The Mech Touch - Chapter 3369: Core Concepts

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Chapter 3369: Core Concepts

Maow.

“Miaow..?”

From the first moment Clixie laid her eyes on the red cat, she knew what had happened. The organic cat’s ears drooped as the spiritual cat flew over.

Maow.

“Miaow…”

Maow maow.

Miaow…

Alexandria nodded in satisfaction after seeing that Clixie didn’t intend to challenge her superiority. The spiritual cat turned around and returned to Gloriana’s shoulder.

Ves happened to observe this interaction. He had hoped that Alexandria would get along with Clixie since they were both cats. He even wished that his wife no longer ignored Clixie’s fear of being replaced by a ‘better’ cat.

Sadly, despite her beautiful new cat collar, the only feline that Gloriana was paying attention to was another part of herself!

“Come here, Clixie.” He coaxed.

“Miaow.”

As Ves held Clixie in his arms, he nuzzled his face against her head. The Rubarthan Sentinel Cat relaxed and basked in his affection.

“Gloriana.”

“Yes?”

“I understand you’re happy about Alexandria, but don’t forget about Clixie. Can you see how much she yearns for your attention? She’s family, Gloriana. There is no reason why you can’t love multiple pets at once. Each of them are worthy of our attention just like each of our future children deserves an equal amount of love.”

His wife drew her gaze away from her beautiful new companion spirit and looked down at Clixie.

“Miaow.”

“What’s up with this new collar? You made it, right? You should have consulted me. I could have made this collar a lot more fashionable!”

Ves wanted to palm his face. “You’re only finding out about this now? I already gave her this collar a while ago!”

“Oh.”

“Look, if you’re serious about raising a good family, then you need to act as a responsible parent. Clixie might not be able to provide as much utility as Alexandria, but that should never be a requirement to determine whether a family member is worthy of your attention. Now can you please act compassionately for once and make up for neglecting her distress? You hurt her quite a bit, you know.”

His wife finally showed remorse. Her expression softened as she moved closer in order to take Clixie from his hands.

“Oh, I’m sorry, girl.” Gloriana kissed the top of her first cat. “I’ve been a bit too distracted lately. Can you forgive me, Clixie?”

“Miaow~”

Ves smiled once he saw that Gloriana finally deigned to spend some time with Clixie. He just hoped that it would last.

Alexandria didn’t look too pleased that Gloriana directed her attention away from her majesty.

Maow!

The new companion spirit arrogantly huffed before entering her human partner’s mind.

The next day, Ves and Gloriana came together in the design lab again in order to get ready to realize the Bulwark Project.

“Meow?”

“Miaow miaow.”

Maow.

Mrow.

Maow.

“Meow?”

Maow maow.

“Meow!”

“Maow!”

Lucky jumped at Alexandria and quickly taught her a lesson! The new companion spirit stood no chance against a seasoned fighter and killer.

MAOW! MAOW!

Mrow.

“Miaow.”

“Ves! Your cat is bullying Alexandria again!”

“Your cat was asking for a fight. Did you really think she could act like a queen when she can’t even beat up anyone?”

“Stop gaslighting my beautiful cat!”

Ves threw up his hands.

“Lucky?”

“Meow?” The gem cat temporarily paused in his attempt to force Alexandria to admit defeat.

“Could you please be more considerate towards our latest cat and give her the respect that she deserves?”

Lucky stared silently at Ves for a moment before resuming his efforts to bite and press Alexandria into submission.

“Meow meow!”

“Damnit, Ves!”

Gloriana interrupted her discussion with Ves in order to rescue Alexandria from her predicament. The aggrieved red cat looked pitiful as she eagerly entered the safe and comfortable confines of her human partner’s mind.

“I’ll talk to you later, Lucky!”

“Meow?” Lucky innocently blinked.

Ves had a feeling that antics like this would happen more often. This wasn’t even the end of it. Once their daughter was born, yet another companion spirit would join their family.

Now that they got this distraction out of the way, Ves and Gloriana turned their attention back to surveying the latest iteration of the Bulwark Project.

Both of them had made a couple of last-minute changes with the help of the insights they gained from Alexandria’s greater design network.

They didn’t feel the need to apply greater adjustments, though. They had already worked on this project on and off for a fairly long time. This not only allowed the Design Department to refine and optimize the design to a significantly greater degree, but also allowed the Journeymen to apply the lessons they learned in recent months.

The Battle of Fordilla Zentra and the confrontation against the Olympus Mons had profoundly changed the mentality that Ves, Gloriana and the other mech designers held towards mechs.

As for the previous four mechs, Ves resolved to upgrade them at a later date. He already intended to do so once he reached the Red Ocean and gained access to better tech, materials and methods.

Compared to the previous iterations of this design, the latest and most refined version of the Bulwark Project possessed a slightly more defined identity!

“One of the most striking aspects about the Olympus Mons is how strongly it embodies its themes.” Ves said as he admired the way their latest adjustments made it more cohesive. “Previously, I’ve always thought of expert mechs as superpowered versions of normal mechs. Now, I’ve taken the Cross Clan’s words to heart that expert mechs are preparatory versions of ace mechs.”

