Chapter 1858 The Missing Link

Back at the design labs, the Larkinson mech took shape.
The rifleman mech, space knight, lancer mech and swordsman mech configurations all became increasingly more real as Ves, Gloriana and their design teams continually added to the overall design.

Yet as the design project was about to reach an advanced stage where no more major additions took place, Ves hesitated.

When he took a step back and evaluated their current progress, he felt there was something missing from the mech design.

This was a feeling borne from his instinct as a mech designer.
He didn ’t quite know the reason why he felt his mech design was lacking, but he trusted in it enough to pause and reflect on his work.

”What ’s missing? ” He asked.

Gloriana, who was seated at his side, leaned into his arm and viewed the projections of the design schematics with interest.

”All four configurations are fairly good if I may say so.
None of the individual configurations perform as well as their specialized counterparts, but the versatility we ’ve gained more than makes up for that.
From a logistical perspective, it is considerably easier to meet the upkeep of a single modular mech platform than four separate designs. ”

This was because the latter often entailed vastly different parts, materials, systems, expertise and quirks.
Unless the mech designs all came from the same product group and mech designer, it was highly unlikely for all of these elements to be interchangeable!

Ves knew how troublesome it was to keep an eclectic mech roster supplied with the appropriate parts and materials.
Mech technicians also had to go through a lot of effort to develop a passing familiarity of each new mech model introduced in the ranks.

The advantages provided by the Larkinson mech significantly eased this burden.
This was very important as Ves and the Larkinson Clan weren ’t as robust as the Mech Corps in terms of supporting large mech forces!

Currently, the Avatars and Sentinels were both lean in terms of headcount and complexity.
While they were expanding every day, it was a mistake to think that they would be able to match a formal mech military in many aspects.

From this angle, the Larkinson mech wonderfully fit their purposes.
Its mix of versatility, high defensive prowess and economies of scale were all boons in the times to come.

Yet Ves still felt dissatisfied for some reason.

He frowned and continued to scrutinize each aspect of his incomplete design.
From a technical standpoint, they managed to solve many of the seemingly-intractable technical problems that emerged.
Now that the direction of the design was almost fixed, he expected the remainder of the design work to be smooth sailing from this point onwards.

Yet why did he still feel ill at ease?

”The design works. ” He murmured.
”There is nothing wrong with the implementation of the design.
That means the problem is more fundamental.
There is an issue with the design choices I ’ve made. ”

As the silence stretched on for minutes, Gloriana eventually poked his side with her slender, manicured finger.

”You know, we haven ’t dressed up the exterior of our mechs yet.
Maybe it will help if we add our signature looks to the design. ”

Ves shrugged.
”We might as well. ”

Adding their signature look was very simple.

Ves merely added the crystal third eye on the forehead of the modular mech platform from his previous design.
He tweaked its size and placement to make sure it fit with the aesthetic of the head of the mech.

Meanwhile, Gloriana meticulously drew out a crystal hexagon around the third eye from scratch.
Its placement on the forehead enhanced the mysterious aspect of both the third eye and the rest of the mech.

Their addition instantly changed the overall impression of the mech.
This was the goal that Ves had been aiming for when he initially conceived of the third eye.
Its odd appearance and its ability to adjust its luminosity in accordance with the bond between the mech pilot and the design spirit had perplexed countless mech pilots and mech designers.

Even Ves sometimes had the illusion that he was creating something more than just a new mech design.

The impressions he gained and the mood that swept over his mind put in him into a different mentality, one that was much more familiar when the project was in its conception stage.

He suddenly realized he spent too much time on solving the technical challenges of his project.
This was necessary as designing a modular mech platform in a short amount of time was anything but easy.
A mech design never arose if mech designers didn ’t put in the hard work to implement their ideas in a fashion that worked.

However, was this what a mech design was all about? Where was the creative aspect? Where was the design aspect? Technology was not the only part about mech designs that mattered!

”I get it now! ” He uttered in realization.
”I ’ve been so involved in solving technical problems that I can ’t see the forest from the trees. ”

”What do you mean by that? ”

He waved his hand in front of the schematics.
”When I compare my mech to my latest works, this mech doesn ’t excite me as much.
The Desolate Soldier and the Deliverer designs were frankly much more impactful than this mech! While our Larkinson mech already possessed numerous notable advantages, they ’re largely mundane in nature.
In essence, any mech designer who is as good as us can design something similar! ”

Gloriana angrily pinched his skin, only to fail because it was too resistant against her feeble fingers!

”I object to that description! Our design is plenty unique already! Not only did you impart it with its own divine nature, it will also gain the support of the Golden Cat! As for me, I made sure that there is nothing to complain about the quality of the design! Don ’t think that my role can be replaced by some kind of automated design program! ”

While she had a point, Ves still believed that there was something lacking about their contributions.
Her words finally allowed him to identify what he thought was wrong!

