nce in increasing the privileges enjoyed by Ves, but unspoken in that move was that his superior expected more things.
Ves needed to prove his chops and repay Alloc ’s trust.

Not everyone responded well to his increase in responsibilities.
Something like this couldn ’t be hidden from the other Apprentices.

”Sir! I protest! Mr.
Larkinson is just a temp! He ’s the last person among us who should be handling all of that sensitive information! ”

Alloc happened to have a very effective response to that argument.
”Tell that to me once you can outsmart Mr.
Larkinson. ”

No one dared to make that claim.
In the previous weeks, Ves painstakingly demonstrated his competence, which much have surely damaged their confidence.
Though he was an outsider who only joined the Hellcat design team due to the war, his presence had already improved their efficiency.

Though the Apprentices didn ’t look resigned, they could only keep their opinions to themselves.
They stared enviously as Ves browsed the expanded database in a leisurely manner.

”What shall I tackle? ”

Ves had no time to pay attention to everyone else ’s stares.
Alloc expected great results from him, so Ves needed to pick something impactful that fell within his capabilities to solve.
Not a lot of problems met this criteria.

He flicked through each and every problem on the list.
Even if he rejected most of them, it was still valuable for him to read this list.
”Hmmm… software again, not my cup of tea.
Increasing the actuation speed of the legs, sounds more interesting, but that ’s hardly consequential for a spaceborn mech.

”Enhancing the power of the wrist-mounted nail drivers… that sounds interesting. ”

The nail drivers served a small purpose to the Hellcat design, perhaps too small.
Due to weight and space constraints, the nail driver only accommodated four nails in total.
This was highly limiting and only really gave the Hellcat an extra lifeline in certain situations.

”Can I increase the power of the nail driver or overhaul its internal mechanisms? ”

He already thought of a couple of tweaks, but a bigger solution remained elusive.
Professor Velten must have gone over this problem plenty of times and this time was no different.
The nail drivers enjoyed her personal attention for a time and she optimized the nail drivers to the point where she couldn ’t come up with more gains.

As Ves studied the schematics of the nail driver and some other components, he also perceived the flavor of Professor Velten ’s design philosophy.

It felt a bit strange.

Since the Hellcat was a collaborative project, the purity of its design was rather muddled.
Still, Professor Velten ’s imprint stood head and shoulders above everyone elese ’s, including the minor work that Ves imparted on the design up to now.

”Ves found it difficult to describe Professor Velten ’s design philosophy.
”Perpetuance? No.
”timelessness, enduring, fading. ”

One of the hidden dangers in the Hellcat design was that Ves faintly sensed some weaknesses seeping into the heart of its design.
For some reason, Professor Velten started to lose her love for the design.

Ves couldn ’t blame her.
The Hellcat ’s numerous demands tore it apart.
It needed to fly, use up three weapon systems at once and it needed to be well-protected as well.
It was enough to hear his heart out!

Though he didn ’t think well of the Hellcat, the way the Vandals made the most out of the design made Ves realize that not all mechs had to be technical masterpieces.

”A good mech isn ’t necessarily the one with the best specs or the strongest X-Factor.
The best mech is the machine that gets the job done.

In this regard, the Hellcat made a definite impression on the enemy.
Therefore, Ves found it regretful that Professor Velten started to slide.

”I can ’t let this downward trend go on.
Whatever is going on with Professor Velten, she can ’t leave her own work in the dust like this.
It deserves more. ”

In choosing where to start first, Ves no longer relied on the data included in the reports.
Instead, he closed his eyes and started to commune with the design on a spiritual level.

It was hard, incredibly hard.
In order to understand the nucleus of this mech, Ves needed to cut through all of the interference.
Too many people used to work on this design.
Their mixed sentiments polluted the design and made it harder for Ves to get a read on the design.

Ves continually refined his methods, but they only amounted to a limited amount of improvement.

What Ves got out of the Hellcat design was decidedly mixed.
He perceived conflicting emotions from two unknown designers that nonetheless left a huge mark on the design.

”Seems like Professor Velten hadn ’t designed this mech after all.
She inherited from other Seniors. ”

The imprints of those two echoes were so strong and distinct that they couldn ’t be anything else but Senior Mech Designers.
Though Ves couldn ’t get a solid read on the design itself, Ves figured he could infer some of its core traits by interpreting the imprints from the Seniors.

This was a very fascinating experience, and despite appearing like a lazy idiot in the presence of the other mech designers, Ves cheerfully plunged into the depths of the two distinct flavors.

”Interesting! ”

Much of the issues surrounding the Hellcat design could be traced back to its original designers.
They possessed very distinct outlooks and wanted to pull the Hellcat into two seperate directions.

One designer favored defense, and possessed a lot of experience in designing knights.
The other designer emphasized versatility, and must have possessed a substantial amount of experience in designing hybrid and multipurpose mechs.

Both of them somehow ended up working on the same project, and from the looks of it, neither of them possessed authority over the other.
They had been forced to cooperate on equal terms.

”What a tragedy. ”

Whoever ordered them to do so didn ’t know anything about mech design.
With no obvious lead designer in charge of the project, the Hellcat grew in scope and its featured ballooned to its present bloated state.
Though they did a remarkable job in slimming down its internals, the interconnectedness of it all hadn ’t aged the Hellcat very well.

”It ’s a design that ’s difficult to update. ”

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