As far as mech research projects went, Project Freeroller sounded very tame. It was no wonder the Mech Research Sub-Department classified it as a low-priority project of little importance.
One of the original mech designers serving aboard the Starlight Megalodon must have conceived of the idea on a whim and requested to explore this project on the side.
When Ves read the logs, he noted that the project only received intermittent attention from a Senior Mech Designer. Months went by with practically no progress made before a spurt of effort chugged the research along.
For some reason or another, the Senior Mech Designer came close to finalizing the design of a landbound bipedal light scout mech that featured prominent retractable wheels on its feet.
Ves found the overall concept to be somewhat practical, but only on flat terrain. In modern combat, intensive fighting always wrecked the terrain. Artillery shells, pounding mechs and all sorts of other hazards could turn a flat stretch of ground into a mass of craters and broken rifts after a single day of fighting.
Therefore, wheeled mechs never really caught on. The benefits in efficiency brought by the addition of the wheels didn't outweigh the added complexity and the need for additional propulsion systems.
Of course, three-hundred years ago, many mech designers still experimented with all kinds of whacky functions and mechanisms. Mech designers dared to try out all kinds of new inventions because fewer rules, conventions and taboos existed back then. They were known as pioneers who constantly pursued innovation.
"A wheeled mech? Why not. Let's try."
This must have been the casual thought of the Senior Mech Designer who stumbled upon the concept one day. Of course, Ves knew with the benefit of hindsight how a wheeled mech possessed only a limited amount of utility. This was the power of centuries of accumulation and advancement in the expansive field of mech design!
When Ves tried to discuss the research project with the virtual researcher in the lab, he quickly found out that he might as well talk to a cleaning bot. The virtual researcher only had access to a trickle of processing power and was bound by so many restrictions that he did absolutely nothing in three-thousand years.
Fortunately, Ves did not require any assistance to pick up where the other Senior Mech Designer left off. Not only was the project at near-completion, he also possessed a sufficient foundation of knowledge and the benefit of hindsight.
In just a couple of hours, Ves tackled the wheeled mech design. He corrected some conceptual mistakes, updated a few aspects of the design to modern standards and massively increased the efficiency of wheeled propulsion system.
Ves mainly relied on his thorough grasp of Journeyman-level Mechanics to improve and complete the design. He didn't even have to fabricate a physical prototype as that hadn't been included in the scope of Project Freeroller.
"That was kind of fun."
He had the illusion that he went back to school. While this research project was a lot more elaborate than the exercises he used to perform, it nonetheless carried the same flavor.
Ves realized that he possessed an advantage here. His more developed knowledge base held many solutions to common problems that used to puzzle ancient mech designers.
After making sure the wheeled mech design performed properly in the simulations, Ves submitted it for approval. He turned around to face the robotic virtual researcher.
"I've finished the design."
[Understood, Mr. Longhorn. Evaluating submission. Complete. Goals have been met. Project Freeroller is now closed. Please take your belongings and leave this laboratory in five minutes. Your merits have been logged.]
Ves quickly left the lab and mentally crossed Project Freeroller off the list. He really hadn't expected to complete a research project that quickly.
"Let's see if the other research projects are just as easy."
He became engaged with research to the point of volunteering to working past his shift. Within a span of twelve hours, Ves quickly picked up and completed the other two research projects.
Project Xenophon consisted of a Senior Mech Designer's crazy fantasy of designing an extremely mobile spaceborn mech shaped like a tentacled alien creature. Technically a beast mech, the squid mech for lack of a better word utilized an extremely complex flight system that made use of the articulation of the tentacles to perform all kinds of crazy maneuvers.
The idea sounded decent in theory, but learning how to control all of the limbs would drive any mech pilot crazy!
The Senior Mech Designer in charge of this project muddled along for quite a few months due to this challenge and only managed to make some progress when he automated many aspects of the tentacle limbs. This massively eased the burden of the mech pilot at the cost of restricting the applications of this unique propulsion method.Find authorized novels in Webnovel，faster updates, better experience，Please click www.webnovel.com for visiting.
Ves did his usual routine of performing easy updates to the design to bring closer to modern standards before filling in the gaps. He really didn't have to do any strenuous work.
However, he considered the squid mech design to be a half-failed product because it failed to achieve what it set out to do. The complexity of the tentacle-shaped flight system should have enabled the mech to be extremely maneuverable in zero-g conditions, yet the subsequent simplification locked all of those possibilities away.
When Ves submitted the final design to the virtual researcher in the lab, he didn't look surprised when the fellow gave him a low evaluation.
If he wanted to be really thorough, he would have spent a week to overhaul the entire tentacle-based flight system and design something much more elegant and easier to control. Yet Ves knew he couldn't afford to waste his time.
"Right now, harvesting merits is more important than indulging in another mech designer's flight of fancy!"
Project Legbreaker revolved around a means to disable a bipedal mech by trying it up with launched bolas. The Senior Mech Designer who conceived of this idea presented it as a killer weapon against all landbound mechs, but especially ones that walked on a single pair of legs due to how vulnerable they were against immobilizing effects.
This time, Ves encountered a research project which attempted to create something that already saw occasional use in modern times!
"Planetary Guard and various law enforcement mechs already make use of bolas!"
While it wasn't effective enough to be called a killer weapon, bolas launched from the shoulder mount of a Planetary Guard mech or something was a good way to stop a fleeing mech from a short distance.
