Chapter 2292 - Lopsided Firefight
In the first and second round of fighting, thousands of people had already died!
The pirates suffered the brunt of the casualties.
Almost their entire garrisons at the outer vaults had died.
The Larkinson infantrymen didn\'t have the time or leisure to take too many captives.
More pirates died at the main stronghold.
Many of the destructive weapon systems that the Dry Snakes brought to bear against the Larkinsons were crewed by specially-trained pirates.
When the weapons they operated got struck by massive overpowering lasers or a tactical nuclear missile, the people around them usually died as well!
Screams echoed throughout several locations on the moon-sized asteroid as they became awash with destructive heat and energy.
Fortunately for the pirates, they built their critical base areas deeper underground.
Most of the superweapons failed to threaten Ulimo Citadel proper.
In the lull that ensued, the Larkinson Clan already moved on to the next step.
They spread their mechs around.
Their ranged mechs continued to use the surrounding asteroids as cover as they fired their weapons at the known pirate superweapon positions that survived the previous exchange of fire.
Though their weapons weren\'t so exaggeratingly powerful, the Larkinson mechs slowly whittled away at the remaining intact superweapons.
From the start, the Larkinsons always focused on taking out the most destructive options available to the pirates!
There was no way they could accomplish anything else unless almost every single superweapon was taken off the board!
It took a lot of effort to remove the remainder of the superweapons.
Even if the pirates held a couple of Judgement Lasers and Ghostring missile launchers back, the Larkinsons possessed detailed intelligence of the precise locations of every weapon emplacement, exposed or not.
Any plot to keep them hidden until the Larkinson mechs came closer were dashed!
Thousands of ranged pirate mechs did not remain idle.
As soon as the Larkinsons hijacked the vaults, they received orders to fire at any exposed enemy mechs.
It was difficult to pick off the Larkinson mechs.
There was so much distance between the main base and the outlying vaults that roaming asteroids frequently blocked their line of sight.
The same could not be said for the Larkinson mechs.
Ulimo presented a wealth of targets.
In contrast, the pirate mechs huddling behind their starsh.i.p.s, fortifications or asteroids were having a very hard time hitting anything but empty space or solid cover!
You blasted sc.u.m! Hit something already! A pirate liaison screamed in the command channel of the Ulimo Militia.
A squad of Mirror Raider mechs huddled behind a fortified trench the pirates had dug into a stationary asteroid.
Dietrich\'s generic pirate mech attempted to hit the distant mechs of the Avatars of Myth.
Even though he and his fellow Mirror Raiders purposefully reduced their accuracy to a level typically expected of pirates, they did not dare to miss too often.
Even so, the few laser beams and projectiles that happened to hit a Larkinson mech effectively achieved no result!
He attacked the Bright Warrior and Aurora Titan mechs without any guilt.
Their defenses were so high that it was extremely unlikely that the Mirror Raiders would be able to kill a single Larkinson!
The Larkinson Clan purposefully exposed their most defensible mechs a bit more.
The clansmen trusted in their defenses, and they served as excellent distractions as the few pirate mechs that managed to hit their targets only wasted their energy or ammunition in vain!
Though some of the pirate officers were aware that their ranged mechs were not achieving anything significant, doing something was better than doing nothing!
Grand Protector Roshaw unflinchingly shot any pirate commander who made any decisions that hinted at weakness.
Another high-ranked pirate officer lost his head!
Conserve resources NONSENSE! The pirate lord boomed as he brandished his smoking gun at the remaining pirate officers.
We are facing the biggest threat of our lives! Our fellow Nyxian pirates may have scruples, but these outsiders are killers true and true! None of the civilized folk treat us with dignity! The only way to resist their aggression is to show as much fighting spirit as possible! We must demonstrate our conviction to fight to the death!
Fight! Fight! Fight!
Even though the situation looked dire, the pirates weren\'t willing to give up! Ulimo Citadel was their home and their stronghold.
GIving it up would make everyone homeless!
Surrendering was not an option.
Running away wasn\'t an option either, as the Dry Snakes had already turned on any mech or ship that attempted to flee without authorization!
At a distant asteroid close to one of the conquered and bombed-out aults, the Second Mech Company periodically poked out their Bright Warriors.
The mechs with rifles continued to fire at the targets designated by the command net.
Even if they didn\'t know what they were firing at, the mech pilots pulled the trigger regardless, trusting that the orders and targeting data conveyed by other Larkinsons were sound.
The Bright warriors armed with swords and spears exposed their frames as well.
The space knight configuration acted the most conspicuously.
Even when the pirates utilized more powerful or unusual weapons such as graser rifles, the thick tower shields resisted most of the damage.
That said, not every pirate mech fired at these conspicuous targets.
Occasionally, an unlucky Larkinson mech suffered major damage, which impaired their performance or rendered them battle ineffective right away!
Few Larkinson mech pilots died in this exchange of fire, but losing their mechs signified the end of their participation.
Task Force Predator possessed too few backup mechs to give the surviving pilots another opportunity to reenter the battle.
The battle has slowed down. Imon Ingvar impatiently remarked.
When are we going in I haven\'t stabbed a single pirate mech with my sword!
Out of the four different Bright Warrior configurations, he fell in love with the swordsman mech loadout.
Though it lacked the defenses of the space knight configuration or the immense impact of the lancer mech configuration, the swordsman mech offered the greatest play to his abilities in combat.
