Jaya was nonplussed at my outburst, but quickly collected himself. “Oh good afternoon there Mr. Jaya. Nice to see you again. How are you? Thanks for all the good work! It’s a nice day to…”
“Yeah, yeah. Nice to see you Mr. Jaya, now what the hell happened? Where's the Sealion?”
My broker stared daggers and murmured some curses at me before answering. “It’s fine. It’s just getting prep for the demonstration tomorrow. You saw that big water tank near the stage?”
“Couldn’t miss it even if I tried. I’m surprised the Oriental Earth Group actually put up the money for something like that.”
“They didn’t. Some guy invented a one-man mini submarine that uses Steam power and his company installed the water tank to do a demonstration. Don’t know if the cost was higher than they anticipated or they just want to share the cost, they have been going around asking if anyone else want to use the tank.”
“I take it they are not doing that out of the goodness of their heart. What’s the catch?”
“Not much. A small rental fee for the tank and we need to mention the name of the mini submarine and their company at least twice during our demonstration.”
I couldn’t help but wince at that. “Ouch! They want us to give them free advertisement?”
“Only if we want to use the tank. Besides it’s a submarine. You design Battlesuits. It’ll be fine as we are not in direct competition with each other.”
I had to accept Jaya’s assessment. Although the Sealion has underwater capabilities, my Battlesuit don’t have that much in common with a submarine. Not that I had seen the submarine yet.
“Where’s the submarine? Can I take a look at it?”
“I don’t see why not. Come on, we can see your latest Battlesuit in action as well.”
Jaya gave some final instructions to the workers before hopping on a hoverbuggy. Howard and I got on as well and the buggy lift itself about half a meter above the ground. Originally designed and made because golf clubs were worried about the damage wheels were doing to their golf courses, the hoverbuggy was designed and shaped to look like a golf buggy that floats above the ground. Rich men and their quirks, but silly shape notwithstanding, the hoverbuggy was a convenient way to get around.
Unlike the walk Howard and I took, the hoverbuggy sped it’s way through the festival grounds and the three of us reached the terminal quickly. Jaya turned the vehicle to the back of the stage where the real action is. Clockwork pets; Steam-powered jet packs; and of course the Clockwork submarine; they were all there.
Several mechanics were working on their machines but I only had eye for one; my amphibian Battlesuit, the Sealion. There was an operator inside of it and I couldn’t help but ask.
“Where did you find the operator? Is he any good?”
“The Oriental Earth Group provides them so they are all at least at the Advance rank.” Jaya then laughed. “And I literally had to beat them off with a stick when they heard what your Battlesuit could do!”
I got what Jaya meant right away. Although I originally wanted to build a scout, The Aquatic Maid was so strange and unique, I just couldn’t let it rot as a forgotten design. I wanted to give it another chance to shine, so I shamelessly rip off it…at least partially.
Like The Aquatic Maid, my variant was also designed to be a one-man underwater Battlesuit. And like The Aquatic Maid, the Sealion does not enclosed the operator but I change the underwater propeller system from the two medium-sized propeller fans to the ‘RB Pack’. The sturdy backpack could be used both on land and in the water so it was a much better fit for the Sealion.
I also changed the scuba headgear The Aquatic Maid had. I found that The Aquatic Maid was made over a decade ago and scuba technology had improved by a small margin since then. My location helps me immensely in this regard. Although I don’t take to the sport, there are numerous scuba diving locations in the SEAL so information about scuba equipment was easy to get. I didn’t even have to search on Dive. A few quick calls to some friends and acquaintances who had been to the Raja Ampat Islands in Indonesia and Phu Quoc in Vietnam, and bingo; I got the Dual Communication Headset, or DCH.
I was looking for study equipment that could be used both on land and in the water and the DCH was the communication headset that was recommended to me. Finally, for the coup de grace, I added in the transforming cubes!
Despite my love for The Aquatic Maid, it was a design that failed to find a market. In this competitive materialistic world of ours, that equals to a failed design. No one cares how beautifully and unique the design is if it fails to sell. If it fails to sell, then it’s a failure. I don’t make these rules, I just live in this world that has them so I know I needed a hook. In comes the tried and tested transforming technology.
The Sealion isn’t a Battlesuit that walk into the water like other amphibious Battlesuits on the market, it transformed into an underwater Battlesuit. Most people don’t know this but there are huge differences between underwater and land-based Battlesuits. Underwater Battlesuits like The Aquatic Maid are bulkier as they need to withstand underwater pressure and designers usually designed and shaped the Battlesuits in a way to improve speed underwater. The extra bulk however means that they are slower and clumsier on land. That’s one of the reasons why there are so few amphibious Battlesuits in existence. Designers need to balance the Battlesuit to work in two very different environment. This means they need to comprise but with transforming technology, the need to comprise was lessened for me.