68 Material Science
"This is just your draft right? Maybe you can improve on it."
"This may be just a draft, but if the idea of a charging battlesuit is bonkers, then the whole thing will have to go."
Howard's winced at that. "Sorry Toby, but I was just giving my honest opinion."
"Don't be sorry. You helped me a lot with the criticism. I'm a big boy, and it's better for me to know about the problem now rather than later. Say, you mind doing this again? I would like to hire you as my in-house battlesuit consultant. I can run my battlesuits through you first before releasing it to the public."
"I'm already your security consultant, and now you want to double-up my role?"
"It's not that unusual. Most companies have at least one consultant on retainer, and The Fat Tinkerer is now big enough to afford one. Maybe even more than one."
"If you don't mind paying me extra, I don't mind the extra work. If you want another consultant on hand, I can ask around for you. He or she can double up as your bodyguard as well."
"You're still on the bodyguard issue?"
"Since you haven't agreed to having one yet; yes!"
I could do nothing but sighed in defeat. "Fine, since you insist. Ask around and get back to me with the candidates. I get to choose."
Howard smiled, and let that go without a challenge. He knew that was as far as I was willing to go and took the victory he could get. He left the workshop soon after, but not before telling me he will give me a list of candidates by tonigh. I thought it was too fast, but he assured me he had vetted all the candidates and only need to know if they were still interested in the job before giving me the list. Howard seemed to have been planning this for a while now.
Was I worried my security consultant has been interviewing people to be my bodyguards behind my back? A little, but I know he meant well. I just hope I can keep the System from the bodyguard. It was a secret I intend to tell no one.
That was an issue for later though, right now I have a battlesuit to make right. I went back to Dive and pull up the simulation. It was a mix bag. My variant was a slight improvement to The Fuming Minotaur, but Dive tagged the twin exhausts I install on the back of the battlesuit as major weakness. I thought they were too small to be a factor in combat but the simulation state that a single shot through either of the exhaust would cause major damage to the battlesuit. Dive highly recommend that I fixed the weakness before releasing it to the public.
The problem was no one would buy it even if I did that.
If what Howard said was correct- and I fully trust the man- no one will be buying my variant as it was a battlesuit designed to charge at the enemy. The standard operating procedure for battlesuit operators was to take cover when they come under enemy fire, not charge at the enemy and hope that your armour would hold up. And that's on top of convincing people to buy a battlesuit that runs on Fossil Fuel technology! Howard was right. This variant was not going to work.
That led to my next question; should I dump it, or try to change it?
Logic says that I should just dump it. If the design is not going to work, then it's far more advisable to just get rid of it and move on to the next project. I only spent half a day on it, so it's not like it was a great loss of time … I decided to comprise. I just save the design to Dive and moved on. It's no use to continue a project that you know was going nowhere but maybe it would be useful in the future.
I looked at the time and saw that it was late in the afternoon. It was still early, but I didn't feel like working anymore. The failure with The Fuming Minotaur had taken the wind out of my sail, and I quickly decided to take the rest of the day off. What's the use of being your own boss if you had to force yourself to work?
I logged out of Dive design platform and began searching the Solar Net. Jaya told me that a few battlesuit designer workshops had sprung up using old technology, and I couldn't help but wonder what they were going. I checked for any new designs using old technology and found to my surprise there was a long list of results. In the past six months, there had been an upsurge of new designs that use old technology. Everything from clocks to luxury cruise ships had been designed with technology like Steam, Clockwork, and Solar. Was I responsible for all these?
Even though I would like to think so, common sense told me otherwise. My Trackbot-P may be famous in the battlesuit market, but it seems highly unlikely that a few battlesuit designs could set off these sorts of changes. I decided to investigate further and found my answer in the business section.
It seems that I did make a change in the wider market, but not in the way I thought. It was the success of The Fat Tinkerer- the company- that prompted designer companies in other markets to focus on older technology.
When designer workshops designed a variant of an item, they need to pay the copyright holder a license fee if they want to sell it in real-life. As the Age of Steam was two hundred and fifty years ago and the Clockwork Age was two hundred years ago, the licensing fees for these old technologies were naturally much lower than for modern technology like Power Core. When I first began making my first battlesuit, the System gave me a million credits for the license fee, but I needed only about half of that to make the Jumpbot. Market analysts who tracked the rise of The Fat Tinkerer focused on this point.
According to the analysts, it made more sense for start-ups to use older technology like Steam and Clockwork from a business sense point. Lower cost means less risk, and The Fat Tinkerer had proved that there was a market for older technology. The increased focus prompted small designer companies to realize the smaller licensing fee that older technology required. Several of them tried to emulate my success. One company succeeded.
"So that's the reason."
I began searching for these new designs that had popped up and saw that most of them were in Clockwork Technology. Of the lot, personal mobility devices were the hot favorite. It all started with one company called Solo Movement Inc. It scored a big hit when they designed a rotor backpack that could transform into a clockwork scooter. What's more, they did it by using modern lightweight materials.
Back in the Clockwork Age, a rotor backpack could weigh anything from ten to twenty kilograms. Material science has improved greatly since then. Modern metals were now both lighter and stronger, and the designer of Solo Movement Inc. managed to design a rotor backpack that weighed no more than two kilograms. As a bonus, the backpack could transform into a small scooter so the device could help the user travel both on the ground or in the air. I was hugely impressed.
"Why didn't I think of this?"