The Mech Touch Chapter 393 Unseen Threa
Ves hoped to fool Sir Ravanac into thinking that he could continue to harass the Chasseurs from the dark. Now that they had just succeeded in hitting Ves, it was important for him to demonstrate that he could continue to pose a threat to their rear.
"My stealth charge has almost run out. I've got to finish this quickly."
He positioned himself at a different angle and elevation and proceeded to fire at the uncertain Chasseurs yet again. This time, the mechs had put up their guards and oriented some mechs to the front. His ninth shot managed to carve through the shield of a knight mech, but failed to inflict significant harm on the mech itself.
Even as he unleashed his shot, his form dove down quickly, allowing him to dodge most of the counterattack, although a volley of rapid-fire laser beams managed to clip his left side, causing the shield generator to whine in protest.
"Thirty-eight percent charge!"
His stealth field was also on the verge of giving up. Without any further thought, Ves snapped his Amastendira for the last time. This time, he chose to shoot Sir Ravanac's mech despite knowing that it wouldn't have much of an effect.
His aim was a little off, and the beam streaked above the fancy mech's head. Ves quickly corrected his aim and slashed the beam downwards until it hit the mech's shoulder blades.
Unfortunately, rear armor or not, the Amastendira's full-powered laser beam only left a shallow furrow inside the plating of compressed armor. The only thing his final shot managed to accomplish was to pull Sir Ravanac away from his fight against the Blackbeaks.
Both knight mechs looked like hey had gone through a giant tumbler. One mech lost its shield and had its entire left arm smashed, while the other mech had its beak flattened while suffering a severely dented leg. Ultimately, the two offensive knights highlighted the shortcomings of their type, which was that they lacked the true resilience of a defensive knight.
"Now, will you decide to pull away or not?" Ves frowned.
Whatever the case, he did not have the luxury to hang around. He quickly dove back behind the wall just before his stealth augment ran out of power. Without any concern for his dignity, Ves quickly dropped down to the ground and ran towards the nearest underground access point.
As Ves sought refuge underground, the battle in the gap had turned into an awkward state. Neither the Chasseurs nor the defenders fought with all of their might. The latter had almost run out of steam while the former kept up their guard for further sneak attacks.
The power exerted by Ves and the difficulty in pinning him down had truly struck a nerve in the minds of the Vesians. They quickly lost a bunch of mechs, which robbed the attackers of much of their energy. Even though they would still be able to break through the defenses, the amount of casualties they'd suffer along the way might quickly reach an unacceptable point.
Even as Sir Ravanac agonized over the decision, the two battered Blackbeaks did not show signs of giving up. Their pilots continued to press on the mace-wielding mech, preventing its pilot from considering the situation with a sober mind.
With much of his raiding force stalled, who knew how many mechs he would lose at the end of this raid. It would be a joke to suffer more losses than their targets.
"These Brighters are too stubborn!"
Why did they fight so hard to preserve a single facility?
The losses that the Chasseurs already sustained put the noble in a difficult spot. He already lost a number of mechs. If he did not achieve any results, his superiors would scorch him over a fire. Yet if he recklessly continued the assault, the cost would become so unbearable that he might get sanctioned over the disaster.
Perhaps the pressure had been too much for him, because Sir Ravanac eventually gave in to his fears. "Pull back!"
In his consideration, it was better to retreat and claim that the intelligence officers screwed up by underestimating the defenses of the facility they were supposed to destroy. At worst, he'd receive a reprimand. He could always regain his honor in subsequent battles.
If he instead pressed on with the attack, he might be able to break the defenders, but he might also lead his unit to a bad end. In that case, the consequences would be much more dire. Losing his knighthood was the worst thing that could happen to him.
Once he lost the protection of his elevated status, his enemies among the Legion would certainly pounce on him. He'd lose everything he'd worked for these past couple of decades.
The Chasseurs slowly receded from the gap. The defenders didn't follow, as they weren't in a state to pursue. Only a third of their mechs still possessed the strength to fight back, which was way too little to pose a significant threat to the diminished Chasseurs.
In order to guard against any further sneak attacks, Sir Ravanac's mech joined the most intact mechs at the rear guard. As the Chasseurs gradually quickened their pace, the defenders realized that they successfully repelled the Vesians.
"We did it! They're gone!"
"What a hell!"
"Where did those laser beams come from?"
As the mechs at the walls celebrated their success, both the Oodis Mudriders and Walter's Whalers experienced the same thing. The Meandering Monkeys completely gave up on their harassment and pulled back to escort the deflated Chasseurs back to their transport ships.
Almost no one could believe they pulled it off. Even as they celebrated their success, they still held a lot of doubts.
"Alright men, knock it off! The Vesians may still change their minds! Start policing the battlefield and make sure to replenish your supplies!"
The different outfits quickly went into action. They retrieved their fallen mechs and pushed aside the hollow wrecks of the Vesian mechs. All of their pilots managed to eject to safety long ago, so the defenders had no scruples about moving them away.
In actuality, the mechs held a lot of value. After handing them over to repair shops, the mechs could be brought back to working condition. The defenders already started contemplating their salvage rights.
