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I brought up the image of the Steambot again and this time I used all three screens to see the inside and outside of the Steambot. I finally found something I thought no one would want to change; the Steambot’s heat exhaust. As it runs on steam, heat was a major problem for the Steambot. Victor Sage solved the problem by building two big heat exhaust on the back shoulders of the Battlesuit. When the suit gets overheated, the operator could release the valve and steam would shoot out from the back high into the air. It quickly became one of the Steambot’s ironic look. I was sure no one would think of messing with it. I felt slightly sacrilegious just thinking about it.

Using the Dive holographic design program, I moved the exhaust down to the lower back and pointed them downwards instead of upwards. I had to reroute the cooling systems and most of the electronics but tinkering with the insides of machines was something I did every day so I was confident I could do it. It still took me hours but in the end I managed it. I was helped by the design of the rigging system. Despite the size of the Steambot, the operator of it has to be small. Made in an age before power core technology and microcircuitry, the operating seat of the Steambot was only big enough for a child or a small teenager to fit. The small rig meant there was more room for the designer to pack in the electronics but I had an advantage over the designers in the Steam Age; modern education. A century of progress in Battlesuit design had made it far easier for me to tinker with the inside of the Steambot without it losing either power or performance. I pulled up Dive again and this time the design was accepted.

I raised his arms in triumph as Dive quote me the cost of 2839 DP. The design cost was what I had to pay to save the design into the Dive platform. Failure to pay meant that the design would disappear once I logged out of Dive and also, Dive do not allow you to put an unsaved design up on sale. I quickly agreed and set up a simple digital store to put the Steambot up for sale. Dive then suggested the minimum selling price. I almost laughed at the figure. As if anyone would pay anything for my Steambot. I accepted the price set by Dive and the System immediately responded.

 

[Mission completed. 200 DP awarded to User Tobias Wong. New Mission available]

“WHAT!” I screamed at the System. “200 DP? Why? I got 10,000 just for selecting a Subject!”

 

[Design submitted by User Tobias Wong was too similar to the base model and only got a D- Grade from the System. Reward was reduced accordingly.]

“Shit!”

I half-remember that the System did say something like that but to think I actually lost over 2000 DP on that mission. I gave another sigh and selected the Mission tab on the System to get the next mission.

 

Mission: Sell Your First Battlesuit

You have design your first Battlesuit but what’s the use of making it if no one else uses it. Sell the Grade 0 Battlesuit you made (you can modify it further if needed).

 

“Oh, come on!” I shouted in frustration, this time more angry at myself than the System. Of course there’s a follow-up mission! I should have known. “Shit!”

It was fast becoming my word of the day, and to think I seldom cursed. Left with little choice, I pulled the Steambot up again. I looked through all the Grade 0 weapons and tried them on one by one. Nothing worked. Either the add-ons were too weak to make much of a difference or they were too powerful and pushed the Battlesuit to Grade 1. I needed it to stay at Grade 0. I continued working till the inevitable warning from Dive arrived.

 

WARNING: Record show you have been online for 11 hours straight. International rules on internet use do not allow any user to be online for more than 12 hours straight. Please finish your work. Account will shut down in 1 hour.

 

There was no clock in the office so I had to use my cybernetics to call up the time. It was already three in the morning. Wow! Faced with chronic widespread internet addiction, the United Federation of Planets had imposed a law preventing people from being online for too long. There was also another law that state his account had to be offline for at least 6 hours day. I had never imagine myself falling foul of those laws.

“Shit!”

It was one roadblock after another. Left with no choice, I turned off the Dive and stood up for the first time in over ten hours. A wave of exhaustion came over me. I didn’t even know a man could be so tired just by sitting. I took a trip to the loo and walked out of the building. I locked the door and went to my car. I was too tired to drive so I set a course for home and activated the auto drive. As the car lifted off, I rest my eyes. Overcome with exhaustion, sleep came almost immediately. Just before the darkness ascended, a small message appeared.

 

[Job Unlocked!]

[Battlesuit Designer- Trainee]

[Skill Obtained- Tinkering]

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Ghostman

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