for his Aurora Titan design, he spotted a flaw in common convention.

This time, he lacked an obvious direction he could pursue to design a smart metal mech that at least maintained parity with regular mechs.

The immense difficulties he faced right now made him rein back his ambition.
Reinventing the wheel was all well and good, but he didn ’t think it was possible for him to invent an inflatable tire with his current skills.

If Ves wanted to complete both of his Upgrade Missions with a single design, then he needed to to be more creative and see what was actually permissible.
He recalled one of the Upgrade Mission in order to see where he could find a loophole to exploit.

[Upgrade Mission – Metallurgy]

Mission: Design and Fabricate a smart metal mech


Study the use and applications of smart metal without aid and employ them into a viable mech design that meets the Mech Designer System ’s standards.
Then fabricate it and sell it to a worthy customer.

Now that I recall the wording, there ’s quite a lot open to interpretation. ”

Ves focused his attention on the demands set by the System.
He listed out the key words.

”Smart metal mech.
Viable mech design.
Meeting standards.
Fabricate a copy.
Sell the copy to a ’worthy ’ customer. ”

That was quite a lot to go through, but Ves broke it down into pieces.
First, the demand to design a viable smart metal mech that met the System ’s standards meant he could not make a half-hearted effort.

He recalled he once cheated the System by designing an absolute abomination of a mech design just so he could fulfill the letter though not the spirit of its requirements.

He snorted.
”I guess I can ’t outright design another piece of junk this time. ”

The mech at least had to be attractive enough to appeal to an actual customer.

The definition of worthy customer varied from person to person.
Ves probably guessed that the buyer needed to be at least a conventional mech buyer.

”Are collectors included in this definition? ”

He was inclined to say no.
The mech community generally did not regard collectors as worthy customers because they bought mechs for purposes other than deploying them in battle.

”Buying a mech only to squirrel them away in a depot or putting them up for display is a perversion of their actual purpose. ”

A lot of purists hated people treating mechs like a fancy statue or accessory.
Mechs were machines of war! Their true home was on the battlefield!

Considering what he knew about the System, Ves guessed that it wouldn ’t let him get away with designing an ornamental mech only to sell it so a gullible collector that liked to gather shiny mechs.

Ves had to design a smart metal mech that was actually viable in battle.

Yet… the definition of viable did not mean viable in every situation.
”There are mechs that are tailored to many specific circumstances! Even a smart metal mech may perform exceptionally well in the right conditions! ”

Instead of trying to do the impossible and design a mech that performed well in general circumstances, why not focus on one specific circumstance instead?

He already did it before.
His Enduring Protector which he designed back on Aeon Corona VII could also be called a conditional mech.
This was because he expressly designed it to counteract the pervasive breakdown effect that caused regular mechs to malfunction exceptionally frequently.

Ves just needed to find the right circumstances where a smart metal tiger mech performed much better than usual due to the presence of anomalous effects or weird planetary conditions.

”When it comes to anomalies, nothing can beat the Nyxian Gap on this front! ”

The vast weirdness of the Nyxian Gap was in itself a huge anomaly! Inside this enormous stretch of asteroid-filled space, numerous large satellites consisting of strange materials threw up all kinds of whacky hazards to outfits wanting to exploit their rare resources.

”There ’s probably at least one strange place out there where a smart metal tiger mech can be of actual use. ”

Having decided to design a conditional mech, the next step would be to determine his budget.
How much money should he invest in this project?

Ves was inclined to invest as minimum as possible.
While he still possessed an ample amount of money, his current spending pattern was unsustainable.

”I should really stop throwing my credits around so much. ”

The cost to design a single mech was immense.
It wasn ’t that much expensive to design a mech with an eye towards mass production.

The problem was that Ves did not possess a lot of suitable component licenses.
Not only did he need to acquire a whole new set of component licenses that were specifically tailored for bestial mechs, he also had to acquire a rather expensive smart metal license.

Even if he cheaped out, he could easily imagine facing a total bill of two billion credits or more for all the licenses!

An ugly grimace appeared on his face.
”It might be worth it if I design at least one commercial mech with those licenses.
It ’s definitely not worth it if all I intend to produce is a single copy. ”

Although Ves sometimes had the illusion that money came easily to him these days, 2 billion credits was still a significant amount of capital.

Faced with this unpleasant reality, Ves opted to take a more crooked alternative.

He decided to pirate some licenses and make use of their component specifications without paying the requisite license fees.

Although such practices rapidly earned the ire of the MTA, Ves just had to make sure no one found out about it.
Plenty of pirate designers made use of licenses without paying a single K-coin and always got away with it! Why shouldn ’t Ves be able to do the same?

”It ’s fine as long as I don ’t mass produce my work.
No one will care. ” He determined self-confidently.

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