This was one of their rights, and while other employers might quibble over how to distribute or retain the wrecks, Ves could care less where they ended up. After a few detours, Ves wearily returned to the command center and watched the center projection for the latest movements.
"Where are the Vesians?"
"The 1st Meandering Monkeys and the 5th Vavulan Chasseurs are in the process of boarding their transports, sir." Someone reported.
"Have they left any mechs behind?"
"Not as far as we are aware of, sir."
Ves worriedly waited for the Vesians to make a move. The worst part about it was that due to the jamming, they couldn't get any detailed or reliable readings of their movements. For all they knew, the Vesians managed to pull the wool over their eyes and maneuvered around for another attack.
"Detecting ship movements! The transports are lifting off!"
Fortunately, some things couldn't be hidden, and the massive amount of power needed to lift a number of transports carrying lots of mechs could be observed from dozeons of kilometers away.
"The Vesian mechs are being brought back to orbit!"
Only after the transports climbed past the perennial cloud cover did everyone truly begin to relax. Most of the defending mechs stood down in order to recover from the brief but intense battle.
Out of all the different outfits that took part in the defense, the Oodis Mudriders actually suffered the least. Though they lost a number of mechs at the start, they stopped suffering any major losses once Melkor diverted them to hold the flanks. The Meandering Monkeys never made a serious push.
Both Ves and Melkor scoffed when they heard about how the Mudriders got off light.
"Sanyal-Ablin suffered the most. Out of their twenty-four mechs, only seven of them are still in fighting condition. Five of their pilots lost their lives as well."
"And the Avatars?"
"My men did well enough." Melkor grunted with some amount of satisfaction. "I'm sorry to say that most of our brand new mechs got wrecked. Some of them can still be salvaged, but the others are a total loss. I'm glad we haven't lost any pilots."
As for the Whalers, Dietrich mentioned that their rookies had flat out performed dismally. The enemy frontline mechs chewed at least a third of their largely uncoordinated force of mechs. It appeared that the Whalers required a lot more time in training in order to become an effective fighting force again.
With victory came the spoils. In the evening, Ves held a brief celebration over barbecue. Mech pilots from every participating outfit mingled together and sang drunken songs. As the rank-and-file forgot about the horror they faced in the afternoon, the leaders gathered together in a quiet conference room, both to debrief them all and to distribute the rewards.
"Sanyal-Ablin, your sacrifice has been noted. Please inform your branch office that I'm ready to transfer the money that you are owed." Ves nodded to the grizzled mech commander that hailed from the security company.
"Next time, beef up your defenses." The commander grumbled.
The bills from SASS would certainly be steep. Ves had pushed them into a position where they had to fight against a military force that outnumbered them by a fair margin. The commander could have easily have decided to give up on defending the Mech Nursery, but his professional pride called him to stand his ground.
Ves respected and appreciated the sacrifice the commander made. Of course, all of the extra money that the LMC owed to the security company would certainly be painful.
After Ves and SASS exchanged their words, Melkor turned to Commander Husaan. "Your Mudriders fared well, but you didn't play that much of a rule."
"Hey! We managed to pin down most of the Meandering Monkeys! Just because they're light mechs doesn't mean they pose no threat!"
"You didn't adjust your deployment once the Monkeys pulled out much of their mechs to face ourr incoming reinforcements! The Meandering Monkeys managed to pin down your entire mercenary corps while outnumbered two-to-one!"
Melkor's observation put Commander Husaan in a tight spot while Ves quietly sighed. For all their earlier agreements, Husaan still found a way to shirk his duties. While Ves respected the losses they sustained in the initial push, they failed to make any contributions in the rest of the engagement.
"Enough, Melkor." Ves stretched out a hand and intervened. "The Oodis Mudriders haven't contributed as much as we hoped, but we can defer to the terms in the contract in that case. Their final remuneration will certainly take a hit once we run through the compensation formulas."
Though Melkor didn't look like he was done, he deferred to Ves and took a step back. "Fine."
They quickly discussed the performance of the Avatars and the Whalers before carving out the loot. All of those wrecked Vesian mechs became prizes for the taking.
Without any suspense, Sanyal-Ablin received the lion's share of the loot. The Whalers received a modest amount of what remained while the Mudriders only received a handful of the most ruined hulks.
As for the Avatars of Myth, considering that they worked directly for Ves, they had no need to fight over scraps.
"Tomorrow, we'll continue this discussion. By then, the processors will have finished their calculation. We can come to a final agreement on your compensation at that point."
Everyone nodded and left the conference room, leaving Ves alone with Melkor.
"Where's your pet?"
"He hasn't shown up." Ves replied with concern. "I'm not even sure if he's even intact."
"Maybe it just needs some time to recover. That strange cat of yours has a lot of tricks in store. I don't believe it's gone for good."
As Melkor turned to leave the room, Ves scratched his cheek. The LMC managed to survive the raid, though it had reached the brink during the battle. If not for his personal intervention, he wouldn't have managed to bluff the commander into cutting his losses.
"This isn't supposed to happen. Lucky and I can't keep intervening to save my hide."
Ves already planned to enact a lot of changes. First and foremost, he intended to elevate the Avatars of Myth and bolster their numbers to a full company.
"The time for training and adjustment is past. It's time they become a worthy personal force of mine."