The image of Beast Rider Bubal emanated both strength, resilience and a duty to protect. In his mind, it appeared as a small dwarf riding atop a massive lizard-like wild god. Despite their size disparity, Bubal formed the dominant intelligence due to his vastly superior mind.
Ves was exceptionally pleased with this image. While it didn't completely fit with the concept of the Enduring Protector, it nonetheless focused on all the traits that Ves wanted to impart on his mech design's X-Factor.
Beast Rider Bubal was a mature combination image of both Bubal and the wild god at their prime. Ves left no room for future growth, but that also meant their present potential had reached their highest state.
Any Enduring Protectors the Vandals fabricated immediately started off in their best state! Ves imagined that the image of Beast Rider Bubal immediately empowered the mechs with a strong drive towards responsibility and foresight.
This unconscious adjustment should temper the Vandal mech pilots assigned to pilot them and put them into a more appropriate mindset to the correct usage of their mechs.
The beauty of this method was that all of this went on at a spiritual level, leaving no traces for Vandal instruments to capture.
This was in stark contrast to the tampering that Ves had done to Venerable Karol Xie's mechs and simulator pods. While no bystander should be able to find out what he did unless they dug into the programming of the neural interface, which almost no one ever did, it still represented a vulnerability that could bite Ves back in the butt.
"I should do something about that at some point. I can't leave any traces behind."
Ves smirked as he imagined Venerable Xie's mood these last couple of weeks. As the breakdown effect started hitting the mechs harder the closer they got to their destination, the Pale Dancer suffered the most.
Expert mechs may be ten times stronger than a normal mech, but they were easily ten times as complex as a normal mech as well!
All of this complexity allowed the breakdown effect to enjoy free reign over the expensive but fussy expert mech.
While the strong, high-quality materials of the Pale Dancer somewhat mitigated the chances of breakdowns, some problems were unavoidable. Overall, the Pale Dancer easily malfunctioned at least five times as often!
No matter how Miss Lisbeth strengthened or modified the customized rifleman mech, nothing could block the pervasive breakdown effect from wreaking havoc.
Faced with the prospect of losing his strongest asset, Venerable Xie was flailing around lately according to Talkative Jimmy. The foreign expert pilot even started practicing with the other mechs of the Vandals as a contingency option.
Perhaps Venerable Xie would only be able to make a meaningful impact on the battlefield with a bog-standard rifleman mech instead of his tailored expert mech!
"Seems like the breakdown effect is ruining everyone's lives."
He wondered how the other forces fared against the breakdown effect. The Vesians would likely adopt the same solution as the Flagrant Swordmaidens and develop a dumbed-down mech that fared better under these circumstances than their main mechs.
As for the pirate forces, Ves doubted whether they possessed the mech designers, equipment and supplies necessary to take up such a venture.
Ves only had to look at Lydia's Swordmaidens to see how pirates often tended to neglect logistics. They only prepared the minimum because they were used to quick skirmishes and raids. Spending months or years on the surface of a planet likely hadn't factored into their plans!
"While it's tempting to dismiss the pirates as incompetent, I shouldn't underestimate them. Who knows what tricks they have up their sleeves. Out of all the competitors that sought to obtain the keys to the Aeon Corona System, these bunch of scum have triumphed where many of their fellow mercenaries, gangers and pirates have fallen short."
None of the pirate forces in orbit and on the surface should be weak, to be honest.
"Although that time when the spaceborn fleet of Caged and the Red Tongs indiscriminately bombarded the surface was kind of stupid."
Even if the Starlight Megalodon of all entities hadn't stepped in, the rival fleets would have combined their forces to wipe them out. It broke the unofficial accord that always came about under these circumstances.
The Vesians could have bombarded the surface, the Flagrant Vandals could have bombarded the surface, the pirates could have bombarded the surface.
Yet they didn't do so for a long while until the Caged and the Red Tongs idiotically stepped in. Because even if they successfully wiped out the ground forces of the Flagrant Swordmaidens, the other fleets would have sought out and bombarded the ground forces of the Caged and the Red Tongs in retaliation!
"Of course, ever since we entered the storm lands, we don't need the accord to protect us from orbital attacks."
The astral winds were much thicker and more impenetrable on the hemisphere which housed the crash site. The golden higher-dimensional particles energetically spewed outwards and frequently roiled above their heads, acting as protective concealment that isolated every means of observation and detection.
Ves was thankful for this rare protection because it didn't make ground operations irrelevant.
If the vault of the gods didn't exist, the rival forces would have sought a decisive battle in space. Only until every other fleet was wiped out would the winners be able to land their forces onto the surface and have them seek out the Starlight Megalodon in peace.
"Well, the situation is different from the worst case scenario. Deliberately or not, the astral winds cuts off any possibility to coordinate with the fleets in orbit from the ground."
He wouldn't have to come up with the concept of the Enduring Protector if the astral winds didn't exist.
Yet they did, so Ves had a job to do.
