74 The Prototype
The trip and meeting took longer than expected and I only managed to get back to Singapore in the early evening. I went straight back home. I had an early night and was up bright and early the next morning. I went to the workshop. My Fuming Minotaur was a failure, my variant of the Steambandit was not done, and now I had to make a new battlesuit for the Council. I knew I was looking forward to going back to work, but this is ridiculous! I had no time to lose.
Once I was in the office, I went into Dive and called up my version of the Fuming Minotaur. After Howard's criticism of the battlesuit, I had intended to put it on the backburner, but the situation had changed. I still wasn't going to release it in it's current form but that doesn't mean there wasn't some other use for it. Tanner wanted a prototype, so I shall give him one. He never said that it had to be good. In fact, most people accepted the fact that prototypes were inferior to the real deal.
So, using the failed variant as the prototype works to my advantage. I had already done most of the work on the battlesuit, the public had not seen the variant before, and no one will care if it is a shitty design. All it need now was a little rework for the mana technology and I can pass it off to Tanner. Thank the cybernetic gods I kept the Fuming Minotaur instead of destroying it.
The main problem for me was to find a workaround to accommodate the mana technology, but I had an idea. I went into the Dive store and looked for a big shield. I was looking for something that was thick, strong, and disposal.
Howard was right in saying that operators were now trained to dodge incoming fire. Most of the shields in the database were from the Age of Steam, and there was so little demand for shields that even small designer studios don't design make them. Luckily, my demands weren't high. It just needed to be a shield.
I looked around the Dive store a bit before finding a shield that fits most of my demands. It was a tall rectangle shield that had a long Japanese name I couldn't be bothered to remember. I went back to the Designer Platform and placed it on the left arm of my variant. I then took out the right hand of the Fuming Minotaur and replaced it with the IK Battle-axe. The trusty handaxe was one of the first weapon components I bought, and it had served me well. No reason to stop using it.
My idea was simple. Since mana energy would interfere with the running of the battlesuit, the way forward would be to design a battlesuit that don't have a need to move. A fully defensive battlesuit whose main function was to defend the infantry men behind him. That was why I decided to use the Fuming Minotaur. It was a heavily armored battlesuit that could easily serve as a defensive bulwark.
Yesterday, I had spent hours telling Tanner and Nor my needs, and they had given me several suggestions. After some considerations, I picked a rune that could release a wide energy shield that measured three meters by three meters.
The good thing about runes and talismans was that they only released the mana when they were activated. So my idea was to inscribe the rune on the front of the shield, and have the battlesuit carry it around.
Tanner assured me the energy shield would be visible to the naked eye and the magicians could even adjust the rune to be more effective against either ballistics or energy attacks. The magical shield was also one way. This meant that the energy shield would stop attacks against it, but any shots by the men behind the battlesuit would be able to go through the shield. This option was a heaven-sent to me.
Energy shields were hardly unknown, but they tend to be big expensive machinery that were used to defend important installations. A mobile energy shield that could be carried around by a battlesuit was almost unheard of. That could be a selling point for mana technology. My battlesuit would place its shield in front of the infantry men and acted as a mobile cover for the men. With this rune, I could showcase both the benefits and flexibility of mana energy.
The drawback was that once activated, the battlesuit could not move.
Once enemies started firing against the shield, the released mana would interfere with the battlesuit, and the internals of the battlesuit would basically shut down. I could do nothing about this; the only thing I could do was to design my battlesuit around the problem.
Since I couldn't stop the battlesuit from shutting down, I decide to give the operators a way to restart the battlesuit quickly. I went into the internals of the Minotaur and began working on it. As a former mechanic, I already had some knowledge on electronics, and I also have the electrical engineering and advance electrical engineering skills from the system. I now put my skills to work.
Restarting a battlesuit wasn't the same as restarting a stalled car. A battlesuit was a weapon of war, and they came was a standard operating procedure. The SOP was important to ensure the smooth running of the battlesuit, and operators were taught to go through the checklist one by one. Only after pressing several buttons one after another would a battlesuit activate. The idea of quick-starting a battlesuit was something most designers don't even think about. I had less than six weeks to condense the SOP to one button.
For the next few hours, I work on the internals. Time flies when you are having fun, and outside a few toilet breaks and lunch, I was at the console the whole time. I was in the zone! I had a rhythm going. A call from Jaya broke all that.