The Mech Touch
Mech design was a very demanding profession.
Mech designers had to be rational.
They had to be capable of absorbing and applying an enormous amount of scientific knowledge.
Mech designers also had to be passionate.
Those without feeling were no better than auto-designers that were incapable of designing groundbreaking mechs!
As Patricia explained, mech designers had to straddle the line between these two extremes and find a position where they could maximize their success.
Patricia was very suited to become a rational mech designer due to her excellent ability to control herself.
Ves never saw her exhibit any strong emotion.
He met quite a few mech designers who impressed him with their level of control.
Now that he thought about it, Master Olson truly came across as someone who was in absolute control of herself!
He suspected that a handful of other mech designers he met in the past adopted the same approach as well.
Professor Ventag and Mayra of the Swordmaidens stood out as two distinct suspects!
’t easy to determine whether other mech designers fit this mold as well.
The existence of a spectrum meant that every rational mech designer expressed at least some emotions, while every passionate mech designer exerted at least some control over their urges!
When Patricia left after she enlightened him, Ves threw all thoughts about his violent takeover plan to the back of his mind.
What he learned was simply too shocking for him to ignore!
He calmly went over what he learned.
He adjusted his perspective on mech designers and tried to judge whether he should do something with what he learned.
”Am I satisfied with myself? Do I need to change my position on the spectrum? ”
He knew he depended on his emotions to design his mechs.
He didn ’t see anything wrong with that!
’m doing great so far.
Obviously, that means my self-control is already sufficient! ”
He felt very confident about his conclusion.
In his opinion, Patricia thought too poorly about his ability to remain in control! He could be very rational when he wanted to be! Right?
As for the three methods Patricia suggested Ves to adopt, he promised to get back to them once he overcame his current predicament.
’t afford to take it slow.
” He muttered.
”Pausing in order to regain my center and reflecting on my gains is a waste of time! ”
He had to keep progressing as fast as possible! As long as he remained weak, he continued to remain vulnerable to people like Lady Curver!
In order to take control of his life and resist enemies such as the Five Scrolls Compact, he had to advance to Master as soon as possible! Once he reached this exalted rank, he believed he could finally make his voice heard!
The second method sounded much more interesting to him.
Ves had already spent a lot of time on formulating a set of principles.
The only problem was that his own principles diverged substantially from the ones propagated by the MTA.
Ves felt no sincerity towards most of the principles adopted by orthodox mech designers.
In truth, he only paid lip service to them and ignored them at his own convenience.
He only took some principles seriously, such as the responsibility of a teacher towards a student.
He couldn ’t really explain why he valued this principle so highly.
He formed some other principles as well, such as offering fair treatment to his design spirits and valuing strong loyalty.
While this wasn ’t that much of a problem right now, if he neglected this issue, he suspected that it would blow up in a huge problem down the line!
The rules that people abided by not only constrained their behavior, but also shaped their personality.
When someone became used to adopting a certain attitude, they became much less likely to break the mold.
”This is actually useful to me. ” He concluded.
As for the last method Patricia mentioned, Ves chose to add it to his extremely lengthy to-do list.
He was already short on time.
He had way too many things to do and too little time to address them all.
Why should he expend his valuable design energy on some useless hobby?
To Ves, his passion and energy for mech design were essential resources! He depended on them to increase his motivation and commitment to his design projects!
Perhaps many mech designers who tried to pursue self-control had wasted most of their creative juices by wasting them on frivolous hobbies!
”There ’s never too much passion in my opinion! ”
He believed that strong passion and emotion were not only keys to designing his best mechs, but also enabled the creation of masterwork mechs!
Ves recalled his first true passion project.
The energy and enthusiasm he devoted to designing the Devil Tiger had reached unprecedented levels!
The euphoria he experienced upon fabricating the mech was unforgettable!
Ever since he made his first masterwork mech, he constantly tried to grasp this frenzy once more!
While Ves didn ’t know if a rational mech designer was incapable of crafting masterwork mechs, he guessed that this was extremely unlikely!
He couldn ’t imagine a passionless mech designer succeeding in fabricating a mech that surpassed the quality of the original design! A masterwork mech came about through an intense confluence of meaning, feelings and intuition along with a dash of serendipity!
None of those were something that rational mech designers depended upon to design their mechs!
From the impression given by Patricia, mech designers like her depended heavily on their heads instead of their hearts to design their mechs!
That said, Ves did not dismiss this suggestion entirely.
He intuitively felt that hobbies weren ’t all that bad.
Instead of guessing about it, he might as well try it seriously and see for himself if it was as beneficial as Patricia suggested!
He abruptly frowned and interrupted his train of thought.
”Why do I keep getting back to Patricia and her advice? ”
He looked at the clock and found out to his consternation that three unsuspecting hours had already passed!
