The Mech Touch

 
 

The Mech Touch Chapter 860 Combined Arms


The ground expedition immediately halted their march. Preparations for battle already went underway, but due to the distance between the main convoy and the approaching enemy force, it might take six or so hours before a battle commenced.

Due to the urgency of the situation and the preparations that needed to be done, Captain Byrd held an emergency briefing by remote. Instead of gathering at the mobile headquarters, everyone entered a virtual conference room from their current positions, no matter if they were offices or mech cockpits.

Within fifteen minutes, most of the mech officers, chiefs and important experts attended the virtual meeting.

To Ves, the projection systems in his office weaved an elaborate illusion that completely changed the small decor of the office into a large and sprawling conference room.

The projections gave the illusion that he could look at people in the face while he addressed them. The only downside was that he couldn't walk up to them and touch them, but who wanted to do something like that during a crisis?

Captain Byrd quickly began the meeting. She began with a brief summary of what their scouts managed to spot a fair distance away from the center of their supply train.

"Two of our scout mechs have managed to spot an incoming procession of mechs, wild gods and dwarves on godling mounts. We can pretty much ignore the threat of the latter, but the former two pose a very real threat. We are absolutely certain that they are bee-lining straight towards the center of our formation. They know our position."

Many Vandals grimaced.

"How many mechs and wild gods are on their way, captain?"

"We're not entirely certain." Captain Byrd admitted. "Our scouts don't dare to come into range of the incoming enemy force. They're keeping an eye while maintaining extreme distance. For now, the analysts that have poured over the initial sensor readings estimate that up to twelve wild gods and three-hundred landbound mechs are on the attack!"

"Three-hundred landbound mechs!"

While that sounded a lot, the Flagrant Swordmaidens combined numbered almost five-hundred mechs. While they lost a bunch of mechs due to the orbital bombardment raining down on their heads a few months ago, they still retained most of their strength.

Still, even if the odds were in their favor, the Vandals didn't express too much confidence. Even though they outnumbered the enemy, a battle could go in any direction.

Besides, the unexpected cooperation with one or more large dwarf tribes threw a wrench in their equations. How should they estimate the threat of the bonded wild gods? How close were the wildlings cooperating with the rival force?

All of these questions made it difficult for everyone to judge whether they still held the advantage.

"Do we know who's attacking?"

Captain Byrd nodded to a sensor officer, who answered in an uncertain tone. "The sensor readings from our scouts makes it difficult to be sure. There's too much interference in the air to get a clear view of their forces. From the markings and quality of the mechs that we've managed to observe, I can say with eighty percent certainty that we are dealing with a combined force of the Caged and the Red Tongs."


"Those bastards again!"

"Hah! They're trapped on this planet now that an antimatter torpedo annihilated their spaceborn forces!"

"Idiot! That just makes them more desperate! They have nothing to lose!"

The Vandals argued among themselves about the significance of this revelation. They couldn't judge the intentions of the Caged and the Red Tongs with common sense.

The landbound remnants of the Roppongans and the Ravienne Alliance-oriented pirates lost their means of escaping from this planet. With no way out, what were they up to? Did they decide to settle permanently on Seven or did they intend to fight even harder in order to open up an opportunity to evacuate on different terms?

None of the Vandals expressed any confidence in their guesses, and Captain Byrd finally stepped into the chaotic discussion. "There's no point in questioning the motivation of the Caged Tongs without encountering them in person. All that matters is that they are inbound on our forces in an unmistakably aggressive approach. Let us decide on our defensive strategy."

Because calling the allied force of the Caged and the Red Tongs was a mouthful, the Vandals conveniently called them the Caged Tongs instead.

The Vandal mech officers cobbled together a defensive strategy. Since they knew the enemy was coming, they could spend crucial hours on setting up the battlefield to their advantage.

"We've already recycled down the artillery cannons." Chief Dakkon said when asked. "There is no way we can fabricate a new battery of artillery guns in less than a week."

As for addressing the hostile wild gods, one of the mech officers turned to Dr. Tillman. "Can we poison the wild gods like last time?"

"It's worth a try." She said. "We haven't spent any research on improving the formulas for the so-called candy bars. If the hostile wild gods are instinctive creatures, then they shouldn't be able to resist the bait. However, if they are smart enough to fight against their instinct, they can resist the urge to eat the adulterated candy bars."

"The Caged Tongs won't allow it. They aren't stupid. They'll destroy the candy bars before they can tempt the wild gods."

The Vandals decided not to repeat the trick. They may be able to the wild gods if they were only by themselves or accompanied by some primitive dwarves, but this time they faced a modern force!

Even if the Caged Tongs consisted of criminals and pirates, they operated under modern conventions of war. Although it seemed like they were storming at the Flagrant Swordmaidens in a straight charge, who knew what they really had in mind?

Therefore, the Vandal officers threw away all of their contempt and started treating the Caged Tongs as a serious threat.

"Even if the Red Tongs are a modern mech force, they're not as thorough as a military unit. Their scouting efforts are lackluster and their strategy doesn't seem to be more sophisticated than throwing all of their mechs at us in a single overwhelming attack."

"They might split up and flank us when the battle commences."

"Then let them! If they attempt to flank us, they'll only be splitting up their forces into easily digestible chunks. We outnumber them, remember?!"

