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 As soon as Axelar stopped entertaining the audience with his smack talk, Benny firmly carted his hover chair out of the VIP booth and back to his personal starship.

They returned to Axelar's villa as fast as possible. Benny didn't want to take any risks. Trying to deal with Axelar when he was sober and free from the influence of recreational stimulants was a lot harder!

To his credit, Benny didn't make any attempts to abort the impending duel tomorrow. While Axelar may be a wastral of a mech pilot, he still represented the Streon Clan in public!

The surprise announcements that Axelar issued earlier could not be revoked! It was a given that he would enter into a mech duel with the team leader of the Haspel Asps and participate in the Trail of Tears soon afterwards.

All of this meant that Axelar could no longer spend his days as a drug-addled wastrel! Ves deliberately acted to cut off any means of returning for Axelar to return to his previous routine of spacing out on stimulants.

Ves did not forget about the point of this Mastery experience. He did not intend to live a day in the life of an elite Terran clansman.

He only cared about witnessing how a mech pilot handled a hero mech!

When Ves initially displaced Axelar's core consciousness and took over control, he quickly realized that it was impossible for him to pilot a mech in this condition.

Ves wasn't a mech pilot! His mentality wasn't geared towards piloting mechs. Even if he did somehow manage to form a stable man-machine connection with a mech, he lacked the training of how to operate a machine that required at least fifteen years of dedicated training to become proficient in its use!

All of these conditions basically meant that Ves needed to put Axelar's core consciousness back in control over his own body. Only when Axelar consciously committed to piloting a mech would Ves be able to glean valuable insights on the operation of a hero mech!

Still, getting Axelar to pilot a mech was harder than it sounded like. Ves knew what this wastrel was like.

The instant Axelar regained control over his own body, he'd probably do his best to weasel his way out of piloting a mech and instead order Benny to supply him with another batch of recreational stimulants!

"Hehe. Not this time." Ves mentally chuckled.

This was why Ves went through his extreme measures. He wanted to press Axelar in a corner. Only when this junkie had no way out would he finally do what Ves wanted to see!

All the while, Ves' control over Axelar's body slowly deteriorated. The weak but constant attacks from the core consciousness accelerated the drain in spiritual strength.

Soon enough, Ves needed to relinquish control of the body to its rightful owner. Until then, he still wanted to manipulate the circumstances to his favor.

Benny happened to speak up at this time once they returned to the villa.

"Master Axelar, considering the high import of tomorrow's duel, I can contact a Master Mech Designer from the clan to design your dueling mech."

"No!"

"Pardon?"

"I said no!" Axelar's body uttered. "I don't need a mech designer! I'm better than the Masters of the clan! The best mechs are the ones I designed myself! I refuse to bring a mech designed by a stranger into the duel tomorrow!"

"Master Axelar!" Benny looked shocked. "While your ability to design mechs is exemplary, you don't need to do all the hard work. Please allow a professional mech designer "

"Are you saying that professional mech designers are better than me, an eminent member of the the greatest clan in the Confederation?!" Axelar's body pressed.

"You are the greatest." Benny had no choice but to say.

"Then that's all the reason I need to design my own mech!" Axelar arrogantly declared. "If I don't pilot my own mech tomorrow, then I might as well park whatever garbage mech I'm piloting in the center of the arena and let the Haspel Asps run it through!"

His extreme statements finally managed to fend Benny off from obtaining a mech from the market or enlisting the aid of a mech designer.

Ves had a very good reason to make Axelar pilot a mech designed by 'himself'. If Benny shipped in a mech designed by someone else, it inevitably came in the form of a bloated, feature-rich multipurpose mech.

That was exactly what Ves was trying to prevent!

The Terran mech designers seemed to delight in cramming as many different systems as possible in their mechs. Not a single Terran mech did not come with at least five different weapon modules and more than a dozen additional modules!

Yet as the battle between the Terminators and the Asp demonstrated, versatility was not always the solution. The heavy cannoneer-like mech fielded by the Haspel Asps employed fewer modules than normal, but nonetheless made an outsized contribution to the away team's eventual victory.

This was adding less redundant gimmicks onto a mech left more space to empower its core functions!

In contrast, the smart metal mech with its infinite amount of transformations never realized its full potential. While it was adaptable to many different situations, pure overwhelming force easily overwhelmed anything it could throw at its opposition!

With the resources and technology the Terrans had at their disposal, it was no surprise that they eschewed the rigidly-defined mech archetypes that was common in the galactic rim. A versatile and adaptable mech could be employed in many different situations and would never become irrelevant.

Yet witnessing multipurpose mechs in action made Ves realize that prioritizing versatility was not always the best idea. He had seen too many mechs that came with numerous possibilities, only to make use of half of them or less.

