Chapter 1931 Shorties
The moment Outpost 35 sounded an alarm, the other rebel dwarves interspersed throughout the outer districts knew it was time to make their moves.
Our intrusion has been discovered! Gion Greybeard announced. Let us give the tall folk something to worry about! Attack!
He raised the banner that Vulcan himself had passed to him! With the banner held aloft, the armored dwarves all advanced and followed their assigned routes in order to stir up as much trouble as possible!
Many guards suddenly came under fire. Though the alarm had turned them less complacent, they never expected to be confronted by a team of armed and armed dwarves!
Their surprise often proved fatal as potent plasma bolts scorched through their armor and vaporized their bodies!
Not every ambush succeeded, though. Plenty of fireteams encountered more alert guards who cleverly dove behind cover or simply took advantage of their slight advantage in mobility to disengage.
Once the dwarven teams lost the advantage of surprise, the battles turned a lot more even.
What was crucial for the dwarves was how effectively they utilized their plasma projectors. The standard batteries hooked up to the modified plasma cutters only lasted for a minute if the dwarves kept firing.
Though it was possible to switch out their batteries, this was a time-consuming process. The original developers of the plasma cutters made it deliberately harder to swap out their batteries in order to prevent the kind of abuse that the dwarves were engaging in! Normal plasma cutters were never meant to be employed as weapons!
What was even more concerning about this adapted weapon was the incredible heat build-up. There were not a lot of solutions to this problem other than swapping out heatsinks. This burdened the dwarves even further as they had to carry even more gear onto their person!
Fortunately, the dwarves were very strong and could easily handle the extra mass. The only problem was that replacing the heatsink was another time-consuming process.
Even so, the plasma weapons consumed so much energy and generated so much heat that the dwarves could only reload them a couple of times!
This meant that while their opening moves successfully tipped the scales in their favor, the tall folk would definitely regain the advantage soon enough!
Unleash the battle wagons!
Six heavily-armored vehicles emerged from a secret entrance. They advanced into the wide streets of the outpost and proceeded to split up into different directions!
The dwarves had long anticipated the clash between a battle wagon and a guard mech.
Was Vulcan truly correct when he said that the battle wagons stood no chance against mechs?
Many of the rebels, Gion included, hoped that the opposite was true. They poured so much time and effort into securing these wagons and building them up that they wanted their vast and mighty vehicles to prove the strength of the dwarves!
As soon as the battle wagons emerged from the underground entrance, the vehicles began to activate their jammers and other ECM modules.
In turn, the dispersed teams of dwarves activated their smaller modules as well.
More dwarves launched sudden attacks on communication nodes and sensor arrays.
Soon enough, the local guard force elements cut off from each other! Almost none of their communication channels worked anymore. Coordination broke down and confusion began to reign as the guards finally paid for their complacency!
If the guards were better prepared, they would have followed one of the contingency plans and converge at predetermined rallying points!
Instead, the guards acted like headless chickens. Some fled in random directions. Others held their ground and awaited for backup that wouldn't be coming anytime soon. The rest attempted to bring the fight to the dwarves, believing that the ugly subhumans were not as formidable as they thought!
Unfortunately, the dwarves often proved to be stronger than they expected! The guards had bullied and looked down on the miners for such a long time that they lacked the psychological preparation to treat them as actual threats!
Many guards paid for their mistakes with their lives, but the problem was that the guard force was too numerous!
The dwarves on foot were particularly unsuccessful in their attempts to overwhelm the checkpoints and other well-guarded positions!
Using these fortified positions as anchors, the tall folk eventually wisened up and converged their scattered soldiers at these miniature strongholds!
Fortunately, the plan did not rest on the outcome of the infantry struggle.
Success and failure largely rested on the performance of the bigger vehicles!
The battle wagons each drove towards the known positions of different guard mechs.
Aware that these vehicles fared very poorly against melee mechs, the battle wagons were all moving towards isolated frontline mechs!
One battle wagon was supposed to confront one enemy mech at a time.
Both Ves and Gion contemplated the option of throwing multiple battle wagons at a single mech. While the local numbers advantage might give the dwarves a better chance at defeating their opponents, eventually the other guard mechs would certainly rally together!
The dwarves could not allow the enemy mechs to concentrate their forces!
While the huge disruption in communications and sensors prevented the befuddled and isolated mech pilots from receiving orders or reaching out to their comrades, they were still able to make their own decisions!
As long as the mech pilots felt insecure enough to return to the central district or gather somewhere else, Rion Aaden and his hijacked light skirmisher would have to contend against multiple mechs at the same time!
Even with a huge advantage in mobility, how could a single light skirmisher overcome ten mechs gathered in a single location?
It was impossible!
For this reason, Ves reluctantly decided to split the battle wagons up in order to occupy at least six mechs at a time.
Their mission was never to win against an enemy mech. Their crews were merely tasked with stalling the mechs as long as possible while softening them up. Even if they held up the guard mechs for just five or so minutes, that was still a success!
