The Mech Touch
Ves held another
’ with Gloriana.
This time, they visited a live projection of a ballet show that took place somewhere in the Hexadric Hegemony.
The two sat in a private gallery that overlooked the dancers down the stage who performed their intricate dance.
To spice the performance up, the performers danced across a transparent maze-like stage where gravity changed directions at different spots.
Pockets of weightlessness allowed the dancers to spin perpetually and perform all kinds of visually-impressive feats.
Both Ves and Gloriana dressed up for the black tie occasion.
Ves wore a black tuxedo enriched with sophisticated golden details on its lapels.
To be honest, Ves didn
’t pick his own outfit.
His fashion sense was nonexistent, so he allowed Gavin to program his smart clothing in a stylish but safe configuration.
As for Gloriana, Ves found it difficult to ignore her gorgeous appearance.
She opted for a shimmering green dress that complimented her slender contours and reflected lights like stars over a green horizon.
The dress left her arms and neck bare.
Only her comm and a pair of exotic arm bracelets graced her arms.
She also carried her hair in a curly bun that fell like sickles across the back of her neck.
Along with her shiny earrings and her sharp facial features, Ves could hardly draw his eyes away from her alluring face!
’ knew what kind of effect she had on Ves.
She frequently raised the back of her hand in order to stifle her excited giggles.
While Ves and Gloriana sat together, their cats also tentatively interacted with each other.
”Miaow miaow. ”
Gloriana playfully placed a cute pink bowtie on top of Clixie ’s head, causing the Rubarthan Sentinel Cat to look extra cute.
Ves couldn ’t allow Lucky to fall behind, so he temporarily replaced his gem cat ’s miniaturized stealth generator with a black-and-white bowtie.
As the two cats admired each other ’s accessories, Ves and Gloriana engaged each other in light conversation.
’re a lot more comfortable in your own skin than before, Ves.
I like you better this way. ”
”I recently commenced with a very difficult but very ambitious mech project. ”
”Oh? Do tell. ”
The project I ’m working on is not exactly proper.
I ’ll get in a lot of trouble if it ’s exposed. ”
”Don ’t you trust me? ”
Despite her pleas, Ves held his ground.
”I ’m sorry, but what I ’m working on really can ’t be exposed.
It ’s not safe for me to divulge the details over a comm connection. ”
His coy attempts at keeping the details of his project to himself only aroused her interest.
Ves inwardly smiled at the growing curiosity that formed behind Gloriana ’s sparkling eyes.
”Will you tell me about your design when we next meet up again in reality? ”
As long as we can talk securely, I don ’t mind showing off my work.
It ’s just..
I don ’t know if I can present you with anything meaningful. ”
”Why so, Ves? ”
”The challenges I
’m facing are very considerable.
What I ’m trying to design is so radical and ambitious that I ’ll definitely achieve an evolution in my design style if I succeed! Such gains don ’t come easy! There ’s a chance that I ’ll get stuck at some point! ”
”I know what that is like.
” Gloriana said with concern as her projection leaned into Ves.
”Is there anything I can do to help? ”
Ves tried his best to suppress his sly smile.
He ’d been aiming for these words from the start.
While a part of him found it shameful to approach Gloriana for a handout, Ves still went through with this course of action.
Since Gloriana pulled off all kinds of stunts already, then he at least deserved to take advantage as well!
As for shame? The damage to his pride was nothing compared to bringing his design project to fruition! As long as he successfully designed his Devil Tiger, then all of the suffering would have been worth the sacrifices!
”To be honest, I
’m in a bit of a fix.
” He said carefully.
”The mech I ’m designing can ’t be realized without including an essential system.
Unfortunately, my financial means and supply channels are not sufficient for me to get what I want. ”
”You ’ve always been fairly sober in your previous works.
Is your design that complicated this time? ”
’s exactly because of these new additions that makes it so remarkable.
If I still maintained relations with Master Olson or Leemar ’s Clifford Society, I could have exchanged some favors and merits to obtain what I need to complete my design project. ”
What Ves did not mention was that Gloriana was responsible for spoiling his ties to the Friday Coalition.
She knew it.
He knew it.
What was done was done.
There was no point for him to torch her over her very deliberate act to cut him off from the Friday Coalition.
His implicit message by reminding her of her ’crime ’ was that she ought to compensate him for the damages!
Since Ves couldn ’t approach his former Master or his former club for his second-class goodies, then Gloriana ought to provide him what he wanted instead!
Her perfectly face scrunched a bit as she fell into thought.
”What is it exactly that you are trying to acquire? It ’s hard for me to understand your difficulties when you are withholding so much from me.
It ’s so annoying how often you jam your stateroom, you know! ”
Ves patted the top of her head, though his hand went right through her projection.
”A man needs his privacy.
Be happy my ship can ’t function well if I jam the entire vessel.
As for what I need..
it ’s a little pricey.
Are you familiar with ASMAS? ”
”Adaptive smart metal armor system? I
’m familiar with it.
ASMAS doesn ’t have a good reputation in the Hegemony.
Its fans constantly make a lot of promises but never manage to deliver upon them.
If you ’re actually thinking of working with ASMAS, I really suggest you don ’t.
