The Mech Touch Chapter 458 Breakdown
The Mech Corps barely exerted any oversight on the Vandals. Whenever someone in high command got reminded of their existence, they brushed the motley mech regiment off as a bunch of cowardly raiders too scared to man up and attack the Mech Legion.
Everyone had made a serious mistake in underestimating the Flagrant Vandals.
Living up to the name of their mech regiment, the Flagrant Vandals smashed everyone's expectations and struck at one of the Imodris Duchy's more significant industrial systems.
The damage already dealt to its infrastructure came as a heavy blow, but the Vandals had only just begun. The local rebels did most of the damage so far, and now it was time for the Vandals to deliver on their promises.
The attack on Detemen II still needed time to forment. The first detachment of the Vandal fleet approached the smaller planet and its valuable solar foundries with greedy anticipation. Count Reizen rallied every household troop of House Jier to form a line of defense around the most important asset of the planet, its renewable exotics mine.
This left much of the planet undefended, including its various complexes and the solar foundries spinning in orbit. Count Reizen made the determination that he couldn't spread his limited household troops to defend everything, so he concentrated them all to form a deterrent.
Basically, the count told the incoming Vandals to wreck everything else but the possession he prized the most.
Naturally, many industrialists did not agree to become House Reizen's sacrificial lambs. Due to panic and indecision, they rebelled or sowed chaos on Detemen II, which ironically paved the way for the incoming Vandals.
Count Reizen and the people of the Detemen System couldn't be blamed for their confusing responses. Complacency lay at the heart of their incompetence. Even as the Bright Republic and the Vesia Kingdom battled at the frontlines, the Mech Corps never raided as far as Imodris.
While the border systems endured so many raids that they responded like a well-oiled machine when faced with another incursion, the complacent people of Detemen II and IV had never dealt with such a massive attack.
"Rise up, comrades!" A ferocious woman stood atop a wrecked laser turret as she bared her rifle in the air. "The time has come to pull down the nobles from their lofty perches!"
In the hot and sweltering environment of Detemen II, half of her crowd wore thin climate suits that allowed them to stay cool. Both suited and unsuited people cheered and raised their arms, though their numbers and enthusiasm fell a little short.
The rally hadn't lasted more than a couple of minutes before a series of thuds started transmitting from the ground.
"Footsteps… mechs! Incoming mechs!"
"It's a company mech! Run!"
No one kid themselves into thinking they could fight against a machine of war. The fear of mechs had set in deep among the population. Before the rebel woman could persuade her crowd otherwise, her audience had completely scurried away before the Jier mechs even arrived.
Seeing that the situation went to hell pretty fast, the rebel woman abandoned her elevated perch and ran away for safety as well. "Bunch of spineless cowards!"
Unlike the haphazard unrest wracking Detemen II, the situation on Detement IV deteriorated into full-blown anarchy.
"Hahahaha! We're rich!" A man shouted as he looted a luxury store inside a mall. Though he had no idea how he could sell his ill-gotten loot of luxury clothes, just the thought of obtaining decades-worth his salary in booty made him delirious.
Just as the handful of men ran towards their aircar, a volley of laser and projectile fire spat in their direction. The aim of the assailants was atrocious, but the sheer volume of fire eventually struck down all of the looters.
A swarm of teenagers emerged from the corners and dashed towards the fallen men. They quickly deprived them of their loot and made their way out, giggling and laughing all the while.
Elsewhere, two company forces guarding two adjacent manufacturing complexes clashed against each other in a full-blown battle.
"Stop this madness!" The commander of the defense force at Westcott Machinery Supply broadcasted in the open. The man piloted his knight to withstand another barrage of incoming fire for his ranged mechs. "The rebels are burning everything down and the Brighters are about to make landfall! This is no time to settle our grudges!"
A maddened laughter escaped the speakers of a gaudily-decorated cannoneer mech from United Alloy Supplies. It blasted its ballistic cannon indiscriminately towards the Westcott forces.
"I always hated seeing you parade your mechs in front of our faces! Now, I finally get the opportunity to do you Westcott goons in!"
"You won't get away with this!" The Westcott commander shouted back as his knight mech bashed its way to the front and slammed its shield mech against a spearman mech that hadn't moved away in time. "Westcott forever!"
"Westcott forever!" The mech pilots of the defending mechs echoed.
None of them questioned whether it made sense to defend a facility while the rest of the planet went crazy. Their loyalty to their company compelled them to fight, if not to the bitter end, then at least they should give a good accounting.
Yet the attackers were no slouches either. "Victory to UAS!"
"Victory to UAS!"
Civilians ran towards old and neglected shelters. Troublemakers sought their chance to even the scores against their rivals. The rebels fanned the flames by destroying key infrastructure and inciting mass panic.
All the while, the auxiliary regiments that turned traitor took control over enough anti-air turrets to make every ascent into space a risky prospect. They also deployed hidden missile launchers throughout Detemen IV to augment their air defense and bring down any vessel that tried to escape the planet.
