55 I understand, I understand
"I know. You're the 'Forgotten Tech' guy. I was hoping to meet you."
"The 'Forgotten Tech' guy?"
"That's what everyone is calling you. The man who takes forgotten technology and makes them relevant again. You are an inspiration man!"
The first thought that came to my mind was a question; I'm an inspiration? The second thought was; I have a nickname? The third was; Cool!
I found myself smiling and shaking Nam's hand with a vigor I didn't know I had. Still, I'm not a total social idiot so I tried my best to be modest.
"Ha! I don't know about being an inspiration but thanks for the kind words."
"You're too modest Mr. Wong. You have almost single-handily resurrected the Clockwork industry with your Trackbot-P. My business increased by fifty percent because of it."
"Really? What is it that you do?"
"Here's my card."
Nam gave me a small bow and handed me a business card with both hands. I quickly accepted it with both hands and a bow of my own. Small-time designers with business cards are almost unheard of in Southeast Asia but maybe it's different in the Far East. I looked at the card and noticed the name of 'Eastern Armature Inc' and the company's founder.
"You founded your own company?"
"Just like yourself Mr. Wong. I guess you can say we are both entrepreneurs in the same field."
I couldn't help but be surprised at that. "You're a Battlesuit designer as well?"
"No, I'm a weapons designer. I designed guns and other weaponry using Steam-powered and Rocket technologies."
"That's rare. I didn't know there was a market for new weaponry with old technologies."
"I shall admit it hadn't been easy getting my company off the ground, but things are looking up because of what happened in Abu Dubai. That's why I was hoping to meet you today."
"Oh!" Despite the advice of Howard and Jaya, I was still a little uncomfortable with what happened in Abu Dubai but I was sure this wasn't what Nam wanted to hear. "I'm happy to meet you too Mr. Nam. I didn't know it had such an influence."
"Oh yes! Once everyone saw that video of your Battlesuit taking out an ABS-4, it just proves how great neglected old technologies were. It literally changed the game."
Some reluctance must have shown on my face as Nam quickly continued. "I understand, I understand. That incident must have been a public relations nightmare for you but that video is why I wanted to speak to you."
"Oh, why do you wish to see me?"
"I want to provide modern weaponry for your Battlesuits!" I was momentarily stunned by this reason and Nam took the chance to prattle on. "From the footage I saw from Abu Dubai, the Trackbot-P was using the IK Battle-axe and Minoru Minigun right? Now they are fine weapons, especially the Minoru, but what if I tell you I can provide you with new weapons that are not only more modern, more powerful, but also fully compatible with Steam and Clockwork Technologies?"
"That's interesting. Is that what you do? You are a small arms designer that specializes in Steam and Clockwork Technologies."
"In a way, yes! As you know, we humans are always looking for the next big thing. Spending credits like water researching for the next new technology that would change the world. So much so that we are neglecting the advancement of technologies we already possess."
I made a point of keeping my face neutral. I heard of this argument before in the past but I don't really buy it. Governments and mega-corporations spent billions on research for new technologies every year and the argument people like Nam has is that some of the money would be better spent if it was diverted to improving technologies that had already been discovered. Instead of looking for something that might not exist, humans should be looking to improve on existing technologies.
To be fair, most governments and mega-corporations tries to have it both ways but it's never easy to strike a balance between the two school of thoughts and while I agreed most of the money spent on research could be used better, humanity's push for new technologies is what made us great. If we never pushed and spend money on research, forget about having a space station on Neptune; we would probably be still on Earth!
"Thanks for the offer Mr. Nam but I'm not really looking for a partner right now. In fact, I might be moving away from old technologies in the future."
My rebuff did not deter the Korean designer as he seems to have expected it. "I understand, I understand. There are a lot technologies forgotten by the masses, so I am sure you must have your eye on some tech that everyone has forgotten about. Hell, I barely remembered Transforming Technology before your Trackbot-P but not to worry. My weapon systems are top notch and much better than anything you can find on Dive. For example, what do you think if we add a mini rocket launcher on your Tracknot-P?"
"Why would I want to do that for? The Battlesuit works fine right now and adding rockets comes with an array of problems like energy consumption, technological compatibility, and several others I can't think of right now."
"I understand, I understand." This seems to be the man's catchphrase. I'm beginning to find it annoying. "Compatibility is a problem but you are a craftsman! Your ability to incorporate technologies together is superb. Do you know since the Trackbot-P, a ton of designers had tried to do the same and none of them could do it as well as you? Now if you can incorporate two technologies in one Battlesuit, why not try three? Or alternatively, I have designed a Steam-powered gun that's vastly superior to the Minoru. If you would just take a look…"
The sales pitch was thankfully interrupted when the senior executives of the Oriental Earth Group finally reached the stage. They took their time but I couldn't be more grateful because Nam finally had to shut up. The executives took to the stage and several of them began waving to the crowd. The designers humbly stepped back to let the executives take center stage. The music stopped and…a loud sound erupted from my right.
Everyone turned to the sound but before I could realize what had happened, there was another sound. This sound erupted further away. Once again everyone turned and I saw a puff of black smoke in the sky. Near the black smoke were three helicopters…and a squadron of Battlesuits!
My mind was still trying to catch up when chaos erupted around me. The two mechs on duty and the turrets turned towards the approaching danger, and security guards swarmed the stage. They were hurrying the executives to safety. Then the shooting started.