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The altered work schedule led to a different dynamic in the workshop.
The Sentry Project was far from done. The Journeymen still had to fabricate a lot more parts before they were even ready to begin the crucial assembly phase.
Previously, Ves and Gloriana always insisted on working day and night for several days in a row in order to preserve and maximize their momentum.
This did not come without a cost as they needed to rely on stimulants to artificially keep their mentalities at their highest levels. While Ves was a lot more able to cope with these strenuous demands, Gloriana was not able to match his physical and mental endurance.
Previously, this was still a circumstance that she could cope with, but this time was different.
The Sentry Project was already a little larger and more voluminous than the Dark Zephyr, which meant it took significantly more work to put it together.
Gloriana's pregnancy also ruled out most if not all options to stimulate her body and mind. After all, a lot of influences acting on her body was also capable of affecting the fetus as well. This was an extremely delicate matter as the wrong chemical could easily cause the unborn baby to develop unnaturally.
From the moment Gloriana had reached her time limit, she quickly finished her current fabrication job before reluctantly stepping back.
Her instincts as a mech designer urged her to go back to the 3D printer that was still hot and ready to fabricate another mech component.
However, her instincts and mentality as a mother easily won out this time. She retreated from the production equipment. Instead of leaving the workshop, she remained in it but moved away until she reached a special room that had been prepared for anyone needing a rest.
The hastily-fabricated room resembled a thick metal ledge that was luxuriously furnished and completely isolated from the hustle and bustle in the rest of the workshop.
At least, that was supposed to be the case. Gloriana kept the hatch a little bit open so that the noise of active machinery was still able to reach the bedroom. Once she slipped into her bed, she quickly fell into slumber, dreaming of both mechs and motherhood.
Ves and the others were still at their stations. They continued to soldier on as they tried their best not to cause any undue delays.
The absence of a strong and powerful motivating presence caused the workshop to become a little more subdued. However, that did not affect the mech designers too much as they still had plenty of compelling reasons to maintain their high state.
"Fabricating a mech isn't a sprint. It's a marathon. It's not enough to build up momentum. We need to sustain it in order to achieve a comprehensively better result!"
This was not an unfamiliar problem in the mech industry. Those who worked hard to make the most exquisite mechs came up with a lot of theories and approaches to maximize their chances.
Ves had taken a look at these materials. Much of it was garbage, but he had also managed to gather some good tips.
One of them was setting up a rotation so that only a portion of the fabrication team should go off-duty at a time. As long as there were still enough mech designers on duty, the momentum of the fabrication team would not recede too much.
Still, certain mech designers left behind a major void when they left. Gloriana and Ves disproportionately fueled the current momentum, so anytime that either of them pulled away, the mood in the workshop dropped by a noticeable margin.
"It's not all that bad, though."
Ves had decided to follow suit and take breaks as well even though he could have opted to take a lot of stimulants in order to keep himself awake and sharp for six whole days.
He recognized that continually pushing himself to work day and night was ultimately detrimental to his health and to the health of the rest of his team. Humans weren't meant to work in this fashion.
Just as he expected, Ves wasn't able to maintain his focus after he retreated from his work. He didn't feel so bad about it. After forcing himself to work at his peak for so many hours at a time, it was inevitable for him to slide a bit. By taking a short but well-earned power nap, he woke up almost completely recharged.
When he woke up and quickly freshened himself up, he left his temporary abode and returned to his station with a bit more clarity in his mind.
It was a bit difficult at first for him to get back into the groove. In fact, Ves doubted that he would ever be able to return to his previous mental state.
However, the moment Blinky emerged again and reestablished his helpful design network, a rush of love, desire, expectation and many other notable influences poured into his mind.
While this external influence wasn't strong enough for him to get subsumed by it, Ves was readily able to take advantage of it to stoke his dormant engine.
He became increasingly more fired up and soon regained his older peak state!
After another day of long work shifts interspersed by periodic breaks, it became clear that Blinky played a crucial role in keeping the flames of passion alive.
The companion spirit's ability to pass on the sentiments of one mech designer to another enabled everyone to return to their peak conditions and go back into the flow.
Even Gloriana acknowledged how essential Blinky had become to this fabrication. It also didn't hurt that his design network inadvertently brought her closer to her developing baby.
After Superior Mother 'blessed' her granddaughter, the unborn child's spirituality had become noticeably stronger and more defined.
Surprisingly, despite being affected by two strong Hexer influences in the form of Gloriana and the Superior Mother, the baby's spirit still retained its pure nature.
Part of it was because the child was still too young to develop any actual thoughts, but Ves also noticed that it possessed a resiliency that made it remarkably difficult to influence or contaminate.
He wasn't sure why this was the case and whether it was normal. It reminded him a bit of the stubbornness of expert pilots, but there was no will component behind it. Odd developments like these showed that there were still a lot of facets about spirituality that Ves did not understand.
"It doesn't appear to be bad, though."
Ves derived a lot of joy and comfort in his future daughter's growing strength. As an upcoming father, all of this was quite new to him, so his recent fatherly desires heavily affected his composure.
With the driving force of two eager and highly-motivated parents, the days continued to pass by while everyone constantly remained in high spirits.
