The Mech Touch-Chapter 4274 Going Serious
If anyone held a contest in the Larkinson Clan that ranked the popularity of its expert pilots, the names at the top would always be in contention.
There were plenty of young, charming and charismatic heroes among the Larkinson expert pilots.
People such as Venerable Joshua and Venerable Tusa always contended at the top of the popularity list. Both of them still possessed a bit of boyish charm and they were always easy to get along with regardless of the other person's identity.
Venerable Vincent also drew a lot of fans due to his outspoken personality and his antics. Many people often treated him as one of the mascots of the Larkinson Clan, though not always in a good way.
Commander Casella Ingvar was perhaps the most authoritative and respected among most of the soldiers of the Larkinson Clan. She was perhaps the most clever and rational expert pilot of the Larkinson Clan and it was a dream for other mech pilots to get Commandeered by her in battle one day.
Though the Larkinsons consistently mentioned these four individuals as their favorites, a few other names showed up once in a while as well.
Venerable Dise commanded a lot of respect among the Swordmaidens and Heavensworders for example. She possessed the strongest swordsmanship and had taught and guided a lot of eager swordsmen and swordswomen over the years.
Compared to the Swordmaidene expert pilot, her close friend and comrade attracted a lot less attention.
Aside from the Flagrant Vandals, hardly anyone cared about Venerable Rosa Orfan.
Who could blame them? Venerable Orfan was older and less charming than the most popular expert pilots. She came across as abrasive at times and did not possess the aristocratic demeanor of the Ingvar siblings.
If Venerable Orfan was younger, she would have tried to raise her profile and impress her power upon all of the clansmen.
She had grown older, though. She fought so many battles and struggled against so many opponents that she no longer felt a burning need to prove her worth to everyone.
While she would be lying if she said that she no longer cared for fame and fortune, the compulsion was no longer as strong as before.
The reason why she tempered herself was because she realized how silly she behaved in front of true strength.
Patriarch Reginald had shown through his deeds and actions how truly powerful individuals conducted themselves.
Instead of chasing after external recognition all of the time, they focused a lot more on training their skills and honing their minds and will.
As long as mech pilots became strong enough, fame and fortune would naturally follow!
That was the lesson that Patriarch Reginald had taught her from afar.
"I need to stop fooling around so much." Rosa Orfan concluded one day. "I'm already falling behind compared to Dise. I'm only able to beat her ten percent of the time. It won't be long before that drops to zero unless I get my act together!"
Ever since she became 'enlightened', she put down a lot of her 'fun' activities and began to get serious in increasing her battle effectiveness.
She polished her spearmanship and sought to develop her own style to a deeper level just like Dise had done with her swordsmanship.
She also spent a lot of time with her Riot and sought advice from people like Venerable Joshua on how to deepen her understanding and relationship with her own machine.
Her improvement was remarkable. She rapidly began to catch up to Venerable Dise again and managed to win three out of every ten duels.
Venerable Orfan didn't even mind the fact that she never managed to increase her win rate further.
Dise was simply a better duelist and it was difficult to get the better of her in a one-on-one fight.
The next turning point in her journey as expert pilot was when the Design Department finally offered to upgrade her expert mech.
The Riot was a fine mech and one that fit Venerable Orfan extremely well, but there was no denying that its performance was falling behind compared to the newer expert mechs that came out in recent years.
Venerable Orfan just had to take one single look at Venerable Vincent's C-Man to feel profoundly helpless at how much stronger and tougher it was in combat.
Defeating the annoying expert brawler mech was nearly impossible due to its strong TESMAS!
The only reasons why Venerable Orfan was able to maintain a respectable win rate against Vincent was because of her greater experience and her stronger resonance strength!
Therefore, Orfan eagerly embraced this golden opportunity to pilot a mech that could finally wipe the grin off Vincent's face!
"What sort of changes do you have in mind?" She asked Ves as both of them stood before the dormant Riot inside an underground hangar bay.
Ves gazed at the black-and-orange mech that exuded an irreverent and playful vibe.
Though his feelings towards the Riot weren't as strong as his affection towards the Everchanger, he was still proud of this design. It was an interesting and unusual variation of an expert spearman mech that amplified Venerable Orfan's most interesting traits.
"The Riot has a strong and distinct character." Ves said as he was not in a hurry to go into details. "Before we talk about possible upgrades, we should determine the direction of the changes that we want to apply. Let me ask you a question. What do you love the most about your expert mech when you pilot it into battle?"
Venerable Orfan pressed her lips and crossed her arms. "Hm. That's difficult to say since I haven't been in a real fight for a long time. The only way I can let loose is when I spar against the other expert mechs with the help of the MSTS. There are two kinds of battle scenarios that I like the most based on my experiences."
"And that is…?"
"One is when I can dive in the middle of a big battle and make a mess out of enemies." The female expert pilot grinned. "The more they lose their cohesion, the more I enjoy the moment."
"Well, your mech is called the Riot for a reason. It is practically designed for this purpose." Ves nodded in understanding.
"The other battle scenario that I enjoy is when I duel against strong opponents. I spar most often against Venerable Dise and her First Sword, but I have tangled against many other expert mechs as well. Win or lose, I have made it my life's mission to last as long as possible while tormenting my opponents in the process."
Ves gained a good understanding of Venerable Orfan's fighting style and preferred approach towards battle from her words.