The first battle wagon moved into position after being directed by a couple of dwarves on foot. The diminutive figures waved at the wagons and pointed them to move through specific streets and avenues!
Eventually, the wagon slowly turned a corner and faced the rear of an oblivious frontline mech. The mech pilot of the mech had decided to take position in the crossroads of a main avenue.
Without any orders, the mech pilot grew confused on what he should do. Though he was supposed to memorize a set of fallback options in case a situation like this arose, it had been seven years since he last brushed up on those protocols!
This gave the battle wagon a prime opportunity to ambush the mech from the rear.
Though the heavy jamming in the air prevented the mech from noticing the battle wagon's approach, once the latter rounded the corner, its huge bulk was too obvious to ignore!
The mech pilot quickly noticed the threat from the rear. In a rare act of quick thinking, the guard pilot did not attempt to turn his mech around.
Instead, the pilot ordered his mech to swivel his side-mounted laser barrels around so that they pointed towards the rear!
Almost before the mech pilot pulled the trigger, the battle wagon finally finished rounding the corner!
Five mining lasers and one improvised mass accelerated fired at the mech!
The vulnerable rear armor of the frontline mech suffered significant damage! The low-quality armor system quickly shed a few layers of armor due to all of the heat and impact damage it suffered!
Fortunately for the mech, frontline mechs often boasted thick armor belts. Even if their exterior largely consisted of cheap armor plating, even the rear armor was well-protected enough to endure several attacks of this nature with ease!
The surprised frontline mech did not allow the battle wagon to bombard its rear armor for long!
After firing a salvo of lasers in retaliation that carved deep rents into the battle wagon, the mech fought against the heavy gravity in order to orient its damaged armor section away from its opponent!
The crew of the battle wagon cursed. This was not fair! Unlike the two-legged mech, the large but cumbersome battle wagon was unable to replicate this maneuver!
Dirty tall folk!
Hammer the mech from all sides if need be! This tall folk machine won't be able to resist our mighty weapons forever!
The battle between the frontline mech and the battle wagon soon descended into a slug fest.
Once he regained his wits and shook off his surprise, the mech pilot started to battle the battle wagon with confidence.
His mech was a lot better than this abomination of a mining vehicle!
Though the mining vehicle was large and bulky, that also meant that its armor was spread relatively thin. The huge surface area of the battle wagon failed to resist the retaliatory laser beams from burning through the low-quality armor plating and cutting through its vulnerable internals!
Since a mining vehicle was never designed for battle, the battle wagon boasted a distressingly small degree of redundancy and compartmentalization! This meant that any internal damage impacted the vehicle to a much greater degree than mechs!
Not that the battle wagon managed to penetrate the armor of the frontline mech. The pilot cleverly rotated his mech so that he always managed to face the slow-moving battlewagon with the least-damaged section of his machine!
Knowing that it was relatively pointless to pound the upper armor of the frontline mech, the battle wagon belatedly directed its weapons towards the lower sections of its opponent.
The legs of the mech quickly started to incur a lot of scars!
Due to their smaller size and surface area, it was not as easy for the frontline mech to endure too much damage to its bottom side!
Hah! The mech pilot taunted on an open speaker. Do you think this is enough to down my mech? You filthy dwarves are too weak!
The frontline mech ceased fire and began to turn a corner. The mech didn't move very quickly because it didn't possess an antigrav backpack or any form of gravity compensation.
Nevertheless, the mech still possessed enough strength to maintain a faster pace than the battle wagon. Once it turned the corner, the mech huddled behind a prefab structure while exposing just a fraction of its bulk to the battle wagon.
The mech's only exposed laser mount seared into the huge vehicle with great accuracy! The mech pilot sinisterly aimed his laser at an existing wound.
Normally, opponents moved too quickly in battle to enable such precision. ECM systems and other interference technology further degraded the accuracy of ranged weapons.
While Ves managed to outfit the battle wagons with a lot of ECM systems, the distance between the two combatants was too close!
The mech pilot didn't even need to resort to any targeting systems to land this hit. The wagon was so large and sluggish that it was practically a stationary target in the mech pilot's eyes!
The crew of the battle wagon did its best to retaliate. Lasers began to rake the corner of the structure, breaking it down and exposing the mech to damage!
However, the frontline was already drawing back and turning the corner behind the next intersection once the battle wagon reached its old position.
The difference in mobility was too glaring! The frontline mech may not be able to resist an endless amount of damage, but it was easily able to run behind any available cover in order to keep whittling down the slow-moving battle wagon!
The crew of the dwarven vehicle gritted their teeth and hurled insults at the mech pilot. Their target never stood in a single place long enough for their weapons to finish the job!
Though the dwarves failed to defeat the enemy mech, at least they managed to stall it. Time continued to pass as the frontline mech attempted to whittle down its only opponent.
There was no way the mech pilot would allow these stinking dwarves to force him to retreat!
You primitive dwarves! I'll kill each and everyone of you shorties!