It was the first day since the Flagrant Swordmaidens crossed over into the Faris Star Region.
"Fuel supply is topped off. Other supplies are ample. Crew morale is buoyed by the recent victory, but it is starting to look shaky due to the bombshell revelation of the Starlight Megalodon. Some of the starships have sustained armor damage which remains largely unpatched. Our mechs are as numerous as they can get and they are mostly in a decent condition. The relationship between the Vandals and the Swordmaidens is shallow but promising. The distance from civilized space is just a single hop away."
The status report he composed in his mind served as a marker to remind himself of the overall state of the Vandal fleet.
Ves left Ketis to sink her teeth in fundamental textbooks on microeconomics, marketing and management theory. He spun back on his chair and cast his mind on his own business activities.Find authorized novels in Webnovel，faster updates, better experience，Please click for visiting.
Now that he addressed every urgent issue for the day, he could finally take a breather and take stock of his recent benefits and burdens.
Ves eyed the lockbox again. The sulomnium, beta-otricine and Flesha's Tears he secured formed the nucleus of his self-developed ultracompact battery, but he was a long way from fabricating them. He turned on his privacy screen before turning on his terminal. He loaded in the condensed documents enumerating some very complex and abstruse theory on how ultracompact batteries worked.
It was a far cry from a readily available design. A disconnect still existed between pure theory and a solid set of design specifications that Ves could upload into a 3D printer and have it fabricate the components on the spot.
"The Skull Architect hasn't made this easy for me. He took out way too many useful derivations that I could have used to cobble together a design without needing to bother with all the advanced theories."
Fortunately, Ves already possessed a broad body of knowledge, possessed Senior-level Physics to boot. Achieving true understanding of the research papers and extracts related to ultracompact batteries might have taken months and years for an average Apprentice Mech Designer, but Ves was confident he could master half of it within a week and understand the essence of it within a month.
After briefly skimming through the files on ultracompact batteries, he switched to the files containing similar documents but this time on stealth technology. Despite containing relatively more reading material for him to study, the scope of stealth technology was much bigger. What Ves obtained from the Skull Architect represented just the tip of the iceberg.
In essence, he only obtained a bare summary of the relevant theories related to stealth tech. If Ves wanted to construct a working prototype that applied the principles explained in the documents, then Ves might not even be finished yet in five years! He needed to perform hundreds of experiments and compose several textbooks worth of research in order to obtain the necessary theoretical foundation and transform it into an applicable blueprint.
His existing knowledge helped accelerate the learning and development processes, but couldn't entirely substitute for missing data. Ves needed to painstakingly construct them from his own efforts.
"Luckily, I have another advantage that will severely shorten the time I need to master this tech."
The salvaged stealth shuttle fragments pretty much provided Ves with a key. The few portions of the shuttle left intact gave him a useful direction for his theories, allowing him to skip many experiments as the answers were already evident.
He basically possessed both the starting point and the end point of a finished research project. By taking advantage of both, figuring out the middle portion shouldn't be too difficult and not as nearly as time-consuming if the end point was still shrouded in fog.
"It's still going to be a multi-month effort to decipher the secrets behind this particular application of stealth tech." He concluded. "I don't know how long the hunt for the Starlight Megalodon will take.
The time-consuming projects demanded too much of his time, and he wasn't sure if the mission lasted long enough for him to complete them. It would be extremely inconvenient for him if he was transferred out of the Vandals halfway into his project on replicating stealth technology.
He hadn't forgotten about the minor rebuke he received from Major Verle. If the observation system perceived that Ves spent too little time on his core responsibilities, then that might have awful repercussions to his future within the Mech Corps.
Though his draft had been an obligation, it was also an opportunity! Those who worked hard and exploited the advantages given to them by the Mech Corps were able to lay down the groundwork for future prosperity after their military service had ended.
Right now, his posting as a temporary head designer was already sufficient to make every other mech designer employed by the Vandals jealous.
He had to do right by the Vandals, but he also believed in the arguments he put forth to the commanding officer. Many matters did not require his personal intervention anymore. As the top mech designer among this detachment of Vandals, his foresight was pretty great and he had already issued many instructions on how to handle various thorny problems.
Recently, none of his subordinates saw fit to bring any matters to his attention. The system of delegation that he instituted throughout the entire hierarchy under his influence benefited from a lot more autonomy than usual.
Supposedly, the autonomy granted to the chief technicians and lower ranking mech designers enabled them to make nuanced decisions that fit their specific circumstances best on their ship and workshop.
Theoretically, this should have led to higher productivity as top-down decision from someone so far removed from the workshop floor couldn't possibly be as well-thought out and appropriate for the specific problem at hand.
In truth, empowering the lower level workers left the middle managers with a lot of headaches. Ves received status reports from Mercator and Trozin frequently and they often complained how time consuming it was to put out fires started out by incompetent mech designers who vastly overestimated their abilities.
"Hmph." He grunted with satisfaction. "Looks like the system is working fine to me."
