The Mech Touch

 
 

The Mech Touch Chapter 307 Power of Resonance


Close to the final moment before the devourers tore into the Gregarious Wrath, Ves gained a new idea. "Chief! Can the dimensional smoothers be overloaded?"

"Huh?"

"The dimensional smoothers that protect us from wrinkles in spacetime! Can their power be cranked up any further?"

"It's not that simple!" The chief shook his head. "We borrowed them from the MTA under punishing conditions. If we damage them in any way, there's hell to pay!"

"Well, the energy snakes are about to breach inside the Wrath, so I hardly think this is the time to hold back!"

The chief faced a lot of pressure with this decision. The devourers wouldn't give him enough time to discuss the option with the captain. His eyes hardened as he decisively took action. His fingers brushed across a couple of options in the projected panel.

"Let's see what happens if we dial the power up to a 150 percent!"

As soon as the dimensional boosters received an influx of excess power, they reacted by emitting vastly empowered restrictive fields. The three dimensional smoothers placed along the length of the Wrath ensured the entire tunneler became covered in this enhanced fields.

As the snakes finally reared forward, they bumped head-long into the newly empowered field. While they initially kept flying forward, the sakes quickly halted as their bodies warped out of shape.

"It's working!" Petrisc shouted with awe. "How did you know that would work?"

"The devourers look like they have one foot in the material dimensions and another foot in the other dimensions. I figure they are existences that straddle both sides in order to take advantage of their best parts. This kind of semi-corporeal state can only be maintained if there aren't any barriers between the material dimensions and the upper dimensions."

In truth, Ves had been thinking of a way to fight back against his 'mother' if she ever appeared before him again. All those hours of brainstorming eventually produced results, of which Ves applied one of them. The success of his measure strengthened his confidence against the ghost.

Perhaps his next encounter with his mother wouldn't turn out to be one-sided.

The snakes exhibited signs of deep discomfort. Whatever the dimensional smoothers did to solidify the local space, the devourers deeply behaved as if they got scalded by hot water. Only after they shifted back a fair distance did their bodies stop looking like they would fall apart.

"How long can the dimensional smoothers hold?" Ves asked.

"Not long. They have in-built safeties that will forcefully regulate their power intake after forty-five seconds."

"That's not long enough!"

"At least you bought us some time. It's all in the hands of the mech technicians that are putting back the Fire Worm together."

Ves had no more rabbits to pull out of his hat. Any other measure he could suggest wouldn't work due to a lack of means. Even his impromptu suggestion to overload the dimensional smoothers had been a fluke as he knew almost nothing about their properties.

As the seconds passed, the crew of the Wrath prepared for a ruinous outcome. Chief Petrisc ordered the emergency deactivation of all but one of the power reactors, thereby forcing the tunneler to a halt.

"Ten more seconds to go."

Sweat poured from Ves as he readied his own countermeasures. He made sure that Lucky stayed nearby before holding his fingers atop his comm. He would instantly activate his stealth module as soon as one of the snakes emerged in the engineering bay.

Suddenly, the status projection sent out an audible ping.

"The Fire Worm is ready! Venerable Drake has lifted off!"

Through a hidden hatch at the rear of the Wrath, a colorful orange mech emerged into the tunnel. Ves scoured his eyes over the frame of the mech and noted that it could only be the Fire Worm.

The mech appeared to be an aerial striker, though it actually wielded a combination of laser rifles and flamethrowers embedded in its arms. Forces primarily utilized such mechs to harass the rear lines of their enemies and disrupt their supply lines. Only rarely would any force employ aerial strikers in a frontal clash.

"Aerial strikers don't have the room to accommodate both their lasers, flamethrowers and flight systems. It takes too much energy and fuel to feed all of these systems." Ves mused.

However, the rules didn't apply to expert mechs. As long as a designer applied sufficiently advanced technology, all of those limits could be overcome.

Naturally, these benefits always came at a ruinous cost. The Mech Corps could only afford to provide these treatment to their rare and valuable expert mech pilots.

Ves always dreamed of designing a tailored expert mech for one of the Venerables of the Republic. Now, he'd be able to witness one of those mechs in action.

Despite weighing as much as a medium mech, the Fire Worm accelerated at a rate on par with a light mech. The lighter gravity helped somewhat, but the model's incredibly powerful systems enabled it to surpass ordinarily limits without any strain.

It took seconds for Venerable Drake to reach the closest devourer. Chief Petrisc already ceased overloading the dimensional smoothers, so the devourers quickly recovered from their momentary discomfort.

At the Fire Worm's approach, the devourer appeared to be alert. Somehow, it detected a high level of energy from the approaching machine. The ethereal snake faced the Fire Worm with a gaping maw, ready to absorb anything it threw in its way.

The Fire Worm didn't play by its rules. Venerable Drake held back his fire and flew his mech past the maw in an arcing path. Only after his mech turned around did he open fire.

His bulky, sophisticated rifle spat out a trio of thick laser beams. They converged upon a single point on the devourer's surface.

