Chapter 2987: Limited Access
The Design Department hadn\'t gone through any expansions lately, so there were only around fifty assistant mech designers.
That was way too few.
Expert mech design projects were only geared towards individual mech pilots, but their complexity vastly exceeded that of regular mech design projects.
While the burden on the lead and contributing designers was far greater, they still required the support of a large amount of assistants.
The integration of many powerful miniaturized components in a compact mech frame resulted in a lot of mutual interference and unintended interactions.
Many of these problems were difficult to predict and could only be discovered by performing endless simulations or prototype testing.
Still, it was still workable, just not ideal.
Ves was already thinking about recruiting a couple of hundred low-ranking mech designers in the next big stop of his expeditionary fleet.
Though his fleet had just picked up a lot of talents from the Life Research Association, most of them were too accustomed to working with biomechs to fit in well with the Design Department.
The only reason why Ves agreed to add Dr.
Perris to a design team was to keep an eye on her.
She was in possession of a lot of secrets.
He was not relieved with letting her stay with her fellow compatriots aboard the Spirit of Bentheim.
Who knew what sort of information she might spill.
Once the little assistants all knew which expert mech designs they would be working upon for the next months, Gloriana gathered her fellow Journeymen together.
I can\'t spread my attention on all six projects at a time, so I will be focusing most of my efforts on two of them.
The three of you can supervise the rest, though this does not mean you can do what you want without going by me first.
Have I made myself clear
You\'re in charge this time, Gloriana.
We trust in your vision.
Good husband. She grinned and leaned in to peck his cheek.
I won\'t betray your trust.
I have waited so long for this.
Even if we aren\'t technically qualified to design expert mechs, I am sure we can make something we can be proud of at the end of this journey.
The enthusiasm flowed from Gloriana\'s body.
It was clear that she was ready to give it her all as soon as she handled all of the leadership and administrative issues.
She quickly gathered herself and faced the other Journeymen.
Considering our specialties, inclinations and design experience, I have allocated you to projects that I think you\'ll be able to help the most.
That doesn\'t mean that you should work exclusively on your assigned projects as your specialties are useful for other mechs as well.
It just means that I am relying on you to keep the projects on schedule and make sure that our design teams are not spending their time fruitlessly.
It was the same as how Ves handled the projects, so the Journeymen knew how they should act.
Very well, then.
I\'ll start with myself.
I am quite interested in designing the defensive schemes of the Bulwark and Vanguard Projects.
The expert mech designs of both projects demand a lot of expertise in metallurgy, materials science, battle mechatronics, armor systems and so on.
Since none of you specialize in defensive systems, I\'ll take on this responsibility.
Her logic was sound.
In truth, the Design Department was lacking in multiple departments now that its scope had grown.
Ves could really use Journeymen who specialized in ranged weapons and armor systems.
I know you can\'t wait to devote your time to the Chimera Project, but I\'m also handing responsibility of the Sentry Project over to you.
It\'s not that technically complex though it is very challenging to design an expert-grade energy rifle that can be fully harnessed by Venerable Stark.
You seem to have a love for laser weapons, so you can try and tinker with the rifle and see if you can integrate your special crystals or something.
Obviously, she didn\'t think Ves could succeed in integrating luminar crystals in high-end laser weapons.
The luminar crystal tech that Ves managed to secure from the MTA was too basic to keep up with battles at this level.
That didn\'t mean that Ves intended to give up on it.
He recently discovered that luminar crystals were actually spiritually reactive.
If he found a way to leverage this property, he might be able to give his wife a big surprise.
I will make sure to treat each project equally, though that doesn\'t mean I will spend the same time on them both. Ves promised.
The Chimera Project is much more technically complex than a simple expert rifleman mech.
Both of them understood this, so they did not speak any further about this topic.
Gloriana turned to Juliet Stameros.
The Penitent Sister mech designer had kept a low profile recently, but that was merely because Ves and Ketis attracted way too much attention lately.
The pair got into trouble way too often compared to other Journeymen!
Juliet, aside from helping us maximize the mobility of all of our projects, I hope you can devote as much effort as you can spare to completing the Disruptor Project.
Your expertise on flight systems is critical to maximizing the greatest strength of Venerable Tusa\'s expert light skirmisher.
Will you be able to tolerate working on a male machine
The Penitent Sister frowned.
I am a Larkinson.
I know how to follow orders.
I do not have any problems with cooperating with Venerable Tusa on this project.
Ketis already knows her assignment, so I don\'t need to elaborate on this.
Is everyone clear on what they have to do during this phase
Juliet raised her hands.
Your presentation did not delve into the role of resonating exotics.
When will we know what kind of powerful resonance abilities we can integrate into our expert mech designs
I already told you that I cannot make any definite statements on that yet. Gloriana impatiently frowned.
