Chapter 3716: lrvan Rifle
After a fruitful visit to the Dragon's Den, Ves returned to the Spirit of Bentheim and put the matters concerning the pakklatons and the T Institute aside.
It took a lot of work to get everything up and running and he could not possibly perform all of the work alone. This was why he was patiently awaiting a response from the MTA.
"For now, it's time to finish the remaining mech design projects."
With all of the matters relating to the Battle of Orange Tulip behind them, the Larkinson mech designers could fully devote themselves to completing the final sprint of the current design round.
While Journeymen such as Ketis and Tifi Coslone had already begun to fabricate the first production copies of their completed mech designs, Ves and a handful of other mech designers directed their attention to a more important mech design.
After a huge amount of work and effort, the Minerva Project was finally complete!
Ves, Gloriana, Juliet Stameros, Sara Voiken and Professor Benedict were all satisfied with the latest iteration of the expert command mech that they had especially designed for Commander Casella Ingvar.
As far as expert mech design projects went, the Minerva Project turned out to be a fairly easy one to design. This was primarily because it was not that difficult to incorporate the various command and communication modules into the mech design.
Each of them were based on high-quality component designs that were already compatible with the mech design to begin with. Gloriana and Professor Benedict both possessed a lot of finesse and excelled at puzzling all of these powerful and demanding parts into a cohesive internal design.
Of course, the two also clashed quite a lot. Both of their specialties overlapped to a degree. Even though Gloriana was only a Journeyman, she was not afraid of voicing her opinions at all, especially towards a man.
For his part, Professor Benedict tried to keep an open mind, but when the discussion turned to subjects related to his design philosophy, he was unwilling to compromise!
Fortunately, the Senior did not apply too many solutions to the Minerva Project. If he became more involved, then his design philosophy would have crowded out the other ones. This was not desirable as the Minerva Project was supposed to be a Larkinson mech rather than a Crosser mech.
When the four Larkinson Journeymen who participated in the project gathered together, they briefly studied their completed mech design one last time before they were ready to fabricate the crucial expert mech.
"It looks better than I imagined. I never imagined that designing a powerful expert mech would go so smoothly." Sara Voiken said.
Ves smiled towards the defensive specialist of his team. "We owe a lot to Professor Benedict for designing all of the complicated elements that are related to the most powerful traits of expert mechs. With his help, we were free to apply our own solutions without too many burdens."
"It's a pity that an expert command mech is not the best platform to showcase my talent."
Sara Voiken was exceptionally lucky to be able to contribute to an expert mech design project at her current stage. The circumstances in the Larkinson Clan wouldn't last forever. Once Ves and a few others advanced to Senior and beyond, the role that Journeymen could play in future expert mech design projects would definitely diminish.
Right now, the clan was too new and its team of core mech designers were still in the early stages of their careers. This created an opening where Journeymen who had just entered the clan could also take part in the design of important mechs!
Although Sara was correct that a mech that did not possess a lot of armor was not a good place for her to maximize her unique abilities, she definitely played a useful role.
As Ves studied the armor system and inner structure of the Minerva Project, he could clearly recognize that the expert mech definitely gained a boost in its defensive capabilities.
Perhaps the difference was not as much as he hoped, but even a modest increase in damage resistance could allow Commander Casella to survive an engagement against a dedicated kill team of enemy expert mechs!
In addition, due to Sara Voiken's specialty in physical negation, the armor system designed for the Minerva Project excelled at repelling physical projects and melee weapons!
Due to the Minerva Project's high strategic value, Sara paid extra attention in raising its resistance against powerful piercing blows.
Anyone who thought that a command mech would crumble instantly when attacked by an expert light skirmisher would receive an unexpected surprise!
Though the defenses of the Minerva Project couldn't keep up with most expert mechs, the true value in having a defensive specialist around was her ability to raise a mech design's defensive coefficient while maintaining the same mass and volume.
Therefore, even if Sara Voiken felt as if one of her hands were tied behind her back, she definitely made a positive contribution to the mech design. Ves was fully satisfied with her performance in her first collaboration on such a complicated project.
"I am looking forward to how fast the Minerva Project can fly." Juliet commented. "This mech carries a considerable amount of mass, but her mobility is not weak."
The Minerva Project's acceleration and maneuverability characteristics were nowhere comparable to that of the Dark Zephyr or the Star Dancer Mark II. It carried too much baggage around to dance ballet.
However, Juliet managed to squeeze in a fairly powerful flight system with the help of their external consultant. Professor Benedict specialized in energy transmission systems, which essentially meant that the Minerva Project could provide considerably more juice to its systems.
One of the consequences of that was that the Minerva Project's flight system was able to provide more thrust power than usual for an expert mech of its size and budget.
Did this turn the Minerva Project into a capable duelist? Not really. What Juliet was able to accomplish was boosting the expert command mech's straight-line acceleration.
