Chapter 2814 - Culmination
In the end, Ves won the design duel.
Even though a lot of important-sounding people began to voice their objections at the proceedings, Ves momentarily tuned them all out. After he received the backing of most mech pilots that took part in the design duel, both he and his competitor accepted the outcome in their hearts.
The objections didn’t matter. They could say what they wanted, but the mech pilots spoke honestly. The design duel was not supposed to be a tool for other forces, so everyone else’s opinions were irrelevant.
An air of doom and gloom enveloped Dr. Navarro’s form. Right now, the biomech designer didn’t think about the humiliation he suffered after losing the design duel. He didn’t think about disappointing the expectations of the LRA. Whatever political considerations he had in mind did not come forward at this moment.
Before all of that came into consideration, he first had to process the loss as a mech designer.
The high-stakes design duel prompted both Ves and Dr. Navarro to put their beliefs on the line. The central question on which kind of mech was more alive played a central role in how they viewed their own products.
Were biomechs truly alive? For a very long time, Dr. Navarro always assumed this was true. Unlike mechs made out of metal and other lifeless materials, biomechs were made out of the same building blocks as living organisms.
Since biomechs shared so many similarities to other life forms such as humans and exobeasts, why shouldn’t his products be considered alive as well?
For a long time, he worked with the belief that the biomechs he designed and birthed were all alive in a sense. They might not be capable of independent thinking, but his mechs always bloomed when they were put to use.
Yet now that he had finally challenged this assumption against someone who claimed to design better living mechs, Dr. Navarro suddenly experienced a crisis in his mind!
The devastating outcome of the design duel not only caused him to recognize that his biomechs were inferior to that of other mechs, but also caused him to question the very foundations of his design philosophy!
"Are biomechs truly alive, or have I always lied to myself?" He whispered to himself.
Although he was afraid of answering this question, he couldn’t avoid it! His head began to ache as he began to contemplate answers that he never wished to confront!
"What is true? What is false?"
While Dr. Navarro had to deal with an existential crisis, Ves went through a different ordeal.
It was as if he entered a high. Something similar to an inspired state swept over his mind as he finally basked in the recognition that he had proved the superiority of his living mechs!
Biomechs, which were often regarded as the ultimate representatives of living mechs, no longer had a leg to stand on when it came to this issue!
From now on, Ves would be able to refute anyone who claimed that biomechs were the actual living mechs by referencing this design duel!
In a well-developed second-rate state which actively supported a biomech industry and embraced biomechs on a wide scale, Ves managed to overcome numerous disadvantages and decisively defeat the Lifers at their own game!
Numerous talks with higher-ranking mech designers such as Master Willix and Master Cline caused him to make a few new realizations about his design philosophy.
A strong and viable design philosophy should never be squirreled away!
Mech designers constantly had to push themselves in order to improve. If Ves didn’t publish his mechs or never put them into actual use, he would never be able to know where he stood relative to the competition!
This was not confined to his mech designs. While it was important for his products to be adopted by others, the design approach and principles that tied them all together were also important!
If no one recognized or appreciated his individual approach, then was he truly on the right track?
Useless mech designers never made it far! Every successful mech designer had to be able to fulfill the core purpose of their profession, which was serving the mech pilots who utilized their products!
While an individual mech design might flop for any kind of reason, that did not necessarily mean that Ves was a failure or that his approach was wrong.
As long as his design philosophy is useful and desirable, then Ves would always be assured that he was heading in the right direction!
"Every mech designer craves recognition."
Now that he received it in spades, his design philosophy seemed to undergo a minor sublimation process. While Ves couldn’t describe what had changed, he felt so good at the moment that he was certain that he was one step closer to becoming a Senior!
When Ves finally pulled his attention back to the present, he noticed that the conservatives who objected to the outcome of the design duel had all been silenced!
Master Cline might not like the result, but as an authority figure within the mech industry, he was obliged to maintain fairness. It was beneath a Master to lie or manipulate the results of a fair design duel, and anyone who thought that he would be persuaded to rob Ves of his victory didn’t understand what it meant to be a mech designer!
"The format of the design duel may not make sense to you, but this is what Mr. Larkinson and Dr. Navarro have decided upon." The Master spoke in a definitive tone. "While I agree that the rules could have been better, it is too late to request a change. The only way to conduct a better design duel is to start a new one. This particular event is over, and our institution has already registered the results. We will not tarnish our credibility by altering the outcome in full view of the entire star sector!"
Everyone recognized that this was the right decision to make, but that did not sit well with the most ardent supporters of the conservative cause.
Finalizing this defeat meant that the Life Research Association officially suffered a humiliation on home grounds!
