bouncing around his mind had skyrocketed.
He looked around and saw the world in a slightly different way.
Everything looked beautiful, and each object had its charm.
Lucky looked especially appealing, having been modeled after a cat but retaining its mechanical origins quite clearly.
Ves felt as if he had been seeing the world in black and white for so long and only now did he start to see color.

”This major boost of creativity is really making a difference.
I haven ’t realized that it has always held back my ambitions. ”


Name: Ves Larkinson

Profession: Novice Mech Designer

Specializations: None

Design Points: 12


Strength: 0.6

Dexterity: 0.7

Endurance: 0.6

Intelligence: 1.2

Creativity: 1

Concentration: 1

Neural Aptitude: F


[Assembly]: Novice – [3D Printer Proficiency I]

[Business]: Apprentice

[Computer Science]: Incompetent

[Mathematics]: Incompetent

[Mechanics]: Apprentice – [Jury Rigging I] [Speed Tuning I]

[Metallurgy]: Apprentice

[Physics]: Novice – [Lightweight Armor Optimization I]

Evaluation: Someone who likes ’em skinny.

The results of his spending put Ves in a good mood.
He was itching to engage the designer and let his creativity loose once he finished selecting a couple of virtual licenses in the game.
Just before he visited the in-game market, Ves first looked up his 2R-E variant and chose to let Iron Spirit take care of the manufacturing.
The minimum price rose to 3200 gold, which was still not too pricey but not the best deal available on the market.
This time he left the price alone, as he wasn ’t intending to earn a profit this time.
He just wanted to reach a hundred sales as soon as possible.

”Not that anyone is stupid enough to throw 3200 gold on an ugly mech like the 2R-E.
Now that I ’ve raised several of my skills, I can see the flaws from its crude design.
I ’m really embarrassed I actually built such an abomination. ”

Still, a sale was a sale, so Ves hadn ’t deleted the design from his account.

Ves spent the next few hours scouring the components section of the market.
His new sub-skills helped weed out the awful parts from his selection.
His improved creativity allowed him to consider unconventional combinations.
Though difficult to implement, he might be able to forcibly cobble them together with his jury rigging skill.
He eventually settled for purchasing the virtual licenses of a couple of good quality 1-star components.

[Astoria Experimental Flight System]: 25,000 bright credits

[Fayette ECM Mk.
I]: 7,000 bright credits

[Red Eye Assisted Aim Module]: 9,999 bright credits

[MTTR Removable Battery Pack]: 3,000 bright credits

[Harconix Light DMR Version 3]: 19,999 bright credits

[Festive Cloud Generator]: 5,000 bright credits

[Mirin-21 Ultralight Armor Plating]: 10,000 bright credits

Almost 80,000 bright credits exited his spending account as Ves finalized his purchases.
Parting with half of his newly gained credits hurt, but he consoled himself for making the necessary investments.
The component licenses he chose performed exceptionally in the 1-Star range.

Their high prices also ensured that not many of Ves ’ competitors incorporated the components in their own designs.
The 1-Star mechs ultimately served as training wheels for new potentates, so it wasn ’t worth investing too much when one had access to much better mechs in a few years.

Overall, the parts Ves had licensed all revolved around enhancing flight.
The early mechs such as the Fantasia lacked flight options due to the immaturity of flight technology back those ages.
The Astoria flight system had been invented a hundred years after the introduction of the Fantasia, and featured lackluster power, short flight capacity and an over-sized wing profile that was easy to damage.

But it did the job.
It had been one of the first successful modules to allow for mechs to fly in standard planetary conditions, thus introducing a new dimension in mech battles.

”Let ’s get to work.
I have to integrate them into a single coordinated platform. ”

Ves opened the System ’s designer and loaded the stock Fantasia 2R model in his virtual workspace.
He loaded the components he just bought one by one and spent hours integrating them properly into the Fantasia 2R ’s frame.
It was never as simple as bolting them on.
Each placement needed careful judgment and tedious work.

The Astoria wings came first, its huge skeletal ’wingbones ’ flaring impressively outwards, making the Fantasia appear like a fallen angel.
Its combination of thrusters and antigravity systems meant the wings had been designed to maximize its surface area.
This also made it easy to damage, as any casual hit could reduce the component ’s performance and ground the mech.

