The Mech Touch


Chapter 923 Test Subjects

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One of the more unfortunate aspects of his new position was that he still needed to report to the Mech Department in order to perform his duties as a mech designer.

"Damnit, Venerable Foster has already promoted to mech major?!"

She rose too quickly!

Virtual Commander Dislan already sent him a message demanding him to drop by the Mech Department to appraise the Belisarius that they just received. While Ves believed that he might be able to play some small tricks there, he couldn't do anything too drastic because the AIs weren't that blind.

The virtual officers must have already recognized what a supreme example of mech design they managed to get their hands on. While all the Rorach's Bone only provoked a minor amount of interest, the true value in the expert mech lay in its exquisite, advanced design and engineering.

Studying over three-hundred years of advancements in mech design would surely allow the Starlight Megalodon's knowledge base to advance by leaps and bounds!

"Major Foster is probably the darling of the Mech Department now. I'd be a fool to enter her territory."

Ves decided outright that he would never step foot in the Mech Department again. He sent a polite rejection to Virtual Commander Dislan, using the excuse that he was performing extremely vital research and couldn't be pulled away for the next couple of months.

If Virtual Commander Dislan had any objections, he could take it up with Virtual Commander Cosit.

"Hehe. There's no way Cosit will ever let go of a merit printing machine like me. He'll cling to me like a rotten tooth." He grinned as he sent the message over the internal network.

Naturally, Ves knew that he burned his bridges with Dislan and the Mech Department as soon as he did so. Yet did he have any choice?

"Besides, according to the regulations, it's nothing unusual for a mech designer to be engrossed in a research project and not show up for some time."

As a Senior Mech Designer, Ves received more autonomy and room to decide his own schedule. Some problems became much easier to solve when reaching a higher rank.

During the past few days, he also fleshed out his research proposal meant to put the Flagrant Swordmaidens under his protection. He meticulously dug into the records to see what kind of projects appealed to the CFA and by extension the AIs and tailored his latest project for maximum appeal.

He decided to center his research project and Qilanxo and the beast rider neural interface due to his relative familiarity with both. While he suspected sure that Qilanxo and the god species was a product of Project Icarus, it was so heavily classified that Virtual Commander Cosit might not even be aware of the details!

Ves saw an opportunity to exploit this fault by submitting Qilanxo and the beast rider neural interface as a new research project! If he truly guessed right, Virtual Commander Cosit wouldn't even realize that the new project was completely redundant!

After he finalized the research proposal by stuffing it full of irrelevant jargon and barely legible scientific nonsense, he brought it over to Virtual Commander Cosit's office.

[I would have thought you'd spend your efforts on completing our current research projects before embarking on a new one, Mr. Longhorn.] Cosit frowned as her processors worked at full tilt in an attempt to figure out what the research project actually attempted to do.

Good luck with that.

"I see an opportunity to transform our entire understanding mechs by studying and breaking this extraordinary instance of mech pilots interfacing with exobeasts! Deciphering the mechanics behind this connection will allow us to revolutionize our ability to bring man and machine closer together!"

[What is it that you actually intend to achieve?]

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"Why, to turn exobeasts into machines, and machines into exobeasts! The intricate man-beast connection shares many similarities to the man-machine connection that underpins the heart of mech operation. What if we can mix them together and form a beast-machine connection? Just think of the possibilities of mechs piloted by exobeasts! Such a transformational paradigm shift will lessen our dependence on human pilots and save trillions of precious humans lives!"

[Your research proposal doesn't mention how a beast-machine connection would even be capable of following our instructions.] Cosit scratched her head in confusion.

"Well, ma'am, it's like this…"

After half an hour of talking nonsense, Ves managed to wear down Cosit's circuits to the point where she completely lost the thread of the conversation.

Ves knew that Virtual Commander Cosit was not a research AI and did not possess the ability to evaluate research projects all by herself. It was exactly her her lack of research capabilities that she came to lead the Research Department, because every other virtual researcher became shackled by so many restrictions that they couldn't even say hello or something!

[Fine!] Cosit metaphorically threw up her hands! [I'll approve your damn research project! I'll assign it a lab and classify it high enough that no one will disturb you as you've requested. I see that this is also a joint research project involving Exobiology Research Sub-Department. Have you even asked them whether they want to jump in on this project of ours?]

"Virtual Exobiologist Neeran will be happy to collaborate with me on behalf of Exobiology." Ves answered without worry. "Please make sure to accommodate all the 'test subjects' that I intend to bring."

[Very well. I will take care of the paperwork.] Cosit said sardonically.

"Is there any way to convert any possible test subjects into CFA servicemembers without running them through the recruitment tests?"

This took Cosit aback. [Why would you contemplate such an option?]

"Errr.. to incentivize the test subjects to cooperate with my research. While I can always force them to play along, it's much easier if I obtain their willing cooperation. Humans don't tend to behave very well when they are slaves, you know. They will work much harder if they think they are free, but I'll need your help in that because they aren't good enough to pass the recruitment tests." Ves explained with a wink.

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[You make a good point, Mr. Longhorn. It is difficult to circumvent the recruitment test, or we would have already arranged something like that many years ago. However, while virtual officers such as myself are limited in how we can exert our authority, you humans face fewer limits. It is within my power to grant you the power to press gang any humans in our custody, but… this has always been an extreme solution to the CFA. The other virtual officers will not like it if I let you obtain this power.]


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