But a mechwarrior is never completely satisfied. While The Gershom was successful, Nicholas was always irritated by its limitations. The mech shouldered the vulnerability of the XL engine, but still moved at a mediocre speed. This sluggishness made close range confrontations unpleasant when the fighting moved in, especially against highly manoeuvrable mechs. This was only compounded by the mech's inability to quickly dissipate heat. Temperature ratings rested in acceptable tolerances when lobbing shells at range, perhaps with sporadic use of the MLAS. But frequent firing of all four MLAS in a brawl situation had a tendency to build an uncomfortable amount of heat.
Still, with limited resources, it was hard to justify any changes on a successful – if imperfect – mech. The Gershom was ran as a powerful, but conventional heavy support unit for some time.
But in a changing time of war, more flexibility is desired from a heavy chassis. Flush with an unexpected source of income, Reffin demanded a complete overhaul of some of his older configurations from his engineering team. First among these refits was a project to expand the tactical flexibility of the Gershom.
After much deliberation and several rejected designs, the Gershom was completely striped and rebuilt over a matter of weeks.
While unpopular with some, the decision was made to actually reduce the armament on the mech, replacing the dual AC10s with a pair of UAC5s. The argument was made that despite the drop in single shot punch, the rapid firing rate of the combined UAC5s, provided it was properly managed, could bring the total destructive power of the cannons to near parity with the AC10s; and in some use-cases actually exceed them. This fire power could be maintain while projecting a more suppressive effect on the battlefield, laying down a threatening barrage of shells rather than the sporadic hammering of the AC10s. This was though to be more in line with the Gershom's expanded role as a more active direct fire support unit.
The lighter and more space efficient cannons made way for the upgraded XL320 engine. Capable of moving the large Cataphract at the more impressive speed of 74kph, the engine was further augmented by an additional heatsink over the old design, helping to alleviate what minor heat issues the Gershom had without losing any of the four medium lasers.
However, the most extensive augmentation to the mech's design was the rebuilding of the internal structural using the new weight efficient Endo-Steel technology and addition of 4 class-III jump jets. While bulky, the new lighter frame brought the mech just in line with the proper tonnage to thrust ratio needed to make the jets worth while.
While the Gershom will never exactly soar over the battlefield, the jump jets give the mech a decent amount of vertical and horizontal movement. This aerial mobility combined with the mech's higher top speed allow for a much greater range of tactical options. Whether using the jets to reach a high vantage point to fire a storm of UAC5 rounds down on an enemy, to escape an unfavourable engagement, or to short-cut and overtake a fleeing enemy, the jump-jets are a constant surprise to the Gershom's foes in the field.
The Gershom's remaining limitations mostly centre around it's shallow ammunition stores, 100 UAC5 rounds can be used up quickly in an engagement of even moderate length. The XL engine is a constant source of vexation and due concern in the broad chested Cataphract, requiring constant awareness of the mech's torso condition.
TL:DR version -
(Special thanks to SwordofLight for the inspiration!)