Chapter 2593: Training Progress
Over a thousand mechs flew in space.
They formed several dispersed formations and maneuvered in close coordination with each other.
Many mechs flew at least fifty meters apart from each other.
Every element had to fly close enough to each other in order to make formations effective, but packing them too close left them vulnerable to powerful explosions.
The risk of collision also played a significant factor.
If the mech pilots weren\'t skilled or disciplined enough, then a single mistake might lead to a chain collision that could tear an entire formation apart!
This was one of the reasons why pirates and poorly-trained mech pilots flew around in a chaotic swarm.
The mech pilots did not even trust their own comrades to fly responsibly, so they only felt at ease if mechs were at least 100 or 200 meters away from their own machines.
Suffice to say, these loose groups conveyed no significant advantage other than minimizing collisions and making it harder for them to get taken out by a single powerful explosion.
As the silver-coated mechs of the Living Sentinels maneuvered in space in much tighter formations, the Larkinson Clan took a different route.
Every Larkinson mech force emphasized formations in their training regimes.
Many of the mech pilots that the clan managed to recruit in recent months were all elites or highly-qualified rookies.
They possessed the skill, discipline and confidence to pilot their mechs in tight formations.
However, due to their diverse backgrounds and origins, they were all used to different configurations.
The Sentinels and the other mech forces wished to integrate the new recruits into their own unique systems, then they needed to conduct a lot of drills.
The newcomers had to get accustomed to the new formations right away.
They needed to become so familiar with the set of formations of their mech troop that it became instinct for them to find the right place!
As for the veterans, Commander Casella Ingvar did not keep them idle.
She came up with a mentorship scheme whereby two different veterans assumed responsibility for at least 8 new recruits.
With two veterans working together, they could keep each other in check while offering multiple perspectives.
The new recruits did not strictly have to obey or adopt the advice of the veterans, but it was generally a good idea to listen to the survivors of the grueling Nyxian Gap Campaign.
The Sentinel Commander oversaw the formation drills in the command center of the new flagship of Living Sentinels.
Just like the Avatars\' Purplefeather, the Steadfast Vigil was a larger combat carrier that held up to 60 mechs.
The Vigil also served as a command vessel.
With her well-equipped command center, enhanced sensor and communication arrays and upgraded data processing capabilities, she was more than capable of commanding a mech regiment.
In fact, it would have been even better if Commander Casella could command her troops in a fleet carrier, but beggars couldn\'t be choosers.
Compared to the flimsy third-class light carrier the Sentinels had before, the Steadfast Vigil was at least twenty times better!
An ample amount of officers and specialists sat behind their work stations.
They monitored various readings or communicated with the mech pilots deployed in space.
The coordination between the command center and the soldiers in the field was not entirely seamless, but it was already better than what most outfits were able to accomplish.
To Commander Casella, coordination was essential to her mech force.
Unlike the Avatars of Myth whose elite mech pilots could fight tacitly and with greater situational awareness, her Sentinels were not as good.
She wasn\'t disappointed with her mech pilots.
The Sentinels adopted minimum recruitment standards as well.
Even if their standards weren\'t as high as the Avatars, the mech pilots they recruited had to be good enough to become eligible to serve in the military.
They also had to be disciplined and obedient enough to follow instructions.
There were very few Larkinson mech pilots who didn\'t make the cut.
The Larkinson Clan did not recruit useless people.
If the mech pilots who applied to join the clan could not even satisfy the Living Sentinels, then there was no point to absorbing them into the clan!
Ever since she assumed command of the Sentinels, Commander Casella focused on fulfilling two important goals.
First, she needed to restore the morale of her men.
Second, she needed to integrate every Sentinel mech pilot in a single, cohesive group.
From how crisp the different mechs of the Living Sentinels were fighting against a larger force of projected practice targets, Casella believed she was close to completing those goals.
The main projections vividly depicted entire mech companies of Princess Jeckas moving in unison in aggressive wedge formations.
The large groups of swordsman mechs resembled shark teeth as they sank into their practice targets from two different directions.
The new Vima Suns fired their laser rifles in coordinated volleys that limited the evasion opportunities of every target.
What was notable about the new spaceborn rifleman mechs was that the Larkinsons had upgraded their weapon loadouts.
Each and every Vima Sun wielded modified laser rifles that each integrated a luminar crystal!
The augmented laser rifles allowed the Vima Suns to output a bit more damage while wasting less energy in the form of waste heat.
This was a considerable improvement that allowed the rifleman mechs to punch above their weight!
It was too bad that their defensive capabilities remained just as poor.
In order to make sure that the Vima Suns could do their jobs without huddling behind an asteroid or a combat carrier, the new space knights hovered close to the ranged mechs.
The Tamris Stellar model possessed a lot of defensive power for its cost.
As long as its tower shield was intact, the commercial space knight could withstand a decent barrage of attacks against second-class threats.
It also possessed just enough mobility to participate in plenty of maneuvers.