”Our mech is not distinctive enough. ” He told her.
”By that, I mean that it is a bit too generic compared to what we can do.
It needs an additional ingredient.
Something which can truly set our mech apart from the other mech designs in my library! ”

”Are you talking about the lack of offense in our rifleman mech configuration? ”

”Not that.
I mean that our mech should be able to do more than we have already added to the list of capabilities.
Remember the special features I added to the Deliverer design? ”

”I do. ” She said.
”If I recall, you only managed to add them to the Deliverer with the support of its proto-god.
We ’re not working with the Great Prophet now, though.
Instead, we ’re designing this mech to fit the Golden Cat! ”

”That ’s true, but only partially.
We designed this mech to fit the Avatars, Sentinels and most importantly the Larkinsons.
The Golden Cat has mainly played the role of a mascot up to now.
Her importance to the mech is still rather marginal.
Her glow, though useful in reinforcing the identity of our mech as a Larkinson Clan asset, is not particularly potent in battle.
At the very least, compared to the implementation of my specialization on the Deliverer, it still falls short! ”

The Larkinson mech and its four configurations were already good.
Yet a good mech design was not what Ves was going for.
He wanted to design a great mech, something which had the potential to produce a masterwork mech like the Devil Tiger design!

In order to meet this exceedingly high standard, Ves needed to pour his heart and soul into the design.
Not only that, he needed to innovate and add something truly ingenious to the design!

So far, many of the additions to the mechs were derived from their existing works.
All four configurations bore the traces of their previous works.

For example, Ves heavily borrowed from the Crystal Lord, Desolate Soldier and Deliverer designs to shape the rifleman mech configuration.

There was nothing wrong with this.
There was no need to reinvent the wheel when time was of the essence.

Yet all of his copying and recycling also indicated that much of the Larkinson mech did not stand out enough.
Its unique identity was too weak and reliant on familiar aspects that did not necessarily represent innovation.

Just designing a modular mech platform in itself was not anything innovative.
Just because it was difficult to put into practice didn ’t mean that Ves and Gloriana would win a prize if they succeeded.

The outcome still mattered.
Ves still needed to pay attention to the value proposition of his mech despite the fact that he never intended to bring it to market.
The mech had to excel in something that no other product on the market could match.

Otherwise, he might as well buy some ready-made mechs from the markets or develop a variant of an existing mech!

”If the Golden Cat was like Prophet Ylvaine, what would her special ability be? ” Gloriana suddenly asked.
”What is she good at? Each proto-god has a domain, I think.
All we have to do is figure that out and work from there. ”

”That ’s the missing link! The Golden Cat might be young and immature, but she is the ancestral spirit of the Larkinson Clan.
She is inseparable from mechs due to her bonds and the conditions of her birth.
She should definitely be able to empower a mech beyond her glow! ”

The question was what powers she possessed and what ’domain ’ she was inclined towards.

The pair of mech designers both drew their attention away from the schematics and turned to a work table.

Their cats were currently lounging on the table while sitting on top of the Larkinson Mandate.
The Golden Cat playfully popped her head in and out of the heavy tome.
Each time her cute and pointy ears emerged, Lucky attempted to make a move and give the juvenile spiritual product another lick!

”Meow. ”


”Miaow. ”

Ves had the mistaken impression as if he was seeing a mom, dad and their child!

”Sorry, but I need my book. ”

He snapped his fingers, causing the antigrav bracers he mounted on the heavy book to activate and propel in his direction.

Lucky and Clixie both panicked as their perch suddenly started moving.
They jumped back onto the table and yowled at Ves in complaint!

Once the book hovered in front of his body, Ves reverently took hold of it and studied the Golden Cat peering curiously towards her creator.


Ves couldn ’t help but melt and smile.
”You ’re so adorable. ”


He began to flip through the pages of the Larkinson Mandate and interact with the Golden Cat.
Over the past month, she improved considerably, both in spirituality and in other ways.

Yet to Ves, she still remained in a state between a kitten and an adult cat.
The Golden Cat had a lot more to go before she lived up to her identity as the spiritual guardian and the ancestral spirit of the Larkinson clan.

Even so, the Golden Cat should still possess at least one intrinsic strength of ability.
The question was what she was capable of and how Ves could leverage her advantages in his mech designs.

”What is your domain, Golden Cat? ”


Not every spiritual entity appeared to have a special ability or talent, but the most notable ones always did.
Whether human, alien or artificial, all of them were similar in this regard!

Prophet Ylvaine appeared to be able to see the future.

Qilanxo possessed incredible defensive prowess.

The Solemn Guardian was the embodiment of duty.

Zeigra was a ferocious Crown Cat in life and in death.

Compared to all of these strong spiritual entities, what did the Golden Cat excel at? What was the Larkinson Clan good at? Ves looked down and sensed the spiritual product in question looking up at him with trusting eyes.


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