Chapter 2638: Fight or Flight
An important meeting began in one of the smaller conference rooms aboard the Spirit of Bentheim.
Due to the lack of time, everyone invited to the meeting showed up via projection.
None of the senior leaders of the Larkinson Clan could afford to waste precious minutes walking back and forth.
An incredibly heavy mood swept across the entire expeditionary fleet.
No one smiled or joked around.
The projected figures that appeared into view looked much larger and more dangerous than before.
Shortly after the alert level had been raised, every Larkinson changed out their service uniforms for more protective gear.
Most ship ratings and officers donned hazard suits and carried sidearms.
Security officers and infantry soldiers set off to guard the most critical sections of their ships in full combat gear.
Even if the enemy fleet needed at least a couple of hours to close in on the Larkinsons, no one loosened their vigilance.
The Friday Coalition fielded a professional military that was highly developed and highly trained in many aspects.
The Fridaymen could easily be sneaking infiltrators and saboteurs at this very moment!
It was better to be safe than sorry.
The slight inconvenience that came from wearing bulky suits was nothing compared to the protection they offered against explosions and surprise attacks.
Ves showed up in projection form as well.
He had descended down to his personal workshop shortly after listening to Venerable Ghanso\'s unhinged tirade.
He appeared while wearing his improved and streamlined Unending Regalia.
Ever since he gained access to the ELKINE production line, he had rebuilt the roughest parts of his personal armor and corrected all of the irregularities due to relying on Lucky\'s teeth to cut Unending alloy.
With a cape draped over his armor\'s shoulders, he had fully transitioned his look from a clan leader and mech designer to a war leader and survivor of many battles.
Lucky appeared as well, because why not.
His appearance briefly attracted a lot of eyes due to his darker body.
Ves had put the latest version of the Misfortune Harness onto his cat.
Just like he did with his personal gear, had fully redesigned and streamlined the Misfortune Harness so that its combination of B-stone, Unending alloy and stealth materials covered nearly every surface!
If Lucky kept his mouth closed and retracted his claws, the cat should not be able to release any energy emissions that gave his presence away!
Still, despite feeling proud of his craftsmanship, Ves was not deluded enough that this upcoming battle would be decided by personal combat.
If Ghanso\'s Charlemagne fired its rifle directly at Ves, the Unending Regalia may survive, but its wearer would be unable to withstand the immense transfer of heat and energy!
Jutland organ or not, there was no way the energy of an attack that was capable of piercing through mech armor could be resisted by a half-alien body!
The difference in scale was too big.
Ves pointedly recalled how Dr.
Jutland foolishly challenged a mech with his body.
The power of a single human was nothing in a battle between mechs.
Ves knew he would have to rely on the forces he established and nurtured over the years to make it past this crisis.
He looked around the conference room.
Though the other projected Larkinson looked as grave as him, they did not lose their fighting spirit.
Even if they knew that they had fallen into an ambush of sorts, their battle intent hadn\'t been doused.
Instead, the looming threat intensified their determination.
Their eyes burned with indignation.
The Larkinson Clan was already leaving the Komodo Star Sector.
Why must the Fridaymen come and start a fight No matter who won or lost today, a lot of Larkinsons were bound to lose their lives at the end of the day!
This was an unavoidable tragedy, and that made every Larkinson even angrier.
I know that time is short, so let\'s make this quick. Ves announced as he swept his gaze to the other projections.
That said, we can\'t skip over any critical issues.
Against a foe like the Friday Coalition, we must come up with a comprehensive plan that leverages our advantages as much as possible.
We cannot underestimate our foes.
The Larkinsons and Hexers nodded their heads.
Aside from inviting Major Verle, his staff and the mech commanders of the Larkinson Clan, Ves also roped in the Glory Seekers and some other Hexers.
Mech Colonel Ariadne Wodin led the Glory Seekers.
Grand Captain Ancilla Wodin commanded the Indigo Tremor.
Both of them looked very formidable and exuded much more fighting spirit than the Larkinsons.
Their archenemies had come.
Aside from Ves, the Larkinsons didn\'t harbor a strong vendetta against the Friday Coalition.
It was different for the Hexers.
With the Friday Coalition gaining the upper hand against the Hexadric Hegemony as of late, the Glory Seekers did not wish to hand another victory over to their enemies.
Every Wodin knew full well what was at stake! Even though their nominal mission was to safeguard Gloriana\'s life, the Glory Seekers could not stand by and let Ves be killed or taken away.
Their failure might irrevocably cause the Hegemony to lose the Komodo War!
Major Verle silently nodded to Colonel Ariadne Wodin.
In this critical situation, he did not dare to bet that he was capable of directing this battle.
The two had briefly corresponded before the meeting.
Colonel Ariadne was more than twice as old as Major Verle and possessed at least four times as much knowledge of second-class mech warfare.
She knew the Friday Coalition battle methods by heart and always kept up to date on how the Fridayman fought in the Komodo War.
The only shortcoming was that she did not understand the strength of the Larkinson Clan, but Major Verle and the other Larkinsons already covered that aspect.
If no one objects to my appointment, I shall assume overall responsibility over the Glory Seekers and the Larkinson Clan for this active engagement.
It was important to establish a clear chain of command and put the best people possible in charge.
Neither Ves nor any of his Larkinsons quibbled over letting Hexers interfere in their business this time.
