The Mech Touch


The Mech Touch Chapter 706 Degraded Minds


The next charge had the potential to end the duel. The momentum the Evaporating Spear built up after successive failed charges had reached a dreadful level!

This made it harder for it to change course, but it also forced the Redemption Rose to start dodging sooner, lest it moved too late!

In essence, the battle turned into a game of prediction. Would Acolyte Gien and Acolyte Evie be able to outguess each other? So far, Evie managed to dodge her mech in a different direction than her opponent, but in games of chance a lucky streak always reached an end.

The decisive moment approached. Both Gien and Evie stimulated their will to live, allowing them to fight through the pain of overloaded nerves in order to exert control over their mechs.

Even as the Church subjected them to this punishment, they never lost their pride as mech pilots! No matter the circumstances, they never lost their drive to win!

"Fight! You can do, it Gien!" Ves softly cheered from the observation chamber. He became invested in the match. He wanted his mech to succeed against Mayra's work.

An invisible wake followed after the Evaporating Spear, which had sped up to an unimaginable level. The Redemption Rose that opposed it calmly braced its spear and readied its depleting miniboosters for one more dodge.

Seconds passed as the next collision became imminent. Hundreds of meters away from impact, the Redemption Rose abruptly dodged downwards!

However, this time the Evaporating Spear adjusted its course downwards as well!

It was too late to change for the Redemption Rose to change its trajectory! Realizing the danger, Acolyte Evie abruptly shut down the boosters while adjusting the angle of her shield.

BOOM!

A silent explosion occured as the lancer mech successfully hit a solid target ten minutes into the duel!

Acolyte Gien fought long and hard against his pain, and time was running out for him. If he missed this attempt, he might not be able to maintain control over his fast-moving mech for long.

He needed to secure a hit!

Shards of alloy and other kinds of debris spread from the point of impact. Two mechs spun away in different directions, each of them coming off worse than before.

"The Redemption Rose is worse off!"

Mayra's space knight sacrificed protection for mobility, but that didn't avail it much in this phase of the battle. The confrontation between a speeding lance and a weakened shield left the latter in dire straits!

Nothing was left of the shield! The immense kinetic impact pretty much shattered its top half and broke the grip section, causing the partially intact bottom half to fly away into space.

However, the lance surprisingly shattered as well. Its entire forward section snapped apart, causing the Evaporating Spear to impact the frame of the opposing mech with the stump of its shortened lance!


"Damn, I should have spent some time on strengthening that lance!" Ves cursed. "I never thought that Acolyte Gien would miss more than four times in a row."

Since the initial impact bled off a lot of kinetic energy, the stump of the lance hit one of the shoulders of the Redemption Rose with reduced force! The shoulder splintered from the impact with the stump, but the damage hadn't been enough to disable the arm!

As the passing Evaporating Spear tried to recover from the impact, the space knight recovered first and followed in pursuit! Acolyte Evie knew that if she wanted to win, she needed to take over the initiative!

Her space knight might be slower than a lancer mech, but Mayra's modifications had closed the gap. In addition, Evie saved a substantial amount of fuel for her miniboosters for exactly such a situation. As the boosters expended their last remaining reserves, the Redemption Rose rapidly caught up to the Evaporating Spear!

Ves could read the writing on the wall. "The Redemption Rose will catch up before the Evaporating Spear can accelerate away."

The lancer mech lost too much of its forward momentum upon collision. It also spun away in an uncontrollable fashion, forcing Acolyte Gien to perform complex and straining correction maneuvers in order to halt the spin. All of these detriments prevented the Evaporating Spear from speeding away.

That proved to be a pivotal moment in the duel.

The Redemption Duel burnt out the last reserves of its booster fuel, but all of that had been worth it because its temporary edge in speed allowed it to catch up to the lancer and entangle it with a flurry of sword strikes!

Forced to defend, the Evaporating Spear had no choice but to spin around and fend off the sword strikes with its backup spear.

The frantic, badly-executed sword strikes unleashed by Acolyte Evie weren't meant to succeed. Instead, the purpose of her offensive was to force her mech to stick to her enemy's mech as closely as possible so that the Evaporating Spear had no chance to build up to another charge.

You never let an enemy lancer mech accumulate momentum if you could help it! Evie was following established doctrine by trying to entangle the lancer with her shieldless space knight!

The battle devolved into a badly-choreographed exchange of blows. Seeing that Acolyte Evie had no intention of letting him get away, Acolyte Gien gave up trying to build up to a charge and entered the melee in earnest.

"The match is over! A lancer mech never fares as well as a space knight in close-quarters combat!"

"Don't count out Acolyte Gien yet! Do you see how he's managed to hold on up to now? He has the edge in control!"

Ves looked closer and saw that the movements of the Redemption Rose appeared energetic, but formulaic. The space knight also twitched at inopportune times, causing it to ruin its own attack routines and even landing it at risk of suffering a counter-attack at times!

He turned to Mayra. "Did you incorporate AIs in the Redemption Rose?"

"I did." Mayra admitted without hesitation. "Even if their imagination is lacking, they don't require too much effort to implement. That has left me with additional time to complete my other upgrades to the Redemption Rose."

He forgot that Mayra lacked the institutional disdain against incorporating AIs in her own mechs. Ves had long been brought up to hate the entire notion of relying on artificial minds to do the jobs of mech pilots and mech designers. AIs threatened both of their livelihoods if they became acceptable substitutes for both of their professions.

Therefore, the MTA along with nearly every mech pilot and mech designer strenuously rejected the use of AIs. Any mech designer caught with trying to popularize their use inevitably suffered an 'accident'.

