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When Ves implanted the Archimedes Rubal in his mind, it didn't take long for him to load it up with a large database of information that might become relevant at some point in the future.
This was one of those days. Ves quickly accessed the latest edition of the standard language dictionary and looked up the definition of a word that he had almost never encountered in his life.
[perfidious: deceitful and untrustworthy.]
While this dictionary definition clarified the meaning of the word, it did not dispel his confusion. What did deceit have to do with expert mechs? What the hell did Perfidious Steel have to do with expert light mechs?!
Master Willix looked amused at the confusion she managed to generate among the Journeymen. She did not leave them guessing for long, though.
"Perfidious Steel is the product of an accident. It is an unintentional invention of a company that is dedicated to developing new resonating alloys. While the material does not meet the original goals of the company, its effects are still useful enough to be put on the market…"
"What does Perfidious Steel do, ma'am?" Ves practically begged.
"This is not easy to explain. The physics and theory is beyond your level, but to put it simply, it can cause a mismatch between the perceived and actual coordinates of an expert mech."
That barely offered any clarification to Ves and his fellow Journeyman.
Master Willix shook her head in disappointment.
"As mech designers and engineers, you should be familiar with the phenomenon known as refraction."
She raised her hand, causing the active projection to switch from showing off a material to a very simple example of refraction.
The projection showed off a very simple pool of water with a wooden rod sticking out of the surface.
The most notable part about this image was that the angle of the stick above the water did not match the angle of the stick below the surface. Even though the rod was clearly a single, straight piece, the presence of water caused the observer to have the illusion that they were laying eyes on a crooked stick!
"The concept of refraction is simple to understand in this example." Master Willix adopted the guise of a high school physics teacher. "The refractive index of air and water do not match. This means that any light that travels through these mediums actually differs. It also causes the light to bend at an angle when it passes through another material."
This was all basic knowledge that any mech designer should have mastered long ago. It was also highly relevant to Ves and anyone who worked on laser weapons.
Master Willix waved her hand, causing the simple example to make way for an actual clip of an expert light skirmisher that incorporated Perfidious Steel!
The expert light mech appeared to be charging towards a distant enemy fleet. Doing so by itself was quite perilous as it was difficult for it to dodge every attack.
In order to evade incoming attacks, the expert mech had to dodge in a limited amount of directions, namely up, down, left or right.
This was a problem because the light mech had to invest a lot of effort into traveling straight ahead in order to reach its target and fulfill its primary goal!
These two priorities conflicted with each other.
If the light mech wanted to maximize its dodging chances, then it should direct all of its efforts into dodging side to side or up and down.
If the light mech wanted to get anywhere fast enough, then it had to travel forward.
Focusing on one directly detracted from the other. A light mech could not simultaneously do well in both without paying an unacceptable price!
Though the Disruptor Project was a bit better off in this regard due to its plethora of boosters, it did not carry enough booster fuel to keep this pattern up for long.
The light expert mech therefore needed another solution in order to ensure that it would be able to reach its targets quickly while still retaining enough combat effectiveness to complete its mission!
This was why the archival footage presented Ves with a remarkable sight.
Numerous laser beams attempted to strike the approaching expert light mech. Though the mech attempted to perform some lateral movements in order to prevent the enemy from piling up a lot of precise attacks onto its frame, there were just too many attacks.
Yet… when the laser beams struck the shape of the expert mech, they went right through as if it was just a projection!
"Is the real mech under stealth?!"
"No. There are no stealth systems on this expert mech. That would compromise its defensive capabilities too much."
When the footage continued to roll, Ves eventually noticed that some beams hit the mech.
The strange part was that the beam that hit the mark had actually missed the illusion by tens of meters!
Yet when the laser beam hit the 'real' expert mech, the damage was reflected on the illusion. It was as if there was some kind of strange dislocation of space that caused the actual coordinates and perceived coordinates of the light mech to diverge!
"I get it now." Ves spoke. "Perfidious Steel acts on the observers, is that correct? Is it effective against just humans or can it also fool artificial systems?"
"Both. It distorts perspective. The best part about this material is that it works on more than just visible light. No matter whether you are scanning for heat, mass, air displacement and so on, they will all point to a different coordinate than where the mech is actually positioned."
"That… that's incredibly useful!" Gloriana gasped.
Ves shared her shock. How come he never heard of this material? Perfidious Steel should be integrated in every expert light mech if it possesses such an incredibly useful effect!
However, there were always downsides.
"I wouldn't get excited too soon." Master Willix spoke in a calm tone. "There are several major downsides to Perfidious Steel. First, it is an obscure product with low availability. Second, its resonance interference is high, which means that you must forgo many other resonating exotics. Third, it is highly effective at longer ranges but is of limited use at shorter ranges. In melee combat, the degree of distortion can only amount to a few meters or less."