Ordinarily, such a mighty convergence would have vaporized any mech in the way, but the lasers passed through the body of the snake without any effect.

While the snake kept turning around to face the Fire Worm, Venerable Drake kept circling around the bewildered devourer while trying to avoid the swiping passes of its two companions. The Fire Worm tried a few different configurations, but none of the lasers left a mark on the snakes.

It looked like the expert mech pilot had to employ his full strength to tackle this alien menace.

The Fire Worm's exterior started to glow red as some of its components started to resonate with some unknown influence. Its armor radiated so much energy and heat that Ves had an illusion that the Fire Worm caught fire.

"The Venerable is getting serious now!"

The main difference between an advanced mech pilot and an expert mech pilot was that the latter had broken through the limits posed by their genetics.

A good genetic aptitude only provided potentates with a decent start. Once they reached the pinnacle of advanced mech pilot, they had to evolve beyond the parameters holding back the human race from gaining as much might as the pinnacle alien races in the galaxy.

Even four-hundred years after the start of the Age of Mechs, humanity couldn't explain how expert pilots came to be. Ves himself only knew of a couple of traits that empowered them beyond baseline humans.

The most important of which was that expert mech pilots gained the ability to resonate with exotics. Most exotic materials actually didn't react very strongly to an expert mech pilots, but a small portion actually reacted very strongly when an expert mech pilot made a connection to those materials.

This enabled them to bring out the dormant potential hidden deep within these exotics and perform various miracles that often seem like magic. The galactic net was rife with battle recordings where renowned experts pulled off feats such as teleportation and duplication.

One all-time popular battle recording even showed a single battle in space where over a hundred spaceborn mechs fired their rifles at a motionless expert mech. They thought the expert mech had somehow lost power.

They were wrong.

The expert mech woke up just before they pulled their triggers and began to glow in purple. Mystical lines ran through its frame as a concave field came into being.

By the time the lasers and projectiles reached the expert mech, they stopped and curved around as if they orbited a planet. The attacking mechs quickly got torn down by their own fire.

Such incredible feats had elevated expert mech pilots to the forefront of human society, even if they didn't show up in public that much. The more they showed off their talents, the easier it was for their enemies to develop countermeasures.

Right now, Venerable Drake had no such concerns. The Fire Worm's glow reached an apex, whereby the energy transferred to the bulky rifle in its arms. A module on rifle glowed resplendently white before the rifle spat out three white-hot beams that carried special qualities.

This time, the lasers struck the hapless devourer, and carved out a burning hole in his body. The energy snake reared back as if it had almost been decapitated. With surprising speed, the wounded devourer flew back, but the beams kept pumping more hurt into its body.

The rifle eventually dimmed after two full seconds, but by that time the devourer stopped moving.

"He did it! He killed the creature!"

Hope bloomed among the crew. Even though the Fire Worm expended a significant amount of energy to kill off that snake, only two more creatures remained. Despite the initial success, Chief Petrisc held back his smile.

Ves noted the chief's reticence. "You don't believe Venerable Drake can do it?"

"He's not a high-tier expert pilot. The Venerable deserves respect for reaching a realm that most can only dream of, but he can only fight on one to ten odds."

Even expert mech pilots could be classified in tiers. Newer expert pilots could generally beat ten mech pilots at once if they all piloted the same mechs.

Those that made a lot of progress in practicing their abilities eventually reached the point where a single expert could beat a hundred mechs at once, but only if they piloted a mech tailored to their talents.

While Venerable Drake piloted a fitting mech, he hadn't gained enough time to become a top-tier expert pilot. Still, the expert didn't flinch from his duty. The Fire Worm turned around to face the two devourers that had become enraged at their companion's death. Their speed grew to the point where the Fire Worm wouldn't be able to outrace the alien creatures.

In response, Venerable Drake resonated with his mech again. The Fire Worm regained its energetic glow, but this time it acquired a scarlet tint. The mech calmly holstered the rifle onto its back before extending its two arms.

The two devourers tried to be clever and split up to attack the Fire Worm from both sides. Venerable Drake therefore responded by aiming the muzzles of his mech's flamethrowers in their direction. As soon as the devourers came within effective range, the energy converged into the wrists where the muzzles of the flamethrowers rested.

Then, they spat out fire.

Two humongous gouts of flame extended more than a hundred meters from the flamethrowers. Even an entire corvette would be enveloped by the gigantic scarlet flames!

Once the flamethrowers ceased their operation, the flames died out, leaving nothing but broken creatures in their wake. The snakes slowly drifted down to the core now that their semi-corporeal bodily functions stopped working.

The Fire Worrm massacred the energy life forms with contemptuous ease.

Inside the engineering bay, Chief Petrisc sighed in relief. "It's a good thing those indigenous life forms don't seem all that strong. They can be killed as long as we have the right tools."

With Venerable Drake and his Fire Worm on standby, the Gregarious Wrath wouldn't have to worry about being beset by the strange creatures.

The journey to the center of the Glowing Planet was back on track.

 
 


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