Chapter 2473: Different Concepts
Just a few months ago, Ves never thought he would work alongside actual Master Mech Designers.
Journeymen generally weren't supposed to be able to work with them. Masters were so powerful that their design philosophies radiated like beacons. It was too easy for them to spiritually contaminate any mech design they worked on. Weaker mech designers simply didn't stand a chance of leaving their own mark under the shadow of their betters.
This was why collaborations between the two ranks were very rare. At most, Journeymen were only able to assist Masters, thereby earning no real sense of ownership in the final product.
The only exception was if the Master in question deliberately adopted a minimal footprint in order to give as much play to the Journeyman as possible.
As Ves familiarized himself with the variant designs developed by the Hexers, he understood that the Masters truly tried to 'respect' his vision.
"It must have frustrated them so much to restrain their own tendencies in order to appease the work of a boy."
The grin on his face indicated that he held no sympathy to those Masters at all. The lack of any names or mention of credit on any of the design schematics suggested that those accomplished Hexers still considered it to be a shame to be involved at all. The Hex Army must have employed a lot of persuasion in order to get these Masters to cooperate.
"Well, the war isn't going so well now for the Hegemony that the Friday Coalition has finally gotten serious."
Ves had discovered that while the Hexers could be quite dogmatic about their principles, they were surprisingly capable of bending to reality if they faced adversity.
When they had to choose between letting the Hexadric Hegemony fall or collaborating with a boy, the latter choice sounded much less severe!
There was no way the Hexers would allow their state to fall! Once they lost all of their territories and most of their people, their proud Hexer culture would no longer possess a foundation!
If Ves hadn't tied his mother's existence to the continued existence of Hexers, he wouldn't have cared about this outcome.
Yet because this was the case, Ves had to make sure his choices didn't negatively impact the Hegemony.
"Well, let's get this over with then." He grumbled.
Though he still felt somewhat affronted that a bunch of stuck-up female Masters developed a number of variants without his input, he could not help but admire their work.
"Even if they're Hexers, they're still bona-fide Masters. Their skill is the real deal!"
Once Ves put down his hard feelings and put on his professional hat, he quickly became engrossed by the transformations of his base model.
Each of them seemed to give him a glimpse of what he could do with his design in the future.
The Masters may have tried to minimize their footprint as they modified the original design, but they tried to make the best out of it. Every single change, no matter how small, induced significant changes in the performance and handling of the mech.
If Ves had to achieve these changes by himself, he wouldn't have been able to do so at his current level of ability. He lacked the profound knowledge and experience to come up with these kinds of solutions.
Yet if other mech designers had already paved the way, Ves could simply study the solutions and slowly deduce the underlying principles.
"So it turns out I could have done this instead…"
Each and every profound change enriched his understanding. Not only did he gain a deeper grasp on the Valkyrie Redeemer design, he also filled up his toolbox with additional solutions that he could apply to his future mech designs.
While he still lacked the high-level foundation to develop these advanced solutions by himself, Ves knew that he could probably increase the performance of his future mech designs by at least 1 percent!
"This is an unexpectedly welcome gain!" He grinned.
Of course, Ves also made sure to not get overly caught up in trying to learn the solutions of other mech designers.
A true mech designer and engineer excelled in solving problems. There was hardly any meaning to their jobs if they did not continually develop their capacity to compose original solutions to novel problems.
The only reason why Ves did not restrain himself this time was because the amount of solutions he could derive from the variant designs was limited.
It couldn't be helped. Many Masters thought on a completely different level than him. Though he could understand the end result of their design choices, he couldn't figure out the process.
"Well, now that I had my fun, I should get on with my job."
Ves received five variant designs in total. That would mean the Hex Army would soon have access to six versions of the Valkyrie Redeemer in total.
[Valkyrie Avenger - VR-AA-01]
The Valkyrie Avenger was quite simply the elite variant of the base model. The overall design of the mech hadn't changed aside from one major element.
"The armor system is a lot better."
The Valkyrie Redeemer already boasted a high-quality armor system, but the Hexers wanted a mech that was even more resistant against damage. Whoever worked on the Valkyrie Avenger design did not hesitate to switch to more expensive materials that weren't as easy to obtain.
The result was that the Valkyrie Redeemer effectively became 35 percent more resistant against damage at the cost of doubling its production cost!
"It costs 800 million hex credits to fabricate a single copy!" Ves widened his eyes.
This was a prohibitive price tag even for Ves! Even for elite mechs, it did not make sense to fabricate the Valkyrie Avenger at a moderate scale.
Sure, being able to field a couple of hundred Valkyrie Avengers would likely lead to considerably better results in battle, but the effect of deploying twice as many Valkyrie Redeemers was much more dramatic!
There were two reasons why resorting to the Valkyrie Avenger variant made sense.
"First, the Hexers probably stockpiled a huge amount of the materials needed to produce this mech."
The Hexers had centuries to prepare for the Komodo War. It was impossible for them to launch an attack on the Fridaymen without accumulating enough reserves.
