The Mech Touch

Chapter 3365: Desiging A New Cat

Chapter 3365: Desiging A New Cat

So far, the expeditionary fleet did not encounter any further incidents.

With the madness of the Vulcan Empire well and truly behind them now, the Larkinsons, Glory Seekers and Crossers fully relaxed and returned to their normal routines.

With the nearest beyonder gate so tantalizingly close, the expeditionary members began to focus increasingly more on preparing for their upcoming entry into the Red Ocean.

From stocking up on supplies to performing numerous upgrades on their capital ships, the entire fleet turned into a hive of activity as an uncountable amount of tasks needed to be completed while it was still possible to obtain specific goods.

On the other hand, the fleet had also started to shed ȧssets that were no longer useful. The Larkinsons had already dumped more than a dozen sub-capital ships. These mostly consisted of non-combat vessels that weren't strictly needed anymore at this point.

Of course, the Larkinson Clan was far from the only organization that was trying to shed its excess ȧssets. The local ship vendors were making a killing by absorbing all of the unwanted sub-capital ships at rock-bottom prices before shipping them to other star clusters so that they could sell them at wildly inflated prices due to the deteriorating security situation in those regions!

Something similar happened to mechs to a lesser degree. It was too bad that the mechs of the Larkinson Clan were mostly exclusive and could not be allowed to fall in the hands of third parties. The Larkinsons were already prepared to disassemble them and melt down the parts so that they could stock or sell the recycled materials.

While all of this took place, Ves caught up to all of the work that he had long pushed off due to the need to address immediate concerns.

With no further issues on the horizon, he made up for all of his delays and absences by working with renewed passion.

He not only invested a lot of effort in applying his new insights and understanding on the Bulwark Project and the Chimera Project, but also took care of other matters such as tutoring his students, managing the expanded group of ȧssistant mech designers and contributing to the design of Venerable Brutus Wodin's expert mech.

Though it had taken a lot longer than anyone had thought, the Bulwark Project was close to completion. The Design Department had already completed the preparations to upgrade the existing Shield of Samar from a prime mech to its much more powerful expert mech iteration.

Yet before Gloriana was willing to fulfill Venerable Jannzi's long-awaited wishes, she walked up to her husband in order to make a demanding request.

"When will you give me a new cat?" She demanded.

"Miaow?" Clixie stood forgotten at her side.

"I'm working on it, honey."

"Don't tell me you're 'working on it', Ves! I told you months ago to prepare one for me. Now that we're about to reinvent the Shield of Samar, I need every advantage that I can get. I'm tired of falling behind while you and Ketis merrily make use of your own pets!"

Ves turned away from his work terminal and swept his gaze towards her belly. Her pregnancy had already reached a stage where their baby was also close to emerging!

In truth, due to all of the genetic modifications and medical treatment plans, the gestation time for a designer baby usually stretched a little bit longer than average.


Seeing that Gloriana wasn't paying attention to her at the moment, Clixie jumped onto Ves' ŀȧp and already began to beg for pets.

"Gloriana, implanting a companion spirit in your mind is a highly delicate and risky procedure." Ves patiently explained. "It's not the right time for me to implant a new companion spirit for you. First, it is too close to upgrading the Shield of Samar. You'll be undergoing a lot of changes that will certainly distract you and force you to familiarize yourself with your new capabilities. Second, I don't think it is a good idea to mess with your body and mind when you are this close to ending your pregnancy. What if the changes will affect our baby?"

His wife lifted her chin. "Our daughter is stronger than you think! Dr. Ranya and her doctors have already prepared a treatment room where they can respond to emergencies at any time. If that's not enough, the Superior Mother is constantly watching over me and our little girl to ensure my pregnancy ends smoothly."

He rolled his eyes. "You keep underestimating all of the ways that this could go wrong."


"Don't raise your voice, please! Think of our baby!"

Ves was really worried that Gloriana's rising stress and anger would affect their unborn child in any way. In order to stop his wife from blowing up any further, he eventually acquiesced to her demand despite his misgivings about the timing.

"Look, just because I've agreed to do it doesn't mean I'm ready. I still haven't decided what kind of cat I should provide for you." He said. "I can't give you a cat that is identical to Blinky because he is tailored to fit my needs, not yours."

Blinky's primary role was to absorb and digest a lot of heterogeneous spiritual energy. This was something that Gloriana did not need as much due to her inability to engage in spiritual engineering. Ves figured that he could add only a tiny fragment of the Unending One to her companion spirit in order to improve her recovery rate, but that was all he was willing to provide.

What was truly troubling Ves was figuring out what kind of advantage complemented her the best and whether he was capable of realizing this benefit.

Gloriana frowned but sat down next to Ves. "Let's talk about it, then. What is your latest plan?"

