of a group.
Even if some of them held a similar opinion to Ves, others dragged them down.
His own situation was hardly unique.
Practically every group had at least one elite designer that wanted to take charge.
The meek and the hanger-ons pressured the others in order to ensure they could get their free rides.
While Ves did not claim to be the most observant participant in the competition, he still smelled a conspiracy of sorts.
From the size of the groups, to the placement of the terminals, everything had been set in place to encourage conflict instead of cooperation.
He wouldn ’t be surprised if the group composition had been fudged as well.
”Really, when every group is led by an elite, this round will simply devolve into a series of solo duels. ”
This meant that every group was back to square one.
Of the five-hundred lead designers, only fifty of them would survive.
Even if someone like Barakovski was a cut above the rest, he did not wish to gamble on a ten percent odds.
Having concluded that this was actually a subtle trap, Ves still had to come up with a solution.
He turned back to Missy and Clark.
They sat on the ground as if they were a pair of bored little children.
He quietly approached them and caught their attention.
”Only seven hours to go before we get our free pass.
What ’s up? ”
Ves drew closer and explained his analysis.
He expected the two to get their heads back in the game.
Instead, they looked at him as if he was a troll.
That ’s kind of clever.
But what difference does it makes if every group is similar? It ’s not like we can contribute to the design. ”
”Do you really believe that? Where is your pride as a designer? ”
The two had no fight in their eyes.
Ves really thought the speech by the old guy at the start had been wasted on these freeloaders.
How could they expect to get ahead in the mech industry if they didn ’t fight for their jobs?
”Okay, you two can stay and sit on your asses for all I care.
I ’ll figure out a solution on my own. ”
Perhaps if Ves kept at it, he might have persuaded the pair to back him up.
However, when he looked at their soulless gazes, he gave up.
These two lazy bastards deserved to rot for the rest of their lives.
’t know what he wanted to do, but he stood to the side for now.
Ves had no reason to interfere as long as Barakovski worked flawlessly.
Different from Ves, Barakovski started from the outside and slowly worked inwards.
Besides selecting all of the basic components such as the engines and power reactor, she spent most of her time trying to harmonize the armor system and wrist lasers.
For a light mech, these two components were of prime importance that had the most direct influence to the mech ’s performance.
Frontloading these components meant that Barakovski wanted to budget out her time.
For example, if she was forced to spend too much time on the armor system, she could choose to spend a little less time on the internals.
And indeed, Barakovski spent a lot of hours just to optimize the wrist lasers.
If Ves wanted to do a proper job, he ’d need to spend at least two days to get it working right.
The woman acted too much like a perfectionist and kept fiddling with the most minute components.
Ves sneaked a little closer and coughed a little.
”We only have five or so hours left.
In the interest of completing the design, I suggest you start working on the internals. ”
”What do you know?!
” One of her self-promoted guards spoke as he floated downwards.
”Those laser cannons are our only weapons.
If our lady ’s time is cut short, who knows if they ’ll malfunction? ”
”Yeah, and who cares about optimizing the internals anyway? It
’s just a bunch of cables and muscles.
There ’s hardly any complexity involved in uncrossing a couple of wires. ”
The comment from the second goon made it clear to Ves that he had no idea what he was talking about.
Having worked with the awful mess that was the Caesar Augustus, he knew more than anyone else in the group the fragility of a crowded and unoptimized internal structure.
With everyone set against him, Ves had no way of remedying the situation.
Barakovski ignored his advice and kept tinkering with the wrist lasers.
An entire hour went by until she finally put down her work.
’m finally done with these laser cannons.
The hard part is over. ” Barakovski sighed as she paused in her work.
One of her group mates brought her some refreshments, which she enjoyed with relish.
”Alright, there ’s only four hours left to go.
The rest is easy. ”
This time, Ves watched as Barakovski started with the internals.
Unlike her earlier performance, Ves cringed when she made a number of shortcuts and other questionable decisions.
It became clear to him that her mechanics had not reached the journeyman level.
When Ves suggested she was making a mistake, the entire group looked at him with contempt.
Where did you study? Rittersberg? What no name planet is that? ”
”The Bright Republic is the backwoods of our Komodo Star Sector.
I don ’t believe a barren place like that knows more about mechanics than Leemar. ”
No one acknowledged his expertise in this area.
He stood at a crossroads.
If he did nothing, then he might miss one of the greatest chances of his life.
There was too much at stake.
”Maybe I ’m thinking too much. ” Ves whispered to himself.
He waited until the group let down their guard.
Once everyone turned back to the terminal, Ves sprinted forwards and brushed aside the bodies in his way.
”What the?! ”
Once Ves came close, he tackled Barakovski to the ground.
Both of them dove through the projection and landed harshly on the ground.
He moved around her body and held her neck in a chokehold-like position.
Sadly, he hadn ’t figured out what to do after that.
He had never attended any close-quarters combat classes.
After several seconds went by, it became clear that none of the other designers had any clue either.
They all look paralyzed as Ves seemed to transform into a crazy beast ready to devour an innocent maiden.
”Unhand me scoundrel!
” Barakovski hissed as she moaned in pain.
The tackle came unexpected and her landing was hard.
Her soft, boneless body wiggled against Ves in a weak, helpless fashion.
Whatever gene boosts she received had not been spent on improving her physique.
Both sides were stuck at an impasse.
Ves originally wanted to knock Barakovski unconscious, but he was afraid of dealing more damage than necessary.
He already offended her enough.
”Look, can we talk about this? ”
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