Chapter 1850 Rim Exchange

The MTA lieutenant conjured up another projection.
It displayed a small diagram that showed what he can do now that he gained surface access to their organization.

”For now, you have access to three different spheres within our fraternity.
First, the business network can offer you many opportunities to earn money, find clients or expand your reach.
You can also find new partners and suppliers who can offer you benefits that can ’t easily be matched by others. ”

This sounded very interesting to Ves.
Gaining access to the business network was exactly what he was aiming for! Though it wouldn ’t be cheap, Ves would probably be able to benefit a lot as long as he had enough merits to secure what he needed!

”Is this where I can form a business contract that is guaranteed by the Rim Guardians? ”

She nodded.
”This is a popular service of ours.
We offer many different forms of guarantees and protections.
The best ones can be quite expensive in terms of merits.
Most of the time, the basic ones are sufficient for your needs.
Do take into account that if you wish to rely on the cross-sector services of RG Logistics, our trade company, you will need to pay an initial fee. ”

”How much? ”

”The price to access the Yeina Star Cluster is 100,000 merits.
If you wish to extend your business to the entire galactic rim, then a small price of just 10 million merits is sufficient! This is quite a bargain compared to the prices that other organizations charge! Mind you, these are all one-time fees.
You only need to pay once in order to unlock access to our expansive business network! ”

Ves almost wanted to puke when he heard the second figure.
10 million merits was enough for a third-rater to become the lowest form of galactic pioneer!

The price to access the Yeina Star Cluster was far more reasonable by comparison.
This meant that Ves would not only be able to pay for the backing of the Rim Guardians in the Komodo Star Sector, but all the other star sectors in the cluster as well!

A star cluster typically consisted of two to twenty star clusters.
Unlike star sectors, the grouping of star clusters were mainly formed for administrative, historical or arbitrary reasons.

In time, this artificial grouping became a natural one due to how the star cluster was run and how the star sectors always gravitated towards each other.

The Yeina Star Cluster was by all accounts an unimpressive one, just like almost every star cluster close to the frontier.
It encompassed eight star sectors in total, and included Komodo, Vicious Mountain and Majestic Teal.

The most notable star sector of all was the Winged Serenade Star Sector.
It served as the central star sector, which was sort of like a capital of the entire cluster.
It not only hosted the cluster headquarters of the MTA, it also attracted much of the wealth and trade goods provided by the peripheral star sectors.

Everything was substantially better at Winged Serenade, from the states to the quality of their mechs.

”To be honest, some of our most valuable services and offerings are only available at our cluster headquarters in Winged Serenade. ” The lieutenant spoke.
”It shouldn ’t matter too much to you at your current stage, but once you advance to Senior, I highly advise paying a visit. ”

”I will keep that in mind. ”

It would take several decades for him to advance to Senior.
He would have definitely reached the Red Ocean by then! The lieutenant ’s advice was unnecessary for this reason.

”By the way, you can access many of our services through our virtual portal, the Rim Exchange.
For most interactions, it is unnecessary for you to travel to Centerpoint or any of our other headquarter systems. ”

”I understand. ”

Let ’s proceed to our second amenity.
The trade platform is exactly what it says.
It ’s a platform where we facilitate trade and transactions between associates or our organizations.
Mech designers looking for rare materials or collaborators with very specific specialties can find whatever they seek here.
Those with useful and unique specialties such as you are always able to find great collaboration opportunities at this platform. ”

This sounded very interesting to Ves! He knew the potential of his own design philosophy and the ease in which he could collaborate with other mech designers.
Even if he wasn ’t able to synergize with another collaborator, at the very least his specialty would always allow him to empower a mech beyond the means of technology!

”Will I be able to earn MTA merits from the trading platform? ”

”No. ” Lieutenant Ferct shook her head.
”Most offers and commissions posted on the trade platform are private in nature.
You are transacting directly with other associates most of the time.
The Rim Guardians won ’t be involved other than to witness or guarantee a contract when our services are called for.
Be wary when you make a deal with some as associates won ’t hesitate to exploit you if you are inattentive. ”

Her words deflated his hopes.
”I see. ”

”The trade platform does allow for ways to spend your merits, if you wish.
We operate a virtual auction house that is tied to our physical auction houses.
It holds period auctions that cater to various kinds of mech designers and people of means.
Some of the auctions require you to bid with merits, while other auctions allow you to bid with MTA credits or other valuable goods. ”

This didn ’t sound as interesting to him.
The goods and treasures that showed up in auctions mostly weren ’t relevant to him.
Unless there was an opportunity to snap up one of the rare exotics needed to complete the System ’s annoyingly difficult Supply Missions, Ves did not intend to waste his time at auctions.

The lieutenant soon moved on the most important benefit of becoming an associate.

