Chapter 3517: Price of Neutrality
Ves was quite glad to learn that at least one of their upcoming mech designs possessed high commercial potential.
The debt of the Larkinson Clan kept piling up with few changes in sight.
Though he knew that this burden was not a big matter of concern with the current state of his organization, Ves was preferred not to make himself and his clan vulnerable to the demands of external creditors.
The banks and financial institutions that the clan borrowed money from would definitely meddle in his affairs as long as they didnt get their interest payments on time!
Though Ves was still confident in his ability to design a new cash cow that would sell well in the Yeina Star Cluster, he was much less certain that his products would catch on in the Red Ocean.
The competition was much more intense and the locals were much more accustomed to utilizing more advanced heartland-level or even center-level mech models!
Together with the fact that the LMC did not even set up a single branch office in any of the major trading planets of the Red Ocean, it would be an uphill battle for Ves to get his footing in the regional mech market!
Although it sounded as if that Ves didnt need to achieve quick success in the local mech market, this was a short-sighted view of the situation.
Ves and his clan came to the Red Ocean in order to find success.
How could they do so if they hardly did anything meaningful in the new frontier
As a mech designer, Ves needed to validate his efforts by pushing his mechs into the hands of other people.
The Red Ocean was filled with mech pilots who could benefit substantially from piloting his products!
The biggest reason why he had to make a name for himself in the regional mech market was to increase his reputation.
Already, Ves could see how Ketis suddenly received numerous lucrative offers now that she finally built up a reputation as a mech designer.
Ves could not let his former student take all of the limelight.
He was the top mech designer of the Larkinson Clan and his pride would not allow him to get outshined by one of his own subordinates!
Though he preferred it if he was the one to blaze a trail for the Larkinson Clan, the current reality did not allow it yet.
Even if he performed quite well in a few of the mech design tournaments he participated in, his design philosophy was difficult to translate and explain to the masses.
In contrast, Ketis designed swordsman mechs that possessed capabilities that no one had even seen!
Many swordsman mech pilots became instantly attracted by the prospect ofinheriting a portion of her transcendent swordsmanship.
If they had to pilot her mechs in order to receive this benefit, then they would definitely try to get their hands on them one way or another!
Ves could not ask for a better chance for the LMC to introduce itself as a brand in the Red Ocean.
He didnt even really care about the profits that his clan could earn from commercializing one of Ketis future mech designs.
What he truly sought was to build a brand and increase the Larkinson Clans reputation!
This was the only way he could get powerful organizations to take the Larkinsons more seriously.
Over time, Ves had no doubt that he would receive the opportunity to acquire more carrier vessels.
Expanding the fleet was the Larkinson Clans highest priority at this time! Its fleet must at least reach its former height back when it was still in the Milky Way in order for the Larkinsons to possess a basic measure of security.
Once the Larkinson Clan was able to field an entire mech divisions worth of machines into battle, Ves would feel a lot more confident about heading deeper into the Red Ocean.
Now that he gained a personal interest in this potential trade deal, the Larkinsons and the Wild Fighters made a lot of progress in their talks.
Ves talked to numerous people in order to figure everything out and make sure that this agreement benefited everyone involved.
One of his biggest concerns was what would happen if the Larkinson Clan began to associate with the Wild Fighter Association.
No organization truly stood alone and all of them tended to belong to a specific camp.
Ves did not want to wake up one day and find out that the Wild Fighter Association was actually an ally of the infamous Dissolution Faction of the MTA!
He met with Minister Shederin in order to pick his brain on this matter.
“What is your understanding of the Wild Fighter Association”
The old man looked up from his terminal in his temporary office.
“The Wild Fighter Association has a relatively clean history, if thats what you are worried about, sir.
It was originally a club set up by a group of mech athletes in the galactic heartland.
This happened back in the first decades of the Age of Mechs.
The mech community was much rougher and more rudimentary at the time.”
“I can imagine that many mech organizations rose up at the time.”
“Correct, but few have managed to withstand the test of time.
The Wild Fighter Association was not the most brilliant or successful among them, but its steady growth and stable stewardship allowed it to surpass nearly all of its former rivals.
After four centuries of unceasing growth and expansion, it has gained a powerful voice in many circles.”
Do they have any ties to any political entities that might be of concern to us” Ves asked.
“Are they close to the Terrans or Rubarthans, for example”
“As far as my research goes, the Wild Fighters have always tried to project an image of neutrality.” Shederin replied.
“They did not always succeed in doing so, but they have successfully maintained branches in both first-rate superstates.
They cannot get away with it if they explicitly picked a side.”
Ves became more reassured.
“Thats good to hear.
