Chapter 3428: Masterwork Gallery
20 MTA credits was a lot of money, even for mechers themselves.
This was because the purchasing power of the MTAs standard currency was incredibly strong.
Ves knew that he would have to get more accustomed to working with MTA credits.
The Mech Trade Association carried a lot more weight in the Red Ocean and the goods and services they provided to pioneers were critical.
Ves recalled that the typical monthly wage of a junior MTA officer hovered at around 50 MTA credits.
For just 50 units of this fancy coin, a highly ambitious and extremely competent augmented human was willing to slave for the Association!
Of course, this wasnt the extent of the remuneration that mechers received from their employers.
The main reason why everyone wanted to work for the Association was because it offered a lot of non-monetary benefits such as top-quality augments, the best training programs and access to the most advanced technologies.
Even if Ves earned vastly more money than a typical MTA officer, he still couldnt look down on any of them.
Their status was incomparably higher because they belonged to the top organizations of humanity.
The goodies they had access to were hundreds of times better than what Ves could afford on the market!
The truly good stuff could only be obtained with merits, not credits.
In addition, insiders and outsiders possessed different access rights that determined what they could access and how much they needed to pay.
The receptionist bot charged considerably different prices for other kinds of visitors.
For example, someone like Jovy Armalon could get an identical ticket for just 0.5 MTA credits.
“What a ripoff.” Ves frowned.
Despite his complaints, he never thought about leaving the Masterwork Gallery.
He genuinely valued the opportunity to view other peoples masterworks and believed he could obtain additional insights from this visit.
Gloriana also glared at him from the side.
“Pay up already.
Masterwork Galleries is a renowned trans-galactic brand that traditionally has franchises in the galactic center and to a lesser degree the galactic heartland in the Milky Way.
It would have been too difficult for us to visit one of the companys branches back in our old homes.
Now that weve entered the Red Ocean, we finally have an easy opportunity, and I am not going to allow you to take me away!”
“Did you hear that Even Aurelia wants to see other peoples masterworks!”
Though Ves wouldnt have turned back in the first place, he still found it uncomfortable that he had to pay so much to visit a gallery.
The only consolation was that the Larkinson Clans free trade writ also applied in this instance.
This allowed them to pay half price for their tickets.
In the end, they decided to leave their honor guard behind because it was too ridiculous to pay the equivalent of half a combat carrier just to take one more redundant guard inside!
Due to the high entry barrier, Ves thought it was unlikely to encounter any troublesome people inside, so there was even less of a reason to bring his entire entourage along.
Nitaa and the rest of the honor guard moved to an expansive waiting room that was specifically set up to accommodate people like themselves.
There were already over two-hundred guards of various origins waiting inside, which indicated that the Chance Bay Masterwork Gallery attracted a fair amount of distinguished visitors.
“Were lucky enough that children and pets get to accompany us for free.” Ves remarked as their baby as well as their cats passed through the security gate without any issue.
Gloriana grew a little worried.
“They need to behave themselves, though.
Were liable for any disruption they cause.”
“Its fine.” Ves turned his head around.
“The two of you wont get up to any mischief, right”
“Meow.” Lucky innocently nodded.
“Miaow.” Clixie followed suit.
The couple stopped bothering about this issue and entered the first exhibition hall.
Immediately, they came across a dozen different masterwork mechs, each of which were developed by different mech designers who came from different regions.
As Ves took in the overall tech and design of these large display pieces, he noticed that they also came from different mech generations.
The oldest was impressively over two centuries old and exuded an air that was rich with history.
The couple immediately decided to approach this machine first.
Once they came closer, they were able to glean more details of this unique mech by observing its frame and reading the projected info panels floating in front.
“The Otossun is a second-class masterwork landbound hybrid mech that is designed for warfare.” Ves gleaned from the info panel.
“It certainly looks like it can undergo the rigors of a tough campaign.
It features robust armor coverage and a multitude of weapon systems, many of which are energy based which is easier to sustain in situations where supply lines are tenuous.”
“Its a standard military mech, and a horribly outdated one at that.” Gloriana pointed out its shortcomings.
“According to this description, a fabricator working at a large-scale manufacturing complex accidentally turned a copy into a masterwork.”
The masterwork version of the military hybrid mech was actually a remarkable existence at the time, but it was not an expert mech or another kind of high performance unit.
Its combat value was barely better than that of a regular copy, so its value was limited to its owners.
The higher ups eventually assigned the Otossun to a promising mech officer, who went on to distinguish himself in numerous battles.
The Masterwork Gallery helpfully offered visitors edited footage of these past engagements.
Mechs werent as sophisticated and powerful two centuries ago, and it showed.
A Bright Warrior could easily crunch the Otossun in a straightforward battle as long as the mech pilots werent too far apart in terms of skill.
Ves still found it interesting to see how battles were fought in the past.
