antage of interfacing with a pilot.
The Star Designer did not set out to steal a mech pilot ’s memories, but merely wanted to experience the sensations of piloting a mech first-hand.

”There are many tiny aspects about piloting mechs that escape your grasp.
I have learned so many new things and corrected so many misperceptions after I embarked on this exploration.
As mech designers, we often receive second-hand or third-hand information on what a mech pilot is going through.
Neural interfacing enables us to blur the boundaries between yourself and your partner, allowing you to perceive the piloting experience first-hand from the best. ”

Someone realized the significance of her wording.
”That sounds like as if you interfaced with a mech pilot who interfaced with a mech! ”

”Exactly! The best possible moment to understand a mech pilot is when he actively pilots a mech! The brain activities that goes on in his mind can never be fully expressed if he lays down in a clinical lab with a device stuck onto his head. ”

No one had ever thought such a mad idea could work.
If interfacing a pair was already fraught with risk, then connecting three people at once always ended in disaster.
Researchers who pushed the boundaries always ended off in jail after turning all of their test subjects into brain-dead idiots.

”I ’m still alive and well, as you can see, so don ’t look too surprised! The risks are great, but the potential gains more than makes up it.
My designs have improved remarkably to the point where ace pilots and god pilots have formed a decades-long waiting list for me to design a personal mech for them! It is because out of all my competitors, only I can fully tailor a mech that can bring out their full potential. ”

Once the crowd of Masters got over their shock, they started to see the advantages of understanding the minds of elite pilots.

The few potentates among them had never advanced beyond the rank of advanced pilot.
To push themselves to expert pilots required a complete dedication to the warrior profession.
No one had any delusions of advancing any further, so they never held any ambitions of understanding the perspective of ace pilots and god pilots.

Yet what they learned today opened the door to greater understanding.
Comprehending the mindset of elite pilots finally became possible through the use of neural interfacing.

The Star Designer proceeded to explain her setup and the many technical challenges she faced.
Much of it must be grossly outdated by now, but Ves still found it useful as the old lady explained the concepts that made the process work.

”Human-to-human neural interfacing can be used beyond getting into the minds of a mech pilot.
Currently, I ’ve partnered up with the MTA to research ways in which a mech designer can interface with a variety of soldiers and athletes to achieve a greater understanding on how to exploit the humanoid form, and thus achieve complete Mastery over a particular type of mech. ”

”Are there any dangers besides the obvious? ”

”Good question! ” The old woman praised.
”Neural interfacing can go wrong even if you have the perfect setup with the right hardware.
Think about what you are embarking on when you put on the neural interface.
You are connecting your mind with another person.
To illustrate how dangerous this can be, imagine if any of you, each with over a hundred years of life experience, would interface with a baby barely a day old. ”

Everyone who surpassed the age of hundred possessed a formidable mind, and that went double for Master Mech Designers.

”We ’ve never tried it, of course, but the neurologists and researchers all project utter disaster for the baby.
In order to insure the interfacing won ’t overwhelm one mind or the other, it is important to balance them out in terms of mental strength.
A simple old farmer who barely reached his hundredth year possesses the same strength of will as a child barely into his teens. ”

That meant that age was not the only factor.
This basically meant that mech designers had to interface with mech pilots who closely matched their age, intelligence, life experience and career development.

For example, a Master Mech Designer should only interface with an ace pilot, while a Star Designer should only interface with a god pilot.
Any mismatch on either side could lead to the weaker side sustaining permanent brain damage.

”What about interfacing with an animal? ”

Everyone laughed at that question.
The notion sounded so dangerous it was comical for someone to even entertain the suggestion.

”Even I ’m not that crazy. ” The woman replied with a rueful smile.
”Despite the many strides we ’ve made to minimize the risks, the neural interface technology is still immature.
It will take many decades before we can even begin to interface with felines and canids. ”

Once the recording came at an end, Ves sat back and digested what he learned.
”So that ’s a thing. ”

After a hundred-and-fifty years, the state of neural interfacing must have made a lot of strides.
Ves checked the Clifford Society on any other mentions of Mastery, and found a few oblique references.

It turned out that only major institutions like the Leemar Institute of Technology offered the facilities to conduct human-to-human neural interfacing.
One document stated that only direct disciples of Masters would be eligible to take part in this tightly controlled process.

This explicitly left out someone like Ves with only a loose connection to Master Olson.
He felt a little indignant at missing out on goodies like developing your Masteries.
If the System didn ’t offer it with a huge amount of DP, Ves would never know what he lacked compared to other mech designers.

”Seeing it ’s like this, it ’s no wonder that the System charges 40,000 DP for the first level of a Mastery. ”

Despite the painfully high price, Ves became enamored by the idea of skipping out the risky process of interfacing with a bunch of strangers.
Besides the difficulty of getting access to this exclusive process, Ves did not wish to let anyone rummage through his mind as he rummaged through theirs.

”The price is high, but the benefits and the convenience must be huge as well.
I ’d be a fool to miss out on a Mastery. ”

Despite the uncertainty swirling around this new and explosive field of knowledge, Ves pulled the trigger and bought the Mastery from the System.

A flood of scorching heat suddenly emitted from his comm.
After a long period of dormancy, the System roused its might for the first time in a very long time.

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