To combat this vulnerability, Ves choose to carefully bulk the Astoria ’s limbs with the Mirin-21 Ultralight armor plating.
This was a delicate and error-prone job, one that could easily reduce the flight system ’s efficiency by a drastic amount.
He ultimately had to spend an entire day trying to get it right.

He placed the Fayette electronic countermeasure or ECM over the left eye, making sure to align it so the short antenna extended from the Fantasia ’s ear.
The ECM insured that automated and aim-assisted systems had a harder time tracking the mech.
It worked particularly well against guided missiles, as long as they were from the same tier.

The Red Eye Assisted Aim Module had been placed over the other eye.
Its red, gleaming lens giving the Fantasia a menacing look.
The Red Eye performed well against mechs without ECM, helping pilots keep their aim onto enemy mechs once they acquired their targets.
Aim assistance was practically essential in all low-tier flying mechs.
Pilots simply couldn ’t aim steadily enough if they jerked around in the air.

All of these systems drained energy, especially the flight system.
The modules came with their own energy storage, but as 1-Star parts they lacked endurance compared to modern alternatives.
This required Ves to place rectangular MTTR battery packs anywhere he could fit on the Fantasia without overburdening the frame.
The only place he could fit more battery packs was at the front upper torso.
He papered over the vulnerable packs with additional ultralight armor plating.

He placed most of them around the waist, making the chassis look like it wore an overfilled tool belt.
The great thing about the MTTR was that the packs were disposable, allowing pilots to eject them once they were drained of energy.
He covered them up with Mirin-21 armor plates to make them less prone to damage.

Finally he added in an unconventional but potentially effective system, the Festive Cloud Generator.
A specialty of Cloudy Curtain, Ves had visited many mech shows on his home planet that used the colorful cloud generator to create patterns in the sky.
Though its bright colors hardly helped with stealth, Ves thought that it might help obscure the Fantasia and its vulnerable wings if placed on the rear just underneath the Astoria.

Once he had integrated all of these components, he set the Fantasia ’s default weaponry to be a bog-standard combat knife and the new Harconix Light DMR.
Not quite a sniper rifle nor a standard assault rifle, the Harconix nevertheless offered precision at a generous firing rate.
The rifle ’s hefty power requirements necessitated a power coupling with the mech, meaning that if the Fantasia dropped the DMR, it couldn ’t be fired anymore.

Once Ves brought all of the newly bought parts together, the new variant looked nothing like its stock model.
Though it gained a generous amount of mass, the new Fantasia also appeared like a predator, capable of striking down any interlopers from afar.

He enjoyed putting this variant together.
He had been able to flex his improved creativity and newly acquired sub-skills to do a much better job of integrating the parts than if he was still a fresh graduate.

”This is hardly a Fantasia anymore, so let ’s call you a Fantasia 2R Seraphim. ”

Before Ves submitted the design for approval, he painted over the entire frame in Cloudy Curtain ’s national colors.
It made the Fantasia appear as if it was born in the skies.

[Design Evaluation: Fantasia 2R Seraphim.]

Variant name: Fantasia 2R Seraphim

Base model: Fantasia 2R

Original Manufacturer: Kezia Armaments

Weight Classification: Light

Recommended Role: Aerial Marksman

Armor: D

Carrying Capacity: F

Aesthetics: A

Endurance: D-

Energy Efficiency: D-

Flexibility: C+

Firepower: C

Integrity: F+

Mobility: A-

Spotting: B

X-Factor: F

Deviance: 44%

Performance improvement: 17%

Overall evaluation: The Fantasia 2R Seraphim features a superior aerial performance at a horrible cost.
Its performance in close-ranged combat has been sacrificed for powerful long-ranged firepower.
The mech is able to outperform its opponents as long as it has energy to spare, which isn ’t much.
The Seraphim further shines out due to its attractive appeal.

[You have received 50 Design Points for completing an original design with a performance improvement of over 10%.]

Ves whooped into the air with a cheer.
He actually did it! He completed a custom design that outperformed the base model significantly.
Sure, he overspent way too much to achieve such a boost, but it nonetheless propelled his Seraphim in the top tier of custom Fantasias.

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