Nonetheless, the other reason why AIs never saw popularity was that highly skilled mech pilots usually managed to outwit them. Their creativity possessed limits and they could emulate the spark of spontaneity that veteran mech pilots fostered into their piloting style.

Sadly for Ves and Acolyte Gien, this wasn't the case here. Both of them piloted low-quality mechs in fairly awful conditions. Despite getting a tune-up from Ves and Mayra, two days wasn't enough to repair all the damage and bad design choices their mechs had suffered from. One of the most important weaknesses of their cheap mechs was that they exhibited fairly low reaction speeds.

This resulted in a substantially slower exchange of blows. So slow in fact that the AIs and algorithms taking over some of execution of some of the Redemption Rose's moves exerted finer control than the mech pilots themselves!

The Evaporating Spear unleashed a flurry of stabs, trying to deter the Redemption Rose from moving into its range, but the swordsman mech wasn't deterred. It willingly absorbed damage to its half-crippled shield arm in order to get into range to deliver a telling slash against the Evaporating Spear's chest.Find authorized novels in Webnovel´╝îfaster updates, better experience´╝îPlease click www.webnovel.com for visiting.

The slash managed to score deeply into its relatively weak armor. Though the sword slash hadn't bitten deep enough to affect the internals, the entire upper chest area experienced a comprehensive weakening that set it up for subsequent attacks.

"Acolyte Gien isn't going down without another fight!"

After suffering a heavy attack, Acolyte Gien became more desperate. He could die! His only chance at rebirth could be ruined! The man screamed and willingly accepted the pain. With great effort, he increased his control over his own mech and fought back with a greater semblance of his old piloting skill!

The Evaporating Spear went on the offensive, advancing boldly towards the Redemption Rose, stabbing outwards with its sword all the while. Acolyte Evie relied heavily on the AIs to parry the incoming blows, preventing the Redemption Rose from suffering even a single scratch.

Yet even with the swordsman mech's perfect defense, it took a lot of effort for a sword to block an incoming stab. The amount of energy and movement exerted by the Redemption Rose surpassed that of the Evaporating Spear. This stalemate benefited the spear-wielding mech more than the sword-wielding mech, especially because the latter wielded a single-handed sword.

Something catastrophically went wrong for the Redemption Rose at that time. The sword automatically moved to intercept an attack directed to its left side, but the incoming spear stab turned out to be a feint!

Acolyte Gien deliberately underutilized the use of feints just for moments like this! With great willpower, he directed the spear stab into a swipe that caused it to flick towards the Redemption Rose's unguarded right side!

However, while Acolyte Evie couldn't react fast enough to pull back the Redemption Rose's sword, the AIs didn't suffer from that problem and forcefully pushed through her hesitation.

However, Gien's control over his spear surpassed the imagination of his opponent. The spear abruptly shifted to a downwards trajectory!

A double feint!

The Evaporating Spear had held back during the previous two attempts! Only now did it truly push its strength into the attack, even overloading its flight system in an instant to obtain a greater forward push!

At this stage, the Redemption Rose started to hesitate! Its AI momentarily grew confused, but committed another shift despite having changed its mind once before. However, Evie was still stuck on the first shift! The flood of data entering her mind caused her reaction to be a tad bit slower.

For a single instant, her own reaction clashed against the solution adopted by the AIs! This caused the mech to lock up for a moment as two warring commands fought against each other to move the sword in one direction or another. The mech couldn't decide who to listen to!

Acolyte Gien's spear stabbed deeply past the ineffective sword and pierced through the chest armor of the Redemption Rose!

Due to the double-feint, the stab carried less kinetic energy than Gien preferred, but the tip of the spear still managed to penetrate the chest armor and deal a shallow amount of damage to the Redemption Rose's internals.

However, even though Mayra removed a lot of defensive power from the space knight, it still retained the robust internal structure of a defensive mech! Its redundancy level was considerate compared to offensive mechs, so despite damaging a few channels and subcomponents, the Redemption Rose hardly lost any power!

The successful attack might have succeeded in damaging the Redemption Rose, but the space knight still retained its ability to fight. On the other hand, Acolyte Gien had pushed his mind beyond its ordinarily limitations. The greater performance of his Evaporating Spear came at a fatal cost!

"Aagh.. I.. can't.. take.. it!" He uttered from his cockpit.

The Evaporating Spear never matched its earlier performance. Gien expended far too much mental energy when he tried and failed to charge down the Redemption Rose. When the duel turned into an exchange of blows, Gien constantly had to exert his mind to keep up.

In contrast, while Acolyte Evie suffered from a greater flood of junk data, she didn't have to think too hard to pilot her mech. The presence of the AIs in her mech allowed her to issue simple commands to hold the Evaporating Spear off. Clever commands at the right timing managed to save the Redemption Rose from complete destruction!

"It's over! Gien is at the end of his rope, while Evie is still strong enough to last a couple more minutes!"

The performance of the Evaporating Spear weakened by the second as the strain of controlling the mech manually became too much of a burden for his steadily degrading nerves.

Technically, Evie suffered from the same problem, but the difference was that the AIs cared little about nerve damage. They functioned just as well if Evie was completely healthy or had almost fried her brains to a crisp!

The battle turned from a battle of wills to a battle between a half-vegetable and a cold-hearted set of AIs.

The Redemption Duel came at an end when the Redemption Rose knocked off the spear from the grip of the sluggish Evaporating Spear. Defenseless, the lancer mech failed to push the space knight back as it mechanically thrust its sword through the cockpit section.



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