Perhaps many other mech designers already realized this insight from their superiors. Unfortunately, Ves did not have too much contact with other mech designers, let alone his nominal Master.
While Ves thought it was best to minimize contact with more perceptive mech designers in order to keep his secrets safe, he also found it a pity to miss out on useful little nuggets like this. Fumbling from Apprentice to Journeyman on his own was like treading a bumpy path. Every so often, he tripped or stumbled against an obstacle. With no one to lead him to the other side, Ves had to rely on his own efforts to make it through.
"It's not that big of a deal, though. I'm progressing fast enough as it is. This insight happened to come at the right time."
Certainly, Ves wanted to become a Journeyman sooner rather than later. He faintly thought that if he kept to his old habit of gathering more and more knowledge, it wouldn't do any good with regards to his advancement. The sheer breadth of knowledge contained within his mind might even become a giant distraction!
"I've acquired far more knowledge than an Apprentice should possess. Studying more is not going to be useful to my development. Instead, I've got to focus primarily on designing new mechs."
Practical experience polished his utilization of knowledge. Ideally, Ves would eventually reach the point where he was able to combine basic theories into amazing products!
"However, mindlessly designing more mechs won't cut it. I've got to form a solid drive towards improving my mech design ability."
Ambition welled within his mind. Ves did not feel the need to formulate a concrete motivation. Merely wishing to reach the pinnacle of mech design was bold enough to work for a lifetime. Ves had always hung onto his dream after he first received the Mech Designer System.
The only difference between now and then was that Ves knew he had to work for it regardless of his advantages. Solely relying on the gifts exchanged from the System hadn't strengthened his mech design mentality at all. He needed to fight for what he wanted.
"A passive ambition is merely a daydream. An active ambition is a goal that I am striving towards."
In the analogy of comparing between drifting downstream and swimming against the current, the latter resulted in a lot more harvest. Perhaps unconsciously Ves had already taken this difference to heart.
"Maybe this is why I'm eagerly attracted to challenges and adventure."
Staying in his private workshop for years on end in order to churn out mech design after mech design didn't seem like an attractive prospect to Ves. Yet many mech designers adhered to such a brutal schedule, thinking that each additional mech would bring them closer and closer to advancement.
The mech designers working for design studios basically turned into slaves that robotically produced design after design. Their efficiency was low, because the odds of producing a lackluster design was very high. Only the rights of one in twenty or one in forty designs might be sold or licenses. And this was already a good conversion rate in the mech industry.
"A mech manufacturer can't operate like that. A company like the LMC needs quality over quantity when it comes to designs."
Low-performing mech models often led to severe losses to the mech manufacturer. Producing ten straight loser designs not only ate away a company's reserves, it also impacted its reputation in a negative way. If a mech manufacturer was perceived as having 'lost its way', they would lose at least half of their loyal customer base overnight.
A mech manufacturer on a downward trend had a very large chance of going bankrupt!
Ves never believed that producing the most amount of designs in the least amount of time was a recipe for success. He had always produced his designs depending on his needs and after a process of accumulation. His personal experiences provided him with fertile soil to develop new designs.
"I've been swimming upstream all this time without realizing it." He uttered to himself. "If I really wanted to, I could have avoided a lot of danger. Yet that would have also made me miss out on a lot of opportunities."
He summed up the major events in his career so far. The Young Tigers Exhibition. The Leemar Open Competition. The Groening mission. The Glowing Planet campaign. The Detemen Operation. The escape to Reinald.
Sprinkled with a few other challenges such as the recent honor duel, all of these experiences made him grow as a mech designer. From a fresh-faced graduate to a seasoned hand in the mech industry, Ves could never have reached this height by acting as a shut-in who perpetually locked himself in his workshop.
At first, the System prompted him out to do something by issuing missions to him. Later on, it largely fell dormant. Perhaps the reason why it rarely issued him a mission was because he was already on the right track. Ves craved for excitement and challenges even if he didn't consciously realize it. Now that he became aware of the reason behind his proclivity to adventure, nothing much had changed.
He was still the same Ves, only now he became more cognizant of his urges. No matter what, knowing why he felt different than many other mech designers was definitely a benefit. The importance of this realization couldn't be overstated.
The difference between an ape and a human was that the former acted on instinct while the latter acted on conscious thought.
It always disturbed him a bit to crave excitement despite his profession as a mech designer. He thought that while the experiences definitely allowed him to learn something new, this path to growth was an unconventional one. He felt like he was a deviant in a crowd of normal mech designers. Was there something wrong in his head?
