When I got back to the workshop, I wanted nothing more than to go straight back into Dive. However I wasn’t some snot nosed kid that came out of school with a fancy degree and no life experience. I had been working for over a decade and I knew that it was the little things that made the difference between a successful workshop and a total failure. The first thing I did was cleanup. The place was a disaster area and the last thing I wanted was for a potential customer to walk in and then straight out due to the mess. I took my cleaning bot from home to the workshop, placed it on the ground and switched it on. It didn’t like the workload it had in front of it, beeping furiously at me, but I made no apologies and left the whole thing to it.
While the bot was cleaning up, I did an inventory of the place. Unfortunately, it was a short exercise. Not a single spanner or screwdriver was left. My best guess was that the workers who used to work here helped themselves to some items before joining the unemployment line. Such thing can’t be helped and I had half-expected it. I then checked on the security of my new property. It was pretty standard stuff. An alarm to the local police system in case of break-ins and white noise filters to prevent spying from the outside. Anyone determined enough could probably break through the security but considering the aged equipment inside, there was currently no need for me to upgrade the security. I keyed my cybernetics to the system so that I would be alerted if the alarm went off but otherwise I left it as it is.
With most of the miscellaneous stuff out of the way, I set an alarm on my cybernetics and got back to Dive. After a night of rest, I felt more clear-headed and on the drive to the workshop, I thought about how to make my Steambot viable for the market. The biggest problem I had was that the Steambot was such a well-known Suit that it was hard for my model to stand out. I need to make it unique in some way.
I pull up my Steambot and looked it over. The Steambot was known to be strong and tough and those are strengths I couldn’t improve on without pushing my model to Grade 1. I had to go the other way. The strengths of the Steambot may be well-known but so were it’s weakness. The main drawbacks was it’s lack of speed and range. Even in it’s day, the Steambot was considered slow and clumsy and many enemies fought it at range. I need to find a way to not only remedy those drawbacks but to also make it unique as well. I pulled up the Grade 0 enhancements and settled on two products; the X-S Cable Punch and the SH-3 Legs.
The X-S Cable Punch used steam-power to launch a fist at an opponent and then a cable to quickly reel the flying fist back into place. It would give the Steambot a useful though limited range attack. The SH-3 Legs was different. It had a springing mechanism that was powerful enough to allow the Steambot to jump at enemies from a distance. The problem was that the SH-3 Legs do not run on steam. It uses Clockwork Technology.
Running different sets of technology together in a Suit was hardly unknown but they were considered to be very unreliable. No matter how well drafted, anomalies continue to happen on such machines and a malfunctioning Suit was not only less than useless, they were a danger to it’s operator. Many designers had tried and failed to develop any sort of consistency in their Suit’s performance when they combined different sort of technology together but I did not really fear the challenge. When you start from the bottom, there’s nowhere to go but up!
I started with the X-S Cable Punch. With the IK Battle-axe already on the right hand, I installed the Cable Punch on the left. As the Cable Punch used Steam Technology, I did not think installing it would be much of an issue. I was right and the Cable Punch was easily installed, but I then discover something I had not expected. The Steambot has extendable arms that allowed the Battlesuit to throw some very powerful punches. Pressurize steam would build up in the shoulder of the Steambot and it would be released the moment the punch was thrown to give it extra power. The way Victor Sage did it gave me the idea of connecting that mechanics to the Cable Punch. I created pressure valves that connect the Cable Punch to the pressurize steam in the shoulder in the hope of making the punch more powerful. My new Tinkering skill showed it’s worth. I found it easy to make the small little adjustments needed to give the Cable Punch an explosive power it didn’t had before. I ran a short simulation and the end result was a Cable Punch that was noticeably more powerful than before. I resisted the urge to continue tinkering with it and went on to the legs.
Though the SH-3 Legs was widely considered a good and reliable product, it was never a popular model even in its heyday. It was a simple question of competition as there were other better models available and the SH-3 Legs was overlooked. However the SH-3 Legs had an advantage over the other products. It was powerful. The model had a springing system that allowed it to be used on heavy Suits and the three meter Steambot was a big and heavy machine. Most Grade 0 legs would probably break the moment the Steambot landed after a jump. I installed the legs and immediately got into trouble.
Clockwork Techology and Steam Technology were different technology that ran on different principles but luckily for me, I wasn’t the first person who had thought about integrating them together. I used the other two Dive screens to pull up articles on integration of different technologies and focused on Clockwork and Steam Technology. There were a lot of articles and I had to filter out the unnecessary to focus on Battlesuits.
The trick was to have a separate operating system for the secondary technology. I managed to find a series of articles by a scientist who managed to incorporate both technology with a reliability rate of eighty percentage. This meant that one out of five times, the secondary technology would simply not work but with my tinkering skill, I hope to bring that figure up to at least ninety percentage. After studying the articles in detail, I began to install the legs. I created new pathways to link the legs to the operating rig and modified the rig to install an extra pedal near the feet for the jump. It was a little crude but totally acceptable for a Suit from the Steam Age. It wasn’t easy and I had to double-check the articles at various times but in the end I managed to install the SH-3 Legs on the Steambot.
After the initial installation, I spent the rest of the morning tinkering with the Steambot to make it better and more reliable. The System said that it was in my DNA and I believed it. I instinctively knew what to do to improve the Steambot’s performance and by the time my alarm went off for lunch, I had done all I could. Dive had a robust simulation program for inventors to test new products and for the first time in my life, I made use of it. A full simulation test costs 1000 DP and would take a full day but I didn’t have time for that. I took a limited hour long package that costs only 50 DP. Though limited, the simulations should be enough to catch any glaring weaknesses I had missed. I let the simulation run as I went out for lunch.