Chapter 3268: Dwarven Gang Fight
While the Larkinson mech pilots fought to defeat the enemy mechs, the spacers who served aboard the various vessels tried their best to keep their rides together.
Though their careers were not as glorious as that of the primary combatants, the humble ratings and officers who kept the crucial starships operational played a critical role in keeping the expeditionary fleet alive.
Tens of thousands of crew members dispersed across several different berths tried their best to mitigate all of the damage inflicted on the hulls of the various vessels.
“Fix those power lines now! Our #8 shield generator is depending on that juice!”
“Close the breach in compartment 36-3 ASAP!”
Damage control parties scurried forth in protective hazard suits in order to put out fires, close damaging breaches and prevent crucial systems from exploding and worsening the conditions of their ships.
Those serving aboard the various sub-capital ships had it much harder than their colleagues serving aboard the capital ships.
The former were not only severely understrength, but also worked in places where there was previously little protection.
As long as an enemy artillery mech bombarded the sections the damage control parties were performing their duties, the loss of life was practically guaranteed!
Still, these humble but courageous Larkinsons did their duty without letting their fears dictate their decisions.
Sure, they wanted to survive this bloody battle, but they knew that the best way to preserve the fleet and the clan was to make their ships last as long as possible!
Throughout the Larkinson fleet, many more individuals who decided to step up could be found.
Some worked in the vacuum of space and others tried their best to keep the engines of their vessels running even if enemy bombardment had snapped off the front half of their ships!
The situation on the capital ships were different.
As these vessels were the capital upon which the Larkinson Clan relied upon to succeed in the Red Ocean, there were many more active spacers keeping them together.
A lot of personnel evacuated from the sub-capital ships had gone on to reinforce the existing work crews or formed into additional damage control parties.
The role of the latter was crucial to any space-faring vessel.
Damage to ships could come in many forms.
As starships were inherently large, technologically complex and interconnected, an initial enemy strike that only inflicted moderate damage at first could easily lead to a catastrophe if left unattended!
The primary role of damage control was to suppress and fix these dangerous incidents in a timely manner.
Thousands of brave crew members address any serious issue such as short circuiting, fires, toxic chemical leakage and many other hazards.
They did so despite feeling the vessel rumbling from sustained bombardment or facing the threat of getting voided into the cold embrace of vacuum if one of the enemy attacks landed close to their location.
The clansmen all did so knowing that they were making a substantial difference in keeping their fellow Larkinsons alive and well!
Aboard one of the most badly-affected capital ships, a team of technicians led by a low-ranking mech designer rushed to an outer compartment that had been rent by one of the Gauss Barons final barrages!
The damage control party forcibly pushed open a jammed hatch only to enter a compartment that was missing a huge chunk of hull structure!
When thely looked to their left, they could see the ships and mechs fighting in the distance.
Continuous explosions and bright energy beams constantly lanced from one side of the battlefield to the other side.
Less visible gauss projectiles traversed this stretch as well but they were too difficult to track with the sensors mounted on their hazard suits.
“Stop gawking and get to work! We need to erect a temporary bulkhead, fix the power and fluid lines and reinforce the damaged deck structure.”
The mech designer dinged the helmet of a techie with a multitool.
“Because the Graveyard is falling apart too quickly.
We need to weld more scrap onto her hull but we cant do that if there are too many holes and not enough support on her hull.
Got it Then get to work!”
A combination of humans and bots began to perform rapid makeshift repairs.
The assistance of the latter played a crucial role in speeding up their progress and getting more work done.
Even as distant artillery mechs continued to pound upon the heavily-damaged Graveyard, the ship kept rotating around her axis to prevent any single side or hull section from turning into easy targets.
This considerably increased the survival chances of the Larkinsons working to fix up the breached compartment.
“Hurry up! Command has just sent a priority request for us to remove a stuck pillar.”
As the work crews almost managed to close the breach with replacement panels, a random gauss round slammed right into the weak barrier and instantly tore through them until it finally collided against the inner bulkhead!
The enormous impact and transfer of kinetic energy was so violent that the bots and bodies of the work crews instantly shattered into pieces!
The entire damage control party had been wiped out by a single attack from a dwarven Ship Cracker mech.
Not only that, but the attack not only negated all of the dead clansmens hard work, but also exacerbated the damage! Half-a-dozen more compartments had been breached and the secondary damage that resulted from this initial impact were still tearing through the hull of the Graveyard.
The hardy defensive salvage ship was taking a greater and greater beating with each second that passed!
General Verle remained stoic as he split his attention and tracked all of the important events taking place across the battlefield.
He might not be an engineer, but he trusted the defensive capabilities of the Graveyard.
The vessel was built to withstand a lot of punishment and he would take comfort in that as long as the captain of the vessel did not order an evacuation.
The pressure on his shoulders was far greater than before.
