Empire Of The Ring Chapter 393
The presence of highly skilled shipbuilding engineers was also one of the great assets of the autonomous state.
Ship mechanics and design engineers who migrated from Batumi had now completely taken their root in the state and they had been speeding up the production of ships. They were only working on repairing cargo ships and producing battle speedboats now. As there was no one in charge of the shipyard, Bobek, the head manager of the state’s machinery repair shop, had been appointed as the shipyard’s chief.
The reason that Bobek, a Serbian, was appointed as the chief of the shipyard was not because of his professionalism but because of his friendly and encouraging nature. He had been so far taking care of Georgian shipbuilding engineers and leading the shipyard well without any trouble. When Youngho visited the shipyard for the first time in a long time, Bobek came out to greet him.
“What brings you in this squalid place, prince consort?”
“If this place is shabby, it’s like saying the whole state is bad. I’m here to discuss something with you. Shall we go up to the office?”
“I don’t know much about shipbuilding, so I don’t know if I’ll be of help.”
“What do you mean by that? You’re a good caretaker. I’m here to discuss making a 5,000-ton cargo ship.”
“It’s not impossible. The hull design is not a problem, but the engine could be tricky. We have to import all of our steering arrangement and electronic control engines. It would be nice to make our own freighter, but I’m afraid it’ll cost a lot of money.”
“A ship engine company would be able to make other engines too, right?”
“Of course. If we have a processing facility, making the engine’s body is not a big deal. Special components for the engine could be imported as well.”
“I see. Would you please consult with the engineers about making an engine plant here? Don’t worry about the money.”
The reason why Youngho wanted to build a factory, even though the state was not going to mass-produce ship engines, was because he wanted to make engines of other transportations as well. Once the factory was built, the state would gradually develop its technological skills, so it could make different kinds of engines.
There was no need for the shipyard to rely on one kind of engine product. By creating a base of production facilities, the engine plant could be switched to other uses in case of emergency.
No matter how high-tech electronic age people were living now, the machinery industry was an important basic industry to have. Various machine tools of the state that were brought in from the Balkan Peninsula with the Serbian immigrants were quite useful. A hunting gun in the limelight in Russia was also produced because of such a machine tool.
It was the same with different kinds of ammunition produced by the weapons lab. Any kind of special-purpose machine tools could be used in various ways, especially when the autonomous state did not have many things, to begin with.
Cho Chul-hwan was more pleased than anyone else when he heard about the engine plant.
“So, we’re getting a huge machine tool, aren’t we?”
“I suppose so. The ship’s engine is huge.”
“Then you can easily make large wheels that go into the Caterpillar.”
“What are you going to use the iron wheel for?”
“I’m trying to put it in a broken light-armored vehicle.”
“Is your light-armored vehicle broken?”
“It was the one that we used in the tundra, but we can’t use it anymore. I took it to the repair shop to see if I can revive it, but the workers there suggested to put caterpillar tracks in it. The machine there did not have a capacity to cut a large wheel, so I was bummed.”
“You really should’ve told me earlier, I would’ve bought special machine tools for such purpose if you did.”
“I didn’t think it was efficient to buy an expensive machine tool just for that. We could buy parts from outside instead.”
“No, we need to accumulate technology in the state as much as we can, which we won’t be able to if we don’t try. The reason why I buy steel materials such as cold, hot-rolled steel plates, ship hoods, and so on is that I want technicians to utilize them.”
“Oh, that’s what it was? I wondered why you stocked up unnecessary materials in the warehouse.”
Youngho brought in such supplies to prepare for the situation of isolation, but it was nothing to save if someone needed to use them since someone could really come up with something special using those materials.
At the office of the administration office, Kim Chun, who had been to Astana, was talking with excitement.
He explained the land documents of the branch river that was given to the Arirang State by the Kazakh government. Now it was named the Arirang River.
“Prince consort, the new territory turned out to be a land of gold. You can turn it into rich soil if we can make a small waterway through the land from the river. The president has given us a very valuable present. We’ll have to repay him by developing the land into something great. I’m embarrassed to say this, but when I got there, I was highly respected as a baron of the Arirang State. It was different from when I was a mere commissioner. I was quite flattered by their treatment.”
“It’s not just anyone who receives the title of nobility. It’s great that the Kazakh government respects the titles given by our autonomous state.”
The central government’s treatment of the Arirang State’s officials must be because of the president’s special order since whatever title from the state did not really mean a lot to Kazakhstan. The president had shown his favor to Youngho in front of high officials and military officials when he went to the presidential palace to demonstrate drone usage for military purposes and when the naval missile ships were transported from Korea at the Port of Atyrau. Because of that, other high officials must be trying hard to respect the autonomous state and Youngho as well in order to keep their positions.
“Commissioner, could you please figure out what each factory of our state needs? If any equipment or facility would be needed in the future, please let them report it to you to order them even if they’re not using them right away.”
“Isn’t it a waste to order something you don’t need right now?”