"Miaow~" Clixie purred as Ves gave her the attention she craved.

"Well, there are two ways I can go about this." He said. "I can find a way to amplify your strength or shore up one of your shortcomings. I can give you an all-round improvement or I can give you a powerful boostin a specific aspect. I've been swinging back and forth between these choices without coming to a conclusion on which is the right choice."

"Then why didn't you come to me? Tell me what my options are and I'll compensate for your inability to choose."

He hesitated for a moment. Gloriana possessed no expertise in companion spirits, so her judgement was not as sound.

However, she was technically his client now, so she deserved to have a say in the matter. Obtaining a companion spirit was a permanent, life-changing event that would define the rest of her career in a way that Blinky had already changed his own approach towards his work.

"The first option I'm thinking about is giving you a companion spirit that accentuates your strength." He said. "In particular, your spiritual cat would gain some of the powers of the Superior Mother and allow you to design mechs that are affected by the six phases of existence."

"THAT SOUNDS GREAT!" Gloriana immediately grinned. "You should implement this idea straight away!"

"Please don't get too excited! Before you embrace it, please understand that this might not be the best choice. First, the benefits that such a cat could provide to you is unknown. Also, anything related to the six phases of existence might not be appropriate for mechs that have nothing to do with Hexers. All I can say is that you'll probably receive a grab-bag of different abilities that might or might not be useful."

His wife finally took his warning seriously. She looked thoughtful as she weighed this choice. Her belief in the Superior Mother pushed her to accept this option regardless of the consequences. Her analytical mech designer mentality prompted her to avoid ambiguity and settle for a concrete benefit.

"What else do you have?"

"I can try and create a companion spirit that might give you a powerful boost in craftsmanship." He said. "I'm not sure how it will turn out, but the cat I have in mind will primarily be derived from Vulcan. She will probably be able to help you fabricate better quality mechs or increase your chances of making masterwork mechs. In the long run, your companion spirit might even give you an advantage in ascending to the higher rungs of Senfovon's Ladder of Craftsmanship."

If the previous idea already triggered Gloriana's excitement, this second proposal caused her to become ecstatic!

"This is a much better cat! You know how much I want to make masterworks. It's one of my highest ambitions and anything you can do to help me get closer is crucial!"

Ves raised his hand. "Hey, I haven't finished yet. All of this sounds great and all, but a cat that is designed to help you develop your craftsmanship might not be a great idea. First, the help it can provide to you during the design phase is not that great. Your design philosophy already excels in that area. Second, do you really want to rely on help to improve your chances of making a masterwork?"

"What are you talking about, Ves?" Gloriana furrowed her brows.

He reached out to grab his hammer. "I might not be setting the best example, but I've already relied on my latest design spirit to improve my recent work. I think it is fine for me as technical design is not my strength. I think it is different in your case. You pursue technical excellence as part of trying to design and make the perfect vessel. You can rely on different forms of help, but only you can realize your design philosophy. If you keep relying on an advantage that is not based on your own understanding, you will just stunt your development in the long term."

This was something that he had theorized after his own recent gains in understanding masterworks. Although he relied on Vulcan to boost his chances of turning the crown into a masterwork, he had already built up a lot of accumulation beforehand.

Ves was worried that Gloriana might skip this slow and vital growth process because she had an easy alternative at her disposal.

"I think… you may have a point." She reluctantly admitted. "Don't get me wrong. I'm still attracted to this option. I can already see how it will benefit me. As long as I control my urges and avoid abusing my new cat, I am confident I can accelerate my own progress. Did you come up with any other options?"

"I did, but not all of them are as attractive or viable. One of my ideas is to create a companion spirit that is entirely based on networking. You already know about Blinky's design network, right? That is actually just a secondary ability to my companion spirit. I think I can turn it into the primary strength of your own cat."

Gloriana looked intrigued again. "What kind of improvements can I expect?"

"Uhm, I'm not sure, actually. That's always the difficult part about planning to make new life forms. You never know how they will turn out." Ves shrugged. "My prediction is that your companion spirit will be able to form a design network that can exchange more data, can connect more people and can remain active for a much longer period of time. All of this is made possible by concentrating all of your companion spirit's resources to this function alone."

In other words, her spiritual cat wouldn't have room to accommodate other features. However, it was still a compelling choice because design networks provided a huge amount of unique benefits!

A design network wasn't very relevant in solo projects, but Ves and Gloriana designed most of their mechs in collaboration with others. Being able to ensure that everyone was in sync with each other did wonders in improving the quality of their work while preventing others from making mistakes.

What was even better was that a design network was able to ȧssist both the design phase and the fabricate phase!

"Are there any downsides to this design network option?" She asked.

"Uhm, you might not like the source of this ability…"

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