he encountered newer mechs.
Each new pair of mechs to his left and right seemed to showcase the advancements that mech designers achieved over their predecessors.

Ves felt touched by this experience.
These mechs had been placed here to inspire the Journeymen who were about to undergo the induction ritual.
Perhaps one day their own mechs would grace the Master Halls of the MTA!

As Ves stepped to the other end of the hall, he was flanked by modern mechs that could definitely put Axelar ’s Ouroboros to shame.

At the end of the hall was a well-like pit that plunged through the floor and led to a seemingly bottomless abyss.

Floating in the middle was a contained ball of antimatter.

This was a highly potent amount of mass and energy! If handled improperly, the entire Master Hall would probably blow up, with him inside!

The android that accompanied him took no notice of this highly-energetic mass that hovered a stone ’s throw away from the pair.

Larkinson, the induction ritual will now begin.
In order to be inducted as a Journeyman Mech Designer and a galactic citizen, you must repeat the Mech Designer ’s Oath.
Only by abiding by the principles of the Mech Trade Association will you be able to practice your profession responsibly and earn the trust of your clients.]

”Understood. ” Ves nodded.

He was familiar with the MTA ’s principles and he agreed with them.

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