A battle involving multiple mech divisions and twenty expert mechs was beyond anything he had ever commanded.
Certainly, he had taken part in battles of this scale in the past, but that was back when he was a lower-ranked officer and intelligence operative who fought for the Bright Republic.
This time, he commanded a larger Larkinson Army than ever against murderous dwarves who still retained tens of thousands of combat effective mechs!
While the confrontation between regular mechs remained stable, the struggle to defeat or at least block the enemy expert mechs was a lot more precarious.
Since the Ferril punitive fleet brought so many more expert mechs than the expeditionary fleet, a situation has emerged where some friendly expert mechs had to fight against multiple dwarven expert mechs!
Honor Fairness Valor Hah! None of that mattered when the recent losses had riled up the Ferrils and stoked their desire for retribution!
The dwarven expert pilots all assumed that as long as they eliminated the human expert mechs, the rest of the human forces would lose their only effective line of defense against their rampage.
This was why the dwarven expert pilots banded together and sought to gang up on their respective targets with no consideration for giving their opponents a fair fight.
This was a war, and they shouldered the responsibility of preserving the lives of as many dwarves as possible.
On the devastated right flank, the First Sword had entered into dire straits.
Not only was it trying to contend against the powerful Paravad, but also had to defend against the unrelenting harassment of two additional low-tier expert mechs!
The Morko Mark II piloted by Venerable Huubert Sontegan was also an avian mech like the much more famous Paravad.
The difference was that Venerable Merek Buulfurons Paravad was configured as a marauder mech while the Morko Mark II was considerably lighter and faster.
The Morko Mark II may be armed with only a light weapon loadout, but its claws were strong, sharp and optimized for swooping attack runs.
Though the First Swords Unending alloy armor handedly resisted all of its aggressive attacks, Venerable Dise still had to be careful lest the fast and agile Morko Mark II attacked a weak point such as the flight system.
Between its attack runs, the Morko Mark II remained well out of sword range from the First Sword while peppering the human expert mech with positron beams fired from its light wing-mounted cannon mounts.
Even if the positron beam attacks failed to penetrate the armor of the First Sword, they still transferred a lot of heat energy, causing Venerable Dises expert mech to slowly build up heat.
Still, this fast and elusive avian expert mech was not her greatest concern.
Compared to the light harassment from the Morko Mark II, the Domingo Daren piloted by Venerable Liset Darkham was a much more serious concern!
Powerful impacts struck the rear of the First Sword just as it attempted to swing its powerful sword at the Paravad.
The physical impacts interrupted the expert mechs attack and forced Venerable Dise to switch from offense to defense as she had missed the right moment to strike!
The Swordmaiden expert pilot constantly had to guard against the ranged attacks of the Domingo Darkham.
The oddly-named machine was essentially the expert mech version of the Crumbleshell.
Unlike an ordinary Crumbleshell, the Domingo Darkham featured double cannons in all of its four gun ports and also boasted a much thicker and well-protected shell.
Though the expert turtle mech likely inherited all of the weaknesses of the Crumbleshell model, no one in the expeditionary fleet knew whether it hid any trump cards or additional weapon systems.
While its performance at close range was still a mystery, at medium range it was able to spin at a much faster rate and fire a lot more rounds than a regular Crumbleshell!
If not for her excellent swordplay along with the immense difficulty of dealing damage to an expert mech that was clad with Unending alloy, the three Hivar Roarer mechs would have long torn the First Sword apart.
With the Morko Mark II and the Domingo Darkham acting as support, Venerable Dise hardly had any room to breathe as she tried her best to resist the Paravads powerful claw and beak attacks.
Just like its two helpers, the Paravad clearly identified the First Swords flight system as a crucial weak point.
It was impossible to cover it all up with armor and many sections of this complicated assembly were covered with thinner and lighter applications of Unending alloy.
According to the analysts working aboard the Roost, the flagship of the Hivar Roarers, a sufficient application of heat and physical force should be enough to break the First Swords flight system!
Once the expert swordsman mech lost its wings, who cared whether it wielded a masterwork mech sword Who cared whether its expert pilot was able to exert strength and skill beyond the norm An immobile machine in space was nothing more than a sitting duck!
In fact, the most efficient and convenient way to deal with the First Sword after it had lost its ability to maneuver in space was to push it away from the battlefield with a powerful volley of artillery fire.
Once its course was set to drift away from the heat of the action, Venerable Dise could only watch in her resilient mech as the enemy expert mechs swept aside the other human expert mechs.
This was why she made damn sure that she exposed her rear to the three opponents as little as possible! It was incredibly hard to do so because the bestial expert mechs were piloted by skilled expert pilots who had trained years if not decades alongside each other.
Their maneuvers and tactics spoke of tight and seamless coordination.
No matter which dwarven expert mech the First Sword attempted to attack, it would always be foiled by the combined efforts of the other two dwarven expert mechs!
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