With the lower level workers doing the grunt work and the middle managers acting as trouble-shooters trying to keep the system from collapsing, that left the upper management, which happened to be Ves, with very little to do. His main responsibilities at this stage encompassed supervising the organizational system he set up and to be available to solve any implacable problems.
He also needed to take some time to draft up new plans to account for future trends, but that was it, really. Ves could pretty much sleep or lazy about all day and nothing would go wrong.
The only way he could make a significant contribution up to this point was if he visited the workshop compartments in person and used his considerable personal design skills to upgrade the mechs to an artisanal quality level.
"That's a waste of my time."
Upgrading a mech to a ridiculous quality level only affected the overall strength of the Vandal mech force by a minute proportion. A drop in the bucket wouldn't fundamentally make the bucket any fuller, at least not to the naked eye.
Therefore, Ves actually couldn't really figure out what kind of work he should perform to prove to Major Verle that he was being a dutiful head designer.
He scratched his head. "I guess if delegating everything looks too lazy to the people who keep track of me, then I should do the opposite. Some good dose of micromanagement will give me enough busywork to make it seem like I'm actually working."
Ves could maybe do so on the Shield of Hispania, because he could just descend to the lower decks and order some people around while flinging his arms. However, there was only so much he could do on a single ship.
"Hmm, if I recall, the progress on modifying the landbound mechs to cope with extreme gravity is still beset by complications and delays. Those seem like good issues for me to intervene."
Because the fleet was travelling in FTL, Ves only had access to the maintenance department on the Shield of Hispania. He retrieved the current list of ongoing projects on their flagship. Because the Shield mainly carried spaceborn mechs, she only carried a handful of landbound mechs besides their fixed allocation of Akkara mechs.
Ves recalled that he initially transferred some of the most complex landbound mechs to the Shield. He did this in the likelihood that modifying these mechs would prove to be a difficult challenge. The latest status reports he called up showed the depth of this problem.
"Oh yeah, this definitely needs my intervention."
Though normally Ves would have liked the autonomous work groups to figure out their own solutions, Ves forestalled this process when he abruptly butted in and started tweaking the design of an existing mech.
"Hmmm.. this is actually pretty solid work. Ketis could learn a thing or two from the mech designer who came up with this elegant solution. Too bad this mech designer is only good at a couple of things. Engine performance will drop by up to ninety-two percent if the mech is subjected to five g's of constant gravity! That's ridiculous!"
Such a fault would have been caught in simulations or training exercises eventually, but Ves didn't want to risk an oversight. A problem of this nature had to be nipped in the bud immediately.
"It's disappointing that my deputies haven't caught this problem. Are they blind or just that stupid?" Ves cursed his subordinates yet again.
Perhaps what he thought of as pretend work to make it seem like was busy might not be needed after all. If a giant oversight like this hadn't been noticed yet after a couple of weeks since they first entered the design logs, then maybe this phenomenon was more prevalent than he thought!
He spent an entire afternoon on correcting the design and improving the stability of some of its lackluster sections.
At the end of the day, he waved away the revised design, causing it to automatically update in the ship's database. Chief Haine down at the workshop should receive an awfully welcome surprise come the next shift.
This incident illuminated Ves on a severe deficiency in the current allocation of mech designers among the different ships.
"Every mech designer has their own specialties and development track. Even the relatively more rounded mech designers possess certain biases towards one type of mech over the other."
Perhaps one mech designer worked great with landbound mechs, but turned into an absolute wreck if he was forced to work on spaceborn mechs.
Ves himself suffered from the same problem but to a much lesser degree. He published multiple landbound mech designs, so he wasn't afraid of anything when it came to that area. Spaceborn mechs on the other hand was still new ground to him, and he felt much less confident in his ability to design a spaceborn mech with a modern flight system from scratch.
"Then there's mech designers like Ketis."
The Swordmaiden mech designer currently scrunched behind her desk trying to make sense of her microeconomics textbook possessed an extremely focused bias towards swordsman mechs. Her design versatility was so poor it might as well be nonexistent!
"If someone like Ketis is put in charge of a workshop aboard a Swordmaiden carrier, then she'll do okay. It will be different if she's put in charge of mechs aboard a Vandal carrier. She won't be able to manage the diverse mech types with any degree of competence!"
No wonder his deputy designers had to work to the bone lately. Right now, Ves even felt sorry for Mercator and Trozin.
"Damn. Why didn't I take note of this trend before?!"
Certainly, his deputies should have taken note of this development and bring it to his attention. Did they suspect but refrain from voicing their suspicions? "Or maybe they've gone so far deep into solving the smaller problems that they've lost perspective of the big ones?"
As far as he knew, the allocation of mech designers had always been done this way. A single low-ranking mech designer might be stationed on a single ship for years, performing the same work over and over again like some bot.
"I suppose if there are attentive supervisors on the job, the problems won't become too serious. But if I want to free up time for myself, I should shake this entire structure up!"
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