"Second, the mech pilots assigned to the Valkyrie Avengers are worth the investment."
Ves believed the Hex Army might have reserved the Valkyrie Avengers for one of their top elite mech regiments.
"Well, it's their choice."
He tried his best to smooth out the altered and partially-contaminated spiritual foundation of the variant. During the process, he failed to remove some of the stains that the Master had left.
In the end, the glow of the Avenger weakened by a factor of around 17 percent.
This was a rather steep drop in efficiency. If Ves had been involved in the development of the Valkyrie Avenger from the start, he would have been able to minimize the contamination so that its glow only lost half as much efficiency.
"Not that I'm going to tell anyone that." He muttered. "I have too much work in store to waste my time on these variants."
He stopped considering this matter entirely and moved on to the next variant.
[Valkyrie Brunhild - VR-B-01]
If the Valkyrie Avenger was the luxury version of the base model, then the Valkyrie Brunhild was the limited edition version!
It was clad with an armor system that Ves found extravagant in a standard mech design. If his estimates were correct, then the production cost of the Valkyrie Brunhild amounted to around 1.6 billion hex credits!
"That's half the price of a serviceable second-class combat carrier!"
Not only that, the Brunhild's armor system also incorporated a modest amount of Rorach's Bone!
It had been quite some time since Ves found traces of this strategic material again. It had been a long time ago since Ves took part in the Glowing Planet Campaign. Back then, he was just a trivial low-ranking mech designer.
He remembered that the Fridaymen and Hexers fought quite vigorously to break open the Glowing Planet and claim as many chunks for themselves as possible.
It was impossible for both sides to forget about all of the Rorach's Bone and other valuable exotic minerals they harvested. This was the first time he directly came in touch with a design that explicitly drew on the bounty of the Glowing Planet.
"This means the Hex Army is already becoming a lot more serious."
The Hex Army specifically ordered the development of the Valkyrie Brunhild for a single purpose. They wanted to use it to nurture compatible expert candidates.
"Are the Hexers trying to take advantage with this extravagant variant?" Ves frowned.
This was a very real possibility in his opinion. A month ago, he held a bombastic press conference where he published the breakthroughs of numerous mech pilots.
How could the public not be interested in the means in which so many of them advanced at once?
One of the consequences was that the Larkinson Clan received an insane amount of applications from mech pilots eager to become a hero.
Ves suspected that the Hegemony was trying to see if they could benefit from whatever he did to produce so many expert pilots. After all, the Friday Coalition performed a brilliant diplomatic move by borrowing a lot of expert pilots from the surrounding lesser states. For various reasons, the Hexadric Hegemony wasn't capable of keeping up, so the Hexers had to obtain additional expert pilots from another source.
"Tough luck. I'm not doing anything special to this design."
There was no way he was going to play along!
First, recklessly releasing a variant that was guaranteed to help mech pilots surpass their limits would only paint a bigger target on his back.
Second, there was no way to enhance the spiritual foundation of each copy of the Valkyrie Brunhild without the active cooperation of the design spirit.
The Superior Mother was still in slumber, so even if Ves wanted to give the Hexer mech pilots some opportunities, his hands were tied.
In the end, Ves only did the minimum of what was expected of him. He cleaned up the spiritual design of the Valkyrie Brunhild. Due to the fairly radical changes to its armor system, its glow efficiency had dropped by 20 percent.
"This time the tradeoff is worth it. Losing a bit of glow intensity is not a big deal if the survival rate of the expert candidate is doubled."
Ves envied the treatment the Hex Army provided to its expert candidates. Perhaps the Larkinson Clan should begin to issue upgraded mechs to its own expert candidates as well.
After dealing with these expensive variants, Ves moved on to working on the next three variants.
[Valkyrie Interceptor - VR-I-01]
The Intercepter variant excelled a lot more in space combat than the multi-environmental base model. It lost the capability to fly and fight efficiently in gravity wells in order to gain a substantial boost in mobility. It accelerated considerably faster and it was also a bit more maneuverable to boot.
Ves could have easily imagined designing this kind of variant himself if he wasn't so swamped with work. Of course, since a Master Mech Designer who excelled at mobility had developed this variant, the Interceptor's speed boost was much more considerable than if it came from his own hands.
Since the scope of the changes was relatively smaller, its glow efficiency dropped by only 12 percent when Ves had done what he could. This was very acceptable to him. Hardly anyone would notice the difference.
[Valkyrie Huntress - VR-H-01]
The Huntress variant altered the fighting style of the base model. It eschewed melee combat entirely and completely dedicated itself towards ranged combat. Armed with a powerful rifle, it was designed to leverage its Marked For Death Ability to debilitate an enemy at range.
As long as it worked, the mech pilot of the Valkyrie Huntress could easily shoot down its target and gain an advantage in ranged duels!
"What a clever application!"
Ves was very inspired by this variant. He even felt he should borrow this concept so that his Larkinson mech pilots enjoyed the same advantage.