As for his sister, Captain Casella Ingvar preferred to pilot a rifleman mech configuration.
Getting too close to the battle often caused her to lose sight of the bigger picture.
The plan isn\'t to advance.
Huh! What are you talking about, sis!
Who knows what traps or other tricks the pirates have in reserve.
Look at the base.
We may have destroyed all of their superweapons, but the pirates still retain plenty of heavily protected turrets and weapon emplacements.
After removing or circ.u.mventing the faulty software that plagued their conventional defensive systems, the pirates slowly brought their fixed defenses to bear against the attackers.
It took way too much time for the Larkinsons to destroy every single fixed defense system.
While none of these weapon emplacements possessed the destructive power of the superweapons that the Larkinsons prioritized right away, their huge volume of fire still deserved a lot of respect!
For this reason, the Larkinsons wanted to entice the pirate mechs to advance from their positions and leave the defensive envelope of Ulimo Citadel.
The pirates weren\'t fools, though.
As much as Grand Protector Roshaw wanted to smash his mechs against the mechs of the Larkinson Clan, he knew that he must resist the temptation and continue to rely on his remaining fixed defenses.
In order to encourage the pirates to abandon their passive posture, the Penitent Sisters finally made a move.
At this point, much of the interference from all of the superweapons had faded.
The Larkinson Clan obtained a very detailed understanding of the current positions of enemy mechs.
While most of the Larkinson ranged mechs still directed their firepower towards the stationary turrets and defenses of Ulimo Citadel, the exiled Hexers quickly began to utilize their superior skills and mechs to attack the pirate mechs!
Instantly, the pressure on the pirates increased as hundreds of Penitent Sister mechs fired their second-class rifles and cannons at the pirate mechs regardless of how much cover was in the way!
Whether there were meters of asteroid rock or bulk exotic alloys in the way, the positron beams and gauss rounds made quick work of the obstacles!
Squads of Penitent Sister mechs coordinated their firepower in order to quickly strip a pirate mech of all of their protection.
The most devious aspect about their firing patterns was that they did not grant any pirate mech the time to retreat or duck into another cover!
With dozens of high-powered attacks barraging these hapless pirate mechs at once, the pirates quickly lost more than a hundred mechs in a matter of minutes!
The disparity in firepower was incredibly galling to the pirates.
If they only had a few superweapons left intact, they could have put up a good fight!
Sir, we need to go in! A pirate advisor urged.
That\'s exactly what those blasted Larkinsons want us to do! We can\'t fall into their trap!
Diving into their trap is preferable to suffering a slow death!
Grand Protector Roshaw grew graver and graver.
The projections continued to display the drop in numbers.
More and more of his mechs were being picked apart by the second-class mechs of the enemy.
Pull our pirate mechs back.
What Are you sure, my lord
Up until now, Roshaw ruthlessly squashed anyone who suggested any of the sort.
The headless bodies of several unfortunate pirate officers strewn on the deck served as a reminder to everyone that the Grand Protector did not tolerate any cowardice!
Yet strangely enough, the pirate leader changed his mind.
Everyone felt mixed at the sudden change.
Don\'t question my orders! Pull back our mechs and make sure they are placed behind enough cover to prevent those blasted Hexers mechs from picking off our machines.
While Grand Protector Roshaw still decided to keep his last resort in reserve, he possessed several other options that could potentially turn this situation around.
No matter what, the Dry Snakes reigned over one of the more mineral-rich areas of Maynard Fields! Much like any other local overlord in the Nyxian Gap, the Dry Snakes built a lot of defensive measures.
Much of it was in the open, but Roshaw made sure that his pirate group invested at least some resources into other solutions.
Tell me as soon as our mechs have reached safety.
Take this opportunity to replenish their energy and ammunition reserves.
Yes, my lord!
The sudden withdrawal of the pirate mechs confused the Larkinsons a bit.
Most of them thought that the pirates would either break and run or charge forward out of desperations.
Are they trying to outlast us It won\'t work! Our guns are constantly breaking down their defense networks!
Several asteroids bore the marks of many weapon impacts.
Each of them previously boasted a lot of fixed defenses.
Now, most of their guns and weapon batteries only consisted of ruined craters and molten slag.
As long as the Larkinson Clan destroyed every turret and weapon emplacement, the defensive advantage of the pirates would no longer play a meaningful role!
As long as the Larkinsons reduced this battle to a contest between mechs, the pirates would certainly lose!
Back at the Scarlet Rose, Ves began to frown as an unsettling feeling settled over his mind.
He became puzzled at this response as well.
What are the pirates doing Have we detected any unusual activity
No sir. A bridge officer replied.
We have detected elevated energy signatures or traces of unstable exotics that are typically added to nuclear warheads.
Before Ves could issue another request, the battlefield centered around Ulimo Citadel suddenly changed.
A huge black sphere spread out from the moon-sized asteroid and expanded across many kilometers! The surrounding asteroids were each engulfed by the wave of blackness until they swept over every Larkinson and Penitent Sister mech!
WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING! Ves stood up from his chair.
Sir, according to our sensors, an atypical anomaly has swept over the battlefield! Both the pirates and our combat forces are isolated from our fleet!
Ves couldn\'t believe what had happened! This was definitely not a coincidence! The pirates had somehow managed to summon an artificial anomaly!
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