One day before the scheduled arrival of Vincent Ricklin, a pivotal event took place that stirred the entire galaxy!

At the time, Ves held a lecture for the Tovar mech designers while Gloriana and Ketis took care of the Larkinson seeds.

So far, Ves was very pleased with the addition of the Tovar mech designers to his design team.
While they lacked imagination, they were no slouches in the technical department.

If Ves wanted to exploit their labor, then he did not have to go through so much effort in mentoring them.
However, that was not what he promised to Senator Tovar.

Though he declined to make any solid promises, Ves still assumed that he had a responsibility to raise at least one Tovar to Journeyman.

Unfortunately, Cherie, Vela, Pachtold and Gilbert all lacked the required spiritual potential to form a design seed.
At their ages, Ves did not believe that they would be able to develop any spiritual potential in the next couple of years.

For this reason, Ves directed a little more attention to Miles, who was the only mech designer among the five who might make it to Journeyman in his lifetime.

”Your specialty relates to aerial mechs, right? ”

Miles nodded.
”Mechs with flight capabilities are the future.
This transition has already taken place in more advanced states.
As soon as it becomes economical enough to incorporate a flight system in any mech, pure landbound mechs will become a relic of the past! ”

What Miles just stated happened to be similar to what Gloriana taught him in one of her tutoring sessions to turn Ves into a second-class mech designer.

The division between landbound and aerial mechs used to be ubiquitous throughout the galaxy.

However, no one was satisfied with the limited mobility of mechs that could only tread on land.
Aerial mechs could cover so much more ground.
The downside of aerial mechs was that their flight capabilities took up too much mass and volume in their frames!

While this problem still existed in the mechs employed by third-rate states in the galactic rim, more advanced states no longer stuck by this convention.

As long as the tech and materials became good enough, it was possible to turn every landbound mech into a flying object!

In the Coalition and the Hegemony, many landbound mechs were already capable of maneuvering in the air or in deep space.
While they didn ’t move as fast as dedicated flying mechs, at the very least they weren ’t helpless in the event of a battle in space!

Gloriana even believed that the distinction between landbound, aerial and spaceborn mechs might disappear in a few hundred years!

This transition already took place in the galactic center and most places in the galactic heartland.
The multipurpose mechs that Ves encountered during one of his Mastery experiences already incorporated the ability to operate in several different environments by default!

Such an extravagant and complex feature was still unimaginable in a small state like the Bright Republic!

From that perspective, Miles picked a very good direction to specialize in.
At the very least, he did not have to worry about his design philosophy becoming redundant with the passage of time! Every mech required at least some flight capabilities in the future!

”I can ’t give you any advice when it comes to your specialization. ” Ves remarked.
”This is something you can only depend on yourself.
I hope that you have set a concrete goal for yourself.
From what I ’ve seen so far of you, I ’m not sure you ’ve made up your mind on what you want to accomplish.
Just making better flight-capable mechs is not a sufficient goal.
Think about it some more. ”

As Ves was about to wrap up this session, everyone ’s comms beeped in alarm.

No one ’s comm was exempted from this alert! Even though Ves ordered everyone to put their comms in silent mode, the alarm superseded all silencing functions without any hindrance!

In addition, the alarm not only affected the comms of the mech designers.
Nitaa and the guards stationed by the Sentinels and the Glory Battalion all reacted with surprise as the alarms also affected their communication equipment!

”This alarm tone.. ”

Everyone paused and widened their eyes.
Almost no one had heard this specific tone before.

However, each of them memorized this specific tone at school! This was because it signified a very important event!

”The MTA is about to make a galactic announcement! ” Gloriana gasped as she checked her comm first! ”It ’s about to start in sixty minutes! ”

While the guards didn ’t react too strongly to this news, the mech designers each shook with anticipation!

”The new mech generation is about to start! ”

Ves and Gloriana anticipated this development for a long time! The entire mech industry was about to undergo a huge shift at the impending release of better tech and standards!

Unfortunately, the start of the next mech generation came at a very odd time to the mech designers of the Bright Republic!

With the Sand War raging throughout the rimward direction of the Komodo Star Sector, Ves had no time to design a commercial mech that served the general mech market.

The only mechs that sold in the local region were mechs designed to resist the sandmen!

This wasn ’t necessarily a bad thing.
In fact, Ves benefited hugely from this development because the crisis offered him an opportunity to propel his Soldier product line into an unprecedented level of success!

The success of the Desolate Soldier and its variants along with the spread of the Stripes of Humanity propelled Ves and his mech company into a household name!

In other words, Ves already achieved the results he originally wanted to make after the start of the next mech generation!

”The timing isn ’t too good. ” He sighed.
”I promised to fulfill a commission. ”

Gloriana patted his back.
”We don ’t have to work on one project at a time.
Besides, we can immediately familiarize ourselves with the new tech and components by applying them to Vincent ’s custom mech. ”

”I know, but it ’s still a burden to juggle multiple projects at once when time is at a premium. ”

Despite these difficulties, Ves did not shy away from this challenge.
He was more than confident enough in his ability to design a new generation mech within a matter of months!

