The Mech Touch Chapter 563
The monster horde threatened the Hafner mechs as well as the Vandals. Ves did not believe that the Hafners had implemented too many controls in the genetically modified monsters. Ordering them to group up and sweep through every mech on the Kamwin continent was a double-edged sword. Short from ordering them to disperse their horde, the Hafner mech pilots might not make it through the monster wave alive unless they possessed another failsafe.
The Vandals couldn't let their opponents pull out another trick. They needed to end this battle quickly or at least take care of their primary objective.
After the Hafner mechs punched through one of the Vandal wings, they attempted to widen the distance.
The other Vandals attempted to catch up to them, but they were being hindered by their own comrades! The Vandals who witnessed Venerable Foster's prowess in battle completely lost their will to fight, and became nothing more than obstacles to their fellow teammates! The wrecks that littered the ground also served as an impediment to the pursuers.
The Vandals needed time to reorganize their ranks. They had no choice but to let the Hafner mechs go.
However, before the Hafner mechs successfully disengaged, a furious barrage of cannon fire impacted their formation! Dozens of heavy projectiles and powerful laser beams pelted them from the side!
Over twenty Akkara heavy mechs had been transferred to the surface! Ordinarily, they served as makeshift turrets for the Vandal combat carriers. Major Verle had made a judgement call and opted to field the Akkara mechs on the ground at the cost of weakening the defenses of the fleet.
As long as Hafner didn't attack the Vandal ships in orbit, the risk was worth it!
The Flagrant Vandals didn't particularly excel at ranged combat. The only mech model that performed well at range was their Akkara heavy cannoneers. These slow and heavy quadruped mechs provided a stable platform for the numerous cannon barrels mounted on its frame. An entire company of Vandal melee mechs guarded the valuable Akkaras.
Gathering over twenty heavy mechs and ordering them to fire in a single direction was a lethal move. The Hafner mechs hastily ran for the nearest cover, but not without losing over twenty mechs!
Along with the losses sustained in the earlier clash, the Hafner mechs only numbered around fifty mechs!
"This is the best way to beat an expert pilot." Ves concluded. "Captain Foster is deadly up close, but even she has to lower her head when it comes to massed firepower."
The heavy caliber of the cannons mounted on the Akkaras meant that her thoroughly average Mackey Craic mech couldn't shrug off the shells and laser beams without concern. Already the swordsman mech had gained several ugly cracks and scorch marks upon its armor!
The Akkara mechs continued to unleash death even after the Hafner mechs dove for cover. The heavy shells and laser beams worked away at the tree trunks. While the massive trees were capable of withstanding regular mech fire, the massed firepower of over twenty Akkara mechs was in an entirely different class!
The Hafner mechs lost too many comrades. Their plan was already a longshot, but to come across an unexpected setback depressed the surviving Hafner mech pilots.
However, they never thought about surrender. A warrior of Hafner never relented against pirates!
"The monster horde we've instigated should be close!" An instructor said. "We only need to endure for ten more minutes until the monster horde arrives!"
Both sides gritted their teeth as they fought with their utmost. By now, the main thrust of the Vandals finished sorting out their battle lines. They pressed on towards the suppressed Hafner mechs. Even after they sustained some losses, they still outnumbered the Hafner mechs by at least three-to-one.
The power of the Akkara mechs was in full display right now! Though Ves often complained in his mind about their cost and troublesome maintenance issues, he couldn't help but celebrate their inspiring performance!
"If Venerable Foster piloted a true expert swordsman mech, then she would have been able to dash up close and slice and dice these clumsy heavy mechs." Iris said besides Ves. "It's tragic that she never got the opportunity to show off her expert abilities in a better machine."
Ves huffed in response. "If she hadn't broken through in a completely spontaneous moment, then we wouldn't have to drag this battle out."
"Sir, the monster horde is five minutes away!"
Major Verle already looked pensive at the worsening situation. Though the Akkara mechs did a good job keeping the Hafner mechs from pulling something off, they weren't able to finish them off.
"Divert the Akkara group and half of our main group to deal with the monster horde."
In any case, the Hafner mechs only numbered a bit more than forty mechs by now. The Vandals didn't need to allocate all of their landbound forces into finishing them off.
The battle lines shifted. Half of the Vandal mechs eagerly split off in order to confront the incoming monster horde without distraction. The Akkara mechs along with their escorts also moved away from the Hafner mechs.
By now, the monsters numbered over five-hundred mech-sized beasts. That was sufficient to trample Training Camp Quistas even if they hadn't suffered from a massive bombardment.
Diverting around a hundred-and-fifty mechs was overkill to Ves, but Major Verle and the mech captains on the ground wanted to finish off the monsters quickly before they attracted more beasts. With the collective firepower of the Akkara mechs, the Vandals wouldn't have any problems with massacring the monsters.
This left just a bit over a hundred Vandal mechs to confront the remnants of Hafner. Though forty mechs still remained standing, none of their mechs had made it out unscathed. Seeing that the Vandals diverted much of their mechs elsewhere, Venerable Foster saw an opportunity to disengage.
Without the Akkara mechs suppressing their freedom of movement, the Hafner mechs emerged from behind the trees and retreated at an orderly speed.
