Editor: Thor’s Stone
Kou, the other two young Development Engineers, along with Aki were dragged by Kelly to an underground laboratory.
In the huge underground lab, they found various work machines, the SFA-F02 Pheasant which was Jenny’s personal machine, and another slim-framed Silhouette that Kou had never seen before. It sported a large backpack on its back.
Aki’s eyes immediately squinted when she saw it. It seemed like she was familiar with it. However, she kept her silence.
「The data Jenny handed over this time around really came in handy. It’s very rare to get your hands on data about Silhouettes engaging in battle with an actual super-heavy tank!」
Kelly began unabashedly praising Jenny.
「Yeah. She’s a knockout beauty, she’s really skilled, and she’s very popular with her men. She’s a really amazing person.」
「It’s great that she’s beautiful eh? She’s a woman who’s absolutely qualified to pilot our Pheasant. Silhouettes need to be beautiful you know. After all, who would wanna pilot a lame-looking Silhouette, right?」
Kelly seemed to be expecting agreement from the rest, and three heads eventually nodded.
「As long as you create a design with a solid objective in mind, you’d naturally end up with one that has something people call functional beauty. There’s no meaning in creating a design that you wouldn’t fall in love with yourself after all.」
The three young people’s voices echoed out in unison.
「It would be fine as long as your designs adhere to the KISS principle. That’s a favorite saying of the founder of the company I worked for back when I was still on Earth.」
「The KISS principle?」
「It’s actually an abbreviation for “Keep it short and simple.” It basically means not to overcomplicate things.」
「Keep things short and simple huh……」
「It’s not that easy to adhere to such a principle you know? People, you see, tend to have an impulse to put in various functions when making stuff that’s supposedly simple yet highly efficient. Think of cars, for example.」
「Yeah. I get it now!」
「Speaking of the KISS principle, you’re aware that basic Silhouette frames are general-purpose, right? So you’d want to add all sorts of functions to such a generic machine. Because stuff like flight capability and high mobility is just too hard to pass up, right? However, you have to reign yourselves in first. Consider things carefully, guys! Are those functions really appropriate for the stuff you’re making?」
「Come to think of it, those multifunctional ink-jet printers back on Earth were pretty troublesome huh. Once the scanner broke down, you wouldn’t even be able to print anything for some reason.」
「I heard stuff like that happen on old-model mobile phones too. There were some that doubled as projectors or mini-PCs.」
「They released a smartphone that doubled as a mini netbook in my country as well.」
The three young engineers each thought of products with peculiar additional functions that were released in their respective countries of origin.
「Right. You can’t just recklessly try to include excessive additional functions to the stuff you make. That’s all there is to the KISS principle. Considering that principle, the current era work Silhouettes can be considered as products that are already refined to completion. After all, their basic design hasn’t changed even after 20,000 years. We’re just tacking on additional functions to those refined products. What I’m basically trying to get at is that you need to first decide on a solid concept and try your best not to stray from it when coming up with your designs.」
Kelly then pointed toward the Pheasant.
「The concept of the Silhouette called Pheasant is “aerial combat.” It was designed with that in mind. Thanks to that, it ended up being ridiculously expensive, and its mechanisms became quite complex, but we were able to put it to practical use on the Nemesis warfront.」
「Come to think of it, I haven’t really seen any other Silhouettes capable of aerial combat besides that model.」
「I’ve drastically reduced its carrying capacity. I’ve also thinned its armor. That thing probably wouldn’t be of much use in ground battles. It wouldn’t amount to much even if you slapped it with additional equipment. However, there aren’t that many flight-capable Silhouettes that are active right now. The only ones that had reached a practical level when it comes to flight capability are models designed by Kurt and Kinukawa.」
The names of the Development Engineers mentioned by Kelly were familiar to Kou.
「My baby here won’t lose to their designs when it comes to maximum speed and climbing speed. I think mine is the only model that’s fully focused on aerial combat!」
「Are the vectoring thrusters not effective enough?」
「That’s not it. When you think of a human flying without the use of an aircraft, arguably the most famous depiction is of them sporting jetpacks and rocketing to the skies. But that’s basically just brute-forcing flight with rockets. The same principle applies to Silhouettes.」
Kelly suddenly brought out a paper plane and threw it in the air.
「I and Kurt worked on our designs with the assumption of them engaging in aerial battles. Kurt focused on auxiliary flight systems. Kinukawa, on the other hand, is a flight purist through and through. That guy pursued a flight form that would first and foremost serve as a means of transport. That’s why that guy’s Silhouette employs a wingsuit as additional equipment in order to achieve flight.」
「So their design principles are different even though they are all meant to fly?」
Matt inquired while taking notes.
「They’re completely different! If my design focuses on the concept of moving around in the air by controlling the machine’s attitude, Kinukawa’s focuses on getting from Point A to Point B as promptly as possible. I pursued the style of a combat Silhouette. Even if both our Silhouettes are flight-capable, their concepts and the approaches we took to achieve those concepts are completely different.」
「But I consider John as the greatest genius among us all! He’s really good at making use of commonly used materials to their fullest in order to achieve impressive results at as low a cost as possible!」
「I heard that he was the one who equipped the Work Silhouettes with weapons during the initial invasion of the Stones. And he also resisted the Murders by spreading Bears and firearms to the people.」
「Work Silhouettes don’t employ any pointless parts after all. The current Assault Silhouettes used in combat right now are either reactivated relics from the Interplanetary War era or mass-produced at Work Silhouette factories. Bears were originally developed from the basic Work Silhouette design, so they can only be manufactured in factories specialized in making Work Silhouettes. In other words, it’s important for a Development Engineer to consider which Fortress Area they are gonna be affiliated with.」
Kelly then touched the Pheasant as he continued to address the three eager learners.
「However, don’t get me wrong, guys. Don’t end up excluding the functions crucial to your designs in your pursuit of simplicity. For example, look at this Silhouette. It comes with a backpack equipped with large maneuvering vector thrusters. Pretty simple, right?」
「Haha. Does it sound like a stretch? However, that’s why I’ve focused on air combat capability, which is the most crucial element of my design. In other words, you have to make a choice on what you want to prioritize the most when making your designs.」
Suddenly, Kou got reminded of the tank Yunlan was developing.
In the pursuit of better cooperation between Silhouettes and tanks, he completely discarded miniaturization and focused solely on Silhouette and tank tandem functions.