The Mech Touch Chapter 1026
1024 Cutting Power
The decompression of the corridors bode very ill for the Felicitous Remembrance. Either the pirates subverted the system meant to regular the air within the passenger ship, or they blew a big hole in her hull that the automated damage control systems couldn't patch up. Modern starships activated at least five different emergency countermeasures against a hole being punched through their hull, especially ones as well-built as the Remembrance.
"Well, most of those handy features probably failed to kick in considering the complete power blackout." Ves muttered.
If the lack of gravity, oxygen cycling, temperature regulation didn't worry them enough, now they also had to deal with the consequences of moving in vacuum.
Rationing their oxygen became one of their most critical priorities. Their protective suits only possessed a finite oxygen capacity. If their oxygen packs or their suits gained a big enough hole, then they would quickly suffocate and die!
There was a way to change depleted oxygen packs for spare ones stored in various emergency lockers spread all over the interior of the ship. However, that took time and was also rather difficult to do alone.
With the surrounding vacuum no longer able to convey any sounds, they all patched into the same short-range communication channel.
"Will we need to change anything?" Ves asked.
"No. We just need to move into action faster." One of the Spiral Shocker guards stated. "Spacing the interior of the Remembrance suggests that the plans of our foes has progressed to an extent. We must take action to interrupt their next actions."
They hustled back to the armory with haste. Unlike last time, Ves didn't travel together with both guards and Lord Javier. He split off with one of the guards, leaving the other to keep an eye on Lord Javier.
Frankly speaking, bringing Lord Javier was a huge burden. Not only did the guards have to keep him alive, they also couldn't allow him to get out of their sight.
While they could have tied Lord Javier to a solid fixture and lock him in a spare compartment, the risk was too great that the enemy might come and free him without any issue. This very real possibility forced them to keep Lord Javier close, which was very risky in this upcoming battle action.
Garbed in his flimsy hazard suit, Lord Javier made his dissatisfaction abundantly clear.
"This is murder! Why are you bringing me closer to the fight! I'm unarmed and practically unarmored! You Brighters are the worst guards ever!"
He at least had enough sense to keep his grumbling in the private channel. Once they came close enough to the armory, he obediently shut up in order to avoid disturbing the proceedings.
While the guard with the heavy machine gun emplacement set up his contraption close around the corner to the corridor leading to the armory, the other guard forced open a hatch through a mechanical workaround.
Not every hatch could be opened up this way, and generally only unimportant storage lockers and the like could be opened as easily with this method.
Ves and the guard entered into a large and spacious gym compartment. Various exercise equipment lay unpowered and forgotten during this time of crisis.
The large amount of space offered the nearby security officers and other soldiers stationed at the security department and the armory a lot of training space.
Right now, neither Ves nor the guard required all of the space. They simply approached the bulkhead facing the armory and waited.
The guard brandished a grenade launcher while Ves configured his Amastendira in a short-duration cutting beam.
In ordinary cases, a wide angle scatter beam served him better as it would instantly kill or debilitate those he targeted, leaving them no opportunity to retaliate. However, its potency decreased rapidly over a distance and carried no penetration power.
Ves knew that the Amastendira attracted an uncomfortably large amount of attention, especially since he whipped it out of nowhere.
Nonetheless, his actions already earned the respect of the guards. During this time of crisis, the last thing on their mind was to figure out the origins of the weapon. It was much more important to make use of every scrap of power they could muster!
The deck rumbled a little bit.
"That's it!" The guard yelled. "The pirates breached the armory compartment! Attack!"
They fell upon the earlier contingent of pirates so fast that they couldn't have transmitted a warning back to their comrades. Therefore, as Ves fired the Amastendira yet again, they had no idea what they were up against!
The Amastendira only burned for two seconds this time, but at maximum power the powerfully bright laser shone bright golden white as it attempted to pummel through the bulkhead!
Even at full power, the Amastendira barely breached the bulkhead surrounding the gym and training compartment. Due to the low strategic importance of this compartment during a battle, the shipwrights cut some corners regarding the durability of the surrounding bulkheads.
Unfortunately, even when they tried to save costs, the shipwrights didn't dare go too far, thereby giving the Amastendira a lot of difficulty piercing through!
The first beam only managed to burn through halfway. Ves expected this, so he immediately fired the weapon again, trusting its dimensional heatsink to shunt away all of the dangerous build-up of heat into another dimension.
This time, the second beam built up on the progress of the first beam and managed to pierce through!
Ves rapidly extended the duration of the beam and fired the Amastendira once more, unleashing its power to the group of pirates attempting to push through ruined blast doors of the armory!
Half of their ranks got cut apart or burned in an instant! Even if they wore better quality combat armor, it wouldn't have availed them at all. With the Amastendira at maximum power, let alone infantry, even light mechs would feel threatened!
The remarkably well-trained pirates instantly abandoned their intention to break into the armory. Around half of the survivors rallied around a leader and instantly turned into the direction of the gym compartment.