“We haven’t been so experimental because we don’t have facilities and equipment. It’ll be a plus for us in the long run. There are so many things that we don’t have in the state. Just think of it as leaving a piece of lab equipment in school.”
“Then why don’t we make a machinery plant? If we’re able to produce the components we need for each factory, we can prevent redundant investments.”
“That’s a very good idea. If we have a large machine tool, we could supply any part.”
“Why don’t we make a technology research lab too with the machinery plant?”
“That’s no problem. There’s a lab at the Bentonite test-production plant, so we can expand it for that. The problem is the research staff… Could you be in charge of recruiting lab staff? I’m sure there is a lot of people who used to work at various research institutes in the Soviet era.”
“Oh, sure. I know there are a few people in Atyrau too. They’d love to work in the Arirang state.”
Having experienced researchers in the state would set a good example for young students. They could also learn technology from the researchers if they worked as assistants and got trained as technical staff.
“Promise the best possible treatment and condition for them. More researchers will want to come only through good word of mouth.”
“How many are you going to hire?”
“Don’t think about the number of potential employees. Since we don’t have a base here, we’ll have to make the best out of them. The more, the better. Also, please make sure that we don’t take people working in government-led institutions. I’m majorly looking for people who had retired.”
“Should we still be worried about the government?”
“It’s a promise that I made to the president. It doesn’t matter what we do in the state, but we don’t want to interfere with the Kazakh government. If this government is affected by us, it will be a big problem.”
Although the autonomous state was now recognized by the central government and by global society, the state should be careful not to cause any problem to the Kazakh government and society. Now was the time to keep a low profile since if the state was rumored to be a better place to live in than Kazakhstan, Kazakh citizens would be stirred up and criticize the central government, causing a social problem. It was lucky that the state was seen as a tiny place in the vast country of Kazakhstan, that not many people of Kazakhstan saw how it was like in the state closely.
When the new system was established to a certain extent, Youngho began to set up schedules outside.
First of all, visiting the Siberian city, Krasnoyarsk, was a priority. The agents who had been collecting rubies in tundra area were withdrawn already, but the logging site had to be in full operation from now on, so Youngho needed to visit the area to oversee the site and workers and security team there.
The reason for the withdrawal of the ruby collection team was that it was too difficult to find the gems and that Youngho found out that D Drones did not really need rubies since only artificial rubies could be used for laser guns according to Eriksson. What D Drones wanted was natural diamonds, so he would not have to find rubies so desperately anymore. Another reason for his visit to the city of Krasnoyarsk was to discuss something with Nikolay.
Hong Sung-ki and Suh Min-seok followed Youngho for the Siberian trip this time. Kim Il-kwon decided to stay in Baku after hearing that Youngho would take Hong Sung-ki. It seemed that Il-kwon trusted Sung-ki’s skills. Hong Sung-ki was in charge of the Siberian region, so he knew about the region more than anyone else. He would not let anyone else take care of any business in Siberia. With his eloquence and stubbornness, no one could beat him in arguments.
It was Youngho’s first unofficial outside schedule since he became a duke, Kim Chun came out to the airfield to give him an earful again.
“Prince consort, now you have to stay in the best facilities for the sake of your state.”
“Oh, people just see me as an ordinary businessman in Siberia. I’ll embarrass myself if I mention about being a prince consort there.”
“Director Hong and Min-seok, please watch your language around people, okay?”
“Commissioner, if we stay here to listen to your lecture, we’ll be here the whole day. Don’t worry, we’ll escort the duke well.”
“You say that then you turn around and call him Boss again.”
“It’s more natural to call him Boss outside. Prince consort has ordered us to call him that once we step out of the autonomous state.”
Kim Chun let them go after a long lecture and nagging.
Inside the six-seater jet, Hong Sung-ki loudly shared his story.
“Boss, I went to my sister-in-law’s house this time and proudly boasted about being knighted at the coronation. Everyone was surprised. There are no government officials so far in her family.”
“Is the knight a government official, too?”
“Oh, Boss. Does it make sense that the person who made the title doesn’t even know? It’s a knight under the baron. Then it should definitely be a government post.”
“The title is just a symbol of one’s identity, isn’t that right Suh Min-seok?”
“Mr. CEO, the knight was a nobleman in the past. It was a class, not a title. So, it’s not a government post anyway.”
“Is that so? Okay. Hey, Hong Sung-ki, what makes you say that a knight is a government official?”
“The state has given me the task to be the head of the Siberian branch of the Intelligence Department of the state. Of course, I’ve got a government post.”
“Ha! A knight is that high and mighty, I see.”
“Don’t make fun of me, or I’ll relinquish my knighthood.”
“Are you serious? Your juniors are eyeing for that position, don’t you know?”
“What? No, what kind of guy crosses my place? They’re only little chicks. Chicks can’t pretend to be a fully grown chicken.”
“You know the chicken is a good thing to eat, right?”
Min-seok laughed hard at that point, but he had to quiet down soon at Hong Sung-ki’s glare.
Seeing the two, Youngho burst with laughter in a long time forgetting about his position and face.