ents that incorporated materials that the Republic could supply themselves.

The LMC didn ’t have to rely on expensive imports from distant star sectors to produce a single mech.
That was one of the biggest advantages of designing your own mech.

Ves knew of the power of the X-Factor.
Even with a rating of C++, the physical copy exuded a magnetic pull that definitely halted traffic.
Still, he sounded a little skeptical about its reach.

”Ten models won ’t be enough to cover the entirety of Bentheim, or even Dorum alone. ”

”We don ’t hold any ambitions to reach the entire public.
We only want to feed the hype surrounding the Blackbeak.
Once people start to see it on the streets, they ’ll take recordings from their comms and send it to their friends and relatives. ”

The third phase began after that.
Once the marketing department thought they created enough of a buzz, they planned to release the virtual version of the Blackbeak onto the simulation games.
Iron Spirit stood out the most, of course, but Gavin also suggested making it available to non-potentate games so that laymen could get a taste of the offensive knight as well.

”Even if they ’re never able to pilot our products themselves, they might recommend our product to someone with the right aptitude. ”

This virtual release would be paired by a fairly extensive advertising campaign.
Most of the marketing budget had been allocated to this phase.
Working together with Marcella ’s brokerage, they aimed to make the Blackbeak into a momentary sensation.

”In the short term, we can rely on advertising to drive our product ’s appeal.
We don ’t plan to keep this up for more than a month.
After that, we can hopefully rely on positive word of mouth from our first customers to drive up demand.
If not, we can always spend more. ”

The plan sounded risky, but Ves understood their intentions.
He only had one major problem with the plan.
”We don ’t have the liquidity to produce ten models at the snap of our fingers. ”

The LMC generated a decent amount of revenue in the last few months, but their overhead also increased.
At their current state, they ’d come up short if they wanted to buy enough raw materials to fabricate ten complete models.

”Why not ask Mrs.
Bollinger to lend us the money? ” Their relations officer suggested.
Maisie Duval had been very busy keeping their various stakeholders in touch.
”She already agreed to pledge 1.9 billion credits in marketing assistance, so she won ’t hesitate to advance the necessary funds. ”

”That ’s a good idea! Contact her immediately after this meeting.
She ’ll be in charge of selling those mechs anyway, so it ’s not like the money is lost forever. ”

Like the first production model, the couple of mechs after that also held a lot of collector ’s value.
With her salesmanship, Marcella should be able to sell the first production run at extortionary prices.

The rest of the meeting turned to logistics.
Duval worked hard to establish a temporary but stable channel of exotics they needed to fabricate the Veltrex armor system.
This insured that they wouldn ’t be subjected to sudden supply cuts if they ramped up their production in the short term.

”I ’d like to emphasize that we haven ’t established any long-term relationships with our current suppliers. ”

”That ’s fine.
As long as they don ’t jack up the price, we can afford to wait and wait for better offers. ”

After the meeting, Ves kept staring at the cost projections.
All of these elaborate plans called for lots of spendings.
Everyone was in an upbeat mood after witnessing the final design.
They treated it as a given that the Blackbeak would sell like hotcakes.

Carlos noticed his friend lagging behind.
”What ’s up? ”

Ves didn ’t feel so confident, however.
”Will the market accept my design? ”

”This again? Ves, at your age, you ’re one of the most talented mech designers in the Republic! The Havalax designed by that douchebag Dumont doesn ’t even come close to the Blackbeak.
Besides, even if the market doesn ’t catch on yet, that ’s what all the marketing is for.
As long as you throw enough money at it, even the ugliest piece of junk can become a bestseller. ”

That was easy for Carlos to say.
He didn ’t risk hundreds of millions of credits on a potentially futile venture.
Ves shook his head and left his seat.
He had some more preparations to make.

Later that afternoon, Marcella agreed to send them a substantial advance.
Combined with their existing cash reserves, they could easily afford the raw materials needed to fabricate ten Blackbeaks.
After a few days wait, the shipment of materials arrived.

This time, Ves accepted the assistance of others, though Ves still took the lead.
Their frantic production and constant learning shortened the time to fabricate a single copy from three days to two days.

They managed to fabricate five extra copies they could bring to the press conference.
After the Blackbeak ’s official unveiling, Ves planned to leave the copies behind to be shown off on the streets while he returned to finish the production run before doing anything else.

As his workers packed up the mechs and sent them off to the convoy, Ves led a procession of senior management aboard the Barracuda.
He planned to arrive at Bentheim ahead of the convoy shipments in order to prepare for his debut ceremony.

Melkor and Lucky would be joining his security detail as usual.

As for his niece, Ves constantly worried for her safety.
Raella had already extended her ’few days off ’ into a weeks-long hiatus into the underbelly of Bentheim with her new boyfriend in tow.
He prayed to the heavens that Dietrich didn ’t drag his excitable niece into something shady.

The Barracuda deftly transitioned into FTL.
Ves constantly worried what could go wrong as the time of his debut neared.

Somehow, he didn ’t think Dumont would let him announce a competitor to his Havelax without a challenge.

”Dumont and the Ricklins have it out for me.
If they ’re aware of my intentions from the start, then they should have already prepared a response. ”

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