As Ves and Gloriana waited for the announcement to start, they began to discuss which mech they should design next.

”I ’m most comfortable with designing premium mechs.
That has always been my strongest niche. ” Ves said after some deliberation.

”Your most successful mech design is a budget mech. ” His girlfriend pointed out.

”I know, but I feel like I can ’t express my strengths as well in more limited designs.
I also don ’t want to make it easy for customers to gain access to my glow.
The current circumstances with the Desolate Soldier has already shown me that making glows too accessible will devalue their worth. ”

This was something that Ves always felt uneasy about.
While he did not object to selling more mechs and capturing more market share, he feared upending the mech markets too much by making his mechs too ubiquitous.

His Desolate Soldiers would have never sold so well if the Sand War made a lot of ruling powers desperate.

Once the crisis was past, he couldn ’t be as unbridled as before.
His competitors wouldn ’t sit still if he continued to encroach upon their interests.

By making his mechs expensive, Ves sacrificed volume for quality.
He believed that designing mechs for the upper end of the market was the way to go for him.
Unlike most mech designers, he never dreamt of turning his mechs into a universal standard.

Naturally, that did not mean that Ves would stop designing cheaper mechs.
He just wanted to be more careful about it in order to maintain a reputation for quality and stabilize the value of his glow.

After some thought, Gloriana agreed with his decision as well.
”Designing more expensive mechs is a bit closer to designing a second-class mech than if you opted for something cheaper.
If you keep designing mechs like the Desolate Soldier, you won ’t develop the right mindset of someone who is capable of designing a second-class mech. ”

Recently, Ves made a fair amount of progress in familiarizing himself with second-class mechs.
Due to his high Intelligence, he absorbed all of the literature that Gloriana assigned to him within a matter of hours!

His learning speed deeply impressed his girlfriend.
She became a lot more hopeful about his chances of becoming a qualified second-class mech designer within three years!

Of course, Gloriana hadn ’t started with the difficult stuff yet.
There was a fair amount of high technology that Ves had to digest before he became capable of designing a higher-end second-class mech!

He had little choice.
There were simply too many advanced technologies such as energy shielding and miniaturized flight systems that he needed to become proficient in before he could think of designing a mech that appealed to customers from a second-rate state!

”If the Sand War didn ’t take place, I would have been more inclined to design a melee mech.
Still, it ’s not that big of a deal to design another ranged mech.
I just want some variety. ”

”What about designing an artillery mech? ”

Ves shook his head.
”I ’ve already considered that option.
A heavy artillery mech will take too long to design while a medium artillery mech doesn ’t offer enough firepower to make my product compelling. ”

”What about a light mech, then? ”

”The sandmen are too accurate in their laser fire.
Fielding a light mech is little better than fielding a starfighter.
The risk to the mech pilot is too much. ”

”A missileer? ”

”It ’s not an efficient weapon system against the sandmen.
A mech armed with missiles will shoot its launchers dry after firing several salvos.
This is why rifleman mechs enjoy vastly more favor right now.
Their damage output per sortie is higher compared to other mech types. ”

Both of them looked troubled as they contemplated which option they should go for next.

None of the options sounded attractive except for designing a premium rifleman mech.
Yet the recently-released Dawnbreaker already filled this niche.
Ves saw no point in designing a mech that offered similar performance to an existing popular mech model.

”Why not go for your marksman mech idea? ” Gloriana suggested.
”Even if it ’s a sub-type of rifleman mechs, it lends itself well to the premium mech category because of its high skill demand. ”

Ves mulled over the suggestion and found it doable.
”You ’re right.
There aren ’t any exceptional mech models that focus on long-ranged precision fire on the market. ”

While the sandmen were lethal up close, they possessed a definite range advantage due to their reliance on laser weapons, which struck their targets at the speed of light! The only reason why the sandmen missed their shots every now and then was because their targeting systems weren ’t perfect.

In contrast, humanity had to rely on ranged weapons that dealt physical damage as opposed to energy damage.
This was bad because physical projectiles traversed a lot slower in space.

The larger the distance, the bigger the problem.

For this reason, marksman mechs didn ’t really receive too much attention.
While they were useful in engaging the sandmen at longer ranges, their total damage output was not as good because they carried less ammunition.

As mechs designed to take out distant opponents, marksmen mechs often resorted to heavier calibers.
This was not as efficient in combating the sandmen.

”I ’ll think about it after the announcement is over. ” Ves eventually decided.
”Who knows, maybe the MTA will introduce some new tech that will make a marksman mech a lot more viable. ”

In truth, Ves did not have much hopes for that.
From what he heard, the next mech generation mainly revolved around significant improvements in laser weapons and other related energy weapon technology.

This happened to be completely useless to Ves at this time!

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