Does the Wild Fighter Association have any enemies”
They should not be of much concern to us, though.
The Wild Fighter Associations ultimate ambition is to become the premier club and advocacy group of all melee mech pilots in human space.
Most people generally arent affected by this, but there are certain other advocacy organizations that do not take kindly to this goal.
Think of societies that try to instill proper knightly virtues in defensive mech pilots.
They despise the undisciplined and uncontrolled values that motivate the Wild Fighters.”
Though this conflict sounded fairly troublesome, none of these ideological and competitive disputes involved the Larkinson Clan.
If the Wild Fighter Association went down one day, Ves had no problem cooperating with its rivals!
This made it even more important not to get too close to the Wild Fighters.
Treating this upcoming trade deal as a one-time commission was the safest way to stay out of this irrelevant turf war.
After all, the Larkinsons wouldnt suddenly become die-hard allies of the Wild Fighters just because they provided a single service!
As Ves continued to discuss his plans and intentions with Minister Shederin, they also talked about what they should do next if this trade deal became a success.
“If the Monster Slayer truly achieves commercial success, then you must know that the Wild Fighter Association will insist on building up on this success.” Shederin told Ves.
“We need to make a careful decision on how to respond to this demand.”
“Isnt the answer clear, my dear minister If we want to emphasize our own neutrality, we have to do the same thing that the Wild Fighters have done with the Terrans and Rubarthans.
We propose a similar trade deal to one of their rivals!”
“That… can be quite risky, sir.
Proceeding with this course of action may reduce the heat weve accumulated from external organizations, but it will also destroy much of the goodwill that weve built up with the Wild Fighter Association.
Our old business partner will not grant as much access to their network anymore and you can say goodbye to any hopes of commissioning carriers from any of the shipbuilding companies tied to the Wild Fighters.”
Ves grimaced when he heard that.
There was always a price for every decision.
All of these entities with shipyards in the Red Ocean were extremely stingy about choosing their customers.
They would never accept a commission from an unreliable or double-dealing business partner!
“I think… well just have to accept the consequences in that case.” He sighed.
“Dont get me wrong.
I dont want to miss this opportunity either, but lets not forget about lessons weve learned in the past.
We are only pawns in the eyes of the big boys like the Wild Fighter Association.
Who knows whether it will sell us out one day Without a strong power base, we cant really put too much trust in any of the major players in the Red Ocean.”
The new frontier was an enormous treasure land that drew in a lot of greedy and ambitious people.
These kinds of folk were probably willing to go far in order to fulfill their goals, and Ves did not dare to put too much faith in their sincerity!
While Ves had a good impression of Director Thaprim Kadar, the man did not lead the Wild Association.
He was merely an underboss within the massive trans-galactic organization.
This meant that anyone who ranked higher than Director Kadar could easily upset the mans original plans and screw over any deal that the Wild Fighter Association had made with the Larkinson Clan!
“You dont trust easily, do you, sir” Minister Shederin pointedly asked.
“Why do you ask a question if you already know the answer”
“A question doesnt always revolve around the answer.
Sometimes, the point of a question is to make people think.
Right now, you are displaying an excessive lack of trust in potential business partners.
That is not conducive to enduring success.”
Ves ignored Shederins advice.
His mind was already set and nothing would change him from this course.
In any case, it was too early to go through this strategy.
The Larkinsons still needed to conclude their first deal with the Wild Fighters.
Ves frequently met with Ketis in order to make sure she was willing to do her part.
When she heard about the likely terms of the final contract, she seemed happy enough.
“Its not my business to decide how my mechs will be produced or sold.” She told him as she manually wiped the surface of her greatsword with a cloth.
“I just want my Monster Slayer model to have meaning, unlike the other mechs Ive designed by myself.
I originally designed it to be a dueling mech, and putting it in the hands of an organization that is really big with mech athletes sounds like a great way for my Monster Slayer to show up in the mech arenas.
The more mech pilots I can help with my work, the better.
For this reason, I hope the Wild Fighter Association wont keep my product for itself but also sell it to the public.”
“Well make sure the Wild Fighters do so.” Ves promised to her.
“Seeing one of your works achieve commercial success is one of the greatest forms of validation that mech designers like ourselves can receive.
It is always difficult to evaluate whether you have done good work, and trying to compete against other mech designers in an open mech market is a clear way for you to know the truth.”
Ves had built up a lot of confidence for himself because of the same reason.
The Desolate Soldier, the Doom Guard and the Ferocious Piranha had all proven without a doubt that his work could add value to his customers! The time he spent on progressing design philosophy was not in vain!
One of the reasons why Ketis always lacked confidence in her own products was because she never went through the same experience.
This time, Ketis must definitely succeed!
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