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Chapter 3264 – Light Vs Heavy
The dwarven tech support quickly supplied Venerable Leiva with an explanation and a potential solution.
“The performance of the Larkinson expert mechs do not conform to first-cla.s.s standards so there is a high probability that their internals are not as st.u.r.dy. High-powered single impact or explosive damage should do the trick. You need to maximize the impulse of your shots. The greater the force, the greater the shock to the enemy mech’s systems.”
“In other words, just shake it until it falls apart from the insides. Got it. Exchange my magazines, then. I’m still loaded with lots of cl.u.s.ter rounds.”
Eight half-empty magazines dropped from the Gauss Baron. Bots entered the bunker and quickly brought the hot containers away.
At the same time, eight more bots arrived and slotted in the fresh replacement magazines in the open slots.
The brief pause also granted the Gauss Baron a quick time to rest its eigh cannons and perform a lot of internal diagnostics in order to ascertain its current condition. The expert mech performed many minor adjustments to various systems in order to compensate for any deviations that had taken place as the expert mech endured a lot of wear and tear over the course of the battle.
Once the Gauss Baron was ready, Venerable Leiva immediately fired solid, glowing slugs at the Dark Zephyr.
“Yikes!” Tusa shouted as he hastily jerked his expert mech aside. “That’s a big attack!”
Though the hit rate of the Gauss Baron decreased ma.s.sively, its damage output had become a to more threatening. Tusa didn’t need to reference any numbers to know that getting slammed even once was enough to give his precious expert mech a concussive blow to its internals!
“I can’t get hit! I’ll lose a lot of momentum if I get hit even once!”
He tried his best to dodge and foil the prediction of his opponent as best as possible. He felt way more stressed at this moment than he had ever been when he sparred against Venerable Stark!
Venerable Tusa was highly grateful that he got a lot of practice in this aspect, though. All of the skills he developed while acting as Venerable Stark’s target dummy came really handy at this moment!
He knew that if he got hit by one of the Gauss Baron’s powerful projectiles even once, it would not just shake his expert mech a bit. It would give his Dark Zephyr a powerful push that was enough to stagger its flight and interrupt its movement for a brief amount of time.
If the enemy expert mech was sharp enough, which he thought was highly probable, then the Gauss Baron’s subsequent attacks would take advantage of the Dark Zephyr’s momentary incapacitation and continue to stagger it in the same way as keeping a volleyball in the air.
Venerable Tusa felt more pressure than ever as he focused fully on antic.i.p.ating his opponent’s attacks and staying one step ahead of the incoming attacks. His mech zipped left, right up and down at erratic times just before a powerful glowing slug zipped just a couple of meters past the exterior!
“Hahaha! Is that all!? You’ll never hit me at this rate!”
His reaction time was on point and the Dark Zephyr’s boosters came in very handy. Their greatest advantage was that they gave the expert mech an immediate impulse that displaced it in another direction with hardly any warning.
Though the compact but surprisingly powerful booster modules were limited by their fuel supply, Tusa estimated that he would have enough juice left to close in on the Gauss Baron’s bunkers.
However, as the Dark Zephyr began to get close enough to the Lemogo Distat that he was easily able to distinguish her enormous hull with the naked eye, his luck finally ran out just as he thought he would keep his mech untouched by his powerful opponent.
The effect of Perfidious Steel heavily dropped off this range, allowing Venerable Leiva to rely more on her own senses and judgement rather than the data fed by AIs and algorithms.
Venerable Stark had always warned Tusa that he unconsciously adopted patterns in his decision-making. Every skilled ranged mech pilot learned how to detect the habits and other repet.i.tive patterns of their opponents. As long as they identified at least a single rule, they could antic.i.p.ate a movement and attack in the location that their target was expected to be a moment later.
Though Tusa had expended a huge amount of effort into preventing this from happening, the more he got fired upon, the higher the chance that his expert mech would get hit. This was much worse than in his practice sessions because his opponent had eight primary weapon mounts and could employ trial and error to a much more liberation fas.h.i.+on.
At one point, whether due to skill or through happenstance, one of the eight cannon shots. .h.i.t the Dark Zephyr in the leg, causing the frame to become unbalanced and lose control over its flight trajectory.
The impact was so powerful that the resonance-empowered round exploded with dark orange power.
Fortunately, just as Tusa expected, the armor of his expert mech held, though the internal telemetry stated that the damaged sections had dented by as much as 28 millimeters.
Though that did not sound like much, this was just the result of a single impact! If a more important section of the Dark Zephyr suffered continuous impacts on the same spots, the denting could get very serious!
“d.a.m.n, this expert mech hits as hard as a tactical nuke!”
The more serious indication of damage came from the delicate internal components. They were too weak to withstand heavy damage but were usually well-protected enough to become vulnerable to external attacks.
The issue was that the Gauss Baron’s powerful cannons were just too powerful. Venerable Leiva did not spare any of her energy. She paid no effort to her increasing strain and mental exhaustion and powered her attacks as much as her expert mech and projectiles could allow.
“I can’t let this mech get close!”
The Slug Rangers had also become alarmed at the continued approach of the surprisingly-resilient Dark Zephyr. The mech division rea.s.signed more melee mechs to protecting the bunker where the Gauss Baron was housed.
