Chapter 45: Mech Trade Association
Even a small, tranquil planet like Cloudy Curtain possessed a local branch of the MTA. As even the Greater United Terran Confederation and the New Rubarth Empire acknowledged the powerful organizationapos;s supervisory powers, a small third-rate state like the Bright Republic had nothing to say about the MTAapos;s forceful presence within its borders.
The association founded branches wherever there was a sizable population of people. Lots of people meant that at least a handful of them piloted mechs. If left alone, they could get up to trouble, so the MTA always made it a policy to supervise potentates even if they didnapos;t own a mech.
Frankly, the idea that an organisation outside the control of any government entity was allowed to meddle in the mech industry shouldnapos;t have existed. Countless conspiracy theories flew around in the galactic net that purported to be the truth.
One popular notion suggested that the divisions in human space was all a sham. Every nation, from the lowest third-rate backwater to the grandest first-rate superpower, were actually different branches from the same tree. A so-called Shadow Council ruled humanity from behind the throne, and the MTA was merely its most visible arm.
Another less radical theory suggested that the MTA was not as independent as everyone thought. Instead, it began as a secret joint venture by both the Terrans and the Rubarthans. Despite their intense rivalry towards each other, they shared enough common interests to regulate the mech industry and founded the MTA to bend the military strength of other nations to their will.
The MTAapos;s existence and its stringent enforcement of its principles brought the wild west of the mech trade to its heel. They prevented the incorporation of weapons of mass destruction into the arsenal of mechs. They curbed widespread corporate espionage and gave smaller mech businesses a chance to thrive by encouraging the practice of licensing out non-cutting edge designs. They brought so many benefits that not many people thought badly of the organisation.
What mattered the most to Ves right now was the MTAapos;s strict standards of public mech sales. Any mech traded in an open transaction was required to be certified by the MTA before they received a stamp of approval. Without this approval, a mech designer was deprived of an independent, trustworthy assessment of their product, which meant that basically no one dared to buy his mech.
Naturally, such a practice was voluntary, and companies were free to sell their mechs without involving the MTA if they made their transactions private. This most often happened with nextgen cutting-edge designs between top enterprises and government entities. Ves was too small a player to engage in such a high-level transaction, so he meekly submitted his mech to the MTA for their standard certification.
Bringing Lucky over his shoulder, Ves exited the transit shuttle and landed his feet onto the paved landing pad next to the MTA. He met the local supervisor of Cloudy Curtainapos;s branch of the association at the steps leading up to the complex.
To her credit, Getrude said nothing even if her frown grew deeper. quot;Well, letapos;s see if your internals perform as advertised.quot;
This was an area Ves was less confident in. It was fairly easy to spot damage, but harder to determine if the components he fabricated performed on spec. As the technicians crawled away from the chassis, a young pilot entered the cockpit. Ves, Ryan and Gertrude watched at a healthy distance as the pilot activated the mech.
quot;The neural interface is starting up without a hitch. No issues encountered so far.quot; The pilot reported, and Getrude confirmed his observations through the readings that scrolled down her terminal.
quot;Startup finished. The mech is in standby mode. The power reactor is spinning. No leaks detected. Temperature is normal.quot;
quot;Do you hear any weird noises?quot;
quot;Itapos;s quiet so far. Want me to engage the engines?quot;
quot;Hold up, I still want to test out its power management. Go run some power through the wrist-mounted laser cannons. Charge up its capacitors. Make sure the weapons remain safed before you do that though.quot;
Ves watched on with Lucky as they both witnesses Getrude trying to dig up faults. No matter how much she stressed the power system, she failed to make the mech squeal. Ves increasingly grinned wider as he realized he had nothing to fear in this aspect. His mech was mechanically sound.
The mech then moved on to a range, where it began to test out its wrist-mounted weapons at a variety of power levels. From the lowest setting, the pilot fired the weapon so rapidly that the beams appeared to be stuttering from an unstable power supply. Despite its shaky appearance, the lasers fired with the right amount of power and accuracy.
The pilot then cranked up the power supplied to the cannons. The lasers increased in size and intensity. The beams flickered less but their burn duration increased. The maximum setting practically turned the laser cannons into bringers of doom. Thick beams that looked like flowing suns escaped from the barrel and bore a set of holes right through the targets on the range.
At the end of the round of testing, Gertrude came out of the process with a list full of passed criteria. Without more stringent stress testing, she could not find any other opportunity to disqualify the mech.
The pilot exited from the mech and jumped straight down, relying on the anti-gravity boosters in his mech suit to land as light as a feather. When the pilot reached the trio, he removed his helmet, revealing a face and skin tone almost the same as Ryanapos;s.
quot;Howapos;s the mech?quot;
quot;Itapos;s an incredible mech, and Iapos;m not talking about first-timers.quot; The pilot enthusiastically replied. quot;I feel like Iapos;m piloting a giant instead of a machine. The mech responds so smoothly I canapos;t even believe itapos;s possible for mechs to move that way.quot;
Ryan snorted at that. quot;Thatapos;s the advanced internals of the mech at work. Youapos;ve never piloted anything other than standard budget models, so I specifically brought you here to experience this new mech. Even with the difference of a generation, an advanced mech is still in a different league compared to the cheaper currentgen models. You should try to get a chance to pilot the base model. The Caesar Augustus is a real beauty besides its impracticalities.quot;
quot;So Getrude, do I get your stamp of approval?quot; Ves asked while the father and son pair talked about the details.
quot;Itapos;s kind of suspicious how this mech held up so well during testing. Did you even produce this mech yourself?quot; Getrude asked suspiciously.
As if already expecting the question, Ves shook his head and activated his comm. He sent over his logs. quot;You can look for yourself to see I worked on it with no one else around to assist.quot;
She didnapos;t even look at the logs. If Ves was confident enough to send them over without a problem, then they really hid nothing of note.
quot;Very well. It is in my professional judgement that your Marc Antony variant mech has broken no rules and met all the criteria our organisation has set for all publically traded mechs. Your mech will be stamped with our seal of approval and you should receive the certificate in your mail in the next hour while I finalize my report.quot;
The resignation in the ladyapos;s tone barely registered to Ves. He only felt an incredible amount of satisfaction and relief for surviving this ordeal. Now that the MTA officially certified his mech, no obstacle remained in the long road to selling his first mech.
He immediately brought up his comm and called Marcella. quot;Good news, M. My mech has just passed the MTAapos;s certification. Iapos;ll send you the files as soon as they arrive.quot;
quot;Alright, Iapos;ve got a good idea on my coming schedule. Iapos;ll be waiting for the money.quot;
They said goodbye to each other before terminating the comm. Ves already felt liberating from his concerns. Once he received the money, he could pay off his debt and leave enough of a surplus to leave him swimming in cash. He could do so many things with such an amount of money. Should he go back to Iron Spirit and use the cash to buy some new licenses to play with? How much should he spend? Ves already looked forward to playing with some new toys.
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