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The closing ceremony and all the recordings made there signified the end of the peace talks. No one expected it to pan out so smoothly as the negotiators found common ground a lot easier than they should. It was as if the irreconcilable hatred between the two states never even existed!
“It’s probably a function of the real threat looming over our heads.” Ves surmised as he boarded the Lormant Carnival. Their stay on Harkensen II had ended and now everyone was on their way back. “As long as you’re rational enough, it just makes too much sense to put down the fighting between us to a halt.”
Preparations for ratifying the recently-finalized peace treaty were already underway in the Bright Republic and the Vesia Kingdom. Despite the collusion of several highly-placed officials and statesmen in both states, getting everyone else to play along took a lot of wheeling and dealing.
The political machinations behind getting domestic support for the peace treaty went way above Ves’ head. He was not a politician nor a bureaucrat, so he left that domain to those who reveled in it such as Senator Tovar and his allies.
One welcome surprise that rea.s.sured Ves and the others was that the need to maintain secrecy decreased by a lot. The escort fleet received additional s.h.i.+ps and mechs from the Spiral Shockers as reinforcements.
The best part of this development was that the reinforcements stopped bothering with any camouflage and brought their military-grade equipment! The elite Spiral Shockers that arrived to usher the Tovar Peace Delegation back home were able to display their full combat strength!
“Not that anyone has any reason now to attack us besides kidnapping Senator Tovar.”
Even then, with the reinforcements from the elite mech regiment, the cost of attempting an attack was too ruinous to attempt.
“Besides, the negotiations proceeded without a hitch and the peace treaty has already been finalized. Even though we’re bringing back the data pad with the formal copy of the text, the contents have already been sent back to the Republic through the galactic net.”
It wasn’t worth it to throw a mech regiment onto the bulked-up escort fleet just so they could destroy a fancy single data pad that only held some historical value at best.
To the opponents of the peace initiative, the rice had been cooked. Right now, the political battlefield concerning their attempts to continue the war moved on to the Bright Senate instead of wherever Senator Tovar could be found.
In short, it meant that Ves could finally put down his guard somewhat and retract some of his paranoia.
The long ride from the Reinald Republic to the Bright Republic took several weeks. During this time, Ves quickly finalized his vision for his mech after receiving occasional input from Professor Ventag.
He couldn’t have crafted such an intricate and well-put vision without the experience and depth of knowledge of a genuine Senior. As he finished his presentation of his super-medium s.p.a.ce knight, the professor looked somewhat pensive if intrigued.
“It is not a s.p.a.ce knight for the average mech pilot.” He declared. “The additional options help compensate for the weaknesses brought by your design’s unusual weight cla.s.s, but it is up to the mech pilot to make the most of it. A great mech pilot can achieve fifty percent more value out of your mech compared to a regular s.p.a.ce knight, but how many of those are around? Most will squander your super-medium s.p.a.ce knight’s potential.”
This wasn’t anything new to Ves, who made peace with his design choices. “If that is the price I have to pay to design a unique mech, then so be it. This is a mech worth designing in my eyes. It’s more expensive than regular s.p.a.ce knights and it will very likely fall into the premium price category, so amateurs have no place in piloting such an expensive machine.”
“Even if your upcoming design flops in the market, it’s fine. For a young mech designer like you, it’s the experience that counts. In any case, NORA Consolidated takes up most of the burden of producing and maintaining your upcoming mech model, so you’ll only have to be concerned with a loss of reputation.”
The LMC would still be able to rely on the success of its existing mech catalog to keep it aloft. However, Ves truly did need to add a third product to his meager catalog because the impending transition to the next generation already depressed sales and forced margins lower.
A niche product like the one he intended to design might not have much ma.s.s market appeal, but the high product margins allowed it to be an enduring source of cash flow just when the profits of his first two mech models failed to cover his company’s ongoing expenses and debt obligations.
The professor just wanted to make sure that Ves would be prepared for the consequences if he proceeded to continue onto this path.
“The internal architecture of my design will probably be above me.” Ves admitted. “Since this falls under your specialty, I will rely on you to sh.o.r.e up my shortcomings in that area. I’ll instead focus most of my design efforts on the exterior and mechanical layout of my design.”
“That is for the best. This is mainly your design, after all, so try not to rely on me more than you have to. From my evaluation of your design skills, your fundamentals are all robust, so it is not a problem for you to independently design the exterior features.”
Now that both mech designers came to an agreement on the overall concept of his super-medium s.p.a.ce knight, Ves returned to his quarters and proceeded to flesh out his vision into a formal draft design.
Ves had been thinking about how to employ his Triple Division technique. At this stage of the design process, it would help him out a lot to finalize the image intended to shape the X-Factor of his upcoming design.