"I'm not so sure about that. They're also bringing in wild gods, and who knows what powers they possess. Even if they're weaker than the sacred gods, any wild god with wilde area powers can instantly disrupt our formations!"

The wild gods were the wildcards of the upcoming battle. They possessed such a large variety of powers that the Vandals couldn't predict what they were up against.

"It's easy to estimate the battle capabilities of the Caged Tongs. It's not so easy to estimate the threat of the twelve or so wild gods that are boring down on us." Captain Byrd emphasized. "I don't like unexpected surprises, so our first priority should be to take out these wild gods. As long as this uncertain factor no longer poses a threat, we can mop up the scum think they can match our strength!"

"Let's employ the bulk of our ranged mechs against the wild gods. We should take them out from a distance before they get into range to activate their powers. If none of their wild gods have a ridiculous defensive power like Qilanxo's space barriers, they're pretty much sitting ducks!"

"The Red Tongs know that as well as we do. Are they really going to let us hammer the wild gods with impunity?"

"It's either that or risk their own mechs."

"Captain, if I may make a suggestion?" A mech officer asked. "Let's commit Venerable Xie to the battle. He's more than ready to fight on our behalf."

The virtual conference room descended into silence. After a few seconds of thoughts, the Vandals grew hopeful.

The Pale Dancer might not be able to show its strength against the wild gods, but it was a completely different story when it came to enemy mechs!

Captain Byrd didn't reject the suggestion. "I will task Venerable Xie with taking out their leaders and officers. The key to winning this battle in the most painless way possible is to cripple their command structure. Out of all of our assets, the Pale Dancer is the best mech for the job."

The planning stretched on for ten more minutes as the mech officers finalized their battle plan. To Ves, the broad strokes of their strategy was simple. Take out the wild gods from a distance before counter charging the Caged Tongs from multiple directions!

Since the Flagrant Swordmaidens outnumbered the Caged Tongs, why should they remain passive? They should attack and use their numbers to their advantage!

The only restriction that constrained the Flagrant Swordmaidens from storming off immediately was that they couldn't expose their supply train of fast and heavy transports.

Even if the Flagrant Swordmaidens wiped out the Caged Tongs with ease, if the pirates managed to destroy their supply train, they may have won the battle but would have certainly lost the war!

After Captain Byrd issued specific assignments to the Vandals, she ended the meeting. "I'll discuss the battle plan with Commander Lydia and see if she agrees with it. We may need to adjust some of the details."

Usually, the Vandals took the lead in the planning. The Swordmaidens generally weren't very concerned about drafting detailed battle plans. They much preferred to throw their mechs straight at the enemy if they thought they were strong enough to beat them. They were still pirates, after all.

Ves received his own assignment as well. Captain Byrd tasked him with pouring over the sensor readings sent back by their scouts in order to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the enemy mechs.

As the Vandals and Swordmaidens both mustered up for battle, Ves dug through the noise-ridden optical footage and tried his best to peer through the interference in the air. Ever since they entered the storm lands, it became increasingly harder to observe and transmit data over a distance.

Still, the longer the Vandal scout mechs did their jobs, the more footage they gathered. A single instance of footage might not be able to tell Ves much, but it was a different story altogether if the Vandals processed the data.

After the analysts processed the footage and reduced the noise, Ves obtained a clearer view of the enemy mechs.

"Is that it?"

The enemy mechs all appeared ramshackle! By far, most of the landbound mechs consisted of either budget models or bargain bin models!

Not only that, the state of the mechs didn't seem very great! The maintenance of most of the mechs looked very poor to Ves! Some of them marched forward with a limp while others couldn't move their arms anymore!

"It's the breakdown effect!"

The breakdown effect spared no machine. The Flagrant Swordmaidens managed to cope with the rate of breakdowns because they brought an abundant amount of support personnel and supplies.

What about the pirates? Obviously, they didn't pay too much attention to logistics and paid for it in spades!

Ves tried to go over the footage and see whether every mech suffered from a lack of maintenance.

"Some mechs look better off than others."

Certain mechs, mostly the more impressive-looking ones, didn't show any signs of deficiencies. Their mech models were of higher quality and their exterior sported several shiny symbols and trophies. The somewhat exaggerated appearances of those special mechs reminded Ves of how the Swordmaidens liked to puff up their individual achievements.

"These are likely the mechs piloted by their champions and officers."Find authorized novels in Webnovel´╝îfaster updates, better experience´╝îPlease click www.webnovel.com for visiting.

It seemed that the mech technicians among the Caged Tongs only spared the minimum amount of work into keeping their regular mechs functional. Instead, they allocated an inordinate amount of effort into keeping the mechs piloted by their leaders at their best state!

"What a selfish allocation of resources!"

Ves couldn't believe who came up with this decision. All of the extra attention bestowed on the leader mechs could have been spent on fixing the many ailments afflicting the badly-maintained mechs piloted by their rank-and-file. That would have been a much more efficient decision, yet for some reason the leaders didn't want to share.

"Is it because the leaders needed strength to keep their subordinates in line?"

As long as the officers and champions piloted the best mechs, their underlings wouldn't dare to revolt. This must have been a very real possibility ever since their fleet no longer existed.

In any case, the observations made by Ves should come as a welcome surprise to Captain Byrd and the rest of the Flagrant Swordmaidens.

 
 


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