”Now, I ’m sure it has dawned upon you that you can ’t avoid spending merits if you wish to make the most of your associate status.
Our merit hall is the venue where you can find many opportunities to earn merits.
MTA merits, to be clear.
You can exchange your merits for many possible benefits from us or the MTA, though I advise you to stick with us.
We offer substantially more merits for our missions, and we charge less for everything we offer. ”

Even if the Rim Guardians provided its associates with better deals, Ves had no illusion that they would recoup their investment in time.

The more an associate curried favor with the Rim Guardians, the less the associate would approach rival organizations.

Once an associate was knee-deep inside the swamp of the Rim Guardians, it was too late for them to leave!

This was what Ves suspected after Calabast passed on her warning.
The difficulty was that Ves needed lots of MTA merits.
The advantages provided by the Rim Guardians were far too important for him to ignore!

Therefore, even if the Rim Guardians presented him with a trap, Ves still intended to dive head-first into the swamp!

”What kind of missions do you offer? ”

”Oh, there are many many missions, far more than our associates can ever complete.
None of them are easy, though.
The missions we issue to our associates are mostly errands that are too trivial or low priority to require our intervention.
Many of them do not involve any states or local organizations.
Instead, our missions are mostly related to the safety and stability of the galactic rim.
The most dangerous and lucrative ones are often related to the deep frontier.
This means that there is a high chance that you will clash against aliens over the course of your mission! ”

Most mech designers would probably react with horror when they heard that they might have to travel to the deep frontier to complete a mission!

Ves was not like most mech designers.
He barely exhibited any fear or surprise when he heard that the best missions required him to travel very far away from civilized space.

In fact, he was looking forward to accepting some of these missions! Not only would he be able to earn buckets of merits, he could also treat them as practice runs for his upcoming grand expedition.

When his grand expedition finally reached the Red Ocean after setting off, they would soon be roaming entirely new regions of space where humanity had only just arrived!

Basically, outside of the regions where the Big Two have already fortified, the overwhelming portion of the Red Ocean should be little different from the deep frontier!

Considering the abundance of threats and the lack of safe harbor, his expeditionary fleet needed to be ready to handle any possible emergency.
Failing to prepare his grand expedition for every possible contingency was incredibly unwise!

”Is there any other way to earn a lot of merits? ” He asked.
”Ones that won ’t put me at great personal risk? ”

Lieutenant Ferct smirked.
”There are, but they are very demanding in other ways.
Don ’t even think about them.
They ’re mostly exclusive to Masters or very outstanding Seniors. ”

”Oh. ”

”That said, there are very special missions that have long been unmet.
If they haven ’t expired, we have likely raised their rewards to greater heights.
If you think you are confident and capable enough to complete them, then you should accept them.
Mind you, many of their requirements are abnormal. ”

”Is there anything else that can earn me a lot of merits? Ones that doesn ’t demand something specific? ”

”Well, the only other opportunity available to you are high priority missions.
These are time-sensitive tasks that have been issued on short notice.
Mind you, many associates are waiting night and day for such a mission! They are very lucrative but not as dangerous as deep missions.
I advise you to visit the merit hall as soon as possible to scan all of the latent missions that have piled up.
Who knows, one of them might be a good fit for your peculiar specialty and strengths. ”

As Lieutenant Ferct outlined the main types of missions offered by the merit hall, Ves took notes and formed a list.

[Standard mission: low rewards, low risk, low demands

Priority mission: medium rewards, medium risk, medium demands

Long mission: medium rewards, low risk, low demands

Deep mission: high rewards, very high risk, medium demands

High mission: high rewards, low risk, very high demands

Latent mission: high rewards, low risk, special demands]

Overall, Ves needed to navigate the list of missions carefully in order to earn as many merits as possible in the limited time he had available.

He already ruled out standard missions and long missions.
They rewarded too little merits for the amount of time and effort needed to complete them.
It would probably take a century for Ves to earn 100 million merits this way!

In order to leave the Milky Way Galaxy as soon as possible, Ves almost certainly planned to consider deep missions, priority missions and latent missions!

The most desirable mission to complete was the so-called latent mission which no one managed to complete for a very long time.
Yet their requirements were so weird that most of them probably required skills and abilities that Ves didn ’t possess.

As for priority missions, Lieutenant Ferct already told him that they were only available for a very short time.
Perhaps they might be up for a single second before a very fast associate snapped them up! There was no way Ves could compete against these desperate mech designers.

Therefore, deep missions sounded like his best hope.
Ves felt he was very lucky that he was expanding and upgrading his mech forces.
As long as he could form a fleet that was as strong as a mech regiment, then he would be able to withstand most threats!

If he equipped the majority of his mech pilots with his upcoming Larkinson mech, then his effective strength would almost certainly shoot up! As long as he managed to add some expert mechs and expert pilots to his lineup, then the strength of his fleet would definitely be a match for an entire mech division!

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