They all decided that this was the best course of action for the Minerva Project because it allowed Commander Casella to reach the places of the battlefield where she was most needed in a timely manner.
Being able to move faster also allowed it to outrun many more expert melee mechs that might attempt to kill one of the leaders of the Larkinson Army.
No matter what, a melee mech that couldn't keep up with the pace of its target was hardly a threat!
Even if certain expert mechs possessed the ability to damage enemies from a distance, as long as they didn't carry any powerful ranged weapons, the Minerva Project was more than capable of firing back!
"I'm pretty happy with how my new Irvan transformable luminar crystal rifle turned out." Ves smiled with pride.
It had been challenging for him to design a luminar crystal weapon that possessed substantially different weapon modes.
He not only needed to design both a long-ranged rifle and a short-ranged submachine gun, but also come up with additional components to combine the two together in a single weapon frame!
Suffice to say, Ves had to put in a lot of hours to make this weapon concept viable. He studied a lot of models of existing transformable guns, but blindly copying their solutions didn't work due to the peculiarities of luminar crystals.
Ves had to put on his innovator hat and invent a lot of specific solutions to come up with this formidable and flexible energy gun.
Considering all of the time and effort he put into it, he decided to give it a name of its own. There was no particular reason why he called it the Irvan. Maybe he thought it sounded similar enough to Casella's family name while still being unique enough to prevent confusion.
Whatever the case, the Irvan was a distinctly powerful luminar crystal weapon that strongly distinguished itself from the other comparable weapons that Ves had designed for his other expert mechs.
Of all of the expert mech-grade weapons that he had designed, the Amaranto was unquestionably the most high-profile one. It was hard not to become impressed by its supreme firepower and long-ranged suppression.
Since Ves had not bothered to bestow it with a name, Venerable Stark had taken to calling it the Instrument of Vengeance. It did not take a lot of thought to figure out why she settled for this name.
The Everchanger's luminar crystal rifle was a bit more standard and balanced in attributes. It was not as special as the other weapons of its level, but if Venerable Joshua resonated with it, the gun would definitely acquire special traits over time!
Joshua hadn't named the weapon yet so Ves had taken the liberty of calling it the Vitalus.
The only other existing expert mech-grade luminar crystal weapon in the expeditionary fleet was the one wielded by the Star Dancer Mark II.
Venerable Brutus had a slightly more powerful weapon at his disposal. Due to its size and mass limitations, the rifle was remarkably compact and suited a mobile expert mech extremely well.
Funnily enough, when Ves inquired whether Brutus had named the weapon, the expert pilot responded that he had taken to calling it the Hexacris.
Ves scratched his head when he heard this name.
In any case, each of these high-end weapons possessed their own advantages and disadvantages.
In terms of power level, the Minerva Project's Irvan probably ranked second when it was in its rifle mode.
The weapon looked fairly impressive in this state. Not only was it almost as big as the Amaranto's Instrument of Vengeance, it also shared many of the same features.
This enabled Commander Casella to contribute in a similar fashion, though not as drastic as Venerable Stark.
No matter what, the Amaranto was completely optimized for long-range marksmanship. Its accuracy and ranged power output in combination with its expert pilot was unparalleled in the Larkinson Army!
Against closer-ranged opponents, it was no longer suitable for the Minerva Project to wield such a large and unwieldy rifle. Its muzzle was excessively long and could lead to plenty of problems in close-ranged combat!
This was why the Commander Casella could choose to detach the forward muzzle as well as a part of the chassis.
Once the Minerva Project stowed away these parts, what was left transformed into a submachine gun that was considerably lighter and possessed a completely different firing mode.
Its high firing-rate but low power per shot did not look impressive, but it was enough to threaten light mechs while posing enough threat to other melee mechs.
Was the Irvan in its submachine gun mode an impressive weapon? Definitely not. Was it better than many other options? Likely yes.
Ves felt it was worth it to put in the extra effort to bestow the mech design with a submachine gun mode. Although the complicated weapon performed well in many of the simulation tests, he needed to see the finished product in action to be certain of the results.
He had a good feeling, though. The Irvan might not be the most powerful or even the most flexible ranged weapon, but it was just right for the Minerva Project and its expert pilot.
All in all, the Minerva Project was not a simple expert mech.
Compared to the more common mech archetypes such as light skirmishers and medium knight mechs, a command mech was a weird beast that came in many different forms.
To some states, a command mech should look like a bloated beast that contained as many command and control modules as possible!
Other people believed that command mechs should essentially be the mech version of a mobile command center. The machines that conformed to this vision were essentially the mech version of buses that housed battlefield commanders and their staff!
The Larkinson Clan did not support any radical ideas about command mechs. The Minerva Project possessed fairly normal traits for a mech of its role. The only truly peculiar element aside from its Irvan rifle was its special properties that came from being both an expert mech and living mech.
The Minerva Project had a lot of extra tricks up its sleeve!