"More is not always better."

The capacity of a mech constantly divided up even further with the addition of each additional system. As the Asps had already shown, sometimes it was better to impose a bit more limits on the range of options in order to ensure that each system delivered better performance.

"Less is more."

That said, hero mechs fell into a strange category. It was an oddball of a mech archetype in that it was technically a hybrid mech. A Hero mech could be regarded as a simplified version of a real multipurpose mech.

In regions where multipurpose mechs hadn't taken off, the emergence of hero mechs led to a considerable amount of controversy. How could a mech be both good at fending off opponents up close and from afar?

Yet mech designers somehow made it work. While they were never cheap by any means, hero mechs eventually carved out a small niche in the market. To mech pilots who were skilled enough to wield both a rifle and sword with skill, piloting a hero mech allowed them to express their full capabilities in battle.

"Two weapon systems on a mech is already good enough. Adding more is just icing on the cake."

In the context of Terran-style mechs, hero mechs were awfully limited. In a place like the Bright Republic, a hero mech was extravagantly versatile. The exact same mech type solicited two very different reactions depending on the prevailing mech standards in the region.

Contrasting the responses to the two different settings made him realize that hero mechs didn't need to be versatile. They just needed to be good in two specific roles at once.

"Perhaps that is the true meaning of a hero mech. They are defined by their role and purpose rather than their design attributes."

The multipurpose mechs used by the Terrans were capable of fulfilling many roles, but only slightly excelled at some of them. More badly-designed mechs simply lacked a solid identity. Their designers didn't conceive of a solid vision before they designed the mechs.

Ves did not want Axelar to pilot such a muddily-designed mech in battle tomorrow.

"When it comes to designing mechs, If I want something done right, I have to do it myself."

To that end, Ves controlled Axelar's body to summon up the auto designer program.

While Ves would rather design a mech using his own methods, he would never be able to get away with it with Benny and the staff watching Axelar's every move!

Axelar Streon was very clearly a mech pilot. For this dummy to suddenly become a proficient mech designer at the level of a Journeyman overnight would ring all kinds of alarms! Benny would immediately realize that Axelar's body had been taken over by a mech designer!

In order to prevent Benny from acting out, Ves had no choice but to maintain Axelar's previous penchant for using the auto designer to develop a mech design on the fly.

Ves tried hard not to express his disgust at the auto designer system. Extremely powerful Terran processors provided the AIs with an incredible amount of thinking power. This enabled the auto designers to come up with mechs that were at least as good as anything a competent mech designer could produce after several years!

Auto designers like this had probably put many mech designers out of business!

For Ves to work with an auto designer was tantamount to heresy in the mech industry!

Still, despite the disconcerning implication of its existence, an auto designer offered one big advantage.

First, its raw processing power was so immense that it didn't take long for it to present the user with a technically-sound mech design.

Considering that Ves challenged the Haspel Asps to a duel tomorrow, he couldn't take his sweet time in designing a perfect mech!

As for the lack of control over the automated design process, Ves dug into the manual for the auto designer. He quickly found out that it enabled its users to configure the degree of automation and that it allowed for manual overrides over almost every aspect of the mech.

Ves started to get the feeling that the auto designer wasn't originally meant to be used by laymen. The deeper he delved into the various settings of the auto designer, the more he realized that perhaps it was actually invented as a complement to busy mech designers!

An auto designer was already capable in the hands of an idiot like Axelar Streon. Yet in the hands of a real mech designer like Ves, he could easily design mechs that were ten times as good while requiring only several days of work!

He didn't feel so limited now that he recognized the potential of the auto designer.

"It's actually a crutch."

Perhaps to Novices and Apprentices, the existence of an auto designer was like a cheat. Yet if they grew to be too dependent on its functions, they would never be able to express the full range of their design abilities.

How could they improve their skills and advance to Journeyman if they were too lazy to do all of the hard work by themselves?

The auto designer was not a panacea. They neither replaced mech designers entirely nor enabled them to advance with ease.

They were simply crutches that were suitable for use when a mech designer was awfully short on time.

Finding out about this made Ves feel a little better for himself. He only regretted that he less than a single day to produce a hero mech design.

"It's unfortunate that the mech will be materialized into existence."

Ves already encountered materialized mechs before. They possessed no souls. Instead, they felt like a large collection of particles that just so happened to accurately resemble the shape of a mech.

He still wanted to try and see if he could impart some X-Factor to his materialized mech. Ever since he advanced to Journeyman, Ves began to think that his design seed increased his capabilities in some areas.

The opportunity to test whether his new capabilities extended to mechs that came into existence through materialization was a good opportunity to find out the truth!

"I hope it's not completely useless in this case!"

Axelar needed every advantage he could get in his upcoming mech duel!

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