The Mech Touch Chapter 771
769 Charging Bull
"We need a victory here, not a stalemate! I need options!" Major Verle called.
The tactical officer regretfully shook his head. "Sir, we can't afford to divert more firepower to focus down the sandmen escorts one by one. All twelve escort vessels won't hesitate to accelerate and catch up to our slower supply train if we reduce the pressure on any of them! With the absence of the Finmoth Regal's complement of mechs, we don't have the mechs to spare!"
A twelve-escort sandmen fleet was a significant force to be reckoned with to any force. The Flagrant Swordmaidens only managed to hold on due to arming their melee mechs with spare ranged rifles, but those mechs quickly started to run out of ammunition.
"Sir, the average ammunition levels of the mechs has dipped below thirty percent." Ves reported. This was an urgent matter that needed to come to the attention of Major Verle. "Some of the more trigger-happy mech pilots are already turning back to their carriers to pick up their next batch of ammunition."
"Our total output of fire is declining! The sandmen escorts are inching forward again!"
"Instruct the mech pilots to bring their fire rate under control! I don't want all of our mechs to run out of rounds at the same time!" Major Verle thundered. "Initiate an immediate rotation of our mechs regardless of their ammunition reserves. Plan out a continuous rotation so that our weigh of fire never dips below the amount that is necessary to keep pushing back the sandmen!"
The voracious and relentless sandmen loved nothing more than to gulp down human mechs and ships. They never stopped pursuit once they obtained the whereabouts of a human fleet.
Even if they were losing a battle, most of the sandmen admirals were too inflexible to consider retreat!
Therefore, fighting back against the sandmen required a concerted effort over a long period of time. Sandmen had no concept of morale as the vast majority of their race exhibited too little cognition to even understand such a concept.
The sandman admiral at the heart of the mothership ruled over every aspect of the sandmen fleet with an iron fist. This was an advantage when it wasn't too old and hadn't experienced too much to develop countermeasures against prior attacks.
However, the sandman admiral the Flagrant Swordmaidens were facing right now was young enough to fight to the death but old enough to form various countermeasures.
"The sandmen escorts are breaking apart, sir! They're forming into fluid sandstorm formations!"
For example, at some point, the sandman escort vessels stopped maintaining their solid shapes. Instead, they exploded into sandstorms that spread out their structure over a huge stretch of space. The sandstorms swept forward, slower but more all-encompassing, and no matter how much firepower the Flagrant Swordmaidens threw at them, they ceased to be able to push them back!
This was one of the responses the Vandals dreaded the most! It was easier to stop a ship than a storm! Through the sandstorm formation exposed the escorts to an increasing amount of damage, the lack of rigidity in its structure meant that nothing could stop it from employing its superior acceleration to advance!
Major Verle paused for a few seconds before issuing new orders. "Pull back our mechs! Instruct Captain Rakeshir to scatter the fleet."
The battle turned against the Flagrant Swordmaidens. Even though the mechs steadily gave ground, some of their starships couldn't run away fast enough to escape the incoming sandstorms!
Ves looked at the plot that automatically calculated how much time it took for the living sandstorms to catch up to the slowest cargo haulers. Six minutes.
That was way too little time!
However, unlike the sandmen who let a single entity do all of the thinking for them, the Flagrant Swordmaidens relied on an extensive staff to come up with solutions. The tactical officer presented a new plan that sounded very viable.
"Sir, now that the sandmen escorts have formed into sandstorms, there's no use in spreading our firepower. I suggest we deploy at least half of our mechs into focusing their fire on one sandstorm at a time. Their sandstorm shapes makes them more susceptible to massed light attacks!"
"Agreed." Major Verle issued his approval. "Implement the plan!"
Half of the mechs kept up their barrage of firepower to discourage the sandmen from pulling off anything else, while the other half chose to whittle down the sandstorm furthest to their starboard side.
The dispersed sandstorm sustained massive damage over time. All the explosive shells disrupting and kinetic rounds disrupting the sand flows took their toll on the fluid amalgamation. Around sixty seconds later, the sandstorm lost integrity and turned into lifeless grains of sand!
"Target the second sandstorm in the list."
By concentrating half of their firepower one sandstorm at a time, the Flagrant Swordmaidens managed to really dish out the hurt to the sandmen. The second sandstorm fell a little bit faster, and the third one already came under fire!
Each time a sandstorm got killed, the mechs assigned to put them under pressure suddenly became free. They immediately received new assignments to add their fire to the mechs assigned to focus the sandstorm down.
It was like a snowball rolling down a snowy mountain. Each sandstorm lost integrity a little faster, and with each takedown the next sandstorm being targeted endured even heavier fire!
While the regular mechs tentatively handled the sandstorms, the mothership appeared to grow agitated and shifted its structure to one that optimized its speed.Find authorized novels in Webnovel，faster updates, better experience，Please click www.webnovel.com for visiting.
The sandmen admiral grew frustrated and wanted to reverse the battle by going into action itself!
"Sir, the sandman mothership is accelerating! It is attempting to overtake the Gorgon's Gaze! It will be able to catch up in four minutes!"
"What is Venerable Xie doing?!"
"He's.. he's returning to the Gorgon's Gaze to exchange the Parallax Star's railgun for its lance. He says he intends to charge the mothership!"
"Call him back!"