They knew their limits.
The Larkinson Clan was too new at this scale and class of warfare.
That said, it was not as if Colonel Ariadne could command the Larkinsons willy-nilly.
She was doubtlessly aware that she needed the buy-in of the Larkinson Clan in order to keep her command.
Therefore, she could not afford to act like any arrogant Hexer and ignore the input of others.
Let me begin by making sure we are on the same page. The older woman who belonged to the same generation as Constance Wodin spoke.
Our highest priority for this engagement is to keep Miss Gloriana Wodin and Patriarch Ves Larkinson alive and out of the hands of the enemy.
Everything else is secondary.
If necessary, we must be ready to discard all of our mechs and sub-capital ships.
We can still avoid a total defeat by evacuating every Larkinson and Hexer to the Indigo Tremor and the Spirit of Bentheim before relying on their multiple FTL drives to flee from the enemy.
How are we supposed to run! Commander Cinnabar of the Battle Criers questioned.
According to your own sources, we\'re facing at least five deep strike carriers! Once they have gotten onto our tail, we\'ll never be able to shake them off! The Fridaymen just need to calculate our destination from our transition orientation and emissions before heading there first to set up an interdiction field.
No matter if our capital ships have two FTL drives or three FTL drives, none of them will have any chance of activating as long as there is too much gravitic turbulence at our emergence site!
Everyone\'s hearts sank as they realized that fleeing prematurely did not necessarily guarantee their safety.
One of the advantages of extended-range FTL drives was that they reached the same destination faster as a regular FTL drive.
Any of the 5 deep strike carriers was capable of overtaking the Spirit of Bentheim and the Indigo Tremor even if they departed an hour later!
This is not an absolute certainty. Grand Captain Daria-Maria Vraken noted.
The enemy must make detailed and extensive observations of the FTL transitions at close range.
As long as we place our other ships in the way and generate as much interference as possible, it is likely that the enemy fleet will not be able to figure out our route.
However, if we choose to give up this confrontation and run, we must do so quickly.
Major Verle looked grim.
We\'ll have to give up on the grand expedition if that is the case.
The involvement of the Praetor Clan and the Planat Clan suggests that we might encounter hostile Vicious Mountainers if we insist on our original route.
The safest option is to turn back and return to Hexer-aligned space.
While the Fridaymen may have been sneaky enough to slip 5 deep strike carriers all of the way out here, I doubt they sent any other forces.
Ves shook his head.
As long as there was a chance they could win this battle, he did not want to turn back.
He had spent so much time, money, resources and effort to organize his grand expedition.
How could his expeditionary fleet shirk back at the first sign of difficulties
The Larkinsons had run away too often.
Even if these were cases where discretion was the better part of valor, Ves did not want to make running away the default strategy of his clan!
Besides, if Ves ran back to the Komodo Star Sector, he would become even more dependent on the Hexers than before! If he returned to the Hegemony\'s doorstep like a beaten dog, he predicted that his clan would become more Hexer than Larkinson over time!
All of these reasons and more caused Ves to reject the option of running away before the battle even started.
We will not consider fleeing until we have no other choice. Ves announced, silencing the ongoing discussion.
The Fridaymen have come with fewer ships, which means their strength is likely within the range that we can handle.
When the enemy planned this operation, I doubt their planners possessed a full grasp of our strength.
We can still take them by surprise with the methods and solutions we have developed in the last year.
Every Larkinson accepted his decision.
The Glory Seekers agreed as well.
Colonel Ariadne nodded.
If that is the case, then we will not avoid a confrontation at all costs.
However, in the event the enemy gains the upper hand, our most vital ships must be prepared to evacuate at any time.
I suggest we prepare the Indigo Tremor and the Spirit of Bentheim for emergency transitions.
In order to minimize our losses, we should also order all civilians and non-essential personnel aboard our smaller vessels to transfer to our capital ships.
Everyone quickly agreed.
This was a logical course of action.
Every sub-capital ship in the expeditionary fleet only possessed a single FTL drive, which severely hampered their ability to escape enemy pursuit.
It shouldn\'t be too much of a problem to accommodate tens of thousands of extra passengers aboard the Indigo Tremor and Spirit of Bentheim.
Of course, there was no guarantee that their escape plan would succeed.
The Fridaymen went through all of this trouble to target Ves.
They would never let him get away like this so easily!
After quickly discussing all of the ways they could flee and minimize their losses in the event of a loss, the discussion finally turned to how they planned to prevent that from happening.
Colonel Ariadne projected a list that outlined the suspected assets of the enemy fleet.
Our observers and analysts have been working hard to estimate the combat strength of the strike force.
We have combined the data we have gathered with our understanding of how the Fridaymen fight and organize themselves.
We have also tried to get into the heads of the enemy commander in order to figure out how they plan to gain the upper hand in this battle.
After doing all of this, we believe their strategy is simple.
They plan to beat us with quality instead of quantity.
When Ves took a glance at the estimated assets and battle strength of the enemy, he grew a bit less confident.
The Golden Skull Alliance was probably able to field thousands more mechs, but the quality of the enemy forces was uniformly high!
If you find any errors ( broken links, non-standard content, etc..
), Please let us know so we can fix it as soon as possible.
Tip: You can use left, right, A and D keyboard keys to browse between chapters.