“What are we, ten year-old kids? Stop playing games and just give it to me. What’s the problem?”
“Sheesh, someone got out of the wrong side of the bed today. Bad news first then. Your… Decimator has passed the verification test and is now a valid Battlesuit fit for the market.”
“That’s the bad news?”
“It is when you consider the product. Seriously fatman, this latest suit of yours is not as good as the Trackbot-P. You should be looking to improve on your previous design, not go backwards.”
“Hey, it’s a good fun Battlesuit. I admit it’s not as well put together as the Trackbot-P but it’s not designed to be. It’s for people who’s looking for a fun time.”
“Only if they want to be a villain.”
I can’t help but laugh at that. I solved the propeller problem by installing a rotor backpack called the ‘RB Pack’. It is basically a simple sturdy backpack with a rotor inside that could be released and pulled back whenever the operator desired. I found the part on Dive and was immediately attracted to it.
The RB Pack has a strange origin. It was originally designed as a movie prop! In movies, trends comes and goes and the RB Pack was originally made in an era when clockwork villains were all the rage. A film production company saw an opportunity when they discovered that most film companies has to design and make their own rotor backpacks. The production company designed the RB Pack so that it could be easily installed in various machines like Battlesuits, small Mechs, and even cars.
Despite its strange history, the RB Pack is a valid design and is used to this day in movies set in the Clockwork Era. As it was designed to be easily installed, I had little problem installing it in ‘The Decimator’ and I also thought that it was a good fit. A Battlesuit with a domineering name like ‘The Decimator’ needs a proper villainous piece of equipment right? Jaya didn’t find it as funny as I did.
“There’s no market for that Toby. If people want fun, they go play online games or go on a vacation. They do not get into a Battlesuit up for fun.”
“They might if there are Battlesuits designed for such functions. Don’t worry so much man. If it works, it works. If it does not, it’s no skin off my back. It’s not that expensive of a Battlesuit to make. Besides we are getting off-track here. What other news do you have?”
“I received a request from a company who want the manufacturing license of the Trackbot-P.”
I was shocked. Since I set up the company, I have been slowly building up the catalogue of The Fat Tinkerer and producing all the Battlesuits. I basically have a made-to-order business. Someone order one of my Battlesuit, I built it and sent it to them. This allows me to have full control of the production of my Battlesuit but orders has been coming in thick and fast ever since the heist in Abu Dubai and I haven’t been able to keep up. I am only one man and there’s only so much I could do with only one workshop. Currently I have enough back orders to last me for the next three months and a request for a manufacturing license would help with the back orders a lot.
When a company request for a manufacturing license, it means that they want to produce the product to sell it for themselves. It differs from a production license because there will not be any change in the product. I will be outsourcing the production of the Trackbot-P and as the designer and copyright holder of the Battlesuit, I would get a percentage of every sale the third party made. I could see why this would considered good news for me and Jaya, but there’s a problem.
“There is a company who actually want to mass produce the Trackbot-P and you don’t sound all that happy. Why?”
“The company that made the offer is a Swedish company called The Jämtland Enterprise.”
“I have never heard of them. Who are they?”
“No one have heard of them. I did some digging and they are brand new. From the records I dug up, the company was only set up a few weeks ago and they have only have a small factory located north of Stockholm.”
“What are they making?”
“Nothing as of now. The Trackbot-P will be their first production.”
“Wait a minute. They want their first production line to be a Clockwork Battlesuit? Are they fans like Clockwork Lovers?”
“No idea but this is a serious offer. They already made a tentative bid and implied that they are open for negotiation.”
“How serious of an offer?”
“Fifty million credits upfront with a two percentage cut of every sale for the next ten years.”
Wow! A two percentage cut was low but the upfront payment of fifty million is huge. I’m no expert in manufacturing agreement but fifty million credits has to be much bigger than usual for a Grade 1 Clockwork design.
“I am floored by the money Jaya, but this sounds fishy. We have pending orders for the Trackbot-P but those orders would probably die down in time. These guys have to know that.”
“Agreed. So either these guys are stupid or they want the Trackbot-P for something else.”
“What are you thinking?”
“I’m thinking this factory in Sweden is just a front. If I go there, I will see a production line making just enough Trackbot-P to satisfy the authorities.”
“You think they are going to build off the books.”
“For a brand new company to offer such a high upfront payment? I could be wrong but that’s the only reason I could think of.”
“The money is for us to keep our mouth shut and not ask questions. But why?”
“Most probably because of what happened in Abu Dubai. I am guessing that any off the books Trackbot-P will be on the Dark Net.”
Though weapons that use old technologies like Steam and Clockwork have a lower priority, the authorities do keep a close eye on weapon sales. Criminal organizations can’t just walk into a workshop and order a Battlesuit. However when there is a demand, there will be a way to satisfy it. The Dark Net was designed to be just that. A shadow network similar to the Solar Net, the Dark Net is a free-for-all place where you can buy anything you want as long as you got the credits to buy it. Everyone had heard stories the Dark Net but almost no one can access it. Rumors has it that you need special access codes and authentication tools to enter.
“They are going to build my Trackbot-P for criminals? You’re sure?”
“No and I don’t intend to find out. We need plausible deniability anyway so it’s not in our interest to know the truth.”
“Then why aren’t you trying to get me to accept their offer. I mean if you’re not worried about who is buying the Trackbots, I would think that as my broker you would be trying to sell me the offer.”
“That’s due to my third piece of news. You remember Van right? Well today he just brought me to one side and told me a very interesting piece of news. The SOFS is thinking of reviewing the grade of the Trackbot-P.”
“What do you mean by reviewing the grade? It’s already set at Grade 2.”
“After that fight in Abu Dubai, the SOFS is thinking of upgrading the Trackbot-P to a Grade 3 Battlesuit.”
“WHAT? They can do that?”