While a formation that included the Tamris Stellars wasn\'t quick or agile, the defensive power it possessed was very considerable!
What do you think, major Commander Casella asked the man standing by her side.
I\'ve seen better. Major Verle drawled as he keenly observed how well the Sentinel mech pilots fought in unison.
I think we need to add some spice to this drill.
Can you disable a number of mechs in each formation I need to see how they are able to adapt to losing their mech captains and a third of their brother-in-arms.
The Sentinel Commander issued some orders.
A couple of officers immediately inputted some commands.
Within the span of a dozen seconds, at least a dozen mechs of each mech company suddenly lost power and drifted lifelessly away from the battlefield!
The sudden casualties alarmed many surviving Sentinel mech pilots.
However, much to Casella\'s satisfaction, the mech lieutenants and veterans quickly assumed control over the ragged and diminished mech companies.
Every mech unit established a clear chain of command.
Even if every officer and veteran disappeared, the rookies all knew precisely who they needed to answer to without needing to think!
The projections showed that it only took a minute for each formation to consolidate their gaps and continue to pressure the simulated enemies.
Soon enough, the last projected enemy mech succumbed as a pair of Princess Jeckas stabbed it from the front and the back.
The exercise has ended, ma\'am.
Please summarize the results and forward the document to my inbox. Casella said as she turned away from the front.
Oh, and tell the men that they performed well.
I am satisfied with how quickly they adjusted to the changing circumstances.
Will do, ma\'am!
As Casella and Verle stepped out of the command center, they aimlessly walked through the well-lit hallways of the Steadfast Vigil.
I\'m satisfied with the progress you\'ve accomplished. The highest-ranking officer began.
Compared to a couple of months ago, your Sentinels are almost unrecognizable.
They have all closed the gap with the Avatars and Vandals.
Even I didn\'t think you\'d be able to make so much progress in just two months.
A faint smile appeared on Casella\'s face.
I had to push them hard and cut their leave in half.
However, I don\'t think I\'ll be able to close the gap.
Let alone catching up to coordination displayed by the Avatars, I don\'t think my Sentinels will ever come close to the tight-knit cooperation displayed by the Battle Criers, Swordmaidens and Penitent Sisters.
Seeing them in action is something else.
I feel jealous whenever I witness their ferocious but impeccable maneuvers.
Major Verle shook his head.
You don\'t have to compare your Sentinels to them.
They eat, sleep and fight together.
They don\'t have much of a life outside of their service.
We can\'t expect every Larkinson mech pilot to commit so much to their profession.
In fact, it\'s better we established a troop like the Sentinels.
We must be strong, but we must never lose touch with our humanity.
Of all of our mech pilots, only your men retain a bit of normality that prevents them from getting alienated from the rest of the clan.
Mhmm. Casella hummed.
I\'d like my men to be a little better, though.
Even though the Avatars, Vandals and other mech forces are piloting the same mech models, they can always exert more strength.
I won\'t tell you that your Sentinels are already up to par.
They need more time.
However, you can\'t force them too much.
Some lessons can only be learned through continuous repetition.
Other lessons can only be learned on the battlefield.
The rapid improvements you have accomplished so far has exhausted all of the low-hanging fruit.
You and your men will need to put in serious effort in order to make further gains.
Do you have any tips, sir
The two leaders continued to discuss various training methods.
Major Verle possessed a lot of relevant experience and knowledge.
Once the major finished giving Casella some useful tips, they moved on to a different topic.
I can\'t say I am satisfied with the commercial mechs we\'ve been issued with.
While the Princess Jeckas, Vima Suns and Tamris Stellars are adequate for their purposes, they are on the weaker end of second-class mechs.
With how much the clan is earning these days, can\'t we obtain some better machines We don\'t have any mainstay mechs that can hold the line against tougher enemies.
Major Verle pressed his lips.
You\'re not the first mech commander to complain about this.
My answer hasn\'t changed.
The clan patriarch wants our mech pilots to make use of quality products that are designed in-house.
Better mechs are already in development, but it will take months for the Design Department to complete their designs.
In about four or so months, we can begin to roll out the second-class version of the Bright Warrior.
That will be our baseline unit for the years to come.
That\'s not ideal.
Our grand expedition is scheduled to commence in less than a month, right This means that our main mech lineup will largely consist of budget mechs while travelling through Komodo and Majestic Teal.
That is only a temporary condition. Major Verle sighed.
To be honest, I share some of your concerns as well, but the clan patriarch is adamant about leaving as soon as possible.
He acts like this star sector is haunted and that a great threat might close in if he doesn\'t depart very soon.
While it is difficult to determine whether there is any substance to his fears, there shouldn\'t be much harm in leaving early.
While we can\'t issue better mechs to the majority of our men, we have already begun to produce Valkyrie Redeemers and Transcendent Punishers.
Will my Sentinels receive the Punishers
That\'s still up for debate.
The Transcendent Punishers can only be piloted by Ylvainans, so we are still figuring out how to organize them.
You\'ll have an answer within weeks.
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