Spirituality and Psionics were basically two sides of the same coin. Ves called it spirituality. The MTA called it psionics. Yet no matter what name it carried, the MTA was aware of the existence of this metaphysical phenomenon.
Delta-Gina only offered a very basic explanation of the MTA's understanding of psionics. The android did not reveal anything more than needed to put Ves on the right path to working towards Senior.
Ves could tell that the MTA was very touchy about their research on psionic power. Delta-Gina flatly rejected all of his questions for greater clarifications. Unless he was a Master or a very highly-placed internal member of the MTA, he could forget about learning anything more.
Suffice to say, the MTA definitely knew more, but to what extent, Ves wasn't sure. It could be that Ves figured out a lot more than their own research teams assigned to study the phenomenon. He couldn't tell.
Privately, Ves figured that their understanding of psionics or spirituality had not reached a very advanced stage. Otherwise, the System wouldn't value it so much and they would have already figured out what he did to his mech designs.
Perhaps a single top research team figured out more, but they were so prized by the MTA that they were probably under heavy guard and isolation. The chances that Ves would ever come in touch with them was very low.
Overall, Ves fully understood why the MTA invited newly-advanced Journeymen to their sector headquarters. Not only did they want to impress the power of the MTA into the minds of these promising mech designers, but they also wanted to ensure they were trustworthy enough to learn these secrets!
Ves had the idea that he might have been eligible to learn more secrets. If he hadn't tried his best to portray himself as a religious nut in front Professor Oodiv, he might have learned a couple more details about psionics!
What he learned so far was very basic and generalized! Aside from telling him to study exotics, the MTA did not teach him any other methods of advancing his rank!
Ves even doubted whether this method was applicable to him at all. His operation of his Spirituality was very different from that of another mech designer. He already developed a bunch of different techniques without studying any exotic materials.
Was his advancement path different from that of another mech designer?
The induction ceremony nearly came to an end. Delta-Gina offered some additional words to Ves.
[While the existence of psionic power is not an absolute secret, it is a very sensitive subject that must not be divulged. There is no proof that awareness of psionics improves an Apprentice Mech Designer's chance of advancing to Journeyman. On the contrary, it has always proven to be detrimental as Apprentices go through extreme but futile methods to acquire psionic potential.]
Ves was sympathetic to this explanation. Many norms who really wanted to become mech pilots subjected themselves to crazy, untested treatments that promised to improve their genetic aptitude.
None of them worked.
Still, Ves did not entirely agree with Delta-Gina. He already witnessed several cases where mech pilots who did not possess the potential to become expert pilots had nonetheless broken through to expert candidate or expert pilot!
If something like this could happen to mech pilots, then it could also happen to mech designers as well!
All in all, both Ves and the MTA developed their own understanding and weren't in the mood to share.
This was fine, as Ves was sure he would attract a lot of attention from the MTA if they ever suspected that he could contribute a lot in this field!
[Unlike genetic aptitude, psionic potential cannot be measured.] Delta-Gina added. [Its frequency of occurrence is so low that a large quantity of mech designers needs to be raised to increase the number of mech designers with exceptional psionic power. Education, mentorship and apprenticeships are therefore vital. The MTA rewards a small amount of merits to any mech designer who has successfully taught or mentored a mech designer who has advanced to Journeyman.]
Ves nodded in understanding. This already fell in line with some of his suspicions. It explained why there were way too many universities trying to pump out as many mech designers as possible.
It also explained why mech designers freely took in younger generations of mech designers under their wing.
The MTA wanted to elevate as many Masters as possible! While Journeymen and Seniors were already capable of designing remarkable mechs, all of their work was destined to decay into dust one day when they and their design philosophies died out!
Now that Delta-Gina completed his induction ritual, the android led him back to the exit of the Master Hall.
Ves passed by the same mechs he admired before, but he viewed them in a different light than before. These Master mechs possessed a special quality that possessed an exceptional degree of stability, especially in the case of the older mechs.
Perhaps some of their mech designers already died! Yet even if that was the case, they didn't look any weaker!
This observation put him in a thoughtful mood. When Ves was still an Apprentice, he thought that entering Journeyman was a grand achievement.
While that was still true, it was all temporal.
According to Delta-Gina, once a Journeyman or Senior died and failed to find an heir to their design philosophy, their mechs and mech designs lost their psionically-empowered strength.
What this meant was that if a mech designer wanted to leave behind a permanent and enduring legacy, they needed to work hard to advance to Master!
Right now, Ves wasn't qualified to learn how a Senior advanced to Master. He could make a few guesses, but they weren't relevant right now.
