As Ves gathered a round of feedback from his subordinates, his friends and his acquaintances, Phase 2 continued to transform the entire makeup of the company.
Aside from the disruptive organizational changes, the company also underwent a metamorphosis in terms of values. Every single person underwent some form of indoctrination through a series of department-wide or company-wide indoctrination sessions masquerading as company events.
Although the employees spent a significant time away from actual work due to these sessions, Ves considered it to be worth it because uniting the workforce around a single set of ideals mattered a lot in the future.
The larger his company grew, the more people he employed, the harder it would be to effect a change in his workforce's shared identity.
Right now, the vast majority of the LMC centered the headquarters and the underground manufacturing operation at the Mech Nursery. It was a lot easier to shift the direction of the entire company when it still operated from a single location.
The various company events that gathered various workers of the company together slowly raised the importance of the LMC in their lives. Ves wanted them to be proud of working for the LMC. Being able to be a part of the LMC should be an honor!
Aside from trying to establish a strong corporate culture, Ves also aimed to bond them together. He envied the shared camaraderie of the Flagrant Vandals and Lydia's Swordmaidens and wanted to establish something similar with the workers of his own company.
"If a fellow worker from the LMC is in trouble, then his colleagues should do everything in their power to help! If the company is being thrown in the mud in the media, then my subordinates should enthusiastically express their support! The company takes care of its people and its people take care of its company!"
That was harder said than done. At the end of the day, most people worked for a company simply so that they can earn a living. Trying to foster a shared identity that bonded different workers of a company together no matter their origin could not be forced.
Yet that didn't mean there wasn't any means to encourage it from developing in the first place.
What Ves picked up from his time with the Flagrant Vandals and Lydia's Swordmaidens was that they both sustained their existence around a single overarching mission.
The Vandals fought for much modest aims. They merely wanted to become appreciated by the Mech Corps again. The neglect and lack of care by headquarters obviously stung the Vandals rather deeply. Their collective grievances oddly bonded them together around a single shared purpose to give the Vandals a better name and clear their sordid reputation in the military!
As for the Swordmaidens, their female-focused development lent itself to carrying the banner of elevating the status of women in the frontier! While hardly anyone cared about gender in civilized space due to technology acting as the great equalizer, the frontier was not so bountiful.
The lack of development and prosperity outside civilized space set back the status of women among the rough societies that emerged from there. The Swordmaidens gathered a bunch of deprived young women, raised them up in a brutal fashion and turned them into warrior maidens who all fought for the same cause, which was to empower every woman!
Although Ves did not think they accomplished all that much for women in the Faris Star Region, the high-sounding goal did succeed in glueing the Swordmaidens even tighter together.
Ves thought long and hard on which mission his LMC should carry as it continued to do business.
"It's not very inspiring to say that the main mission of the LMC is to make a lot of money selling war machines."
Even though it pretty much encapsulated the truth, Ves was not so crass to say so openly. Every company needed to dress up its purpose with something that sounded much more nobler in order to make its workers feel good about their jobs.
Therefore, the company adopted a mission centered around its motto and core principles. Its goal was to provide every mech pilot a machine that they could depend upon. To Ves, the company's motto carried an even more special meaning after his latest Mastery experience.
The bond between Eloise and her Valiant Warden had reached the penultimate state of complete resonance! The massive energy mech that they conjured up our of pure resonance was the truest expression of a living mech that Ves had ever seen!
"They are true partners for life."
Ves wanted to share the satisfaction that he gained from encountering a mech pilot who possessed a strong affection for her mech. Therefore, aside from the company events that sought to validate the contributions made by the company's employees, they also organized several live customer feedback sessions.
At this point into Phase 2, the LMC had just begun to conduct these sessions. Hundreds of workers gathered at the corporate auditorium that the company had recently erected at its complex at a time.
They attended these mandatory sessions because Ves personally stressed the importance of connecting directly with their customers.
"It's not enough to receive a thank-you note on their comms or to hear some platitudes from a projection." He said when he decided to push for these expensive sessions. "I want every worker from the LMC to meet a mech pilot or mech buyer in person who had a good experience with our products."
With over ten-thousand mechs sold since its founding, the LMC gained a firm footing in the mech community. A significant amount of Blackbeaks and Crystal Lords in the Bright Republic saw battle throughout the shortened war as their outfits encountered several raids during their missions.
Although not every battle ended favorably, the amount of good stories that emerged from the war gave the company more than enough options to reunite with. The LMC issued a lot of invitations to its customers to send their mechs and mech pilots to Cloudy Curtain to talk about their experiences with the LMC's products.
Not every mercenary corps or security company agreed to do so even after the LMC offered to compensate for their time. Still, enough outfits accepted the invitations to give every employee the opportunity to attend a customer feedback session.
Ves brought Ketis along to attend the very first session. They entered the corporate auditorium early and sat in an enclosed space that looked above the main hall. Various company employees from every department slowly filed in and took their assigned seats. From senior managers to cleaning bot technicians, from locals who grew up in Cloudy Curtain to highly-skilled mech technicians who studied at Bentheim, the audience reflected the diverse makeup of the company.
"Why did you take me to your so-called customer feedback session, Ves?" Ketis asked a bit grumpily.
