The Mech Touch Chapter 861 Caged Tongs
"I really don't know what their chief technicians are thinking."
Among the Vandals, the chief technicians may be a stubborn lot, but Ves made sure they paid equal amounts of attention to every Vandal mechs. That didn't mean they were immune to politics, but Ves kept such a tight rein over their work allocation that they couldn't pull off any games under his watch.
It was a completely different story among the Caged Tongs. Favoritism appeared to be rife among their maintenance crews, and they wastefully allocated an excessive amount of manpower and resources into keeping their leader mechs at their best condition.
"The amount of time, manpower and resources they've spent on keeping a leader mech in tiptop shape is enough to address the problems afflicting ten of their regular mechs!"
The law of diminishing returns applied to mech maintenance as well. Some problems could be fixed by a single mech technician within a couple of minutes, while other problems demanded an entire crew of mech technicians to disassemble half of the mech to repair its insides.
In any case, it wasn't as if the Vandals skipped out on those thorough repairs as well. The difference between the pirates was that the Vandals never skimped out on logistics. It was well-known that pirates were always short on mech technicians, engineers and other support personnel.
Even the Swordmaidens relied on slaves to fulfill those roles! And they were one of the better-run pirate gangs in the frontier.
Ves noted that the mechs fielded by the Caged were in a marginally better condition than the mechs that belonged to the Red Tongs. They emerged from the restrictive Roppo Principality and couldn't quite shake off the hierarchical, rule-bound tendencies of their home state.
As for the infamous Red Tongs, this bunch of maniacal pirates became famed for transplanting alien tongues in their mouths and genetically modifying their digestive systems so that they could indulge on both alien and human flesh!
It was no surprise to Ves that the mechs of the Red Tongs continued to fall apart as they were on the warpath. Over the past several hours, three of their mechs suffered a critical malfunction that stopped them from advancing!
The enemy didn't seem to care. They continued to march forward while they left the broken mechs behind. Overworked crews of mech technicians picked up the fallen mechs onto makeshift transports that trailed after the main fighting force.
It was impossible to repair these broken mechs in time for them to contribute to the battle.
"Really." Ves shook his head. "If they can't take care of their own mechs, how can they expect to take care of ours?"
Many mech pilots found logistics and proper maintenance to be a tedious, boring and costly affair. They would rather focus on the battles rather than the lengthy preparation that happened in between.
Yet to Ves, he found that good preparation already won them half the battle. Comparing the ramshackle state of the enemy mechs to the reasonably well-maintained mechs of the Vandals and the Swordmaidens, Ves believed the disparity might tip the balance between the forces by more than thirty percent!
Such an advantage was inestimably valuable! This was on top of the numerical advantage the Flagrant Swordmaidens already enjoyed.
Because of all these advantages, Ves couldn't figure out why the Caged Tongs were so eager to pit themselves into battle against the Flagrant Swordmaidens. Didn't they know what they were up against?
"Probably not." He scoffed. "They only spotted our energy tornados from a distance and decided to go on an attack. They never sent out any scouts. Even now, their scouting efforts is half-hearted."
The Vandal scout mechs practically ran rings around the scouts of the Caged Tongs. The scout mechs couldn't move very fast and their overall state looked like they spent half-a-decade in the dumpster. Their mech pilots didn't seem to enjoy a very high position within their organisations as they never exerted themselves, preferring to stick close to their buddies.
Still, even if the Caged Tongs presented a sloppy image to Ves, he still didn't dare to say whether the Flagrant Swordmaidens possessed an advantage. Their best mech pilots piloted mechs in good condition. They may be few in number, but they served a vital role in propping up their morale.
In addition, who knew how their wild gods added to the table. Many Vandals puzzled over how the Caged Tongs managed to subdue and subordinate the feral wildlings and their proud and arrogant wild gods.
After Ves filed his report, word quickly spread among the Vandals and the Swordmaidens about the awful state of the enemy mechs. Ves guessed that Captain Byrd eagerly spread the word in order to boost everyone's confidence about the upcoming battle.
"This is going to be easy!"
"I heard their mechs are so fragile that they break after suffering a single hit."
"Serves the scum right for neglecting their maintenance."
"I always wanted to wring their necks ever since their fleet threw artificial meteorites at us! I lost a buddy from the bombardment!"
The overall opinions expressed by the servicemen edged dangerously close to dismissing the actual threat of their foes. Ves didn't think it was wise to discount the strength of the enemy so readily.
Still, compared to the mild apprehension that wracked the men and women earlier, he found that the mech pilots were much more willing to commit to the battle now. With their confidence swelled, they eagerly wanted to thrash the scum and take revenge for their spaceborn counterparts to bomb the Flagrant Swordmaidens out of existence!
Ves looked on as the Vandals and Swordmaidens prepared their individual mech companies for combat.
He directed his interest on a couple of noteworthy assets.
For example, ever since Venerable Xie landed on the surface, he spent most of his days training in vain. The Vandals never found an opportunity to employ his Pale Dancer in a meaningful capacity.