However, two things happened that forestalled their next response. The thick fat muzzle of a grenade launcher barely squeezed through the narrow gap that Ves burned through the bulkhead. The residual heat already started to affect the integrity of the grenade launcher's barrel, but the guard quickly unloaded a full drum of grenades without worrying about anything else!
The badly-aimed grenades sprayed over a very wide area, some of them landing nowhere close to an enemy.
However, plenty of grenades landed close enough that when they detonated, they severely battered or outright killed the nearby pirates!
Unfortunately, the grenade launcher's drum only held so many grenades, and the Spiral Shocker guards only managed to scavenge a single drum from the security department.
Still, the effect of this attack more than satisfied Ves and the guards.
Before the survivors could get their wits back together, the other guard that set up the machine gun emplacement suddenly reversed the polarity of its mag modules.
This caused it to change the way it interacted with the deck. Instead of sticking to it, it abruptly floated above of it! Although the emplacement was rather heavy, it didn't prevent the guard and his servo-assisted armor from turning around a corner pushing it towards the entrance of the armory.
After that, he switched the polarity back to its original settings, causing it to slam back down to the deck.
The guard laid down behind the emplacement and instantly fired its entire remaining magazine of rounds!
The vast majority of pirates never stood a chance. When they were still focusing their attention towards the entrance of the armory and the newly opened gap from the gym compartment, they were completely exposed to an attack from a third direction!
While some of the pirates reacted quickly enough to fire back at the third assailant, the armor plating surrounding the machine gun emplacement held out long enough to tear down every pirate bar one!
The highest-ranking pirate somehow managed to survive! By dropping to the deck and using the corpses of his subordinates as extra cover, he managed to survive with only scratches to his armor!
It didn't save him from getting disarmed and captured by the remnants of the security officers holing up in the armory. A handful of armored soldiers stormed out of the ruined blast doors and quickly policed the site of the dead and wounded.
A handful of pirates survived alongside the leader. Most received heavy injuries which the security officers temporarily patched up with the supplies from their emergency med kits.
They hardly helped. The injured pirates needed better treatment than that, but none of them could afford to divert to the Remembrance's medical bay.
As the four reunited outside the armory, Lord Javier's guard escorts reported to the exoskeleton-armored security captain that emerged out of the armory compartment.
They reported through a private comm channel, so Ves didn't get to hear what they said. They did gesture towards him a few times, so he had no doubt they reported both his contributions and his possession of an amazingly potent weapon.
"Mr. Larkinson. I see it was wrong for me to dismiss the rumors swirling about the galactic net." The security captain complimented him. "I am Captain Yemona Hoskie of the Spiral Shockers. I'll be taking charge from now on, is that clear?"
Ves did not wish to submit unconditionally to Captain Hoskie, so he did not reply as usual. Following Lord Javier's advice, he gave an indirect response. "I will be glad to assist your endeavors, though mind you, I'm not trained for combat."
"Uh huh. Whatever you say." Hoskie replied skeptically. Her exoskeleton helmet prevented Ves from seeing her face, but he had no doubt that she stared at his empty hands, wondering where he hid his super laser pistol. Seeing that she faced a tough customer, she immediately moved on. "Right now, we need to take back control of the ship, or barring that bring Senator Tovar to safety."
"What about the other VIPs?"
"We'll rescue the likes of Colonel Xelven and Professor Ventag if possible, but Senator Tovar's safety takes priority."
Ves figured that his name was way down in her priority list. He didn't mind it too much though.
"What's your next step?" He asked, deliberating phrasing his question in a way that put a little distance between him and the surviving security officers.
Captain Hoskie stared at the two guards surviving guards out of the four assigned to keep Lord Javier safe. "Damn. We don't have sufficient manpower at our disposal. Half of the armory got blown up and the rest of my subordinates are trapped or stranded at their bunks or at their assigned posts. We can only muster up a single squad."
Ves looked beyond the handful of security guards that had armed themselves to the teeth and saw devastation within the armory. It was a bit better off than the security department, likely due to the increased difficulty of planting explosive charges in this tightly-guarded compartment.
Still, a single guard captain leading a squad of men wouldn't be enough to push back the hundred or more pirates that likely boarded the Felicitous Remembrance!
After weighing her decision, Captain Hoskie decided to forgo heading down the the lower decks to ascertain the state of the engineering bay. Instead, she decided to secure Senator Tovar first.
"We head to the bridge. Right now, it must be under heavy assault by the bulk of the pirates. We can't allow them to gain entry."
"I think that's the best course of action." Ves concurred.
"I wasn't asking you."
Everyone moved out on her orders, though some of them took the time to gear up properly for an assault. Due to the likelihood of follow up attacks on the armory, Captain Hoskie did not feel reassured leaving Lord Javier behind with a single guard. She decided to continue stringing the Vesian noble along regardless of his complaints.
"At least give me something better than a hazard suit!"