"He refuses to comply, sir! He has shut down all of his active communication channels!"
Major Verle very pointedly threw a gaze at Ves. Even without uttering any words, the mech designer understood the mech officer's dissatisfaction.
For someone who had undergone a fair amount of brainwashing, the expert pilot did not appear to behave in an obedient manner!
Ves rapidly analyzed the expert pilot's behavior pattern. According to his judgement, with the amount of practice hours the Venerable put into the Parallax Star, its tampered neural interface had plenty of time to build up associations in the expert pilot's brains.
Why then would Xie refuse direct orders from the highest-ranking Vandal on the field not once, but several times now?
He remembered that Venerable Xie had been trained as a bodyguard, and not as a serviceman in some kind of mech military. Prince Hixt-Klaaster did not struck Ves as an imaginative and capable leader, so he must have depended heavily on his pet expert pilot to pull him out of trouble.
"Major, Venerable Xie is trained as a bodyguard first and foremost. His primary duty is to protect whatever he is assigned to cover, and as the Fourth Prince of the Royal House of Talk is rather.. prone to hysteria, Xie likely developed a habit of taking the initiative whenever there is a crisis."
"Why then must he exchange his perfectly functioning railgun for a lance that he has hated from the start?"
Ves didn't immediately understand why Xie opted for a lance either, until he recalled footage of Venerable O'Callahan's amazing charges. It was possible that Xie wished to emulate his predecessor.
"A charging attack in the vein of what Venerable O'Callahan used to accomplish is a much more deadlier attack to the mothership." He explained. "A melee mech that is statically attacking the sandman mothership will no doubt become engulfed, expert mech or not, so Xie won't be able to employ his spear. Employing a charging attack with a lance however allows him to make repeated attacks that may hurt just as much if not more than a railgun discharge!"
The Parallax Star was in essence a melee mech and featured no enhancements that empowered its ranged attacks. Venerable Xie's personal landbound Pale Dancer mech could have inflicted a lot more ranged damage, but it couldn't be deployed in space at all.
It took a precious minute for the Parallax Star to reenter its private hangar bay and quickly put aside its railgun to pick up its lance. It took another minute for the mech to return to its old position in front of the lumbering Gorgon's Gaze.
"The Parallax Star is initiating a charge!" Ves immediately called as he saw several resonance indicators light up. "Its target is the sandman mothership!"
The Parallax Star's powerful custom flight system visibly lit up as it pushed the lancer mech forward in a straight and stable charge. Though its acceleration paled in comparison to what Venerable O'Callahan used to accomplish, Venerable Xie nonetheless was no slouch!
"His performance with the Parallax Star is at least twenty percent better than expected. His charge is actually gaining momentum!"
Ves was pleasantly surprised by this development. The change he made to expend Xie's potential in exchange for a temporary boost in performance turned out to be a prudent change. His resonance strength even surpassed twelve laveres for a brief moment of time as the expert pilot summoned up more strength.
The Parallax Star was built for speed, and Venerable Xie activated the resonance patterns embedded in the flight system to boost his mech's acceleration by a considerable amount.
Just a brief period of time had already caused the Parallax Star to turn into a comet with all of the light being dispersed by its energy field! A second energy field formed around its lance, one that looked sharper and more destructive than the field protecting the mech itself. The two fields overlapped a bit causing a few glitches to occur, but the Venerable quickly compensated for them on the spot.
"The Parallax Star will impact the mothership in twenty seconds!"
Both the expert mech and the mothership flew in a collision course against each other. That meant that any impact would hurt far more for each side.
"Ten seconds until impact!"
The mothership fired off another energy beam, but this time the Parallax Star rolled out of the path of energy and light, enabling it to escape at least two-thirds of the damage!
With that last hurrah, the Parallax Star charged into the partially hollow mothership with its lance held forward in an impeccably sharp intrusion!
Gouts of sand flew apart as the Parallax Star pierced through multiple sand structures until it came out from the other side. The mech performed a short loop before it initiated its charge again, the energy fields in front of the mech and lance battering aside all of the sand in its way!
The expert mech repeated this feat several times as Venerable Xie was unwilling to let the mothership advance towards the Gorgon's Gaze unimpeded. However, these repeated attacks took their toll on the expert mech as its energy field emitters kept sustaining more damage and its momentum continued to bleed away!
"Sir, the Parallax Star is losing speed with every successful charging pass." Ves alerted Major Verle. "After two more charges the expert mech has lost so much relative velocity that the mothership may succeed in its attempt to trap the mech!"
The mothership already caught on to the expert mech's tactics and attempted to throw gouts of sand in its way to halt the Parallax Star and captured it in its grasp! However, each time it did so, the mech's forward momentum and its increasingly ragged energy field saved it from getting munched.
Yet how long would the expert mech be able to persist?
Good news arrived by then. "Sir, we have focused down all of the sandmen escort vessels! We direct our firepower to the mothership, but we risk inflicting friendly fire!"
"Dammit!" Major Verle slammed his fist against his seatrest. His command chair had endured a lot of abuse over the months. "Keep ringing Venerable Xie and tell him to abort his reckless attack! We don't need him to occupy the mothership anymore!"
Sadly, the expert pilot appeared to be deaf and blind to the tactical situation. The expert pilot had developed a severe case of tunnel vision as he kept charging at the mothership like a bull that only saw red!