As a mech designer, Ves couldn
’t help but be obsessed with anything related to his profession.
If he hadn ’t reminded himself that he was about to engage in a very risky venture tomorrow, he might have spent entire days instead of a couple of hours in thought!
He narrowed his eyes in suspicion.
Why did Patricia come and reveal so many inexplicable secrets and insights to him? Ves recognized that what she told him must not be common knowledge! Since the MTA was strongly involved, this must have been very high-level information!
”She knows me well enough that I ’m very passionate about my work. ”P
Did she deliberately exploit his trait to manipulate him? If he seriously considered her words, then he might have tried to follow some of her suggestions, especially since he had nothing else to do in captivity!
Her ultimate goal must have been to encourage him to spend his time on trying out the three methods!
Since Aisling did not allow him to design any mechs, Ves really had little else to do.
He would have surely spent a lot of time on the first method and perhaps the other two methods as well!
The outcome of engaging in these methods became clear to Ves! His captors wanted him to suppress his anger and to reduce his animosity towards them! As long as he suppressed his strongest emotions, he wouldn ’t be as hostile anymore!
In addition, as long as he became more rational, he also became more susceptible to Aisling ’s persuasions!
He always found Aisling
’s arguments to be compelling.
If Ves wasn ’t so resentful at her, he might have become more friendlier with her by now!
”Hahaha! So this is your plan! ”
Patricia visited him with a friendly smile and some very helpful advice.
However, her underlying goal was nothing less than to reduce his resistance towards his captors!
If Ves started listening to his reason, he feared that he would lose his way!
He was a mech designer! He was a Larkinson! He was Gloriana ’s girlfriend!
He abided by all of those identities and more! The moment he began to abandon some of them was the moment he was no longer the same!
The fury in his heart spread to his eyes.
He glowered at the space that Patricia used to occupy.
He believed he saw through her malicious intentions!
”How poisonous! Gloriana would never resort to such tricks! ”
Ves much preferred to deal with his girlfriend due to her strong and predictable personality!
As for people like Patricia, she was so rational that she was probably very adept in planning and scheming.
He consciously equated her to Calabast! Both of them were highly in control of themselves and both of them were capable of adjusting themselves when necessary!
’s not a bad thing to be stubborn.
At least I am staying true to myself! ”
He suspected that rational mech designers like Patricia didn
’t have any principles at all! They needed to be flexible enough to assimilate many different design philosophies, after all.
They were probably chameleons in this regard!
Aware that he had inadvertently wasted a lot of time on information that wouldn ’t help him tomorrow, Ves quickly cast out all of his existing thoughts.
Instead of wasting his time on philosophical matters, he should instead go over his current plan and make sure he memorized all of the steps!
A quiet night passed as Ves dreamt of violence.
The next day, Ves tried his best to hide his excitement.
He wanted to do nothing more than materialize his Amastendira and blast every Fridayman in sight!
However, this wasn ’t the right time!
Ves needed to make his move while the Scarlet Rose emerged from FTL!
Trying to hijack the ship while she was travelling through the higher dimensions was very risky! As long as even a single thing went wrong in engineering, the ship might lose stability and tear apart, dooming everyone!
While Ves didn ’t care about the lives of the crew, he valued his own life very highly! He would never do something so stupid when he could minimize the risks by waiting a little.
As long as the Scarlet Rose transitioned back to the material dimensions, any accidents wouldn ’t immediately become fatal!
Through some surreptitious hacking by Lucky, Ves already learned of their upcoming destination.
The Scarlet Rose was about to reach a medium-populated border system belonging to a third-rate state that neighbored the Friday Coalition.
If the Scarlet Rose sustained too much damage, then Ves could at least preserve his life by waiting for rescue from the local patrol forces!
Failure was not unacceptable to him.
As long as he remained alive, he could always mount another comeback!
When Ves ate breakfast with Aisling at the dining room, he acted the same as usual.
”Patricia taught you the importance of rationality yesterday, right? ”
”What about it, Aisling? ”
”I think it
’s very helpful for you if you take some time to reflect on yourself.
You ’re so consumed by the present that you might have changed in ways you don ’t fully agree with.
From what I ’ve gathered, you were much different a couple years ago. ”
”If this is some oblique way of stating that Gloriana corrupted me, then you can save your words.
My stance is still the same! ”
Aisling sighed in an exasperated manner.
”I ’m concerned about your professional life, not just your personal life.
Mech designers who are as emotional as you tend to self-destruct over time.
Who knows whether you will do something unforgivable one day? Humans are different from exobeasts because we are capable of transcending our baser instincts.
Don ’t be an animal, Ves.
Be civilized. ”
”I would have you know that I am a very
’ mech designer.
” Ves twitched his mouth.
”If it makes you feel better, I promise you that I ’ll do my best to show how civilized I can be today! ”
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