The Mech Touch
>And from what he understood, the game would be stupid to simulate such a tedious process.
Iron Spirit merely copied the mech designer ’s handcrafted design, reduced the specifications a little, and slapped a doubled gold price for its efforts.
In such a case, the X-Factor should retain a large amount of its potency.
”At least I hope so.
X-Factor can ’t be measured as far as I know, and I ’m still not completely certain it can express itself in a virtual game. ”
Ves planned to look it up later when his model got sold.
He logged onto the galactic net to do his usual marketing routine.
He left messages at message boards and online communities.
Hopefully the mech received enough exposure from someone to make the first sale.
”All I can do now is wait on that front. ”
He checked his spending account and found he could afford to fabricate the Marc Antony again.
Having nothing better to do for the next two weeks, he dove into the virtual workshop again to handcraft another mech.
’m going to need all the practice I can get.
The more models I build, the better I ’ll be able to build the real version of the Marc Antony. ”
Screwing up in the virtual world only resulted in a few hundred credits worth of damage.
Messing up in the real world might mean writing off a million credits if the mistake was costly.
He couldn ’t afford to get tripped up by the more challenging portions of the fabrication process.
Meanwhile, many light years away from Cloudy Curtain, Ark Larkinson sat at his desk, processing the paperwork for the day.
His comm unit lit up as he received a call.
”Heya uncle Ark. ”
” The man smiled, releasing his hard-faced expression now that he spoke to one of his favorite cousins.
”Since you ’re calling me while I ’m still on duty, I suspect you have something that can ’t wait. ”
You know about Ves right? That he ’s recently received a pair of production licenses from god knows where? ”
Ark frowned at the mention.
The so-called Future Sons Technology Institution were run by people he ’d never heard of, received donations from empty shell companies, and offered no means to apply for any of its grants.
As far as the Larkinsons had found out, the FSTI was a cover for a third party influence.
The question was who.
The Vesians? The New Rubarthans? The Terrans? Ark dismissed those options from his minds.
Ves was too insignificant to bother manipulating.
’re still looking into this organisation.
New Rubarthans can be remarkably opaque in their bookkeeping. ”
’re running so many plots against each other that they
’ve taken shady accounting to the highest level.
” Melinda grinned, not really worried about what was happening with Ves.
”The kid is fine.
The production licenses are held in his name, so the institute can ’t take that away from him now. ”
’s shelve this discussion for later.
What did you call me for, Melinda? ”
’s grin widened.
”Ves finally did it.
He just released a mech that looks like its going to be his first money maker. ”
”He was working on modifying the Caesar Augustus.
That ’s not an easy thing to do.
It ’s been only a month or so since he received the mech production license.
When I checked on his progress, all he released so far were models with only marginal changes. ”
”This time it
He ’s successfully incorporated the HRF armor. ”
faster than we ’d expected. ” Ark replied, his eyebrows raised.
”The technicians I consulted at the depot told me it ’s not simple to fully replace a mech ’s armor. ”
Though he lacked the technical background to understand the finer points in mech design, as a veteran mech commander he still knew a thing or two.
If replacing a mech ’s armor with a different composition was so easy, then the market would be flooded with re-armored mechs.
In actuality, any seasoned mech designer could do the same, but they disdained playing around with customizing someone else
They ’d rather work on their own projects, in order to avoid losing a massive amount of revenue paying licensing fees.
Melinda swiped her hand, causing her comm unit to send a document over to her uncle.
”You should look at the mock up images and the spec sheet.
It ’s an exceptional work for a designer as fresh as Ves. ”
”He has my respect so far.
” Ark nodded as his eyes swept over the specifications with a laser focus.
”It ’s a shame what happened to Ryncol, but the sudden responsibility has done the boy a lot of good. ”
”Boohoo, my little Vessie is all grown up now.
He doesn ’t want to cuddle with big sister Melinda anymore. ” Melinda mock-cried with fake tears.
Then she resumed smiling.
”Anyway, I ’m here to borrow some credits from the family.
I spent all my salary on some new digs, so I can ’t take my little cousin ’s mech for a spin.
And you know I don ’t play Iron Spirit all that often so I don ’t have enough gold either. ”
’t have to worry on that account.
Your uncle Kantor bought every single mech the boy released in the game and reported back to us of his impressions. ”
”Well this ain ’t one of Ves ’ practice designs.
This is the real deal, a mech that Ves plans to sell in the real universe. ” Melinda slammed her fists together.
”I think we owe it to him as a family to push along his sales. ”
”Your grandpa was quite clear on this, Melinda.
We will only purchase one mech for testing purposes, no more. ”
”Then at least give me the credits to play-, ahem, TEST the new mech.
I can do the job just as well as uncle Kantor. ”
”He won ’t be happy. ”
”Then he can buy the mech with his own money. ”
The two Larkinsons stared at each other over the comm, its signals instantly sent across star systems.
You ’ll have your credits.
I expect a professional review of Ves ’ work.
Don ’t try to slant things in his way. ”
”Sure, sure, I know how to do my job. ”
Ark slided his hands, opening up a small menu.
After selecting his banking options, he prepared to send over some cash to Melinda.
”How many credits? ”
”Only 25,000 bright credits.
It ’s a lot cheaper than his Nero thingie. ”
”That does sound cheap, for a variant based off the Caesar Augustus. ”
After sending the credits, Melinda bid him a quick goodbye, leaving Ark alone in his office and a terminal full of reports to sign off.
He resumed reading the latest report, an intelligence update that remarked about the unknown parties being sighted near the country ’s border to the alien race referred to as the Basilisks.
As a commanding officer in the Bright Republic
’s Mech Corp, he knew more about the undercurrent running throughout this star sector the last few years.
Explorers, mercenaries and pirates have sporadically shown up at the borders of an alien race they should not have any dealings with.
It smacked of another third party interfering in their star sector.
Not that they ’d find any evidence, and even if they did, so what? Unless it ’s the Vesia Kingdom or any of the other third-rate states, the Bright Republic couldn ’t afford to confront the bigger powers.
”The woe of a small country.
” Ark smiled ruefully.
The issues concerning Ves paled in comparison to what was on his plate.
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