Though he could have probably employed some coercion in order to get the stubborn mech designers to open up, that defeated the spirit of exchanges.

”It is not like I didn ’t make some gains. ”

Some conversations led to huge gains, which was enough to make him satisfied.
The time he spent in the Chuko Republic had not gone to waste.

Even the conversations which mainly yielded little of value to his design philosophy still broadened up his perspective.

He sampled the diversity of opinions of various different Journeymen, each with their different design philosophies, backgrounds, achievements and more.

He also heard a diversity of opinions that opened up his mind to how others perceived a problem in a different way.

”Still, the most valuable insights are still the ones I ’ve gained from my talk with Old Man Terrence. ”

Ves continually thought back on his exchange with the fading mech designer.
Whether he wanted to confess his sins or give a younger mech designer a gift, the old man had been the most generous and open exchange partner up to this point.

Perhaps the single most important lesson he gained from this exchange was that there were two sides to every coin.

Neural interfaces opened up mechs for widespread application, but the dangers relating to their use still existed.
The MTA and neural interface specialists merely conspired to understate the potential damage they still did to unwitting mech pilots.

Ves thought back on his own mechs and tried to think where their neural interfaces stood.
Like almost any other mech designer, he defaulted to using the standard neural interface models, thinking that they were the safest option.

”Usually, I like to get something more exciting, but neural interfaces are too dangerous to mess around with.
No mech designer wants to be culpable for the deaths of mech pilots due to dangerous interactions with tampered neural interfaces. ”

Yet something rotten hid beneath the innocent and harmless facades of standard neural interface models.
Old Man Terrence ’s claims that the MTA engaged in manipulation at a very large scale by tweaking the limits of neural interface sounded very preposterous at first.

The more he thought about it, the more he became convinced.

He did his own research, of course.
He tried to trawl the galactic net and the MTA ’s internal database, but he encountered no relevant data of this kind.

Ves sighed.
”The MTA isn ’t stupid enough to publicize their dark experiments. ”

He turned his attention to studying the neural interface models instead.
Utilizing his extremely basic understanding of neural interface technology, he tried to compare models of different generations and see whether the MTA shifted their limits.

So far, Ves found very little differences among the models used by the Komodo Star Sector.
The tweaks were so minor that they wouldn ’t yield any measurable differences.

”Then again, a backwater star sector like ours doesn ’t merit any attention from the MTA. ”

He studied the neural interface models of other star sectors, particularly the ones prone to conflict and war.

Here, he spotted larger swings.
The limits had been raised and lowered by as much as ten percent.
Such a difference might not be huge, but over time they affected a lot of mech pilots!

After making this observation, Ves no longer doubted Old Man Terrence as much.
At least on this point, he spoke the truth!

”He ’s probably right about all the other stuff he talked about as well. ”

A mixed expression overcame Ves as he thought about the danger his mechs posed to his customers.

”Risk is always accompanied by reward. ” He whispered.

The MTA thought long and hard about the relation between immersion and performance.
Their overarching policy of developing as many high-ranking mech pilots as possible meant they chose to set the overall limits in the middle.

A lot of regular mech pilots accumulated brain damage as they continually interfaced with their mechs.
Even expert pilots weren ’t exempt from these consequences!

”What is the value of a normal mech pilot compared to an expert pilot? ”

The MTA ’s policy on neural interfaces revealed that they didn ’t care about the wellbeing of mortal mech pilots.

”Millions of brain-damaged mech pilots can ’t compare to a single expert pilot. ”

The human race consisted of an uncountable amount of individuals.
Even if only 3.5 percent of them possessed the right genetic aptitude to pilot mechs, that was still an ungodly amount of potentates!

”The galaxy won ’t run out of normal mech pilots anytime soon! ”

As long as mechs remained popular, new mech pilots always emerged.
For this reason, the MTA readily treated them as expendable resources in order to generate as many expert pilots as possible from their ranks.

”Unlike mortal mech pilots, high-ranking mech pilots are far too rare. ”

Attrition was the number one reason why the MTA constantly sought to increase the amount of expert pilots.
Too many of them died in battle over the course of their careers.
The difficulty of extending their lifespan was another reason why it became so hard to maintain their numbers.

Even less got to live to ace pilot.
Those that did had a very long road ahead before they could even have a chance to advance to reach the apex of mech piloting.

”It says something that only a hundred or so known god pilots exist, almost the same as the amount of known Star Designers in the entire galaxy! ”

Even if numerous more god pilots existed in secret, their absolute numbers shouldn ’t be much more than the entirety of the Avatars of Myth!

Considering the immense size of the galaxy, that was still a depressingly small amount!

The MTA obviously pursued a risky policy with a very significant human cost in order to increase the amount of god pilots.

If there weren ’t enough expert pilots, there wouldn ’t be enough ace pilots! If there weren ’t enough ace pilots, then the number of god pilots that existed would never increase!

In fact, they would probably decrease, because even god pilots still died in battle every now and then! Just because their moniker contained the word ’god ’ did not mean they were unkillable!

”Even gods are not exempt from attrition! ”

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