Even if people disregarded the confusing question of which mechs were more qualified to be called alive, the record of the matches already spoke for themselves!
As the defeat of Dr. Navarro sank in, the public largely responded with resignation and dismay.
Hardly any of them were in the mood to lash out. They already did that a while ago when Dr. Navarro’s mechs were performing badly. Enough time had passed for them to come to terms with the biomech designer’s defeat.
This was good. While Ves tried his best to defeat Dr. Navarro as convincingly as possible, he didn’t want to drive the Lifers into a frenzy. He wanted to be able to leave Ruuzon Arena in peace!
Both of them already attracted way more attention than they could handle. Now, they just wanted to leave and process what had happened.
Dr. Navarro needed a long time to adjust his mentality. The foundation of his design philosophy suddenly turned shaky after his loss caused him to doubt the assumptions that were at the heart of his work.
Ves had to go over his gains as well. His design seed became more vigorous than ever. While he was happy with his upgrades, he still had to figure his total gains. His design philosophy had definitely taken a step forward when it came to realizing the concept of a living mech!
He was so excited that he almost missed what happened next!
"Master Cline!" An old voice suddenly interrupted the conservative Master’s droning speech! "Will you continue to deceive our fellow Lifers, or will you and your fellow conservatives finally disclose the truth?"
"The truth is much more ambiguous, Master Brixton. The Life Research Association cannot afford to be affected by misunderstandings."
"Misunderstandings? HAH? WHO ARE YOU KIDDING?!" Master Brixton boomed! "Look at what your caution has wrought! The outcome of this design duel is indicative of the stagnation that has settled on our biomech industry!"
"This is not the time to hold this debate, old friend."
"On the contrary! If not now, then when? Our entire state is paying attention now. There is no better time than to announce the news that you have kept under wraps for all this time!"
Something about Master Brixton gave Ves a very bad feeling. He quickly reunited with Lucky, Jannzi and Vincent.
"I don’t know what’s going on, but we better leave as soon as possible." He whispered!
No one objected to his suggestion. They quietly left their places and moved to the exit.
Unfortunately, the guards didn’t let them pass!
While all of this went on, Master Cline and Master Brixton were locked into a staring contest. The air between the two apex biomech designers grew tense. Sparks seemed to fly between the two. Even Ves experienced a bit of spiritual pressure from their invisible confrontation!
"Don’t do this, old friend." Master Cline whispered. "We have not reached the point of no return. Hope is still alive."
"Hope is currently on life support!" Master Brixton angrily spat back as he stepped closer to his rival. "Isn’t that right?! One-and-a-half years ago, the Supreme Sage and the leader of our state conducted a dangerous experiment and encountered an accident! Ever since then, you and your cabal have continually tried and failed to wake him from his awful condition. The truth is that he has not exhibited any brain activity for all this time, even activity that is necessary to sustain his life!"
The entire public was shocked?! Ves was shocked as well! To hear that the most foremost scientist and leader of the Life Research Association was braindead was so astonishing that many people couldn’t wrap their heads around this news.
For four continuous centuries, the Supreme Sage was the idol of every researcher and the patron of every citizen of the LRA. The man had been alive and well for such a long time that none of the Lifers believed that he could ever die. With his extensive expertise in biotechnology, the brilliant visionary probably possessed at least a dozen ways to extend his life!
This was what made Master Brixton’s announcement so unbelievable. Yet when people turned their attention to Master Cline, the orthodox leader did not issue an immediate denial.
Was Brixton.. telling the truth?
"For all intents and purposes, the Supreme Sage is braindead." The challenging Master provocatively declared. "According to our rules, our government should have convened a council to declare a successor. It is clear that our current Supreme Sage has already died more than a year ago! What is left is simply an empty husk that the conservatives don’t know what to do with! Each second his carcass is subjected to another experimental treatment is another second the conservatives are defiling his bodily remains!"
The plot was finally baring its fangs! Many of the oddities that Ves had noticed in the past few weeks suddenly made a lot more sense.
It turned out that the design duel was just a precursor to a much more shocking announcement!
In turn, Dr. Navarro’s loss combined with Master Brixton’s unexpected revelation were both part of a greater plan to discredit the conservatives!
The goal of the opposition was nothing less than to topple the current regime! Robbing the dominant conservative faction of their support was an essential step to depose it from its throne!
If it turned out that the Supreme Sage had truly died in mind and spirit, then the conservatives no longer enjoyed the backing of their strongest and most powerful leader!
This left them vulnerable and more exposed than ever before!
The entire Life Research Association was shaking at the moment! Change was in the air, and no one believed that the conservatives would be able to control the situation at this time!