First, he needed to advance to Senior. Mech designers like Ves may have stepped into the extraordinary threshold, but they were still at a very preliminary stage. In order to elevate their mech designs to a higher level, they needed to take their design philosophies out of dummy mode and develop their own applications.
In other words, Ves should focus on improving the power and control of his design philosophy's manifestation!
Even if his path to advancement diverged from that of other mech designers, he knew that he couldn't avoid performing lots of research. Time spent on studying exotics and his design seed's operation meant that he had less time to spend on designing mechs.
Mech designers needed to find a balance between deepening their design philosophy and applying it to their mech designs.
Certain people had it easier than others. He now knew the main reason why those with simpler and more straightforward design philosophies had an easier time to advance than others.
Those with Class I and Class IX design philosophies were so ambitious that they needed to perform a lot more research to achieve the same amount of progress as their other peers!
Naturally, if they ever managed to advance, then the amount of knowledge they've generated was far more comprehensive than usual!
All in all, in the perspective of the MTA, becoming a Journeyman only signified that they possessed a non-zero chance of realizing their design philosophies.
In this context, realizing a design philosophy took on a more literal meaning. Accomplishing this difficult endeavor meant that the works of Masters gained permanency, just like the impressive-looking mechs on display in the Master Hall.
As Ves and Delta-Gina left the Master Hall, another pair of mech designers along with an android entered the same place.
The two stepped onto a floater platform and rode it all the way to the upper surface of Halcyon Citadel.
The android remained absolutely still as Ves was still processing what he learned.
Overall, Ves gained a broader understanding of what the MTA stood for and what they worked towards.
While neither Professor Oodiv or Delta-Gina said any word about it, the MTA likely worked towards empowering the standards of mechs to the point where they stood equal to warships.
The MTA stood equal against the CFA only because the current consensus in human civilization heavily leaned towards mechs.
In the Age of Mechs, destructive warships that possessed an immense amount of firepower were relegated to the background! Mechs had been presented as a new and destructive means of waging war to much of humanity.
Overall, the introduction of mechs had indeed succeeded in ending the mass slaughter and genocide that characterized the preceeding era. Yet the MTA was very well aware that the current usage of mechs and the prohibition towards the use of warships was an artificial construct.
Human states only abided by the rules of the Big Two only because they would get punished if they didn't!
In any case, with the CFA assuming primary responsibility towards defending human space against alien civilizations, states don't require the power of warships anymore. As long as their enemies played by the same rules, mechs would continue to become the most predominant tool of warfare inside human space.
Yet how long would this social accord last?
As soon as enough states rebelled against this order, the side that stuck with mechs would inevitably lose. The balance also broke if aliens launched a major offensive against human space, to the extent that the CFA was no longer able to to halt the aggressors from ravaging human states!
In both cases, the power of warships was too great to withstand! Only weapons comparable to warships could withstand their might!
Mechs, as exceptional as they appeared to be, still fell short of matching the might of a vessel that massed thousands of times more than their piddling little frames!
One of the most popular arguments on the galactic net revolved around whether god pilots who piloted a god mech could defeat a modern human battleship.
Most people voted in favor of battleships. The power to annihilate a planet was so intimidating that hardly anyone could fathom a mech being able to defend against this kind of might!
The only instance where god mechs possessed a realistic chance of winning was if they could sneak up to a battleship and ravage the huge but lumbering vessel from within.
Other than that, there was very little chance that a mech or a formation of mechs could offer a fair fight against a warship!
Ves had already witnessed the might of warships against mechs before. A single destroyer could easily annihilate several mech companies with her shipboard guns before the latter could ever approach into effective range.
Although a destroyer was much more expensive to build compared to a couple of mech companies, she was ultimately more effective and convenient in projecting power.
Ves guessed that the MTA feared becoming irrelevant one day. The Association revolved entirely around mechs.
When mechs enjoyed their heyday, the MTA was at the height of its power.
When the use of mechs declined, the MTA would drastically weaken. There might even come a point where the organization dwindled into a relic of an earlier age!
Therefore, Ves believed that the MTA was racing against time. All of their policies seemed geared towards encouraging as much innovation and advancements as possible. The more Masters that emerged, the narrower the gap between mechs and warships.
Yet the CFA weren't sitting still either. Their research and development was just as potent as that of the MTA, and newer and better classes of warships constantly emerged each year.
For mechs to catch up to the might of warships was an extremely tall order!
Would the MTA succeed in their ambition? Ves wasn't sure. The Age of Mechs had lasted over four centuries. While humanity had firmly adjusted to the new order, some of the cracks were already beginning to show.
Now that much of the stigma against warships had faded with the passage of time, many states must be contemplating a return to their use. They were tired of being treated like kids by the Big Two!
This sentiment was especially strong among the citizens of the first-rate superstates!