It has too many flaws! ”
”I know what I
’m doing, Gloriana.
I ’m well aware of the merits and limitations of ASMAS.
If you want to criticize my work, just wait until I complete it and show you the details.
For now, I truly need at least a starter batch of ASMAS. ”
What he just asked for was quite expensive.
Gloriana fell silent for a moment, leaving Ves guessing at what she was thinking.
” She eventually spoke up.
”I can supply you with a batch.
It won ’t be the best quality, but getting my hands on enough ASMAS to sustain a single mech is still doable.
I can even have it shipped to your next destination.
It ’s just… ”
”What is it, Gloriana? ”
She briefly smiled as he mentioned her name.
She always liked it when Ves did that.
’ll have to go through some trouble, you know.
Don ’t you think you ought to repay me, Ves? ”
He already expected to pay an additional price for this huge favor.
Ves did not delude himself into thinking he could treat his girlfriend as a vending machine without inserting some tokens!
”What can I do to make it easier for you? Mind you, don
’t expect too much from me.
I ’m still preoccupied with progressing my design philosophy. ”
It ’s nothing too big. ” She grinned.
”I was thinking we should meet up again! I ’m still preoccupied with a couple of projects at the moment, but once I ’m done I don ’t have anything that demands my attention in my agenda! Isn ’t this a lovely time for us to reunite in person? We ’ve already spent so much time together in our virtual meetups that it should be fine for us to meet physically again, right? ”
Just as Ves wanted to get something out of Gloriana, his girlfriend also wanted something out of him! The reason why he pushed her suggestion off previously was because he recognized its value to her.
As long as he kept dangling the possibility of agreeing to another meeting beyond her reach, he could effectively use it as a bargaining tool!
At this moment, Ves recognized that the time had come to cash in his chips!
I ’m up for meeting up again. ” He answered reluctantly, though a part of him really looked forward to their next reunion! ”I hope we can get to know each other at a gentle pace.
I know you ’re excited and all, but we really do have to take our relationship step by step. ”
She briefly frowned for a moment, but wiped away the displeasure from her face.
”Great! That ’s a promise then! ”
”Don ’t forget about the ASMAS! If I don ’t get it, I ’ll probably be too preoccupied with my design project! ”
’ll obtain some as fast as possible! Don
’t worry, Ves! This little issue is not a big deal for me.
I ’m much more excited about our upcoming physical date! Hihi! ”
They began to discuss when and where they could possibly meet.
After comparing their agendas, they determined that it would be best for them to meet when Ves stopped by the Hertog Dominion or the Tomaris Federation.
’s meet at the Tomaris Federation!
” She lovingly declared.
”While it ’s a bit distant from the Hegemony, I still need the extra time to arrange all of my affairs if I want to spend the next few years with you! I can ’t let any lingering issues ruin our perfect time together, hihihi! ”
”Whoa! What are you talking about? ”
She offered him a brilliant grin.
”Since we ’re meeting up in the future, we might as well stick around, right? Let ’s spend some time together! I ’ll go anywhere you go! I won ’t be a bother! ”
”We can also design our first collaborative mech together! I ’ll let you take the lead this time! My specialty is great for designing the perfect mech for a mech pilot! Aren ’t there some you care about? This would be the perfect time for us to see whether our design philosophies work well with each other! ”
This must be one of the biggest reasons why she wanted to spend an extended amount of time together.
Just as Gloriana obsessed over what their collaboration might yield, so did Ves, though not in such a single-minded way.
For this reason, Ves did not object to this proposal.
He wanted to see for himself if their design philosophies really synergized with each other as both of them suspected.
If the promised compatibility and synergy did not take place, then… Gloriana would probably dump him really quickly.
Was this really such a bad outcome? Not necessarily.
Either outcome favored him in different ways.
He did not lose out no matter what results they achieved once they completed their collaborative project!
”I ’m more than willing to design a mech together. ” He eventually answered.
’m so happy!
” Gloriana exuberantly clapped her hands together.
”Do you have a mech in mind already? It will help me a lot if you can tell me about the mech pilot you have in mind.
I only design custom mechs, so it ’s really important for me to learn all there is about my customers. ”
Ves briefly contemplated who deserved to pilot a custom mech.
He already formed a small list of people he wanted to bestow with a fantastic mech.
To him, family came first, but his protection was a priority as well! For this reason, he quickly turned his attention to the Avatars of Myth.
’d like our first collaborative project to benefit Melkor Larkinson, one of the cousins in my family.
He ’s been leading my personal mech force for years, but he lacks an awe-inspiring mech that befits his rank. ”
” Gloriana nodded.
”What is your cousin ’s specialty? ”
He pilots a landbound rifleman mech. ”
”Rifleman mech, huh? I ’ve got plenty of experience with those! I ’ll make the preparations right away! ”
”Make sure you study my Crystal Lord mech as well.
Melkor has been piloting one for years.
Depending on his desires, we might end up designing an upgraded variant of my only rifleman mech design. ”
I already studied it extensively so I know what it prioritizes.
I ’ll be sure to do some research! ”
Ves and Gloriana both became more enthused about their upcoming collaborative mech project.
They continued to discuss the preliminary details with each other without any reserve.
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