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The Mech Touch is a web novel produced by Exlor. This lightnovel is presently Ongoing.
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Chapter 3123: Powerful Impression
Though the new capital s.h.i.+ps needed a lot of work to reach their full potential, Ves felt a lot more relieved now that his fleet made a huge advance.
He no longer had to worry about lacking sufficient capital s.h.i.+ps to explore the Red Ocean. In fact, he suffered from the opposite problem now. s.p.a.ce for capital s.h.i.+ps was rapidly running out, especially considering that the Glory Seekers and the Cross Clan were working hard to expand their own lineup.
“We also have to scrounge enough merits to justify this expansion.” Ves muttered as he considered what needed to be done.
The amount of MTA merits in possession of the Larkinson Clan hadn’t changed. Even though the Crossers agreed to give them two of their precious s.h.i.+p slots, there still wasn’t much room left for expansion unless Ves or other Larkinsons managed to contribute a lot to the Mech Trade a.s.sociation.
Ves even felt tempted to ‘donate’ some of his less valuable trade secrets in order to alleviate this need. Teaching the MTA new tricks on how to design better mechs was a guaranteed way to earn a lot of merits!
With Master Willix on his side, he would be certain that his exclusive insights and methods would earn him a handsome payday.
He was very reluctant to resort to this option, though. Not only was much of his valuable knowledge tied to his spiritual prowess, he didn’t want to give away his compet.i.tive advantages.
Not only that, he didn’t want to attract too much attention from the MTA. While Master Willix was willing to cover for him, she could only do so much. The a.s.sociation is way too big for any Master or Star Designer to dominate its decision making.
It was much different from his own clan where he still held a lot of sway even with future reforms in mind.
All of these worries caused him to leave the option of donating his knowledge as a measure of last resort. There were way too many risks and dangers for him to safely exchange his secrets on living mechs for a quick and easy bag of MTA merits.
“Besides, who knows how many merits I can get. If the MTA doesn’t understand my theories or can’t put them to use, then I might not even be able to earn more than a million MTA merits!”
A million MTA merits was a huge sum for most people but peanuts for Ves. He really needed to find an opportunity to earn a large amount of merits at once, but he didn’t have much luck on that front.
Time was running out and Ves really had to find a way to make actual progress. He looked down at his current handiwork.
The latest iteration of his crystal rifle looked more resplendent and packed more power than ever. It was already a lot closer to the model that he intended to pair with the Sentry Project.
“Would the MTA give me a lot of merits if I teach them about luminar technology?”
Though the same concerns still applied, Ves wasn’t as possessive about innovations related to luminar crystals.
No matter what the MTA knew about the crystals, Ves didn’t mind as it wasn’t directly related to his core advantages. Living mechs and man-machine symbiosis were his bread and b.u.t.ter.
Even if someone stole his research on luminar crystals and came up with a better application, Ves would just steal it back and use it for himself!
Still, there was a big problem with this scheme. Most of his valuable insights on luminar crystals were too intertwined with spiritual energy. He had to develop a non-spiritual improvement first before he could hand it over to the MTA for his reward.
“Ugh, that will also take a while.”
There were more ways to earn MTA merits. Ves could even rely on talented personnel such as Ketis to give him a hand, though to be honest his fellow Larkinsons might not be able to provide much help at this stage.
The entire Larkinson Clan was still too young and immature to be ready for the challenges that lay ahead. The only reason why it managed to make good progress was because Ves was practically dragging the Larkinsons forward by force.
The clan was too dependent on him and his work. While this was good for maintaining his primacy over the Larkinsons, it also tired him out. He felt an increasing desire to raise other Larkinsons up so that they could share the burden.
“Why should I do everything myself?”
If possible, he even wanted to pa.s.s on his work on luminar crystal technology to others. He should be spending more time on designing better living mechs, not better energy weapons.
He began to understand the perspective of Seniors and Masters more and more. They were capable of accomplis.h.i.+ng many great feats, but as incredible as they seemed, they were just individual persons.
The only way for them to get more work done was to take on students and build a network of helpers that could a.s.sist them in their research and development activities.
When Ves thought about who he could employ to help him, his thoughts wandered over to two specific individuals.
“Hey, don’t I have two students already?”
Though he hadn’t paid too much attention to Mikael and Zanthar Larkinsons, the two students were well on their way to mastering the fundamentals of second-cla.s.s mech design.
According to his recollection, the two young men were not ready yet to design their first mechs, but they should at least possess enough basic scientific knowledge to start following actual mech designers as they went about their work.
Ves developed a bright idea all of a sudden. He activated his comm and summoned someone to his personal workshop.
A short time went by before a younger Larkinson entered the workshop. Zanthar meekly walked over to Ves and awkwardly adjusted his Larkinson uniform.
“You called, teacher?”
“Yes. Before I begin to talk about the reason why I’ve invited you here, let me check your progress. What kind of courses have you completed recently and how much progress have you made on developing your main research interest?”
Zanthar had already completed a lot of essential courses that any decent mech designer had to know. He knew how to work with mechanical and electrical systems, he knew how to design a very simplified mech from start to finish and he even learned some modern techniques that mech designers only made use of in the last few decades.