I don\'t want to design expert mechs that are too shabby, but in order to work on something better, we need to acquire higher-quality resonating exotics.
Master Willix can help us find matching ones for each expert pilot, but she can\'t procure the best ones for us without getting hindered by the rules.
The easiest way to obtain them without any fuss is to exchange them with MTA merits, but that is not an option.
The clan required a lot of merits to reach the Red Ocean, so it was stupid to spend it on something that was much less important to its overall future.
Ves was willing to sacrifice the upper potential of his first batch of expert mechs if it meant securing passage.
Doesn\'t Master Willix have a lot of merits
It won\'t work. Gloriana shook her head.
The rules and the principles she abides by won\'t allow her to subsidize our work to this extent.
You have to realize that she is already providing us trillions of hex credits worth of value by putting her expertise at our disposal.
She also warned me that her rivals within the Association are paying much closer attention to her actions as of late.
She ruffled a lot of feathers and is paying the price for that.
We can\'t let her get into any deeper trouble because we are too greedy.
Ves hadn\'t been speaking with Master Willix as of late so he was not aware of these new developments.
Does that mean we have to rely on our own efforts to procure the resonating exotics we need
For the most part, yes. His wife sighed.
It\'s infuriating to contact a representative of a state and get cut off as soon as I make my request.
States are way too stingy with their strategic materials.
Why can\'t they just sell a batch of them to us at a good price We have plenty to spare!
Ves and the other two Journeymen looked awkward.
Uhm, this isn\'t a problem that you can solve by throwing money at it.
We need to raise our status and engage in long negotiations in order to get them to open their strategic reserves.
This is a task that is better suited to a diplomat.
At least leave the talking to someone else.
Fine. She replied with a glum expression.
We can discuss this problem in detail later.
I will have my resonating exotics, one way or another.
The Design Department soon turned into a hive of activity as various mech designers went to work.
Since they were still in the early stages of the project, they were mostly performing research on what kind of modules they could add to their expert mech designs and what kind of quality materials they should make use of to maximize the potential of the expert mechs.
The Design Department had plenty of money to splurge on expensive goodies.
This was because each project came with a staggering budget of 200 billion hex credits each!
That meant that the total of all six projects cost as much as a decent capital ship!
A typical Hexer expert mech for low-tier expert pilots only cost around 10 to 30 billion hex credits to develop and maintain over the years.
While the Hexadric Hegemony could afford to spend more, the amount of expert pilots in the state was quite staggering.
It was not economical to provide each of them with high-quality expert mechs.
The Larkinson Clan\'s situation was different.
Even though the Larkinsons were still saving up a lot of money to fund future capital ships, Ves did not feel too burdened with spending more than a trillion hex credits on just six expert mech designs.
Of course, spending so much on each project was not as impressive as it sounded.
Expert mech development teams employed by states usually enjoy a lot of conveniences. Gloriana explained to Ves.
They don\'t have to pay licensing costs and they can draw resonating exotics from the Hegemony\'s strategic reserves by expending their quotas instead of actual cash.
All of the actual costs are borne by the government.
And we\'re different.
We haven\'t built up a large library of high-end component designs.
We don\'t have an expansive reserve of resonating and non-resonating exotics.
We need outside help to address these needs.
While I managed to solve the component problem easily enough, it is not practical for the Hegemony to ship exotics to us, not when the Hexers need them more to win the Komodo War.
That outcome was looking less and less likely by the day, but Ves didn\'t want to start an argument over that.
He briefly thought about how they could increase the chances of obtaining the exotics they wanted.
I\'ll try and see if our route passes through any friendly states that might be interested in trading with us.
We can produce some specialty goods that might offer a lot of value to interested parties.
Like what Our second-class mechs She frowned.
I don\'t think you want to give away our advantages so easily.
Also, unless you sell them in greater quantities, no government institution will be interested.
There is always a chance that the \'exclusive\' products we trade to them will suddenly become obsolete when you begin publishing commercial second-class mech designs.
By the way, when do you intend to do that Our demand for funding grows every day but the LMC\'s growth in third-class mech sales has plateaued.
Ves shook his head.
We don\'t have to resort to that option yet.
I still have a couple of alternative ideas that might solve both of those problems.
In any case, it doesn\'t matter if most states don\'t value what we can offer yet.
As long as we find one receptive state, we can get what we want.
The question was whether they would be able to bump into such a state at all along their journey.
The Larkinson Clan simply didn\'t possess enough strength and prestige to get their foot in the door.
Gloriana\'s eyes brightened for a moment.
Hey, what about that dwarf state you are interested in visiting Do you have any friends over there Maybe you can persuade them to give us access to their strategic reserves!
Uhm, I don\'t think that will work, honey! I\'m not exactly… friends… with dwarves.
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