The Mech Touch Chapter 427 Shock Attack
"The footage is stored in the restricted archives, so you can't access it from your comm or from the terminals in this room. The proper procedure would be to apply for access to a secure terminal in an isolated chamber. Normally, only Professor Velten can weigh on your request, but she handed me a lot of leeway in these matters."
Alloc quickly prepared a code and access pass for Ves. After pointing out where he could find the isolated chamber, he returned to work.
He used the pass to unlock the secure hatch and enter the barren but highly restricted chamber. A very visible laser turret constantly tracked his movements as he walked to the middle where he sat down on a stiff, metal chair.
After supplying the code into the terminal, the projector began to expand and run some footage of a battle that happened around four years ago. At that time, the Bright Republic was at peace and Ves was still studying at Ritterberg.
No one had a clue that a handful of combat carriers of the Flagrant Vandals penetrated the border and crossed several noble domains until it reached the interior of Vesian space.
Their target? A massive refinery complex in an otherwise quiet star system midway between the mines and nearby industrial planets. The complex orbited a rocky, broken planet that suffered numerous asteroid impacts hundreds of millions of years ago.
Most of those asteroids turned out to be made out of several exotics. These materials reacted with the minerals buried beneath the surface to produce a strange new substance that made for extremely flexible armor plating that performed well against kinetic impacts.
The footage started with the raid already in progress. The Railguns and lasers flew in each direction as several companies of the Vandals assaulted the defenses of a massive depot in a head-on collision.
What struck Ves the most was that the attackers hardly looked any different from the defenders! Much of the mechs used by the Flagrant Vandals actually consisted of a hodgepodge of distinctly Vesian designs!
The battle went well for the Vandals. They scoped out their target and gathered as much intelligence as possible before committing to the raid. They brought more than enough mechs to overwhelm the defenders.
Although the defenders possessed enough mechs to put up a stiff fight, they were chained to the refinery complex in orbit. Their static turrets fell like dominoes and their defensive positions started to crumble from the sheer amount of fire being thrown in their way.
The Vandals primarily made use of ballistic and kinetic weaponry. Though they wouldn't be able to outlast a force that fielded mechs with laser weapons, their damage output was extremely high so long as they didn't run out missiles.
Just as it looked as if their mechs would easily break through the defensive line, more than one-hundred Vesian mechs popped up from behind.
"Enemy reinforcements from the rear!"
"Where did they come from?!"
"We've got to get out of here!"
The Flagrant Vandals deliberately chose to attack a privately-owned refinery complex defended by nothing more than a company security force. The lightly populated star system shouldn't have been able to support any other mech force, so the appearance of over a hundred additional mechs unsettled the Vandals.
"Calm down." A clipped and clinical female voice broke through the chaotic chatter. "They outnumber us, but won't be able to match our grit. Gather the Hellcats!"
The woman began to issue a rapid set of orders that split them into two. Most of the Vandals continued to press against the complex, while a smaller portion of mechs looped around to face the incoming horde of mechs.
As the reinforcements came closer, the Vandals learned their makeup. Three-fourths of the incoming mechs consisted of frontline mechs while the remainder consisted of cheap melee mechs.
Facing them were twelve nearly identical Hellcats. All of them were piloted by officers or elites. Pulling them out of the assault on the complex risked delaying the breakthrough, but the Vandals had no other choice.
Colonel Lowenfield spoke for the first time since the start of the footage. "Meet the enemy reinforcements and smash them apart."
Her orders sounded simple and to the point. As Ves watched and listened to this record of past events, this was the first time he heard Colonel Lowenfield's voice.
To his ears, she spoke without the usual force and gusto of mech pilots when they were on duty. She sounded like an office worker instead of a commanding officer.
Nevertheless, the lack of weight in her voice didn't detract from her gravitas. The Vandals followed her orders without question, as if they had absolute fate in her leadership.
What Ves couldn't understand was why she felt so confident about her Hellcats. Even though their performance was extremely good, sheer numbers always had a way of negating any advantage in quality.
"The disparity in quality is not enough to make up for the deficiency in numbers."
That was what Ves concluded if he applied the the conventional maxims. Any other commanding officer would have allocated at least thirty mechs against the incoming reinforcements.
As the fresh wave of Vesian mechs neared the battle site in orbit, the dozen hybrid knights prepared their missile launchers. The protective ports retracted, allowing the missiles to escape from the launchers and arc out into space.
The missile launchers carried by this older iteration of the Hellcat used larger mech-sized missiles. Each Hellcat only released twelve missiles each. Therefore, they only unleashed 144 missiles in their only volley.
Nevertheless, these missiles packed quite a punch. The reinforcing mechs must have recognized their own missiles because they quickly halted their forward acceleration and entered a defensive posture. Numerous lasers started firing from their formation in an attempt to shoot the missiles down.
It was tough going for the Vesian mechs because these large missiles incorporated many elements that made it more elusive.
For the most basic-level mech pilots that piloted the frontline mechs, their abysmal accurace insured that the chance of knocking down a missile was low. The only thing the reinforcements had going for them was their sheer weight of numbers.