However, because the dwarves underestimated the threat of Venerable Tusa’s expert mechs, it was too late to recall one of the melee mechs of the Ferril Provincial Army!
Expert light skirmishers were proficient in bypa.s.sing or fighting through a lot of regular mechs.
Not only that, but the expeditionary forces were constantly paying attention to every corner of the battlefield. When General Verle noticed that the Slug Ranger was building an increasingly denser and thicker wall of mechs around the bunker of the Gauss Baron, he grinned at the sight.
“Did you think we wouldn’t take advantage of such an easy target? Then think again!” He laughed for the first time in a while. He opened a communication channel to the Eye of Ylvaine. “Commander Taon! Please direct as much fire support as you can spare to the mechs s.h.i.+elding the Gauss Baron’s bunkers. I’ve just transmitted detailed targeting instructions. Open up a path for Venerable Tusa no matter what it takes!”
“We’re already on it, sir.”
The Eye of Ylvaine could only spare fifteen Transcendent Punishers for this additional task, but that was enough!
By this time, the heavy artillery mechs of the Larkinson Clan had already fired their primary weapons for some time. Even if the mechs were still unscathed, the machines had acc.u.mulated quite a lot of heat as well as wear and tear. The Ylvainan mech pilots had not been sparing to their mechs, knowing that it was crucial to output as much damage as they could compress in as little time as possible.
Their positron beam cannons were already overheating to the point where the bunker had to spray cooling fluids onto them in order to increase their heat dissipation. Their gauss cannons were not well off either. The energy coursing through their coils and the powerful physical forces the cannons had to endure on a repeated basis took a toll on their physical structure.
Malfunctions were thankfully rare and only occurred when the enemy dwarven mechs had breached the bunkers and dinged the Transcendent Punishers.
Though their design wasn’t brilliant in comparison to the Cracker series, the first heavy artillery mech designed by Ves and Gloriana benefited from a generous design budget that incorporated plenty of expensive reinforcement materials that did their best to keep the Transcendent Punishers together.
Now, fifteen of these powerful and battleworn artillery mechs were opening fire on the distant Slug Ranger mechs.
Bright lances of positron beams almost instantly emerged from the muzzles of the Transcendent Punisher’s energy cannons and burned into different dwarven mechs an instant later! The tight formations off the melee mechs worked against the Slug Rangers as the mechs that got struck did not have as much to maneuver as they liked.
Gauss cannons silently boomed as large projectiles crossed over the entire battlefield and reached their destination at the other side. The powerful kinetic impacts wore down the Slug Ranger mechs hard, but they had enough s.p.a.ce knights that they were able to endure the bombardment without losing mechs too quickly.
The Eye of Ylvaine wasn’t focused on eliminating the dwarven escort mechs. The firepower of the fifteen Transcendent Punishers. .h.i.t disproportionately hard because of the caliber of their cannons and the amount of weapon mounts they possessed.
Getting bombarded by 15 heavy artillery mechs felt the same as getting attacked by four to six times as many rifleman mechs!
In order to perform their role better, the Transcendent Punishers spread out their firepower so that many mechs got struck head-on by a powerful positron beam or a solid projectile. Many mechs incurred surface damage that were more disruptive than damaging.
When the Eye of Ylvaine mechs selectively concentrated a portion of their firepower on key targets such as identifiable officer mechs, the cohesion of the dwarven escort mechs dropped!
No one was capable of calmly enduring a sustained artillery bombardment! The suppressed dwarven escort mechs tried their best to hold their positions, but their nerves were getting to them and their mechs were constantly dropping in integrity.
“We can’t hold the line for long!”
Numerous s.h.i.+p Crackers received new targeting instructions and began to concentrate their fire onto the Transcendent Punishers that were putting so much pressure on the escort mechs.
While that helped by a fair amount, it took a lot of time and effort for the counter-battery fire to punch through the protective bunkers. The Eye of Ylvaine pilots did not bother to defend themselves but focused on the mission and disrupted the enemy formation as much as possible!
Venerable Tusa’s eyes widened as he saw the developing situation as he rapidly approached the Lemogo Distat. Even though his mech had been battered numerous times by the Gauss Baron, his expert mech had more tricks up its sleeve than making use of Perfidious Steel.
A powerful resonance-empowered slug struck the Dark Zephyr’s chest. Though the attack failed to dent the expert mech’s resilient frontal armor, it unleashed a severe concussive blow that the armor system only partially absorbed. The remainder of the kinetic energy went on to shake the internals, which also included the c.o.c.kpit!
Tusa quickly employed the remainder of his booster fuel in order to evade the follow-up attack that he was completely certain would arrive.
“Hah, you missed!”
It became harder and harder to mislead Venerable Leiva’s prediction, but the intense pressure caused him to squeeze more potential out of him than ever!
Venerable Leiva, sensing a greater and greater threat to the oncoming expert light skirmisher, decided to overridde a number of safety features. This enabled her to forcibly increase the firing rate of her expert mech’s gauss cannons by 20 percent!
“Drown in my fire, human!”
All of this took a terrible toll on the Gauss Baron’s weapon systems, its expert pilot thought that it could fix the damage afterwards.
Right now, taking down the Dark Zephyr took precedence!
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