The Otossun was a product of the galactic heartland, so the materials used in their designs were actually better.
The utilization of resources was much worse.
Humanity developed a lot more efficient and higher-performing alloys after the Otossuns time.
Significantly better mech parts also became more available as a lot of innovations pushed the boundaries further after this historic period.
Nonetheless, the overall pattern of war hadnt changed.
The machines performed differently but the tactics and strategies hadnt undergone any drastic shifts, especially on the ground.
The archival footage displayed the highlights of the Otossuns performance.
Ves noted that it had actually hosted multiple mech officers during its seven-year service period.
The reasons for the changes werent entirely clear, but he thought it was a bit of a pity that the Otossun couldnt deepen its bond with a single human battle partner.
Ves actually noticed that every masterwork mech in this hall was at least a little bit alive, though not in the sense he was familiar with.
Due to the special way they were created and how much more carefully their owners treated them, they were always treated with care and even love.
He also wondered whether masterwork mechs possessed intrinsic properties that made it a lot easier for them to develop an X-Factor.
They were superior to ordinary mechs in every sense, so it made sense for them to possess an advantage in this area.
“Lets look at a more modern masterwork mech.”
The Otossun was a fine mech, but it was old and its design was rather plain due to being derived from a standard military mech design.
The Yellow Harvest was different.
It was a larger, more impressive and more expensive masterwork mech that had been designed with elites in mind.
“Its a second-class spaceborn plasma cannoneer.”
Ves and Gloriana could more clearly sense that several Master Mech Designers participated in its design.
From what they could see and feel of the mech frame, the Yellow Harvest excelled in firepower, maneuverability and heat management.
The most notable feature of the Yellow Harvest was its transformable plasma cannon.
An extremely complicated weapon design allowed the weapon to adapt its form to facilitate different modes of combat.
It could turn into a long, precise gun that was accurate at greater distances.
It could turn into a thicker and more massive cannon that was able to fire more powerful shots that could chew through heavy protection.
It could turn into a smaller and lighter rifle that was much easier to handle and was suitable for duels and fending off opponents at closer ranges.
This turned the Yellow Harvest into an adaptable ranged mech that maintained a high degree of battle effectiveness in any situation.
Compared to the Otossun, the Yellow Harvest also possessed an additional advantage as it was assigned to a single champion over a period of 21 years.
“The Yellow Harvest hasnt participated in many large-scale battles, but it has seen plenty of combat in smaller skirmishes.” Ves noted with interest.
Frequent combat was the best way for mech pilots to bond with their machines.
It didnt matter too much if the battle was intense or not.
As long as the mech pilot fought for a purpose, they naturally became more intimate with their own machines.
The Yellow Harvest possessed a stronger X-Factor for that reason.
According to the new scale that Ves recently came up with, the Yellow Harvest could be regarded as a high first order living mech.
This might not sound much, but it was already impressive for a work that hadnt been designed with life in mind from the onset.
In comparison, the Otosson could be classified as a low first order living mech.
They were too different in this regard and the difference should be noticeable to any mech pilot that had the opportunity to pilot both.
Ves briefly wondered whether he could encounter any second order living mechs in the Masterwork Gallery.
This was a qualitative jump from first order living mechs and was defined by possessing a half-consciousness that was more readily able to interact and cooperate with their mech pilots.
To Ves, designing and making a second order living mech was second nature to him, but that didnt mean he looked down any mechs designed by others that managed to come to life.
Their journey to become alive was much harder than any of his own work.
Each of them became stronger and more remarkable through different methods, and Ves was keen to learn their individual stories in order to see whether he could discover a new pattern.
While Ves became fascinated by the living qualities of a masterwork mech like the Yellow Harvest, Gloriana paid attention to different aspects.
“We can apply this transformable weapon concept to the next major revision of the Eternal Redemption.” She suggested as she looked appreciatively at the massive plasma cannon held by its mech.
“One of the major shortcomings of the Eternal Redemption is that it is not flexible and cannot handle opponents at shorter ranges.
If we can implement some of the solutions of the Yellow Harvest to our own cannoneer mechs, we can make substantial improvements to the Eternal Redemptions usability.”
That was actually a good suggestion.
“Thats a good idea, Gloriana, but I doubt it is that simple to implement in practice.
We need to add more structure to the cannon which will force us to make undesirable compromises.
The sole purpose of the Eternal Redemption has always been to take out powerful and resilient opponents at range.
Theyre already fulfilling their role by acting as mobile infantry units.”
Ves was slightly resistant to the idea of weakening the primary role of the Eternal Redemption so that it could retain its battle effectiveness in other situations.
The Larkinson Army possessed many other mechs that could handle approaching enemies a lot better… The Battle of Fordilla Zentra had taught Ves that a combined arms approach where a clever mix of specialized mech models could be much more effective than a bunch of all-round machines.
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