"You need to get out more. There's more to designing mechs than to study by yourself. There is a whole community out there that revolves around mechs. Now that you're away from the Swordmaidens, you are no longer benefiting from exposure to mech pilots. Attending these sessions will remind you what our profession is really about."
Lately, Ketis had been fully taken in by her vastly-improved learning capacity. With her old flighty tendencies suppressed by her improved concentration, she fully began to appreciate the benefits of absorbing huge amounts of knowledge.
She was growing smarter and more knowledgeable by the day!
As someone who had also been taken in by the pleasure of acquiring lots of knowledge rapidly, Ves knew how hard it was for a mech designer to resist its allure.
While knowledge always played a central role to mech designers, it was a mistake to neglect the other facets of the profession. Designing mechs never revolved around the mech designer. Instead, their fundamental role in society had always been to serve the mech pilots by providing them with the best mechs for the job!
Ves believed that mech designers who locked themselves up in a lab or library all day became wholly out of touch with the customer side of their profession. He did not wish for Ketis to develop into a mech designer who only spent her days locked up in her ivory tower.
Once everyone arrived, the doors to the auditorium closed up. The obscuring screen that blocked the view of the stage at the front slowly faded away, revealing a pair of iconic-looking mechs!
"It's a Blackbeak and a Crystal Lord!"
Yes! How could his employees not feel the weight of their own efforts if they didn't reunite with some of the company's products? The sight of the Blackbeak and Crystal Lord, each of which had been recoated to adopt the colors and markings of their respective outfits, made an instant impression on their audience.
The sighs and gasps of astonishment reflected the unique personality the mechs acquired after several years of intensive use. Every mech and mech pilot the LMC invited had all seen real action!
The mech pilot of the Blackbeak stepped forward first with a confident gait. "My name is Raymond Costa. I am a mech lieutenant of the Distant Pholons, a renowned mercenary corps based in the Green Nebula region. I've been assigned to pilot a gold label Blackbeak for three years. Let me talk about my experiences with my Blackbeak."
Of all the Blackbeaks out in the wild, the gold label Blackbeaks handcrafted by Ves exhibited the strongest X-Factor right out of the box! Paired with a steady mech pilot who worked for an active mercenary corps during a war, this Blackbeak gained several opportunities to make a difference!
"I love my Blackbeak." Raymond declared emphatically. "It is the best knight mech that I've piloted by far. Even though many of my colleagues initially faulted our mercenary commander for purchasing such an expensive machine, I can tell you right now that the Distant Pholons did not waste a single credit!"
With the impressive aura of the gold label Blackbeak washing over the audience, Raymond began to share some of his war stories. Everyone became enthralled by his tales as they unconsciously experienced the complex flavors that the mech radiated.
To Ves' spiritual senses, the gold label Blackbeak's X-Factor had already started to develop into its own unique direction. Each experience it went through with Raymond Costa left another mark on its spiritual existence, fostering its growth and strengthening it in a manner that benefited its mech pilot as well.
"Perhaps the most harrowing battle during the war was when the Distant Pholons accepted a mission from the Mech Corps to defend a strategic fuel refinery in the Bentheim region. The Vesians sent a detachment of mechs to raid the entire star system! Even as the system's spaceborn assets were being trashed, the Vesians also landed four companies of mechs onto the main planet to raid its local industries. The fuel refinery that we were tasked with guarding was one of their main targets!"
A large projector started streaming footage of the battle in the background. Raymond's Blackbeak played a central role in this recording!
"What happened?" Someone in the audience asked.
"We're lucky that we weren't alone." Raymond grinned. "The Mech Corps stationed a couple of mech companies at the cities, but once they saw the Vesians go straight for the fuel refinery, they needed at least an hour to reinforce us! Outnumbered two-to-one, our mercenary corps stood alone while outnumbered three-to-two against the Mech Legion!"
Military mechs and mech pilots always held the edge over commercial mechs and mercenary pilots. The disparity in strength was a lot larger than the disparity in numbers!
Raymond straightened his back and patted the foot of his Blackbeak. "We are the Distant Pholons! We aren't cowed so easily! We are better than that! We stood our ground and resisted the Vesian assault. Even so, the Vesians employed their coordination to deathly effect, forcing my buddies to eject again and again as their mechs got torn apart. The situation seemed dire and it appeared almost certain that we would be defeated before reinforcements managed to arrive."
"What did you do?"
"Since our defenses were being torn apart, we decided to abandon our static posture. We decided to go on the attack!" Raymond grinned. "My Blackbeak and I led the charge! At that moment, I felt more alive and connected to my mech than ever before! With unrestrained ferocity, we slammed against the Vesians mechs! Perhaps we took out one of their officers early, because they were far too slow to react to our sudden assault!"
"Did you manage to win?"
"It cost us a lot, but we succeeded in halting the Vesians long enough for reinforcements to arrive. The Vesian attackers had no choice but to cut their losses and run back to their combat carriers!"
The battle footage running behind his back corroborated his story. The Blackbeak aggressively led the charge and endured a substantial amount of punishment in order to carry the Distant Pholons forward!
Sitting besides Ves, even Ketis became engrossed with the story.