760 Customer Needs
After an hour of introspection, he imagined he achieved a tiny bit of progress in straightening out his crooked design philosophy. It wasn't easy by any means, and it might take months to restore it to a pure state, but at least Ves saw some hope in his current approach.
"I only need a couple of minutes to put my design philosophy to the brink, but I need months to undo all of the damage I've done."
Creation was harder than destruction. That applied to pretty much anything, so Ves did not expect an easy road to recovery.
In the meantime, Ves sensed that he really shouldn't put his design philosophy under stress during his recovery period. Putting more stress on a broken limb for example only exacerbated the damage and prolonged his recovery period.
Even though he should take it easy for the next couple of months, Ves feared he may need to compromise his much-abused principles yet again if the Aeon Corona System turned out to be a cesspool of danger.
"I feel like an abusive husband who can't help but make excuses for hitting my wife." He grimaced.
His design philosophy was his 'wife' in this analogy. The danger here was that he might hit her too often or too hard one day that his design philosophy decided to give up on him and file for divorce.
With all that he put his design philosophy through lately, Ves certainly deserved it, but he did not want this to happen.
"Can you forgive me, please? I swear I won't hit you again!"
Ves suddenly shook his head. What was he thinking about? Why did he suddenly imagine his design philosophy as his wife?
"I think I have to call this a day."
He felt reluctant to go to sleep. While the Vandals stood down from red alert, the current condition or yellow alert meant that they still anticipated possible threats. Yellow alert merely allowed for a rotation of shifts so that all of the stations would continue to be manned while off-duty personnel had a chance to eat and sleep.
"Still, my mind really needs a break."
Ves figured that someone would wake him up again if anything drastic happened, which admittedly didn't seem very likely.
The Flagrant Swordmaiden fleet had limped their way out their initial emergence zone. The ominous Vesian fleet that initially burned in pursuit had sustained heavy damage from the pirates, while the forces aligned to the Church of Haatumak learned the hard way why they shouldn't challenge a detachment of a battle-hardened military mech regiment.
He rested for four hours before an alert woke him up. Ves blearily emerged from his bed and took one look at the message from his comm before he jumped out and dressed himself up at his best speed.
He raced towards his office where a security officer handed over an important package to him. As soon as he received it, he thanks the officer, entered his office, threw a sloppy greeting to Ketis and jumped behind his desk, activated his signal jammer before finally inserting the encrypted data chip inside the package into his secure comm.
The contents inside the data chip contained all of the logs, readings and telemetry out of the simulations and live deployment of the Parallax Star!
While Ves grumbled a bit about missing out on the tests as they happened, at least it appeared that nothing drastic had gone wrong. Venerable Xie hadn't gone insane or went onto a random murder spree. According to the biometric logs, the expert pilot exhibited an increased amount of exertion, but that could have been attributed to the man's slightly increased performance with the Parallax Star from before.
"It's good to see at least one of my changes went as planned."
The slight increase in performance helped justify his changes and mask all of his shenanigans behind the scenes. To the rest of the Vandals, it appeared that Ves managed to successfully tweak the Parallax Star in favor of Venerable Xie.
Only Ves and Major Verle knew the truth, and if it was up to him, that would remain so forever.
He still found it a waste to set a fatal trap for an expert pilot. If the expert pilot hadn't been so slavishly devoted to the failure of a Fourth Prince, then the Vandals could have forged a tighter bond with the versatile fugitive from the Dark Plasma Star Sector.
Incidents like these illustrate the difficulty of converting a foreign expert pilot to another cause. No one wanted to let go of their trump cards, especially to those with power and ambition, so they did everything in their power to indoctrinate their expert pilots into becoming their loyal servants.
The MTA's emphasis on protecting the rights and privileges of expert pilots emerged out of necessity. If expert pilots enjoyed no such protection, that left them vulnerable to all kinds of brainwashing and coercion by unscrupulous states and power players.
The fact that practically any expert pilot that experienced forceful persuasion often stagnated or regressed didn't stop them at all, though it would be bad for the MTA as a whole. In order to make the advancement towards expert pilot as attractive as possible and to leave the path open towards ace pilot and god pilots, elite mech pilots of all stripes needed to be treated with respect.
This policy sounded good to Ves until he ended up in the position of one of those people who needed an expert pilot under their thumb. Then it became a hindrance that Ves had willfully violated.
Ves dove into the logs and the telemetry, trying to find any signs his intervention had any side effects. He found plenty of abnormal indicators, but they shouldn't come to anyone's attention as long as they remained small.
The amount of abnormalities did concern him, however. It told him that his changes resulted in a spillover effect that cascaded many other parameters.
The man-machine connection was one of the most complex and mystifying fields in mech design. It occupied the same status as FTL drive mechanics to starship engineers.
Ves merely dipped his toes in the field himself, so while he expected his changes to have missed the mark somewhat, he did not feel pleased that it had grown to this extent.
This was like ordering an artillery mech to perform a precision bombing but instead the mech decided to go wild and carpet bomb the entire surroundings around the target region!
"I've been fudging all of my projects lately."