"I see. The Riot is a stubborn machine in your hands that is difficult to get rid of. It is a resilient machine and one that is eager to confront opponents whether they like it or not. In short, you and the Riot love being a nuisance on the battlefield, don't you?"
"Guilty as charged." Venerable Orfan grinned. "So how can your upgrades make us into an even greater annoyance?"
"Well… for starters, we'll upgrade the usual stuff. There are a lot of high-quality Hexer-developed mech parts and mech systems in your Riot's design that were good at the time of its completion but are already starting to show their age. Large parts of its internals and internal architecture needs to be redesigned from scratch. All of the major and minor components such as the power reactor, mech engine, sensor systems, communication systems, flight system and so on need to be replaced with high-quality heartland-level components."
"That means my Riot will become a lot stronger, right?"
"Right." Ves affirmed. "To be more precise, your Riot will run smoother, faster and stronger. Most notably, the internal structure of your expert mech will become so strengthened that you don't need to be afraid that a powerful transphasic attack will wreck your mech from the inside."
Venerable Orfan instantly grew concerned. The slow but steady proliferation of phasewater technology had made an impression on many mech pilots.
Few defenses could block the damage potential of transphasic weapon systems!
"About that, Ves…"
"I can already guess your concerns." Ves quickly replied. "Your Riot isn't as well-armored as some of the other mechs such as the Everchanger because your mech is clad with a thinner layer of Unending alloy. I'm sorry for that, Rosa. Your mech deserves better, but there is only so much Unending alloy at our disposal."
The female expert pilot did not seem to care. "I don't hold it against you, Ves. There are other expert mechs and expert pilots who need it more. You don't need to worry about my feelings. I am more than capable enough of holding my own in a fight."
"To be honest, the lower proportion of Unending alloy in your Riot is actually a blessing in disguise." Ves revealed. "The way the Riot's armor is structured at the moment is that it is first wrapped with a relatively thin layer of Unending alloy before getting surrounded with a thicker application of cheaper and more affordable alloy. The idea behind this is to turn the outer layer into an expendable damage buffer that can easily be repaired when it is damaged. While I think that has worked out for your expert mech, the problem is that this outer layer might very well not exist when you fight against powerful opponents."
"That is definitely the case." Venerable Orfan helplessly said. "I spar against Venerable Dise the most, and it seems each time she fights against me, her First Sword is getting better and better at slicing through my armor. I can't adopt my usual fighting style against her Decapitator sword."
"What if I tell you those concerns will be over?" Ves smirked. "As I said, the armor arrangement of your Riot is a blessing in disguise. The downside is that it doesn't have enough Unending alloy to offer you sufficient protection. The upside is that we can choose any top layer we want. While I haven't been able to find a way to upgrade Unending alloy into a transphasic product, there is no problem placing transphasic armor plating on top of it. If not for the fact that our other expert mechs such as the Dark Zephyr and the Shield of Samar are already weighed down with enough Unending alloy, I would have given them the same treatment."
This sounded like music to Venerable Orfan's ears. She was not unaware of the ridiculous defensive properties of transphasic armor. The Mars was the most prominent example yet of how transphasic armor could resist overwhelming attacks!
"What… what are the details?"
Ves waved his hand, causing a projection of an altered design to appear in front of his body.
"As you can see, the exterior of your expert mech looks a bit different from before. The biggest difference is that Sara Voiken will rework the Riot's entire armor system. She will comprehensively optimize the inner layer made out of Unending alloy while also working together with Melmen Advanced Systems to apply a custom-developed exterior layer of transphasic armor plating, which we have tentatively taken to calling it the ExTrans Armor System."
The Larkinson Clan was a minority owner of Melmen Advanced Systems, which meant that Ves could easily use his influence to make the company participate in this upgrade project.
"ExTrans…" Venerable Orfan whispered as she became completely fascinated by the projection that depicted a possible version of her improved expert mech. "How much phasewater does it have?"
Ves held up three fingers. "Three kilograms. That is quite a lot. Very few expert mechs in the Red Ocean can look forward to this treatment. In fact, our clan still has enough phasewater to increase its allocation to your expert mech, but the problem is that it is technically not feasible at the moment."
"I heard the Mars has 11 kilograms…"
"That is an entirely different beast." Ves shook his head. "Abasis Armor is an ace mech-level armor system developed by Truvek Defenses. This development company is much larger and more impressive than Melmen Advanced Systems. The latter has significantly less expertise and resources at its disposal. You have to be aware that the more phasewater is put together, the harder it becomes to keep it all stable. The difficulty of fabricating the transphasic armor plating also becomes exponentially more difficult, to the point where specialized production equipment is needed that also needs to incorporate a lot of phasewater in order to prevent it from getting torn apart by spatial fluctuations."
Venerable Orfan quickly accepted that explanation. Though she did not have a good idea what 3 kilograms of phasewater could do for her Riot, it definitely had to be substantial!
"Just out of curiosity, how much phasewater did you put into the C-Man's armor?"
"Didn't you just tell me it is difficult to put more phasewater in a mech!?"
"You can't compare apples to oranges, Rosa. Your Riot still retains a substantial amount of Unending alloy. The C-Man's exterior is almost entirely made out of TESMAS. The mass and volume of Venerable Vincent's expert mech is also a bit different from yours. In short, don't think you are worse off. You will see once we implement the ExTrans Armor System to your expert mech. Once we are done with this upgrade project, you can rest assured that you can truly go loose on the battlefield!"
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