Now he realized he had nothing to worry about his supposed abnormality. It wasn't the Larkinson blood and heritage that drove him to the edge of danger. His urge to head out in the galaxy and explore new sights came from his inner desire to swim upstream.
It didn't particularly matter what kind of events he encountered. As long as they challenged him in some way, he inevitably walked away as a better mech designer than the day before.
Lots of thoughts passed through his mind. The boat race happening in front of him became a very distant event. Ves didn't even care he lost his bet on Handsome Martinez.
As the Vandals leisurely enjoyed their stay on Harkensen I, his mind had already been cast towards the future. He felt he needed to define his future in order to drive his ambition from a passive state into an active state. Solid goalposts were easier to meet than distant aspirations clouded in fog.
"First, the Avatars of Myth needs to be more than a personal protection force."
Ves created the Avatars for multiple reasons. Not only did he wish to set an example to the market of what an outfit equipped entirely with his mechs could do, he also wanted to rely on them to proactively seek out adventure.
Whether he was fulfilling a mission for the Clifford Society or crossing into the frontier in search of treasure, owning an outfit completely loyal to him was an essential requirement. Ves would be a monumental fool to continue to rely on mercenary corps or private security forces to keep him safe!
His firsthand experiences with the Flagrant Vandals allowed him to become familiar to the inner workings of a large mech unit. Though a military mech regiment could not be equated to a private mech outfit, copying some of their best practices was probably a good deed.
"With enough numbers, a lot of opportunities will open up. If something can't be done by a single mech company, then what about three?"
If Ves wanted to make full use of the Avatars of Myth, then he should definitely expand its ranks. "I don't need to grow it to an exaggerated extent. The standard of a mech regiment works for the military, but will not necessary work for the private sector."
Large-scale mercenary corps existed with thousands of mechs on their combat rolls. Only rarely did they gather together in order to fulfill a momentous assignment.
Ves did not aim to start up a mercenary corps where his mechs would be hired out to other employees. Thus, he did not feel the need to field enough mechs to conquer an entire planet. Matching the numbers of the Verle Task Force wasn't necessary either.
"Hm, five companies of mechs should be good enough. That's strong enough to bully around most fleets in the frontier."
Naturally, Ves needed to balance out the numbers between landbound, aerial and spaceborn mechs. The only problem was that Ves had not yet produced a serious original design in the latter two categories.
"This should be my next priority. I have to round out my mech catalog as fast as possible."
A mature mech manufacturer developed and sold entire product lines of mechs. These were mechs that shared many commonalities with each other, such as technologies, parts and design standards. An outfit that utilized multiple mech models from the same product line faced a much smaller logistical burden than if they utilized a wide variety of mechs.
The Vandals suffered somewhat from this problem due to their wide variety of random mech models. Each of them centered around different sets of core materials and technologies that it had been a daily nightmare for Ves as a head designer to keep it all together.
"Right now, I can't develop an aerial or a spaceborn mech, but I should at least pave the way if I decide to start in this direction."
Ves already became somewhat familiar with flight systems and the anatomy of spaceborn mechs from his time with the Vandals. Working constantly on the Inheritor and Hellcat mechs combined with the tutelage he received from Laida gave him a solid footing in this area.
"If I want to design a spaceborn mech, I can already produce a decent attempt."
That wasn't enough for Ves. If Ves wanted to pad the Avatars of Myth with mechs meant to keep him safe, then he had to go the extra mile and thoroughly master the intricacies of spaceborn mechs.
Taking a page out of the new book, Ves did not aim to solve his inadequacies by binge-reading textbooks on flight systems and spaceborn mechs. He already possessed the required knowledge to design a spaceborn mech from his existing Skills.
Rather than read a manual on how to combine those disparate pieces of knowledge from different Skills, perhaps Ves might be able to achieve a greater harvest if he compiled a method of his own.
"It's the difference between playing an existing song or composing a new song as a musician. Retreading existing work allows me to catch up faster and enables me to produce better output on the fly. But would I really be able to become a good musician? An imitator has never attempted to climb out of their molds are destined to be forgotten."
That said, composing his own songs may likely lead to a lot of bad or mediocre songs at the start. Perfection couldn't be reached in a single bound. Yet if Ves was willing to grit his teeth and tough it out, he was much more likely to sustain his growth trajectory after all of the imitators reached a halt in their progress.
Ves thought back on the strange theory proposed by Morgan who he met during mech designer boot camp. The older mech designer might have been onto something when he proposed that rushing to Journeyman with an insufficient foundation may stop them from advancing to Star Designers.
It was unfortunate that Morgan took a detour while he was on the right track.