The Vandals that remained followed in pursuit. Their ranged mechs fired their weapons as they ran, hoping to chip away at the fleeing Hafner mechs.
The Hafner mechs reciprocated. All of their mechs possessed the capacity to rotate their torsos by at least a hundred-and-sixty degrees. This gave their rifles enough of an angle to fire right behind them, though their mech pilots struggled to keep their mechs on their feet.
Both sides retained some scruples against each other.
If the Vandals split up into different elements again, they would only make themselves more vulnerable against Venerable Foster. This prevented the Vandals from splitting off their light mechs in an attempt to flank or surround the Hafner mechs.
Venerable Foster on the other hand felt constrained by her opponent's stubborn insistence on sticking together. Their close formation and lack of diversions meant that Foster would have to challenge all hundred Vandal mechs at once if she decided to take the offensive.
She calculated the outcome of the battle between the monster horde and the Vandal mechs. Due to the meteorite bombardment, most of the sensors and communication lines buried in the vicinity had been cut off. She found it difficult to estimate how long the monsters could keep the defending Vandal mechs in place.
"With those heavy mechs lending their assistance, those stupid beasts won't last very long. I doubt they can hold out for an hour."
She needed to finish off the pursuing Vandals before that time!
"We need to turn around and attack!"
Her prestige swayed the Hafner mech pilots without much convincing. She didn't even need to provide an explanation for her to direct her fellow comrades.
They turned around abruptly and closed in on the pursuing Vandal mechs. Both sides predominantly retained their melee mechs, so the battle quickly devolved into a confusing melee.
Two different mech captains confronted the Mackey Craic with varying levels of confidence. Though they couldn't match the speed and power displayed Venerable Foster, they possessed enough experience to preserve their mechs and their lives.
The expert pilot quickly grunted in frustration as her opponents stopped her from massacring the rank-and-file.
Although the mech pilots of the Flagrant Vandals were not as competent as proper mech pilots of the Mech Corps, their mech captains represented the best of their best. None of them were slouches when it came to piloting skill! Both mech captains happened to be elevated to their ranks due to their praiseworthy skill. While they weren't able to command all that well, their piloting prowess was enough to suppress their subordinates!
Right now, they utilized every drop of their skill to survive the Mackey Craic's onslaught of techniques! If a human made the same moves as the Mackey Craic, they would have strained their muscles or snapped their bones. Foster's sword style could only be performed by a specific class of flexible swordsman mechs!
Utilizing the inhuman range of motion of mechs and combining it with the weight of a mech, Venerable Foster attacks came fast and heavy. If not for wielding a highly reinforced mech-sized sword meant for slaying hardy monsters, the Mackey Craic would have long cracked its only weapon!
Each sword strike pushed the defending Vandal mechs back. One of the mech captains piloted a knight mech. Its shield began to split from all of the abuse. The other mech captain piloted a spearman mech, which tried and largely failed to keep the Mackey Craic out of reach.
Under the control of Venerable Foster, the Mackey Craic moved with precision. The mech always managed to avoid a stab and spin close in order to sweep the spearman mech. After several failed attempts at stabbing the Mackey Craic, the mech captain finally made a misstep!
The Mackey Craic battered the spear to the side with an arm and hacked its sword with the other arm! Though the hasty move didn't have too much power behind it, the sword somehow managed to hit a critical junction in the spearman mech's arm!
The Vandal knight mech moved to shield its comrade, but the Mackey Craic already recovered from its first attack and launched a second attack. Its sword stabbed straight at the chest of the spearman mech!
Just moments before the sword touched against the battered chest armor of the Vandal mech, its cockpit suddenly ejected from the rear! A scattering of rear armor plating bloomed out of the spearman mech's back as the cockpit safely flew out of sight while barely managing to dodge the trees in its way.
The survival rate of a season mech officer was much higher than a rookie because they could always judge the right time to eject!
However, the loss of the spearman mech meant that the remaining mech captain lost a vital pillar of support. Venerable Foster growled in anger as the opportunity to kill a pirate captain slipped.
She quickly turned to vent her fury against the other mech captain. With her skills, it didn't take more than five seconds to finish off the knight mech. The mech captain didn't hesitate to eject once he fell in a hopeless situation.
However, once she glanced at the state of her comrades, she discovered that they quickly fell in numbers! Only twenty Hafner mechs remained standing, and their numbers diminished in rapid tempo!
The Vandals succeeded in diverting the main threat. Once Venerable Foster became constrained, the Vandals shamelessly took advantage of their numbers to crush the diminished and worn out Hafner mechs. A disparity of two-to-one quickly grew wider and wider until the disparity surpassed a ratio of four-to-one!
No matter how well the Hafner mech pilots fought, defeat was inevitable!
"Venerable! Please run! We'll hold them back as long as possible!" An instructor yelled. "I've already passed over the commands to incite the native monsters to your mech! Use them to finish off the invaders!"
Venerable Foster couldn't afford to linger on the battlefield. She quickly came to a ruthless conclusion and turned the Mackey Craic around to run.
"Hold the Vandal scum in place! Don't let them catch our future hope!"
Tears fell down from Foster's cheeks as she overloaded the Mackey Craic in order to hasten her flight.