The Mech Touch Chapter 545
546 Heavy Consumption
When the Parallax Star's lance hit the forward prow of the combat carrier, common sense went out the window.
In any other situation, the mech should have yielded. Yet this was an expert mech driven forward by an expert pilot. Advanced in age he might be, but every expert pilot possessed the power to defy logic.
Even as the thick layers of the combat carrier's hull plating began to buckle, the Parallax Star's energy field rapidly began to dim as it struggled to protect the expert mech it enveloped against crushing itself apart. Yet no matter how dim it grew, it never winked out.
Like an everlasting sun, the Parallax Star shredded through the prow of the ship and punched into the much less durable interior of the ship! Compartment after compartment parted into as the mech and its indomitable charge brought it deeper into the heart of the vessel!
However, everything came to an end. The ship's interior might not have been as durable as the outer hull, it still formed a substantial obstacle to the Parallax Star because there was so much of it the mech had to bore through. Its momentum rapidly bled off until it barely reached the inner half of the combat carrier.
Secondary explosions quickly started to rattle the combat carrier as the sudden cavity set off a chain reaction of catastrophic effects!
Over a hundred crew members lost their lives instantly as the mech bore through their compartments, and a hundred more became at risk as their bodies floated away into vacuum! If they didn't wear their hazard suits as a precaution, they would have suffocated in an instant!
The combat carrier was as good as crippled. The Parallax Star punched its lance into the compartments beyond. From his extensive experience, O'Callahan knew that he had reached deep enough inside the combat carrier to approach its highly fortified bridge, command center or combat information center. No matter which lay beyond, all of them served a key purpose for the Frosty Meteors.
Though the Venerable's instincts screamed at him to depart from this ship, he persevered and forced his mech through one more compartment! He ignored the flailing figures his lance had breached and mercilessly raked the tip back and forth until he blended every human into unrecognizable meat.
No human could withstand the force of a mech weapon!
"Serves you right for belittling me!"
Though O'Callahan's fury abated a little after finishing his first charge in years, he still needed to teach the rest a lesson they would never forget!
The Parallax Star quickly climbed out of the hole it had made and left the crippled combat carrier behind. With a flaring of its powerful flight system, the expert mech propelled itself to the sides, away from any enemy ships or mechs.
The expert mech wasn't fleeing. It was arcing around for another charging pass!
The impact of the charge and its devastating result against a Kenas Oliphant, Caca Similas and a combat carrier knocked the Frosty Meteors out of their sense of complacency. This was no aged fossil they faced! The threat of death and the excitement of facing a formidable challenge invigorated the Meteors into taking this battle seriously.
A highly regarded mech regiment such as the Frosty Meteors never lost heart after suffering a setback! If the Vandals suffered something similar, then they would have immediately fallen apart as a cohesive unit.
The smarter Meteors also knew that their opponent wouldn't be able to replicate that devastating charge. All kinds of factors fell into place to make that initial charge so destructive.
First, the Meteors didn't think much of Venerable O'Callahan. The thirty laveres that measured from his resonance during the approach hadn't reached a level that would be a cause for concern.
However, in the final seconds before the Parallax Star crashed through the Kenas Oliphant, the Parallax Star's resonance readings spiked in the forties all of a sudden! Such a significant boost in resonance strength had qualitatively transformed the strength of the expert mech's charge!
The second factor that played a role was that both sides had been approaching each other. A shuttle crashing against an immobile wall unleashed a lot less energy than two shuttles flying straight against each other. The impact of two converging forces resulted in much more damage than anticipated when combined with the spike in resonance.
Now that he Parallax Star matched velocities with the Frosty Meteor formation, it would take at least thirty minutes of circling in order to build up an equivalent amount of momentum. The Frosty Meteors would never give the Parallax Star that much time! Even if the Venidse didn't bother chasing after the much-faster Parallax Star, they could still vent their aggression on the immobilized ships of the Vandals!
Though Venerable O'Callahan didn't particularly care about the Flagrant Vandals, they were his only ticket out of here. For better or worse, he needed to attack immediately. It wasn't enough to apply some pressure. The Flagrant Vandals would only prevail if the Frost Meteors was beaten back!
Back inside the Shield of Hispania's command center, Ves still had to catch up with what had happened. Others didn't think so much and cheered as if their favorite mech athlete downed an enemy mech within the opening minute of the duel. Though the Vandals quickly got back to work, the joy and faith engendered by Venerable O'Callahan fantastic performance still lifted their moods.
Ves rewinded the moment where the Parallax Star bore straight through a heavy mech, a medium mech and the front half of a combat carrier of all things. He didn't pay attention to the flashy energy field or the unwaveringly straight lance. Instead, he drew his eyes to the telemetry.
Much of the Parallax Star's parameters spiked to unheard of levels.
"Is this the power of resonance?"
He noted with great interest that the Venerable's resonance spiked in proportion with the rise in parameters. There was a definite relation between the two. "Still, forty-four laveres at its height? Isn't that O'Callahan's record when he was at his best?"