The two outlooks differed quite a bit. Previously, both Ves and Gloriana tended to get lost in all of the new possibilities that they could add to their expert mech designs.

While it was a lot more complicated to design an expert mech, it was pretty much a dream to work on one. Many of the constraints that mech designers chafed at such as limited design budgets, lack of piloting skill and lower capacity no longer bothered them as much.

As a result, all of the Journeymen applied every viable solution they could think of to stuff their mechs with greater power. While their intentions were good, their design approach was not yet fully divorced from the one they adopted when they designed regular mechs.

It was only after surviving an encounter against a genuine ace mech in battle that Ves and the others truly woke up. The design concepts applied by the dwarven Master from the galactic heartland differed remarkably from the Masters based in the galactic rim. The Olympus Mons reflected a design approach that was meant to compete against more powerful and extravagant competitors.

The most direct reflection of taking over parts of this different and arguably better design outlook was how little compromises the mech designers had made for the Bulwark Project.

This sounded strange at first. In the previous battle, the Olympus Mons displayed a great amount of versatility. It not only possessed numerous defensive methods, but also carried multiple effective weapon systems. Its speed was also not to be trifled with as it was fast enough to catch up to most light mechs.

However, this was just the surface appearance. The Olympus Mons was actually highly specialized, but its opposition was too weak to make its weaknesses apparent. The ace mech’s offensive and defensive power was too crushing against weaker machines.

Against other ace mechs, the Olympus Mons no longer held a crushing advantage. Its defense was much less capable of withstanding the attacks of other ace mechs and its mobility was downright bad compared to its peers!

Yet despite these significant shortcomings, Ves had no doubt that if it ever got close enough to an enemy ace mech, the Olympus Mons could crush any tough machine. Not even ace space knights would be able to last long against the Mountain Hammer!

“One of the traits that truly make the Olympus Mons stand out is how much it embodies specific concepts.” Ves continued. “Hammers, physical force and mass. The ace mech doesn’t contain any elements that aren’t related to one of these concepts. By narrowing its design to Saint Mayorka’s greatest strengths, there are hardly any mechs that can channel her will and power better than her current machine!”

There were many other aspects about the Olympus Mons that earned his appreciation. Unfortunately, they weren’t relevant to the Larkinsons at the moment. They all had to wait until their expert pilots came close to advancing to ace pilot.

Gloriana became more passionate as she imagined the performance of the upgraded Shield of Samar. “In terms of defense, Venerable Jannzi’s expert mech will become the unquestioned leader in our clan. The Cross Clan’s Amphis will definitely pale in comparison to our own space knight!”

Even though they hadn’t upgraded the Shield of Samar as of yet, both Ves and Gloriana were absolutely certain that their work would surpass the Amphis in almost every dimension.

That didn’t mean that the expert mech piloted by Venerable Linda Cross was weak. It was a proper mid-tier expert space knight that possessed relatively balanced specs for its mech type. It was a resilient machine that possessed decent mobility and a powerful trick that augmented its offensive power.

The Amphis was an expert mech that was completely optimized for duels against other expert mechs.

This didn’t surprise Ves at all when he thought about the martial culture of the Garlen Empire. Back in the Cross Clan’s former home, the skirmishes and battles that took place in the powerful second-rate state mainly centered around the clashes between expert mechs and occasionally ace mechs.

The powerful leaders of the respective clans and tribes decided the outcome of a battle.

In contrast, the regular mechs mostly served as cannon fodder and background soldiers. Their priority was low. They were merely expected to do their jobs well and nothing more.

This explained why the Cross Clan’s standard mechs tended to be fairly boring but also solid performers. Its expert mechs weren’t expected to babysit them. Instead, the expert pilots fully invested their attention towards bashing in their enemy counterparts!

The Bulwark Project was designed with a different idea in mind.

Its design concept was not diametrically opposite to that of the Amphis.

Sure, the Bulwark Project was a lot slower and a lot less capable of proactively fighting against other expert mechs.

It was not weak or incapable of fighting against equal enemies, though!

The concepts that Ves and Gloriana had chosen as the overarching design directions of the Bulwark Project were toughness, shielding and gravity.

Toughness was both a literal description of the Shield of Samar’s ability to withstand damage and also a more figurative description of its ability to withstand heavy pressure.

Shielding described the predominant value that the Bulwark Project was meant to provide in battle. It possessed a variety of powerful shielding solutions that could reinforce its personal defenses or offer strong and crucial protection for other friendly units.

Gravity defined the special charm of the Shield of Samar. The design elements that Master Willix applied to the Bulwark Project allowed Venerable Jannzi to leverage wide-area gravity phenomena to change the space around her expert mech.

These were the main strengths of the Bulwark Project. Ves and Gloriana made certain that the Bulwark Project strongly embraced these three concepts, even if it came at the cost of other performance standards!

The reason why Ves thought that it would work out in the end was because he believed that strongly emphasizing these core concepts would more than compensate for all of the Bulwark Project’s other weaknesses!

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