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Literature / The Mech Touch

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"Welcome to the Mech Designer System. Please design your new mech."
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The Age of Mechs has descended upon humanity. Despite only 3.5 percent of humanity possessing the right genetics to use the neural interfaces that make piloting them possible, mechs have seeped into every facet of human society. Nation-states across the galaxy utilize these mass-produced humanoid machines for war, even as the masses worship them through broadcasts, games, and media.

Ves Larkinson is an anomaly—coming from an esteemed line of mech pilots who had served in the Bright Republic's renowned Mech Corps, he had always dreamed of following in his father's footsteps to become a mech pilot himself. His dream was cut short when it was revealed that he was one of the 96.5 percent; the only one in his family to be doomed to be one of the countless "plebians" who would never set foot into a mech's cockpit.

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Refusing to accept his fate, Ves struggles through college to study mech design. He graduates and returns home to find his father missing, an empty workshop purchased in his name, and a mountain of debt.

Too stubborn to rely on his noble relatives to shoulder the debt, Ves finds the solution to his problems in the last gift his father left for him.

The Mech Touch is an original sci-fi web serial written by Exlor on Webnovel about designing and building mechs while possessing RPG-Mechanics Verse powers. It can be found here.

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The Mech Touch provides examples of:

  • Caped Mecha: Ves is forced to find a way to add a cape onto his design for the "Marc Antony" after his second customer, a spoiled noble, forcefully requests him to.
  • Disappeared Dad: Ves's father disappears at the beginning of the story, leaving only the Mech Designer System in his son's hands. Justified—Ves's father is on the run from mysterious enemies for undisclosed reasons.
  • Empathic Weapon: The X-Factor is an unproven theory on how mechs are, in some way, alive. Ves scoffs at the idea until the Mech Designer System allows him to stumble headfirst into it early into his career. Later on, Ves learns how to channel his creativity and passion into his designs to increase the X-Factor of his mechs for pilots to synchronize with.
  • Fem Bot: The first design that Ves gets his hands on is the outdated Fantasia 2R—a thin, light mech in the form of a slim supermodel in skimpy clothing, to his irritation since its light design would be hard to tinker with.
  • Humongous Mecha: Giant, humanoid mechs dominate every part of the many human nations scattered across space. Mech pilots are looked up to as "nobles" by the the masses, and famous mech designers are treated like celebrities.
  • I Call It "Vera": Ves, overwhelmed by emotion, gives the first mech he makes in reality the name "Phoenix Cry," despite not being the mech's pilot. Thankfully, his customer likes the name and decides to keep it.
  • Mad Scientist: While most mech designers are merely considered eccentric, some mech designers can become dangerously unhinged and psychopathic in the pursuit of their vision, often breaking the MTA's set rules and regulations in the process.
    • The Skull Architect is a renegade mech designer driven to the frontier who has murdered in the pursuit of his designs' perfection and whom Ves meets during his war assignment to the Flagrant Vandals.
  • Perpetual Poverty: Ves's initial days as a mech designer have him barely keep himself afloat as he attempts to make a name for himself in the highly competitive mech industry on top of dealing with debt. Later subverted with the success of the Living Mech Corporation to earn billions of credits yearly on the sales of his designs.
  • Real Robot Genre: Mechs are commonly mass produced and used for warfare, mercenary work, and piracy, though hand-made, custom luxury mechs also exist. The idea that mechs might somehow be alive in some way is looked down on, although Ves has found signs to the contrary...
  • Sudden Game Interface: The Mech Designer System suddenly hijacks Ves' wrist communicator, granting him the ability to upgrade his stats, complete missions, and access a lottery among other things in exchange for Design Points or DP.
  • Virtual Training Simulation: Mech pilots regularly use virtual training simulation pods in order to practice their skills. Ves also finds his initial success developing mech variants for use in virtual reality mech dueling games, which are also commonly used by mech pilots in order to sharpen their skills.
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