Iris leaned over to take a peek at the parameters. "That's pretty impressive, but it's costly as well. I don't think the Venerable can withstand the consumption that is required to pull off such a performance. That single charge must have burned through at least a month of his lifespan. There's always a price for power. Especially at his age, the more he pushes beyond his limits, the more he exhausts what remains of his potential."
It was a fair statement to make. Ves didn't completely understand all of the mechanics behind resonance and how expert pilots evoked resonance, but he certainly believed it couldn't be replicated so easily.
"You're right. Everything has a price. I hope that Venerable O'Callahan can pay enough to redeem our lives."
No matter how little he thought of the expert pilot, the man fought to preserve their lives. Even if his intentions were selfish, Ves still couldn't help but root for the Venerable.
"Come on! You can do this!"
The Parallax Star might not have the time to build up its former earthshaking charge, but it could still accumulate sufficient momentum to threaten the Frosty Meteors. After several rounds of circling, the expert mech dove in yet again. Against the heavy mechs arrayed against the Vandals, the Parallax Star hardly required any effort to land the perfect hit! The heavy mechs couldn't dodge to save their lives!
Just as O'Callahan was about to initiate his charge, the haze of fury that engulfed his mind had begun to fade a little bit. He regained enough of his senses to listen to his military advisor screaming over the comm channel.
"Don't focus on the heavy space knights! It takes too much time to dismantle them! Aim your charges at their medium mechs! You can run them down a lot more often than the heavy mechs!"
Right now, the Flagrant Vandals wanted O'Callahan to prioritize on diminishing the numbers of the Frosty Meteors. Though the heavy mechs posed the highest threat to the Vandal fleet, the only way to accomplish a victory was to exact a heavy toll on the Frosty Meteors and entice them to abandon their attack run.
Though O'Callahan dearly wished to pound the heavy space knights into a pulp, his better sense took over and he obediently shifted his target towards the softer mechs.
"I can still run you down two at a time!"
The Frosty Meteors adjusted their formation in a way that put the medium and heavy knights in front of their more vulnerable mechs, but there was a limit to their maneuvering. Their deficient mobility worked against them as O'Callahan easily maneuvered his faster and nimbler mech around their formation and plunged into a neatly chosen angle that enabled the Parallax Star to graze its lance against two rifleman mechs at a time!
"Two more down! A hundred more to go!"
The Parallax Star turned from an unstoppable bull into a stubborn wasp that circled around the lumbering Frosty Meteors. No matter how many guns fired at the Parallax Star, its energy field never reached its limit, though it had grown dangerously dim at various times.
O'Callahan didn't attempt to charge the center of the enemy formation. Instead, he directed his mech to nibble at the edges, taking one or two mechs out at a time. He never chew off more than he could bite, so after each charge the Parallax Star hadn't lost too much momentum.
Every time the Parallax Star charged, it always managed to preserve a large proportion of its forward momentum. It circled gracefully after each charge and dove back in with renewed enthusiasm.
Mechs continued to drop out of formation after each charge. The wary combat carriers that trailed behind tried to pick up every wreck as best as possible, but the crippling of one of their combat carriers had put a serious dent in their cohesion. They didn't have the time to retrieve every wreck, and due to the Parallax Star's exceptional lethality, hardly any Vesian mech pilot survived the aftermath of the enemy charge!
"Vandals! Assist the Venerable! Encircle the Meteors! Take what is ours!"
"Take what is ours!"
The Vandal spaceborn mechs finally caught up with their expert pilot. Around half of their Inheritor light skirmishers dove around the Frosty Meteors, not daring to come any closer. The Hellcats hung back with the rest of the Vandal medium mechs, holding back for now as they knew their shock attacks wouldn't be able to put a dent in the Frosty Meteors despite their deteriorating state.
"Don't get pulled into a pitched battle! Harass them from the flanks and distract them from focusing their firepower on our expert!"
The Vandal mechs showed what they were best at and employed a number of harassment tactics. For example, the Inheritors constantly moved to threaten the heavy cannoneers and medium rifleman mechs. Both ranged mechs might pose a threat to them at range, but once the Inheritor came into melee range, they could easily tear them apart.
This forced the Frosty Meteors to position most of their knights to cover their ranged mechs.
The Frosty Meteors were known for their awesome shock attacks and their ability to endure. Their defensive formation left few holes for the regular Vandal mechs to exploit.
Nonetheless, they succeeded in distracting the Meteors, opening up more opportunities Venerable O'Callahan to charge down several mechs at once. The battle increasingly swung in their favor as the combination achieved a lot of results!
Yet no matter how fast the Venerable broke down the Meteor mechs, it simply wasn't fast enough! With five minutes to go until the Frosty Meteors crashed into the propulsion-less Vandal ships, something needed to change in order to swing the battle even further in their favor!
"Can we threaten their combat carriers?" Ves asked all of a sudden. "If we can threaten their mech berths, they might decide to draw back more strength."
"It's too late for that." Major Verle mused. "It's highly unlikely they will decide to yield. Don't forget that we are in Vesian space. Even if we destroy their rides out of this star system, they can still float in space for a week and wait for reinforcement ships to pick them up."
The Frosty Meteors already suffered a substantial amount of losses. Only victory could redeem their shame!