nap it up when he puts it on sale? ”

”Yes, and keep buying one of every variant he sells in that game of yours.
I want you to track his progress in this way and give him a little push while he ’s at it.
Don ’t buy any more, though.
I don ’t want him to grow complacent. ”

”Understood, dad.
Anything else? ”

”Keep digging into the so-called Future Sons Technology Institution.
Any organization with the clout to grant a production license of the Caesar Augustus shouldn ’t be an obscure player. ”

”We still can ’t make much progress on that front since they ’re based in the New Rubarth Empire.
Their corporate laws are too opaque, deliberately so.
Even if we use our sources, they won ’t be able to get anything. ”

Benjamin spat to the side.
”Ark, I don ’t need to know the shareholders or donors of the institute.
Just find out if a New Rubarthan or a foreigner taking advantage of the local laws is pulling the strings. ”

”That should be doable.
I ’ll pass on your instructions. ”

”That should be enough on your plate for now.
Leave me to my fishing.
I ’ll go over the documents later and send you my thoughts in a day or two. ”

”Very well.
Goodbye. ”

As Ark left the villa, Benjamin relaxed his eyes and smiled.
He held a steady grip on his fishing pole.

”What kind of father abandons their son? ”

The fish still didn ’t bite.

Back on Cloudy Curtain, Ves released an exhaustive breath as he finished fabricating the Nero in Iron Spirit.

The customized Caesar Augustus model still had its problem spots.
However, with prior experience and the various modifications he made to mitigate a few bad spots, Ves encountered fewer risks during fabrication.
The CA-1A Nero as he named it still caused some difficulties, particularly with its armor plates which Ves hadn ’t modified.
Finding a solution for the armor plates

The System offered a fallback.
Its Store sold various goods as long as Ves could afford the price.
The cheapest alternative armor he could find in the shop cost at least 1000 DP.
Ves preferred not to buy them, because the armor plating was several generations behind current standards.

No one wanted to buy a CA-1 variant with crappy armor.
A big part what made the Caesar Augustus was its sword and shield, which were made out of the same expensive alloys as its armor.
Cutting back on the armor meant not just lowering the CA-1 ’s defense, it also affected its offensive power.

Luckily, it wasn ’t a problem he needed to concern himself with today.
Ves put the Nero on sale once he ironed out the remaining kinks revealed by the last-minute tests.

[CA-1A Nero]

Base Model: Caesar Augustus CA-1

Purchase price: 950,000 gold (-50%)

Premium Price: 60,000 bright credits

Charging 60,000 bright credits for the Nero was stretching the model ’s value.
It only offered a marginal improvement in performance and a slight decrease in repair cost to any player interested in a Caesar Augustus model.
Still, seeing how his previous mech got sold fairly quickly, Ves hoped his handcrafted Nero at least provided higher profits.
He wanted to see some validation in the work he put in his models.

Now that he finished the Nero, Ves ought to go back to the Designer and create another variant.
The problem was that Ves couldn ’t achieve a breakthrough in either improving the CA-1 ’s internals or replacing its armor.
It came down to a lack of skills and resources.

”I can ’t afford the things I need. ” Ves sighed.
”Stupid System.
Why did the pagoda thing reward me with a Caesar Augustus. ”

He checked his Status again in order to see how much catching up he still had to do.


Name: Ves Larkinson

Profession: Novice Mech Designer

Specializations: None

Design Points: 175


Strength: 0.7

Dexterity: 0.7

Endurance: 0.6

Intelligence: 1.2

Creativity: 1

Concentration: 1

Neural Aptitude: F


[Assembly]: Novice – [3D Printer Proficiency I] [Assembler Proficiency I]

[Business]: Apprentice

[Computer Science]: Incompetent

[Electrical Engineering]: Novice

[Mathematics]: Incompetent

[Mechanics]: Apprentice – [Jury Rigging I] [Speed Tuning I]

[Metallurgy]: Apprentice

[Physics]: Novice – [Lightweight Armor Optimization I]

Evaluation: An all-rounder in incompetence.

”I ’ve acquired a decent amount of skills, but I ’ve split my attention. ” Ves concluded as he saw how many low-level skills he currently possessed.
”I should either finish upgrading my Electrical Engineering or pick up Mediumweight Armor Optimization I.
Raising my Assembly sub-skills can wait for later once I start fabricating the real thing. ”

Nothing changed after staring at his Status for ten solid minutes.
”Come on System.
I ’m at the end of my rope.
You haven ’t sent me a mission for a while now.
Why not give me something to work with? Do you expect me to beg my grandpa for a loan or something? ”

[You have received a new mission.
Please check the Mission page for the details.]

”YES! Finally! ” Ves celebrated as he raised his fists with a grin.
He then knelt on the ground, kowtowing towards the computer terminal.
”You are my god, System. ”

He kept praising the System and its timely missions, completely forgetting the times he cursed the System for giving him missions with ridiculous demands.


Mission: Tutorial Part 4 – X-Factor

Difficulty: B-Rank

Prerequisites: Completed Tutorial Part 3


Some have characterized the profession of mech designer to the modern Prometheus.
Are mechs purely machines, or are they something more? Please design a mech with a prominent X-Factor, ranking at least E- or higher.

Reward: 1 random 10-year medium armor production licence, 200 tons of raw materials reserved for armor production

The rewards attracted Ves ’ attention.
With a production license and a couple of containers of raw materials in the bag, Ves faced much less financial pressure in gathering the other materials required to fabricate his desired CA-1 variant.
This mission was essential to his future planning.

”Uh huh. ” Ves scratched his head.
”What the hell is X-Factor? ”

[User, please research diligently and form your own answer to the riddle of X-Factor.
There are no wrong answers.]

Whatever. ” Ves had the feeling this problem was a lot bigger than anyone thought.

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