He already thought over it for many times. Similar to the Crystal Lord, this time Ves introduced an incredibly strong spiritual ent.i.ty in the form of Qilanxo.
As Ves held her in his thoughts all the time, he felt as if he managed to connect to her, if only nebulously.
He even had a feeling that she was still alive somehow. The imagine of Qilanxo in his mind was just too rich and vibrant, though it was only a pale copy in comparison to her actual spirit.
“Is this what it is like to use a living ent.i.ty as a basis?” He wondered.
Why didn’t he think of this earlier? While it sounded outlandish, basing his images off actual living ent.i.ties might produce dramatic results!
In any case, Ves expected much from Qilanxo’s image. As a Sacred G.o.d, her image already fulfilled the role of totem animal.
That meant he needed to accompany it with images for the base model and the human myth. One to adjust Qilanxo to the circ.u.mstances of a s.p.a.ce knight, and the other to adjust the mindset of the mech pilot to the complexities of piloting his mech.
He first constructed the image for the base model. It took on the shape of the super-medium s.p.a.ce knight with the addition of the two gimmicks that Ves had mind. It would take a lot of proficiency on the part of the mech pilot to master the use of the polarizing module and the embedded light crystals, and the image of the base model would help them be more comfortable with their operation.
That was the easiest part so far. Since his mech is so complex, the strong animal instincts provided by Qilanxo demanded strong direction. The human myth should be nearly as strong as a totem animal, or else the balance would be tilted too heavily against the kind of advanced decision-making such a complex s.p.a.ce knight asked of their mech pilots.
Ordinarily, Ves would conjure up an image of a mythical human being from his imagination, but he wondered if that was all he should do. What if he repeated what he did for Qilanxo and drew upon an existing human figure to base his human myth out of? It would be even better if the role model for his human myth was still alive!
The moment he entertained this notion, he was almost scared to push through. What were the consequences of using someone else as the basis for the human myth? Did some imaginary trademark police exist in the imaginary realm that would retaliate against Ves if they found out that he ripped off an existing person’s likeness for his own ends?
Ves felt as if he engaged in piracy for some reason. He was no different than those pirate designers who merrily borrowed published designs without paying the fees for their use. The only difference was that the other mech designers stole concrete design specifications, while Ves only stole something imaginary.
That didn’t detract from the sense of wrongness he felt if he actually went through with this course of action. He already felt somewhat uneasy when he borrowed Qilanxo’s likeness, but she was technically an exobeast, so she didn’t enjoy as much rights as an actual human.
“Even so, I feel as if I am standing at a crossroads. The decision I make here might have major implications for the future.”
His intuition faintly hinted at him that the decision to draw upon a living human being, particularly a mech pilot, might result in something drastic. It was absolutely not as simple as inventing a fictional character in a fictional setting as the basis of his human myth!
“Should I go through with this course of action or should I let sleeping dogs lie?”
Was that even a real question to Ves? He had always been bold with certain decisions, and wasn’t his super-medium s.p.a.ce knight pretty much a test bed for his various innovations? Since he already deviated from convention a number of times, what was the harm in attempting one more divergence from the norm?
The only problem right now was that Ves lacked a solid source of inspiration for his human myth. He pretty much decided early on that he would base his image on an expert pilot.
After all, why settle for something mediocre for the human myth when he could easily draw upon the likeness of the best?
Ves did have some concerns about drawing upon the likeness of an existing person. He actually did it once for the Blackbeak in the case of using the likeness of a mech athlete called Jackknife Jake.
Yet that person already died, and however remarkable he performed in the water-filled arenas of Moira’s Paradise, he was not too exceptional as a mech pilot.
“There’s a huge difference between an ordinary mech pilot and an expert pilot.”
He didn’t have to settle for expert pilots. What about ace pilots or G.o.d pilots? Since he was already doubling down on his experiments, why not go all the way?
Somehow, Ves did not think it would be so easy to rip off the likeness of those that people referred to as G.o.ds in human form. A shudder ran through his spine when he tried to estimate the strength of their spirituality. He faintly suspected that they might very well crush him in that area alone.
What he intended to do would take place in the imaginary realm where spirituality reigned supreme. Perhaps Ves could easily toy with the likeness of a regular mech pilot with a weak and completely intangible spirit, but what about those with actual spiritual strength?
Considering that his Spirituality was strong enough to resist Venerable Foster’s force of will, he predicted that any backlash that he incurred from this action wouldn’t crush his mind and turn him into a vegetative state.
“Now I’ll just have to decide who to pick.”
Unfortunately, no expert pilots came to mind to him right now. Expert pilots specialized in piloting s.p.a.ce knights were very rare, and while the Bright Republic did in fact employ several of them, he wasn’t fully up to date with their records.
Ves activated his military-issued comm and tried to access the galactic net or an internal database, only to get denied.
“Perhaps I should just ask.”
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