38 The Propeller
The rest of the Council's message was pretty much what I had been expecting. According to Howard, the cards given to me were low-grade talismans and the Council is willing to provide more if I needed them. They are also willing to provide someone to answer any question I have on the construction and use of the cards but to protect themselves, the Council set out a few conditions.
The magicians have several shell companies and they want a signed contact between The Fat Tinkerer and one of them. I guess that the Council want something legal so that I won't run off and claim the invention for myself so on the whole I was agreeable to this condition. An agreement between us will give us the cover of two small companies combining resources to do a little research and development. With no hope of matching the mega-corporations in money or manpower, co-op R&D is very common among small and medium sized companies. The Fat Tinkerer may be just a small one man operation but my Battlesuits had made some small waves in the region so this is feasible that a company would approach me for a partnership.
Another condition the Council set out is that they want monthly updates on my progress. They don't really believe I could crack the code on making magic and technology work together but any progress I make could be use by future generations or at the very least, it could lead to further understanding of their art. In light of this, they want me to hire the man they provide as a consultant. This man would be on hand to answer any queries I have on magical talismans and at the same time keep track of my progress.
In short, they want me to hire the man they are sending to spy on me. I made a show of reluctance but in truth, I could hardly expect the Council to give me the cards without having someone keep an eye on me so I told Howard I was also willing to accept this condition.
The last condition they had concerns the security of my workshop. It seems that the Council did some research on me already and believe that the security of my workshop is woeful. The Council want their investment protected and insist that the security be vastly improved. In this, they were willing to let Howard take the lead.
Howard then lay out his plans. He wanted some turrets and security drones installed to protect the workshop and although I could decide on whether to have them, he was insistence on upgrading my safety drones. According to him, the workshop fire-fighting safety drones are at least two generations behind and are in need of immediate upgrades. To my slight embarrassment, I didn't realized how out-of-date the safety features of the workshop were till he mentioned it. I quickly agreed with his suggestions but I had to put my foot down on having a bodyguard.
Howard mention that the Council would probably be agreeable to provide me with a full-time bodyguard if I wanted one but I did not like the idea of having a shadow. I also had a secret I rather keep to myself. I have no idea how secure the System is to magical probing and had no plan to find out. I also didn't want to agree with everything the Council suggested. I need them, but I do not want them to think I'm a soft touch.
With the negotiations generally done, Howard then got around offering me a few suggestions on how to work with of the Council. The man was a straight arrow and I trust him not to betray my trust. The Council probably thought so too, which is why they wanted another man around to keep an eye on me. Honestly, most of what Howard said flew right over me. I listened but I never had any interest in politics and I realized all these talk of security and politics bore me. As he told me in detail where he wanted the turrets to be placed and suggested to me some of the equipment I needed to improve security, I just keep thinking of one thing, \"Hurry up. I just want to build.\"
When Howard finally left to deliver my answers to the Council, I sighed in relief and got back into Dive to see the results of simulation. It was not good. My idea had work only to an extent. The SH-Legs did manage to get my variant close to the enemy but the stimulation shows that it became a sitting duck once it got there.
The SH-Legs were never design to be quick recharge and it take a few seconds for the legs to work after operation. This means that after a jump, the SH-Legs is unable to immediately jump again. This is not a problem for my Jumpbot but The Golden Boxer is not the Steambot. As an exoskeleton Battlesuit, it lack the heavy armor of the famed steam Battlesuit.
I look closely at the various stimulations and notice that once my variant got close, it could deliver a damaging blow to the opponent. Sometimes it could even deliver a knockout blow, if the opponent isn't heavily armored, but it could not withstand the counterattack. In short, my variant can't trade damage with the opponent. The main problem isn't just the lack of armor, it is also the fact that my variant can't get out of a sticky situation. The SH-Legs is not enough. I need another way for it to dash around the battlefield.
I began another search on the Dive, this time checking on Grade 0 parts that could enable my variant to move quickly. After an hour of searching, I found what I was looking.
Jetpacks are out of fashion but in olden days, it was quite common to see people flying around with giant backpacks. These backpacks often had the main flight engine that came with the age they were designed in. For example, in the Rocket Age, it was the rocket pack. In the Age of Steam, it was the twin barrel steam-powered backpack. In the Clockwork Age, it was the propeller bag; a giant helicopter propeller that could be withdrawn into the bag at the operator's command.
I admit it was an unusual choice but I thought a clockwork propeller could do the trick. I needed a big one as a Battlesuit weights a lot more than a human but that wasn't an issue as propeller flight was all the rage in the Clockwork Age. I found and bought a standard copy of the giant clockwork propeller and began installing it onto the back of my variant.
As The Golden Box did not have anything attach to its back, it wasn't all that hard to do the installation and I just have to create a link to connect it to the operating rig. In the end, my variant look like The Golden Boxer with a giant fan attach to its back. Looking at the time again, I realized I had missed lunch. I ordered another stimulation run and step out for a quick bite.