With at least two or three more years of study, Zanthar would be well equipped to become an independent mech designer.
“I’ve been studying the mechanisms of a lot of ranged weapons for mechs.” He perked up a bit now that he was talking about his interests. “There are so many different weapon types in existence that I just want to build all of them! It’s so infuriating to know that first-cla.s.s mechs can make use of even more amazing and exotics weapon systems that we won’t be able to get our hands on at our current state.”
Ves raised his eyebrow. “What kind of weapons did you study in more detail, then?”
“Oh, just the basics. I started off with studying ballistic rifles and laser rifles. They’re nice, but they don’t pack as much power as the advanced weapon systems. I quickly moved over to kinetic rifles and gauss rifles. They’re really fun and their principles are really easy to understand.”
“It’s simple electromagnetism.” Ves nodded in agreement. “Every high school graduate is able to understand that running a current through a coil will generate a magnetic field. Make the coil large enough and crank up the current high enough and you get a solid projectile delivery system that can ruin the day of any mech or s.h.i.+p!”
“Still, there are a lot more details and nuances about gauss rifles that I still need to master. All of the forces these weapons are subjected to means they have to be strong and well-designed. You need to combine a lot of different materials with different strengths and weaknesses and combine them into a weapon that can channel enough power to destroy a mech without breaking apart in the process.”
While Ves was interested in how much progress Zanthar had made on this front, that was not his goal today.
“What about your energy weapon studies? Have you spent any time studying more advanced energy weapons?”
“Of course! I haven’t made that much progress, though. Plasma weapons sound simple but they’re even worse than gauss rifles when it comes to making sure that none of the weapons break. I’ve been pouring a lot of time into figuring out positron rifles. It’s really amazing to imagine how much power we are harnessing by generating and shooting out a bunch of antimatter.”
Positron weapons required a lot more engineering to design and make than laser weapons, but most people considered it worth the effort. It was not without reason that positron rifles replaced laser rifles as the energy weapon of choice for second-cla.s.s mechs.
Of course, it was not that difficult to combine the two into a single combined rifle. The weapon would just become a little bulkier and the effectiveness of either types of damage outputs would decrease.
Seeing that Zanthar still possessed a liking for energy weapons made Ves relieved. He was afraid the kid would fall in love with missiles or something.
Ves slapped his palm on top of the crystal laser rifle that he had placed on the work table. “Do you know what this is, my student?”
The kid could not have possibly missed such an eye-catching piece of equipment. He had been throwing fascinated glances at it for a while.
“Uhmm… it’s an energy weapon?”
“Good guess, kid. It’s a concept weapon that I have developed for the Sentry Project. If everything goes well, I can use it as a model for the main armament of a laser rifleman mech!”
Zanthar widened his eyes. “You mean…”
Ves held up the hefty crystal rifle in his hands and lifted it up and down as if it was a stick.
“It’s not an exact representation of an expert mech weapon. The scale is too small and numerous key materials and components are missing. However, handling and firing this weapon will give you a reasonable impression on how the Sentry Project will perform in battle.”
The student couldn’t keep his eyes off the impressive weapon. Its crystalline construction caused it to reflect and glint in the light.
“Would you like to test fire it, Zanthar?”
“What?! Is that safe?”
“I have already tested this weapon numerous times.” Ves rea.s.sured him. “I have also scanned it to make sure that nothing has broken in the process. Come on. Just try it out, It will be fun!”
Even if anything went wrong, it wouldn’t be Ves who suffered. He planned to stand safely behind an armored enclosure.
It didn’t take long for Zanthar’s desires to overtake his caution. He quickly took hold of the weapon even as Ves gave him a brief reminder on weapon safety and equipment handling. He also had to wear protective goggles in order to protect his eyes.
When Zanthar took the hefty rifle over to the test firing range, he carefully pressed the stock to his shoulder and took up a proper firing stance.
The bright and powerful beam that spat from the rifle actually missed the target dummy that Zanthar had been aiming at. Instead, the straight white beam instantly struck the thick wall behind the target.
Upon impact, the beam did not sear the wall with an excessive transfer of thermal energy.
Instead, a giant physical explosion took place as the beam transferred an overload of physical energy against the obstacle. Complicated reactions and interactions that flew right above Zanthar’s head ensured that a loud boom occurred that was also accompanied by a blinding flash of light!
His ears became buffeted by loud pressure waves that shouldn’t have been unleashed by a beam energy weapon!
Once the aftermath of his shot had died down, Zanthar opened his eyes and gaped in amazement at the large crater that his weapon had left behind on the thick protective wall.
“This is just the beginning, Zanthar.” Ves grinned and stated. “The crystal rifle can fire other types of beams.”
“At least six, and that is not even the complete story. I can load in other crystals in the rifle that can enable the weapon to fire other powerful beams!”
Zanthar had never heard about this kind of weapon system. The gauss rifles and positron rifles were incredibly primitive by comparison.
It didn’t take long for him to become completely enamored with the weapon he had just fired!
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