Now that he ended up with the image of Beast Rider Bubal, Ves proceeded to draft out his design. He already drafted the mech in his mind, but only until he finished creating the image for his mech did he proceed to put the design he imagined into visible form.
He entered a special mind state where his concentration had reached the peak. With Beast Rider Bubal at the forefront of his mind, he opened up the design software installed on the terminal and proceeded to let his imagination loose.
His gauntleted fingers stretched over the projection, leaving out rough lines in the air. He quickly drafted the outer contours of the mech. The Enduring Protector's vaguely turtle-like shape diverged from the animal it ostensibly resembled.
The appearance Ves had drafted in a single hour looked like a fat medallion with crawler legs. The deliberately cylindrical and symmetrical torso made it easy to fabricate and provided the mech with a significant amount of internal volume for a light mech.
The crawler mechs were large enough to withstand and push against the heavy gravity and no more. If the legs got any heavier, the entire mech would have been weighed down too much as the engine strained to keep the legs moving.
Two laser cannon barrels were affixed to each side of the mech. Ves contemplated their energy expenditure and started to reconsider their caliber.
He wiped away the laser cannons and replaced them with thinner, weaker but considerably cheaper laser rifle barrels. Both barrels were affixed to a simple mount to the side and could rotate around in almost every angle.
Ves hadn't filled in the internal components as of yet. While they were important to the functioning of this mech, it didn't really matter what components he chose to fill up his mech with as long as they worked.
At this stage, Ves felt kind of lonely. He always designed his mechs by himself, but he didn't neglect the importance of soliciting feedback.
"Before I do any more work and flesh out this design, I should show it around and see what everyone thinks about it. A mech designer shouldn't be too out of touch with their clients."
He exited the office and started showing around his draft design to the mech technicians. He only explained the basic concept of the Enduring Protector, skipping most of the intricacies and technical details for brevity.
"Uhh.. it looks fine, I guess?" A mech technician absent-mindedly said.
"It's a great design, sir!"
Ves immediately directed his attention to the mech technician who said that. "Why do you think it's a great design?"
"Uhhh… because it looks like a turtle? Turtles live long, right? That means it will definitely survive on the field!"
"...I don't know."
Ves didn't know what he should have expected. Even the chief technicians couldn't offer any substantial feedback. They knew how to work with existing mechs, but they didn't possess the imagination to envision the performance of his draft design.
Seeing the futility in asking the mech technicians their opinions on mechs that they had never seen before, Ves shook his head and exited the workshops. "These military mech technicians are less imaginative than their civilian counterparts. Is it a matter of training?"
He found this difference to be rather peculiar. Before he worked alongside the Vandal mech technicians, he always held the impression that mech technicians in the military were far superior to civilian mech technicians in every way.
While they did underwent more thorough training, they didn't have to go through some of the experiences that civilian mech technicians sometimes encountered.
In the end, he chalked it up to a different emphasis on their training.
He visited the mech pilots next. As the Flagrant Swordmaidens halted for the day and set up their camps, Ves visited the mess hall and approached some off-duty mech pilots silently eating their meals.
"Hey folks, mind if I show you something?"
"Ah, Mr. Larkinson!"
The mech pilots jumped at his voice and scooted away from him on their benches. It was as if they met the devil in person!
Ves frowned. "I'm not going to torture your minds or anything. Cut the crap and tell me what you think of my draft design."
He projected the draft design from his comm and repeated his short spiel.
As Ves deliberately chose to approach mech pilots assigned to laser rifleman mechs, the men contemplated the draft design with a bit more importance than the mech technicians.
"Sir, this mech looks like an awful idea on four legs. It's armor is paper thin! Who cares how robust the internals are against the breakdown effect when a couple of laser volleys can poke a hole through its lightweight armor! Now this isn't so bad normally, but you're also telling us that its mobility is as bad as heavy mechs because we don't get to pilot it under an antigrav field. That turns this mech into a sitting duck!"
"You're right, of course, if you employ his mech under normal circumstances." Ves explained with a smile. "We won't. It's going to be employed in a special area where the Enduring Protector likely won't be facing any mechs that are substantially better. It's physically impossible for the other forces to deploy a normal mech at the heart of the breakdown effect!"
Ves explained his reasoning, yet the mech pilots all had difficulty believing in his claims. Some of the mech pilots even believed that the breakdown effect was a huge exaggeration and that everything would be fine if they entered the critical zone with their regular mechs.
Still, unlike his last audience, the mech pilots did leave him with some useful feedback. Some of them went into the nitty-gritty of piloting rifleman mechs. If Ves didn't acquire a Mastery in rifleman mechs, he would have dismissed some of their concerns as trivial or nitpicking. Yet because he understood these pilots better than they thought, Ves noted their opinions seriously.Find authorized novels in Webnovel，faster updates, better experience，Please click www.webnovel.com for visiting.
Overall, the mech pilots didn't prompt him to change the major aspects of his design, but he did get a better idea on how to tailor them to the Vandal mech pilots.
"Thanks for the feedback. I'll be in touch as the development of the Enduring Protector is progressing."
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