The last point was especially painful. While it was just enough to allow the expert mech to slip attacks through an enemy's guard, it would not play a significant role in preventing attacks from landing on the machine.
Still, Ves was quite satisfied with what Perfidious Steel had to offer. He did not forget about the superb armor system of the Disruptor Project. With a frame clad with Unending alloy, Venerable Tusa didn't have to worry about his expert mech falling apart anytime soon!
Gloriana made the same realization. "With Perfidious Steel, the Disruptor Project will effectively be able to function as a defensive mech!"
Evasion was another form of defense. Though it was not as simple and direct as resisting attacks with armor, if the Disruptor Project could attract a lot of firepower for a long period of time, then it could directly alleviate a lot of pressure elsewhere!
Although it sounded stupid for enemies to focus a lot of firepower on a highly-evasive machine, sometimes they had no choice! If the Disruptor Project unflinchingly penetrated enemy lines and surged towards the more vulnerable portions of an enemy fleet, then the expert mech had to be stopped!
Ves looked at Master Willix with a lot of appreciation. Even with all of its downsides, Perfidious Steel fit perfectly with the Disruptor Project! In fact, using this material would definitely turn Venerable Tusa's expert mech into a nemesis against hostile ranged expert mechs!
The second key resonating exotic for the Disruptor Project was much less exciting in comparison. Due to the fickle nature of Perfidious Steel, there were few options left.
"Since Perfidious Steel must be integrated into the frame of the expert mech, it is best to push the other key resonating material onto an external component. The Disruptor Project's daggers will suffice. We can apply Bissonat to its blades as well in order to ensure that the light mech can pierce through better-protected parts."
Ves frowned a bit. "Why Bissonat? Shouldn't Pierrotis be a better choice? Light mechs move around a lot. Their high acceleration makes it easy for them to build up momentum. If they can initiate a charge, they can inflict heavy damage on an enemy mechs' resonance shield."
"You make a valid argument, but in most cases resonance shields are not that difficult to break with regular resonance-empowered attacks. It is breaking past solid high-quality armor systems that is more challenging. The Disruptor Project doesn't have the staying power to get entangled in longer duels. It must assassinate its target quickly."
He still felt that Pierrotis was a better choice, but Bissonat was not a bad choice. Combining its properties with Ketis' design philosophy would produce remarkable results!
The discussion soon moved on to the resonating exotics chosen for the fifth expert mech design.
"The Sentry Project is different from the other expert mechs." Master Willix stated. "It is an expert mech that is dedicated to long-ranged precision marksmanship. The design choices that you have made so far have all been geared towards maximizing its long-ranged lethality at the cost of diminishing its close-ranged combat capabilities. I must say that you are very brave for doing so. Venerable Davia Stark must trust you to a great degree to design such a one-dimensional rifleman mech."
Ves merely shrugged. "She can count on other Larkinsons to shield her against incoming attackers."
"I respect your design choices. Whether I agree with them is not in consideration." The MTA Master affirmed. "In any case, I have chosen to bring two resonating exotics that can complement its strengths rather than shore up its weaknesses."
The projection showed a ranged expert mech that fired repeated energy beams. The most notable part about this display was that as some of the beams propagated further, they began to bend at angles up to thirty or even forty degrees!
This allowed the ranged expert mech to deal damage to targets that didn't expect to get hit at angles that didn't completely block the incoming energy attack!
"This is an effect that your strange luminar crystals haven't displayed yet." Master Willix smiled. "Opticonium is a rarely seen resonating alloy that can bend the trajectory of energy attacks. The theoretical maximum is 45 degrees, but the strain on the expert pilot is too great. This resonating alloy is much more efficient when it is used to bend trajectories to a smaller degree. You can still hit targets without warning at very long ranges."
Ves didn't see how that could be useful. He was much more interested in the possibilities enabled by bending attacks around solid obstacles such as shields or ship hulls.
"Bypassing enemy defenses should be the greatest use of this resonating alloy, correct?"
Master Willix nodded. "That is indeed the original purpose for this product. Though the degree of bending is not too extreme, angles of thirty and forty percent is already enough to slip attacks around a corner, as it were. It is especially effective if the Sentry Project has already positioned itself at an angle from an enemy force to begin with. It will allow the expert rifleman mech to be able to deal effective damage against an enemy force without needing to fly too far away from the main body of friendly mechs."
Ves deeply appreciated the tactical possibilities opened up by Opticonium. Though he wanted to strangle whoever invented such a stupid name for such a fantasic resonating alloy, that did not stop him from wondering how Venerable Stark could frustrate a lot of enemies!
Opticonium was apparently a rarer and less accessible product than the other resonating materials that Master Willix had mentioned. However, a rifle only needed to integrate tens of kilograms of this alloy in order to produce an effective result.
The Sentry Project would definitely turn into a confounding sniper when paired with this resonating alloy!
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