The Mech Touch
erent from the simulations he played when he was young!
As the mech started to issue various error reports in incomprehensible alien script, Ves hovered over the button that another mech designer already identified as the command to activate the neural interface.
Ves was afraid.
He was afraid of what he might encounter.
Would the experience be so real and so fantastic that he would continue to yearn for it when it ended? Would he develop a lifelong urge to repeat the experience?
He shuddered in his piloting chair.
A part of him became tempted to give up.
To keep the simulation unknown.
He couldn ’t become addicted to something he never experienced.
that was the coward ’s way out.
A streak of courage lifted him up.
Why should he be so afraid? Did he exhibit so little self-control that he wouldn ’t be able to resist the temptation of piloting a mech?
Ves closed his eyes in a solemn fashion.
”I ’m a mech designer.
I chose my path.
No matter what I ’ll experience today, I will never forget my real identity. ”
He pressed the button.
A few seconds passed as the alien interface began to display a whole slew of alien symbols.
After that, Ves felt as if someone abruptly slammed a pipe into his mind!
”It ’s starting! ”
A gradual stream of data entered his mind, which automatically parsed it before sending back a response.
This exchange began small, but happened in an instant.
Mere milliseconds went by before the exchange of data turned from a trickle into a stream!
More and more data began to be exchanged between his mind and whatever was at the other end!
Ves tried his best to maintain his composure.
He knew he wasn ’t interfacing with a real lithic mech, but instead some kind of standalone neural interface that was ostensibly meant to give anyone in the trial ground an opportunity to experience what it was like to pilot a mech.
In essence, no matter how real the sensations felt, they ultimately fell short of the real thing!
”It ’s still very close, though! ”
Ves was not a stranger to what it was like to interface with a mech.
He rode in the minds of numerous mech pilots during his Mastery experiences.
The one that stood out the most in this case was his third Mastery experience.
He spent a significant time in the mind of Eloise Pelican.
During this period, she deployed from her carrier numerous times.
Each time she started her shift, she began to interface with her mech.
What Ves was experiencing with his mind right now was almost exactly the same that Eloise experienced whenever she connected with her own mech!
”There are differences, though! ”
The exchange of data should have continually ramped up.
That didn ’t happen.
At some point, when Ves felt as if he was close to reaching his limit, the stream of data no longer expanded.
It maintained its current volume as it tried its best to connect Ves to the mech.
Now that the initial phases had passed, Ves began to experience another change.
He began to feel as if he was in control of a second body.
The sensation was extremely weird to him.
While he still maintained control of his own body, he felt as if he acquired a second body.
Ves experimentally tried to lift his arm.
Both his physical arm and the arm of the frontline mech began to lift.
He actually moved his mech!
this is too real! ”
Ves was incredibly astonished.
Although the simulated interfacing still fell short of what he experienced in the minds of real mech pilots, this was by far the most realistic approximation that he had ever stumbled across!
As long as the implementation took a couple of more steps forward, the gap between real and fake would shrink to the point where every norm could pilot a mech!
He began to experiment more and more with the operation of his mech.
Due to his previous Mastery experiences, he already knew most of the knacks when it came to asserting basic control over a mech.
He just hadn
’t thought about using those tricks himself, so he was awfully clumsy at first.
The lithic frontline mech he piloted tipped dangerously back and forth as Ves hadn ’t been able to balance the mech properly.
Outside his cockpit, the other three mech designers weren
’t faring any better.
The light skirmisher claimed by Goz even tripped on its feet and crashed to the ground face first!
Obviously, the ultra-realistic piloting simulation was too much to bear to unpracticed mech designers! They had always been the ones to make the mechs.
Never did they ever think they would be placed in a situation where they had to pilot the machines themselves outside of simplified games!
Ves loosely estimated that the current experience was about seventy to eighty percent similar to a real piloting attempt.
While that didn ’t sound very impressive at first, even the best simulation games that Ves had played only reached ten to twenty percent similarity at best!
Aside from a number of simplified operations, Ves genuinely felt as if he interferfaced with a real mech!
As he slowly began to rein in his apprehension and astonishment, Ves began to exert an increasing amount of control over his frontline mech.
He quickly mastered walking and was currently practising his aim, which wasn ’t very good.
Now he knew why mech pilots needed to be good at marksmanship with their bodies if they wanted to be great shots when they piloted their mechs.
Their personal skills partially transferred over to their machines.
While it was possible for mech pilots to become good at mech marksmanship, they would have to develop their skills from scratch, which wasn ’t all that practical, especially since their proficiency was largely tied to their practice mech.
”In short, personal skills offer a valuable shortcut to mastering the same skills when piloting a mech! ”
Unfortunately for Ves, his marksmanship left a lot to be desired.
The two heavy laser cannons of his frontline mech often went wide whenever he tried to hit a specific point! Even a third-year mech cadet exhibited better aim than him in a mech!
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