Progress on the mech design project hadn't actually slowed down as much as Ves feared. Though there were hours where mech designers were resting instead of working, once they went back to work, they became remarkably productive again.
Their rested states enabled them to accomplish more work in less time. It was a remarkably pleasant pattern which continued to push them forward with unceasing optimism.
Finally, the mech designers fabricated all of the powerful and sophisticated components for their next expert mechs.
Though a large amount of parts were incredibly difficult to make correctly, the mech designers were a lot more prepared than before. They studied up on how to fabricate components with volatile and abnormal materials and possessed a considerably greater proficiency in all of the production equipment.
Whenever they worked on a component that incorporated resonating materials, they made sure to wait until they were connected to Blinky's design network so that everyone could take advantage of Gloriana's design philosophy.
In turn, the soon-to-be-mother also benefited from the connection. The contribution made by Ves enabled her to feel the life in each and every component she created. She became more attuned to the Sentry Project design and was able to make sure that each critical component aligned with each other in a more ethereal fashion.
Once the four Journeymen inspected all of the parts, they soon proceeded to the assembly stage.
This was a less critical phase, but that did not mean they were allowed to slack off. They needed to take great care and fit everything together because the Sentry Project packed a lot of delicate components together.
Slowly but surely, the mech was being pieced together. Starting from the internal frame, heavy bots along with powerful robotic arms and lifting systems attached more parts to the expert rifleman mech.
It slowly gained more definition at the fleet which was meant to support the rest of mech. Over the span of several hours, the legs became solid before it was the torso's turn to get covered up by solid armor plating.
While Gloriana, Juliet and Ketis worked on the mech frame, Ves devoted much of his time to assembling the crystal luminar rifle.
Compared to the experimental products he crafted before, the weapon he was working on was the Sentry Project's real weapon. It incorporated a sizable amount of Opticonium, a remarkable material that was already giving the crystal components a different feel.
Putting them together was not that hard, but Ves had to be careful and make sure that everything remained congruent with each other. The key resonating material was spread out among different components, but they all had to come together in a way for the Opticonium to act as a single whole.
Ves enjoyed assembling the rifle. Compared to his previous luminar crystal weapons, this one was more powerful and significant than any mech-sized rifle he had made so far. It would likely remain as the premier ranged weapon that he had the pleasure to design and make for a very long time.
Only an artillery cannon would be able to surpass this potent rifle in firepower, but Ves didn't think an opportunity to design a mech with such an exaggerated gun would come so soon.
At the final day, the workshop received a small group of visitors in the form of expert pilots.
Venerable Joshua, Jannzi, Tusa, Orfan, Dise and Stark had quietly entered in order to watch the second expert mech of the Larkinson Clan take shape.
They stood close to the entrance and well away from the assembly section in order to avoid disturbing the mech designers. They all did their best to retract their force of wills to keep their presence to a minimum.
"There's something different about this expert mech." Venerable Joshua commented.
"How so?" Venerable Orfan asked. "Isn't it just an expert mech?"
"It's not 'just' an expert mech. Although I don't know a lot about how mechs are put together, something about this machine reminds me of the Quint…"
Now that Joshua had mentioned it, the expert pilots scrutinized the increasingly more complete Sentry Project in a different way. Each of these remarkable individuals possessed a special sense for mechs. The others soon noticed the extra weight that the expert rifleman mech carried.
"What do you think, Venerable Stark?"
The only guest expert pilot of the Larkinson Clan remained impassive. "I do not trust many people, but I trust that Ves will always deliver a good mech."
Her eyes gradually turned hot as she was able to see her first true expert mech come to life. The prospect of gaining a lot more power than before put her a lot closer to fulfilling her own goals!
As the expert pilots continued to admire the work taking in front of them, the Journeymen had almost finished their work
The mech was fully put together except for one final touch.
Everyone put their signature looks onto the mech.
Ves did so first and applied his third eye in the form of a high-quality luminar crystal to the forehead of the expert mech.
Juliet came next and applied a pair of stylized six-sided wings coated in red onto the upper center of the flight system.
Ketis did not contribute as much as the other Journeyman, so she settled with carving a small imprint of a greatsword on the side of the Sentry Project's waist.
Once the three were done, Gloriana finally came forward and personally affixed the crystal rods around the third eye that Ves had already applied.
From the moment she was done, the Sentry Project finally became a single whole.
Every Journeyman paid rapt attention as the expert mech seemed to transform before their eyes, though its physical form did not change at all. This contradictory reaction only took place under specific circumstances.
Ves quietly reacted to his hand from his hidden pouch. He had already guessed that they would come close, but even he was surprised that all of their hard work allowed them to push through the threshold.
"Masterwork…" He whispered.
Though he already had several masterwork certificates under his belt, this was a different matter.
The probability of making a masterwork was much smaller when the complexity and difficulty of a mech went up. Yet due to a confluence of factors, the Journeyman of the Larkinson Clan managed to birth their first masterwork at the expert mech level!
The implications of what they had accomplished barely entered their minds before each of them became utterly engrossed in the subtle transformations. Their design seeds bloomed with excitement as the incredible end result made them feel a lot more accomplished in their careers!
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