Dozens of ships and shuttles fell before everyone learned their lesson. Unless they boarded a heavily armored combat carrier, they wouldn't dream about making another attempt.
The rebels still kept up their guard. They knew that Lord Javier was on the surface when the rebellion broke out. He might still be biding his time to get away aboard an armored or stealthed escape vessel, so they pulled out all the stops and constantly scanned the surroundings of the capital city.
High above the skies and beyond Detemen IV's atmosphere, the second detachment of the Vandal fleet approached the moons. Two of them posed a considerable concern to Major Verle. Without securing those two locations, he wouldn't feel reassured when he deployed his landbound mechs to the planet.
"Mr. Brandstad! Give me something!"
"We're working on it!" Alloc frazzedly replied. Both Ves and Alloc scoured through tons of data in order to find a way to ease the next actions.
Neither Ves nor Alloc found any obvious weaknesses in the laser rifleman mechs that formed the main line of defense at the lunar fortress.
The focus lay on the Amevon Mark VII Type D, which served as House Eneqqin's standard rearguard mech model. The House's in-house designers formed the Type D as a simpler and more affordable variant of their much more renowned Type A design.
The Type A was an impressive laser rifleman mech design that formed the mainstay of House Eneqqin's household troops. Therefore, a cheaper variant derived from it wouldn't be so easy to crack. The Type D inherited most of the Type A's strengths while hardly exposing any weaknesses.
Obviously, a lot of effort had been put into optimizing its design. Hundreds of mech designers spent many thousands of man-hours into working away its flaws. Try as he might, Ves peered at the Type D's design from every direction but couldn't put a dent in its seemingly perfect exterior.
"I don't believe this design is perfect! No design is perfect!"
The only weaknesses of the Type D they came up with so far were the generic ones that all laser rifleman mechs suffered from, such as their low burst damage and their vulnerability up close.
Even a toddler could figure that out. Ves had to dig deeper and find something more pertinent in order to make the upcoming battle a little easier for the Vandals.
Fortunately, he wasn't working alone. Alloc possessed a lot of experience in this area, and he quickly honed in on a potential weakness. "Ves! Study its heat dispersal mechanisms! I remember that the Mark VI version of the Type A relies on disposable coolants to get rid of most of its heat in an instant. If the coolant tank got burst, the mech's internals almost always glitched out. See if this still applies for the Mark VII!"
The Amevon series had progressed by a major milestone since those weaknesses became known. Its designers must have certainly patched up the vulnerabilities, but they wouldn't have been able to mitigate the problem completely. The Type D possessed too little structure to do so.
Now that Alloc shone a light in a potentially promising direction, Ves rapidly called up past data on the Mark VI and Mark VII versions of the Type A and Type D. Most of the intelligence had been derived through a combination of analyzing past battle footage and stealing sensitive design documents by the intelligence services of the Republic.
This caused the data to be largely incomplete. Ves had to struggle through gaping holes and unreliable guesswork, but eventually he found a chink in the armor.
"I think they changed the placement of the coolant tank to the center and inwards! However, the discharge mechanisms are largely the same! It's harder to breach the coolant tank, but if our boys can manage it, the Type D's will certainly be taken out of commission!"
"Good work Ves, but it's not enough!"
They passed on the information to Major Verle anyway. This kept the mech commander off their backs for a tiny bit. The two mech designers continued to study the active cooling systems of the Type, knowing that there must be more they could find out.
"Deploying spaceborn mechs!"
A large number of spaceborn mechs launched from the hangar bays of the combat carriers and took up guard positions. For the assault of the lunar fortress, Major Verle wanted to drop close but not quite on top of the Vesian defenders.
With most of the turrets taken out by the rebels, the Vesian anti-air capabilities had become severely curtailed. While the Vandals still had to be wary of their rifleman mechs, Major Verle gambled on the possibility would be able to drop onto the surface without suffering any losses.
Ves thought that Verle had made a very bold bet.
Minutes away from starting the descent of half of their combat carriers, Ves finally achieved a breakthrough in his analysis!
"Reporting! The Amavon Mark VII Type D's are vulnerable to explosive and kinetic damage to their lower left sides! The armor doesn't need to be breached in order to cripple it. The Type D skimped on their structural integrity, so it won't be able to shield its internals against the concussive shocks from explosive and kinetic attacks."
Ves sent along his analysis of the weakness. Attacking the lower left side of the Type D's would potentially allow their assailants to take them out with up to fifty percent less effort than taking it out conventionally!
"That's more like it!" Major Verle complimented him for once. "Switch up the first wave! I want the missileers up front and advance to medium range before unleashing their payloads! Bring the Akkara's up front as well!"
"Sir, that would leave our carriers undefended!"
"Then hold the Hellcats and a couple of Inheritors back! They won't be of much use in the coming attack!"
The last-minute adjustments made it clear that Major Verle was prepared to stake the lives of his men and women over the vulnerability revealed by the mech designers.
This caused Ves to gulp. It was all well and good to state his observations, but if he spoke incorrectly, a lot of lives would be lost due to his words. Sweat poured down his brow as he watched the coming action with a lot of apprehension.