The batteries, his gadgets, the Six-Sided Dice, the Evaporating Spear and now the tampered neural interface were all rush jobs that Ves had hastily completed due to a perpetual lack of time and capability. This left way too many shortcomings into his final products.
"I have no choice in the matter." He sighed.
Ves recognized that the situation compelled him to these dire straits. His current woes reiterated his desire to gain more autonomy over his own life. Even if Major Verle was correct in that everyone was someone else's pawn, working under someone's thumb really grated on him. The sooner he jumped off the chessboard, the sooner he stopped ending up in situations beyond his control.
Ves spent a half-hour in total to skim through all of the data. Most of it consisted of irrelevant or incomprehensible observations, and he couldn't figure out if his changes had actually stuck or not. At the very least, he concluded that no major problems had occurred despite his inexpert handling of the code.
"Good morning to you too, Ves." She grumbled.
"Sorry, I became preoccupied with an important task."Find authorized novels in Webnovel，faster updates, better experience，Please click www.webnovel.com for visiting.
"It's fine. I know what you're like."
After a bit of chit-chat, Ves turned towards her own development. "Did you do as I suggested earlier?"
"You mean to talk with the mech pilot of that swordsman mech we visited before? I did, but the Vandal didn't want to tell me much. I think it's because I'm a Swordmaiden, so he didn't want to give away his secrets."
He had overlooked that possibility. The Vandal mech pilot did nothing wrong, and Ves should have passed on some instructions or the like. Well, it may have been an irresponsible suggestion from the start.
"You'll get the opportunity to interview your fellow Swordmaidens when you return to their midst. Just remember to do it. You really need to understand their quirks and their idiosyncrasies to design your own mechs in the future that fit with your intended clients."
"Isn't that part of marketing?" She asked.
"Yup. What I've just described is marketing research in a nutshell. I can't just design a random mech and dump it onto the market. Well, I can do that if I really want to, but I shouldn't expect it to pay for itself because it won't sell that much. The mech market is immense. Even in the Komodo Star Sector, a lot of mechs change hands all the time. The competition is so big that you simply can't afford to go your own way. Mech designers have to adopt the mentality of putting their customers at the center of their vision. Without an existing base of customers to appeal to, who is going to buy your mechs?"
"I don't see how that matters to me. I'm just a pirate designer and I don't care at all about the mech market in the frontier. Can't I just do my own thing?"
Ves shook his head. "Just because you've read it in a marketing textbook doesn't mean the theories can't be applied in non-commercial settings. Every form of labor a mech designer performs is intertwined with a transaction of some sorts. Would Mayra be so highly valued by Lydia's Swordmaidens if she only designs and fabricates spearman mechs?"
"Of course not! That's stupid!"
"That's because she knows her customers, which in this case is the outfit she is a part of. Just because she is a member of the outfit doesn't mean that all of the marketing theories are invalid. In fact, they matter even more so, because designing mechs that are a poor fit to the Swordmaidens directly affects her safety."
"Okay.. I get what you're telling me. You don't want me to design the mechs I've imagined in my mind?"
"Not exactly. If you have a strong belief that a mech you formed from your own insights and experience, then you can go ahead and design it. Just make sure that it's attractive enough that someone wants to pilot it. It sounds stupid, but many mech designers who just started business actually neglect finding out if the market has any appetite for their products!"
Not every mech designer was cut out to be an entrepreneur. Mech designers cared about designing great mechs, while businessmen wanted to earn as much profit as possible. These priorities differed from each other, but an independent mech designer constantly needed to pay equal attention to both.
"The biggest mech manufacturers won't hesitate to spend millions of K-coins just to understand their target segment a little better."
"Really? It costs that much to interview a couple of mech pilots?"
"They do more than a simple interview." Ves replied dryly. "There's a whole science behind it, but you don't need to know the details. Once you get to my level and own your own business, you can ask for a report and have your underlings or an external marketing agency do the heavy lifting."
"Here you go again." She rolled her eyes. "You always state that I'm destined to start my own mech company or something."
"That's because I believe you are meant for greater things. I have the utmost amount of confidence in your abilities."
She didn't know how to reply to that. What Ves said was so ludicrous she didn't even consider it a realistic possibility.
Ves did not mind. As long as she remained confident, she had the potential to outgrow the Swordmaidens. However, if she ever took that step, then she sorely needed to become familiar with the fundamentals of running a business.
If Ves did not bring up the necessity to design her mechs with an eye to her customers, she might make a misstep at some point.
Ketis eventually showed signs that she comprehended his point.
"I guess if you think about it, even if designing the mech of your dreams is fun, it's not a game. Sometimes you have to design mechs you don't like to pay the bills." She remarked in an uncharacteristic display of wisdom. "Mayra often receives commissions to design mechs for our friends, and she sometimes comes back complaining about how she hates the way they fight and how she needed to adapt that into her commissioned designs. Some of them are real scumbags who…"
As Ves listened to her rambling, he felt a bit more at ease. The unsettling sensation in the depth of his heart had subsided by a tiny bit. Surprised, Ves turned his concentration inward and found to his surprise that his design philosophy actually regained a small amount of brightness!