The Mech Touch
n autosurgeon machines or special surgeon bots.
While these autosurgeon machines could easily perform millions of standard operations, they weren ’t too bright when it came to performing surgery that hadn ’t been included in their medical databases.
Operating the native wildlings introduced a further complication in that their brain structure was so far removed from the baseline human norm that they might as well be aliens.
In such a case, the inflexible autosurgeons didn ’t possess the creativity to develop a customized treatment.
Therefore, the survival rate of the dwarves undergoing hours-long brain surgery was actually an abysmal twenty percent.
This was also why it took a while to get twenty surviving test subjects.
Throwing away their lives so casually would only delay their subsequent experiments.
Ves was well aware of this consideration, but he valued the opportunity to gather more data.
He wanted to change some variables he hadn ’t played around with yet and see what would happen.
How far could he push it before the change resulted in an adverse outcome?
”Performing the tests now will save us from performing them later.
” He said.
”Time isn ’t on our side and I ’d like our beast rider project to present its final results within the next couple of days.
Captain Byrd and the rest are waiting for us to deliver a viable beast rider neural interface. ”
With that reminder, the experts resumed the testing with the lucky survivors.
Ves climbed up to the back of the wild god and modified a key parameter of the fifth variant.
He then had the men send out the first dwarf captive who escaped death and strap him to the restraints.
Several hours went by as the second battery of tests pushed the initial dwarf survivors to their physical and mental limits.
Whenever a test subject survived for ten straight minutes, Ves halted the test and adjusted the settings of the fifth variant neural interface.
He dialed the settings to extremes until the test subject finally felt pain.
Then he dialed them up to eleven and watched with interest as the test subject finally became brain dead or suffered a heart attack.
By the time the nine dwarf survivors all succumbed to the cruel experiments, Ves became disappointed that he hadn
’t managed to induce a physical head explosion.
He was so fascinated by that outcome, but he still didn ’t know how something ludicrous like that could happen.
It wasn ’t as if surgeons buried explosives inside the heads of the dwarves!
”Alright, good work everyone.
You all know what to do, so go and analyze the results so I can use them to design the final product. ”
Everyone dispersed with a fresh batch of data in hand.
Each of them learned a lot of new things.
The live testing provided them with a lot of material that could be used as evidence to prove or disprove a lot of theories.
Before they performed the tests, the experts could only guess at certain matters or make predictions on papers.
Now, with solid data in hand, they held much more confidence in what they knew.
The experts processed the harvested data and used the results to develop a better neural interface.
Ves did so as well and incorporated all of the lessons they learned into developing a safer, more effective neural interface specialized for beast riders.
Overall, Ves took the fifth variant as the starting point and mainly adjusted its hardware components.
While he also touched upon its software, Ves knew that reckless changes in this area might lead to explosive results, as the third variant already attested!
”What the tests involving the third variant has taught me is that I don
’t know jack about programming a neural interface.
” Ves muttered to himself.
”Still, I think I ’ll save this code.
It might come in handy at some point. ”
Even though he started as a novice in the field of neural interface technology, all of the trial and error the beast rider project engaged in significantly progressed his understanding.
Though he hadn ’t received any systematic knowledge that enabled him to become an authority concerning neural interfaces, he had made some incidental progress at the very least.
He became much more aware of how neural interfaces posed a threat to their mech pilots when configured incorrectly, and became more perceptive to flaws and deliberate sabotage that might lead to serious harm.
It reminded him how much danger the mech pilots exposed themselves to when they piloted a mech.
Not only did they have to defend themselves against attacks from enemy mechs, they also have to be wary about the reliability of their own mechs!
”Piloting a mech is much more profound than piloting a shuttle or letting yourself be flown around by an aircar.
The latter vehicles are simple and aren ’t expected to perform any complicated maneuvers, but the complexity of a mech exceeds the complexity of the human body.
Neural interfaces are necessary if you want a single person to be able to control a mech down to the finest details. ”
The risks were great but the results more than compensated for it.
Still, if mech designers really wanted to, they could have developed alternative means of controlling a mech.
Now that he thought about it, Ves himself possessed enough knowledge and experience to design a mech that could be piloted by a norm or even himself!
”It just won
’t be good enough for the battlefields of today.
” Ves shook his head.
”Fielding neutered mech that relies on indirect control methods and heavy AI assistance is no different from fielding a mech-sized battle bot.
There ’s no point in adding a human element to the equation. ”
Battle bots always existed, but their effectiveness always left a lot to be desired.
Not only that, they were susceptible to hacking, sabotage and electronic interference.
Yet would this always remain true? Technology constantly progressed, and researchers constantly sought to find a way to develop effective battle bots that could completely replace the need to risk human lives.
Though this goal was noble, Ves didn
’t know what to make of it.
If battle bots became completely viable one day, his job became obsolete.
Perhaps other mech designers might be able to shift their careers to developing battle bots, but what about him? His design philosopohy was intricately connected to both the mech and mech pilot.
He really couldn ’t do without the latter.
”Mechs have to stay ahead of the curve.
The human element should continue to bring benefits. ”
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