More than half of the missiles got shot down by the sheer spread of fire, but that left a lot missiles alive. The Vesians barely had time to brace their mechs before the missiles impacted their frames.
"That was a good volley!"
"I love flinging their missiles back to them!"
None of the missiles carried enough force to destroy a mech outright, but all of the impacts succeeded in throwing the Vesians off-balance.
The hybrid knights accelerated forward in a sluggish manner. Even though they carried proportionally huge flight systems, it took some time to get them going. However, once they built up a reasonable amount of speed relative to the Vesian formation, the amount of force they could produce upon impact was extremely serious.
Meanwhile, the Vesians just recovered from the missile salvo. The missiles outright disable four or so mechs while heavily damaging ten or so more. Every other mech only suffered scratches from the flying debris.
"Hellcats, charge formation!" The highest captain of the Hellcats ordered.
The hybrid knights adjusted into a V-shaped formation as they neared the Vesians. Both sides accelerated into each other, so the time before impact wouldn't be very long.
The Vesians might have gotten an inkling of what they planned. Their legless spaceborn frontline mechs frantically opened fire at the incoming Hellcats. Many shots went wide but those that hit only added a couple more scratches to their armor and shields.
"Ready the nail drivers!"
The hybrid knights adjusted the grips of their sabers and shields and extended out the barrel of the nail driver poking out of their wrists.
"Aim at your designated targets!"
The captain transmitted a series of targeting instructions that focused everyone's fire on a handful of important-looking mechs.
The nail drivers emptied out their chamber, releasing a long and sharp nail that flew forward until it met the Vesians. Every mech that the captain targeted suffered a lot of damage. Many mechs flung backwards upon getting hit, and all of the nails that hit had been able to punch through their flimsy armor.
The Vesian formation fell into disarray yet again. The lead Hellcat officer successfully managed to take out the mechs that carried the officers in charge of the reinforcements.
Though the surviving officers of the Vesian reinforcements quickly imposed order, the damage was already done. Though they managed to reassert their formation, they hadn't been able to retaliate as effectively.
The Hellcats spent the rest of their time on approach by emptying out their magazines at the enemy. Most of those nails hit as the fire hadn't been concentrated on any single enemy mech. Instead, the scattered fire was meant to disarray the enemy formation and prevent them from bracing against the imminent collision!
"Bring it on!"
"Three, two, one, impact!"
Twelve spaceborn hybrid knights simultaneously tore through the mechs of the Vesians. The difference in mass proved to be decisive. The Hellcats bulled through several mechs with their kite shields held in front.
Though the shields quickly got dented, the Vesians completely didn't know how to handle the sudden intrusion. They aimed their barrels at the hybrid knights in the midst of their formation but hesitated in pulling the trigger. Their formation was too packed. While that added to their cohesion, once the Vandals entered their midst, they risked missing the intruders and damage one of their fellow mechs instead.
"It's too late!"
The commanding officer of the Vesian reinforcements decisively ordered his mechs to split, but it was far too late for that. The Hellcats moved in unison as they mowed down mech after mech.
The Vesian frontline mechs never lasted more than a second up close while the Vesian melee mechs only delayed their destruction by a couple more seconds.
Mech after mech got cleaved apart by the brutal sabers wielded by the Hellcats. As the Vesians belatedly dispersed, the Vandal elites split up into two squads. Six mechs went high while the other went low.
Though splitting up into two squads of six wouldn't allow them to catch all of the Vesian mechs, they still exhibited strength beyond what their numbers suggested.
"Hybrid knights are shock weapons." Ves realized as he watched the Hellcats make a mockery out of a Vesian force that outnumbered them.
Though this force was fairly shabby, Ves still found it impressive that the Hellcats managed to route the mob without sustaining any losses.
After smashing the reinforcements, the Vandals easily broke through the orbital complex and stole all of its inventory before breaking it up and sending the pieces into an inescapable descent to the rocky planet below.
The key takeaway of the footage was the way the Vandals used the Hellcats. Though they would usually be dispersed among the rest of the Vandals, whenever the commanding officer needed it, he or she could easily order them to form up in a single group of Hellcats.
Several Hellcats working together was a lot stronger than he thought. Naturally, much of the victory was achieved due to the disparity quality between the two forces. The Hellcats didn't fight against the Mech Legion. If Ves had to guess, the reinforcements looked a lot like mercenaries.
This was also why the Hellcats proved to be so effective. The Vandals mainly raided enemy infrastructure. The weren't meant to go toe-to-toe with the Mech Legion, the Vesian premiere mech force.
The Mech Legion was famous for their high morale and their willingness to fight to the death, but the outfits that did business in the Kingdom's private sector was made out of much less sterner stuff.
"It's much more efficient for the Vandals to attack their morale. As long as the Hellcats deliver a sufficiently great shock, they'll be able to route any number of inferior mechs."
Outfits in the private sector never fought to the death. As long as they glimpsed a hint of defeat, they wouldn't hesitate in running away.