he way she chose to answer it than she wanted to reveal.

If Ves wasn ’t wrong, one of the major reasons the Vandals stayed afloat up until now was because it also collaborated with the noble factions!

Though Ves kept his expressions neutral, inwardly he felt shocked at the audacity of it all.
He would bet that no one in high command even knew about this! What would the Mech Corps think if one of their mech regiments collaborated directly with a faction of the Kingdom?

The news alone would shock the entire Republic!

Professor Velten couldn ’t blame his level of observation.
Ves heard many stories about some of the murkier deeds of the Mech Corps from his father and the other Larkinsons.
Even then, none of those tales matched the brazenness in which the Vandals shook hands with the Vesians.

Ves guessed that the Vandals only cooperated in an opportunistic fashion.
The rivalry among the Vesian nobles was legendary, and the Vandals probably presented themselves to discontented nobles as a convenient way to ruin their rivals.

As the meeting wrapped up, Professor Velten called up the Journeymen to hold a more private discussion while letting the Apprentices enjoy a rare break.

Ves, Laida and Pierce gathered around in a corner turned into a makeshift lounge area.
A couple of comfortable chairs and sofas provided an oasis of calm during the most frustrating moments of work.

Pierce looked at Ves and Laida with a questioning pair of eyes.
”Have you two been getting overwhelmed by the work they pile up on your desk? ”

Laida nodded.
”The Inheritor design is frustrating.
Nevermind that it ’s a spaceborn mech and that I only specialize in aerial mechs, but the Inheritor is showing its age.
There is hardly anything we can improve without drastically overhauling its design. ”

”So it ’s a legacy design? ”

”It ’s not old to the point to be called a legacy, but it ’s design originated from the first half of this current mech generation.
We are now late in the cycle and there are several major advancements in currentgen technology that we are missing out on for the Inheritor because the effort required to transform every Inheritor mech in existence is too much. ”

The Inheritor mechs serve as the workhorse of the Vandals.
It was one of their most common mechs, and highlighted their preference for close-ranged combat against other mechs.

”Ves, what do you think about the Inheritor? ” Laida asked him in a way that made it hard for him to withhold his answer.

”I don ’t know.
I ’ve never seen the Flagrant Vandals in action besides some incidental battle footage.
To me, the Vandals are living at the edge of the moment.
It ’s true that fielding lots of light mechs is cheap and easy, but that lack of weight will cost them dearly if they are ever forced into a position to fight against a proper Vesian mech regiment.
For example, any of the 3rd Imodris Legion ’s regiments can smash them into pieces. ”

”That ’s counterbalanced by the fact that they are easier to pilot and excellent in overtaking supply convoys. ”

This was why the Vandals regarded the Inheritor so highly.
The Vandals faced a lot of difficulties in recruiting capable mech pilots.
Any recruit with promise would be snapped up by the more desirable regiments.
The Vandals mostly received the dregs the service.
They couldn ’t do much against mech pilots with attitude problems, but those with lack of talent in piloting could still be brought up as cannon fodder inside an Inheritor mech.

Compared to Laida, Pierce faced a very different problem with the Akkara.

”Heavy mechs are different from light mechs.
There ’s much more leeway in their design.
Even though it ’s rather old as well, its internal architecture changed so much over the years that I can hardly call it outdated.
My team has done well in updating it to the latest standard.
The only problem is that our implementations fall short. ”

”Because there are too many systems inside a heavy mech, am I right? ”

”That ’s right.
My father once taught me that it is a heavy commitment if you wish to embark on designing a heavy mech.
The Akkara design is a basket case of incompatibilities.
There is hardly any optimisation done because the Wolf Mother ’s processors would crash if we threw too many things at it.
Heavy mechs should be designed in proper research bases, not aboard a factory ship. ”

Lack of manpower and computing power slowed down the development of the Akkara design.
It was a very unsubtle mech and required brute force to solve many of its problem.

”Is your design team biting off more than they can chew? ”

”That ’s an understatement! ” Pierce huffed.
”In my eyes, while the Akkara design fills an important gap in the lineup of the Vandals, we can ’t keep up with the complexities of this parade horse. ”

Ves could have said the same.
Though the problems with the Hellcat didn ’t sound so extreme as the Akkara, a hybrid knight came with its own bag of issues.

”All three designs developed internally by the Vandals have one thing in common. ” Ves remarked as he put his mind on them.
”They ’re products of pride. ”

”Pride? ”

Ves shrugged a bit.
”Maybe you can call it stubbornness.
If the Flagrant Vandals wanted to, they could have borrowed a ready-made design from the central database.
I ’m sure the Mech Corps developed a raft of highly-optimised designs of a light skirmisher, a medium hybrid knight and a heavy cannoneer. ”

”Why stick to the current designs then? ”

”Because every mech regiment prides their own identity.
Only rarely will a mech regiment borrow a design cooked up by other design teams within the Mech Corps because that would be admitting that they can ’t wipe their own butts. ”

”That ’s crazy. ” Laida murmured as she shook her head.
”We ’re not like any other mech regiment.
Our design team is less than a fifth the size of any other team.
We can only cope with developing one design at most. ”

No matter how much they think the current policy was stupid, none of it could be changed.
Ves sighed and sank down into his sesat.
”This isn ’t the only area where the Vandals are sticking to their guns.
These guys have taken self-sufficiency to an unprecedented height for a mech regiment of the Mech Corps.
It ’s baked into their DNA. ”

That has served the Vandals well so far, but how long could they go on in the same manner? Eventually, they would hit a wall.

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