he tools, it was up to the mech pilots to make use of them in their own ways.
As much as Ves wanted to exert control over the mech pilots, his job as a mech designer precluded such rights.

Every mech designer faced these conundrums.
They meticulously designed a mech to be used and piloted in a certain way.
Yet if mech pilots wanted to use their rifles as clubs, who could stop them? Ves certainly couldn ’t do so.

Outside the battlefield, the mech technicians and mech designers reigned supreme.
Once a mech entered the battlefield, the mech pilot gained completely control over his actions.


To Ves, designing mechs gave the illusion of being able to control them even after they rolled off the production lines.
He felt a sense of ownership of his products even after he delivered them to their new owners.

The age-old question whether he should care for his products or wash his hands off them once he sold or delivered them to his clients always came back to him.
A month ago, he leaned towards washing his hands off them, but now that he witnessed the test pilot carefully putting the first production model to its paces, he started to flip flop back towards caring for his products.

Ves couldn ’t make up his mind, despite making up his mind a while ago.
Truthfully speaking, it wasn ’t healthy for mech designers to stay attached to their mechs, especially once their designs started getting sold by the thousands.
At this scale, too many mech pilots emerged that abused their mechs or misused them for nefarious purposes.

”I can disown them, but they are still my children, in a way.
Every mech carries a piece of my legacy.
Whether they get used up in a couple of years or last for several decades, all of them are precious in my eyes. ”

His design philosophy compelled him to see mechs as something more than just commodities.
It forced him to care for his mechs even if he wanted to wash his hands off them.
Just like a parent seeing their children growing up and leaving the nest, they still couldn ’t help but care for their sons and daughters even after they went bad and committed murder or something.

Ves didn ’t pay a lot of attention to the testing process due to his sudden musings.
In any case, it wasn ’t as if his attention mattered, as the Enduring Protector largely performed within expectations.
Its realspace performance largely matched the performance the design exhibited in various simulations.

A simple mech design affected fewer variables than a more complex mech design.
The Enduring Protector moved slowly and methodically, thereby allowing simulations to fully keep up with any dynamic situation that might occur.

Therefore, while the testing did reveal some minor deviations in performance, the differences could be chalked up to discrepancies in the actual construction of the mech.

”Alright! Let ’s end the testing for now! We ’ve gathered enough data! ” Ves commanded.

When Ves emerged out of his fugue, he already saw that further testing wouldn ’t be needed.
They already gathered plenty of data and it wasn ’t like the Enduring Protector was capable of any acrobatics.

A simple mech could only perform a limited amount of maneuvers.
The testing process for the Enduring Protector should be far shorter than any of the other original mechs he designed.

”It feels like we ’ve gone back in time to the first couple of  mech generations.
Everything was simpler back then.
The MTA ’s rigorous certification and validation procedures hadn ’t been in place at the start of the Age of Mechs. ”

Nowadays, mechs got much more complex.
The potential for abuse lurked everywhere.
The MTA cracked down on freewheeling behavior by unscrupulous mech designers.

To be sure, the state of mechs made enormous strides after more than four-hundred years of continuous advancements.
Yet… Ves also felt that the mech industry lost some of its initial spark.

These days, mech technology mostly advanced at a steady, controlled pace.
Radical innovations stopped emerging, or if they did, plenty of barriers stood in the way for others to make use of them.
The galactic rim enviously looked on as the galactic heartland and the galactic center got to enjoy the latest toys.

Completing the Enduring Protector design and witnessing it in action gave Ves as sense of what the earlier mech designers must have felt when they explored the unknown.
Back then, mechs had not become the monolithic war machines it became today.
Nobody knew whether mechs held any promise.

Uncertainty.
Promise.
Risk.
Reward.
All of these factors along with the lack of regulations and restrictions gave Ves a sense of complete satisfaction.
This was mech design at its purest!

As he basked in the feelings and insights of completing his third original mech design, some portions deep within his mind began to experience some transformations.
Ves felt his design philosophy starting to sublimate yet again.
He knew he came closer to advancing to the rank of Journeyman Mech Designer!

Comprehension welled within his mind.
”I see now.
The reason why Apprentices needed to gain practical experience in designing mechs in order to advance is so that they understand the essence of their profession.
The key is to embody the word ’design ’.
As mech designers, how can we ever become masters of our own profession if we don ’t do any actual design work? ”

This partially explained why mech designers relegated to side jobs such as fabrication mechs, repairing mechs, testing and simulating mechs and more never got the opportunity to advance.

He already came up with this line of reasoning, but only now did he truly experience how the act of designing a real and meaningful mech design led to transformations in the mind.

Ves felt as if his design philosophy started out as an imaginary entity.
Yet through embodying his design philosophy and the meaning of the word ’design ’, he fed his design philosophy with his experiences, causing it to grow more substantial over time.

At some point, the imaginary accumulated a sufficient amount of experiences and underwent a final transformation.
At that point, it became something real!

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