Those days of collecting dust were over now. The Pale Dancer was being prepped for war!
Almost everyone looked forward to the performance of their new expert pilot. Many Vandals idolized Venerable Xie and wished they could become as skilled as piloting mechs as him one day.
Another asset that Ves paid a keen amount of attention on was Qilanxo. This time, Captain Byrd and Commander Lydia planned to make use of her in a supportive capacity. The biggest vulnerability of the Flagrant Swordmaidens was that they brought over fifty different legged transports, all of which held vital facilities and supplies.
To guard against long-ranged potshots that could easily take out the fast and heavy transports from a distance, the vehicles would stick close to Qilanxo at the very rear. If the Caged Tongs thought they could cripple the supply train of the Flagrant Swordmaidens, they had another thing coming!
The third asset consisted of the ten or so Akkara heavy mechs that the ground expedition retained. The fleet used to send down some extras during the battle against Pairixan, but they were far too heavy for their own good.
Right now, the Flagrant Vandals on the ground held on to just ten of them, but they possessed an unimaginable amount of firepower if employed correctly.
A loose rule of thumb was to equate the combat power of a heavy mech with five medium mechs.
In essence, ten Akkara heavy mechs brought the equivalent of fifty additional mechs to the table!
This rule of thumb only applied during conventional battles and was often inaccurate after the fact, but that didn't stop people from putting their faith in it. Only mech duels fell outside its scope.
"Those heavy mechs are going to cook the wild gods into barbeque."
The Akkaras still had some artillery shells left over from last time, but the heavy cannoneers would only employ them as a last resort.
Captain Byrd mainly wanted them to employ their powerful laser cannons against the huge and sluggish wild gods. From what they gathered from Qilanxo, not a lot of wild gods acquired defensive powers.
Even if a wild god did possess a defensive power, it was impossible for a single exobeast to protect the sprawling mob of mechs, wild gods and dwarves.
Ves looked forward to the performance of the Akkaras the most. There was something majestic about witnessing them pound a distant foe into scrap or a puddle of charred flesh.
"One hour remaining until battle commences! Get a move on, fellas!"
The Vandals and the Swordmaidens rapidly finished their preparations and split up into several units. They moved out by mech company and spread out into a half-moon formation designed to envelop the approaching mob from the front and sides.
Since they possessed the advantage of numbers, they might as well try to go for broke!
While spreading out their forces to this extent risked their middle elements, the Flagrant Swordmaidens possessed enough confidence to be able to hold against the initial charge. The Swordmaidens placed their best Devil Razors and Silver Valencias in the middle. Their main job was to stop any advance from reaching the Akkaras and the supply train in the rear.
With half an hour to go until the first elements of the enemy came into range, Ves entered the mobile headquarters and sat behind the nearest available console. He booted up the console and began to call up the status of the Akkara mechs.
Right now, the Flagrant Swordmaidens couldn't afford to lose their heavy mech. Losing one of them hurt as much as losing five medium mechs, after all.
Time ticked by as the Caged Tongs began to enter into extreme range. From time to time, various officers and specialists called out several noteworthy observations to Captain Byrd.
More and more details began to emerge, but Ves paid little attention to most of them. He began to check up on the status of every Vandal mech. All of them should be fit for battle if the mech technicians had done their job correctly.
"What is the status of the Pale Dancer?"
"Venerable Xie reports that he is in position at the rear. He's ready to ambush the main pirate formation from the rear whenever he receives the go ahead."
"Tell him to maintain distance for now." Captain Byrd spoke. "Now is not the right time to slip a knife into the backs of the Caged Tongs. Wait until the aggressors commit to the battle."
"Captain, the enemy horde is stalling! Their march has slowed down!"Find authorized novels in Webnovel，faster updates, better experience，Please click www.webnovel.com for visiting.
"Their scouts finally got a good look at our forces. I think they've finally learned what they are up against!"
Ves diverted his attention to study the projection that depicted the current actions of the enemy horde. The mechs that Ves identified as belonging to the Caged continued to stall while the mechs that belonged to the Red Tongs started to regain their courage.
"They're not united! The Caged and the Red Tongs are likely arguing over their next course of action!"
"Let's give them a little push." Captain Byrd grinned. "Can our Akkaras hit the position?"
"Their laser cannons don't have a direct line of sight to the enemy forces as of yet, but we still have a sufficient amount of long-ranged artillery shells that can theoretically reach that far. We only have enough shells left for two complete salvos, ma'am."
"Fire one artillery salvo at the suspected commander of the Red Tongs and fire another salvo in the middle of their wild gods!"
Captain Byrd wanted to incite the enemy! It would have been rather troublesome if the Flagrant Swordmaidens had to come to the enemy, so she opted for a brazen attack that was sure force the hand of their enemies.
The Akkara mechs boomed as they fired their artillery cannons! A score of special long-ranged shells designed to fight against the planet's heavy gravity arced into the air before landing close to the position of the best and most expensive looking pirate mech!