The only reason why bolas didn't catch on was because a recklessly-launched bolas possessed enough momentum to tear into a typical house, apartment block or office building. Concerns about collateral damage caused Planetary Guard mechs to rely on slime projectors instead.
Even though Ves never studied bolas adapted for mechs in great detail, he already knew how the end product should work. This guided him in adjusting the project's bolas launcher design into something more practical.
"I feel like I'm plagiarizing someone else's invention."
Only his lack of familiarity with launcher-type weapons and the strange properties of bolas prevented him completing the launcher design faster. In the end, he managed to complete a workable bolas launcher design that worked quite decently in the simulations.
The virtual researcher issued a positive verdict for his work, and even threw in some extra merits for his many corrections and innovations of the original incomplete design.
Ves hadn't even rested as he immediately walked back to Virtual Commander Cosit's office.
"Commander, I've completed the three projects!"
[I am aware. Please sit down.]
Virtual Commander Cosit appeared quite impressed with Ves. She smiled in satisfaction at him. [You are quite the lucky charm, Mr. Longhorn. Your competence surpassed my expectations, though I shouldn't be considering your impressive resume at your age. It is unfortunate that I am restricted from facilitating your promotion, or else I would have elevated your rank immediately. While I'm rather disappointed you haven't seen fit to revise Project Xenophon, I am more than pleased with your assistance in completing Project Freeroller and Project Legbreaker.]
"Have I earned enough merits to take the promotion test for Senior Apprentice Mech Designer, ma'am?"
[Hahaha! Eager, are you? Not yet. Not by a longshot. The three projects I've assigned to you are just a taste of what is to come. You will have to contribute to much more substantial projects before you've accumulated a sufficient amount of merits. Are you looking forward to contribute to the Research Department?]
"I live to serve for the CFA, ma'am! I want nothing more than to contribute to as many research projects as possible!" Ves shamelessly declared. "Tell me what to do and I will do it to the best of my ability. The Research Department's rise under your command is only a matter of time!"
He was starting to become accustomed to his role. Since he depended on Virtual Commander Cosit's favor, he might as well curry favor with the AI.
[I am proud to have a diligent and passionate human subordinate in the Research Department. You are very much correct, Mr. Longhorn. There is no other department that allows for faster promotion than us! Even under these abnormal circumstances where expedited promotion tests are available, merit must still be earned.]
"Please assign more research projects to me, ma'am. As long as it's related to mechs, I promise to work as hard as possible to complete them all!"
[Very well! Since you are so eager to meet the requirements to take the promotion test, I'll assign you to the following twelve research projects If you complete them all to my satisfaction, you'll receive enough merits to be eligible.]
The list from before projected into being. Various projects with eclectic names lit up until twelve of them remained.
[Remember to attend to your other obligations, Mr. Longhorn. Don't forget to report to the Mech Department. Although I don't wish for you to become too involved, there are opportunities to earn more merits there. In addition, don't forget to access one of the ship's many libraries. Although a Junior Apprentice like you will not be able to access restricted knowledge, we offer more than enough textbooks and academic journals to satisfy any mech designer. Much of our library materials are internal works that are exclusive to members of the CFA.]
Ves lit up in interest. While he planned to work on the newly-assigned projects without taking any breaks, he was tempted to visit the library. He knew that while the CFA textbooks must be horribly outdated by now, they might still contain many advanced and exclusive insights. This was the CFA after all, an organization that matched or surpassed the first-rate superstates in technological development!
As a mech designer from the backward galactic rim, he knew that everyone from this region of space had much to learn from those at the forefront of technological innovation. There was bound to be a lot of treasures hidden in the libraries.
Still, Ves had a responsibility to fulfill. He resisted the urge to race towards the library and drown himself in exclusive knowledge.
As Ves stepped outside the office, he wondered whether Venerable Foster managed to pass the recruitment test for mech pilots yet. Even if the Vesian expert pilot failed the first few times, it was only a matter of time before she succeeded. Once that happened, Ves needed to find a way to hinder her actions and help his comrades out.
After checking his schedule and seeing he didn't need to report to the Mech Department in two days, Ves turned to head to the research labs before he halted in place.
He suddenly remembered the oddities that happened immediately after he passed the recruitment test.
"There was a complication with my genetic treatment. Is it worth it for me to visit the infirmary to get the ball rolling?"
Ves knew the power of genetic modification. Nearly every human with ambition longed to shed their baseline human genes. The genetic optimization treatment of the CFA earned a lot of renown in the galaxy. Even if Ves only got to enjoy an outdated treatment, it was still a great leap ahead of the cheaper and more primitive genetic treatments available in the galactic rim today.
Still, Ves hesitated whether the Starlight Megalodon's gene labs could help him as his alien hybridization left a lot of uncertainties behind. When the CFA rescued him and the others on Groening IV, they claimed they didn't understand his condition.
"Did they lie to me or hold things back?"
Back then, he tended to believe the claims of the CFA at face value. Nowadays, he became a much more jaded individual. Seeing and hearing how the Starlight Megalodon opened his eyes and showed him how they weren't any better than the rest of humanity.
"Besides visiting the infirmary, I also have an appointment with the office of the Artificial Intelligence Corps."
Visiting the latter might jeopardize his progress. Yet Ves couldn't help but be attracted.
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